Four Interior Design Tips from NYC’s Equinox Hotel

Ariana DiValentino


The Equinox New York, a Hudson Yards gem by the titular 'fitness goliath', is a sleek monument to the pursuit of well-being. From its bold contemporary art touches to its incredibly zen, dark rooms that turn sleeping into a hallowed ritual, The Equinox New York is both attractive and highly concerned with functionality.

ASW spoke to Bethany Zaheer, Senior Director of Design at Equinox Hotels, about the small touches and central tenets that define the hotel’s look and feel. At heart, health and wellness are key themes to which the hotel’s creative team continually returns. “We think of wellness in three major categories: Movement, Nutrition and Regeneration,” Zaheer said. 

“Each as important as the other. The hotel celebrates each of these. All design and operation decisions have to be scrutinized to see if they are supporting one of these pillars.”

For those looking to bring some high-end and wellness-focused touches to their own homes, read on for Zaheer’s advice on how to bring a bit of the Equinox design ethos into your space.

Style is only half of design.

“Coziness can be understood as simply as great products such as linens and mattresses, but also a more nuanced understanding comes from considered ergonomics and convenience,” Zaheer said.

“Finding the outlet without crawling on the floor and having the right light level on the book you’re reading could be considered cozy.”

When designing your home’s interior, be sure to take functionality just as seriously as style and decor. Consider the locations of immovable features like outlets, doors, and windows, and place your furniture in a way that makes sense and, like Zaheer said, won’t require you to crawl or shimmy behind furniture to access things you will regularly need. A well-designed space is easy to live in and, as much as possible, free on inconveniences.

But of course, the quality of products themselves do matter. Invest in a mattress and bedding that will make you eager to go to sleep each night.

Make your bedroom a sleeping sanctuary.

Because rest and healing are so central to the Equinox’s commitment to wellness, their rooms are carefully designed to be dark, cool, quiet, and supremely restful. Apart from treating yourself to quality bedding, there are a number of small, practical ways to improve your sleeping area.

“Start with adding blackout lining to your window treatments. Remove pesky electronic light indicators. Use a rug or runner at the base of your bed to soften noise.”

Just these few small touches can vastly improve your sleeping space and potentially, the quality of your sleep. Consider moving any electronics with constant light indicators to another room, or cover the lights with black gaffer’s tape.

Of course, much of our contemporary struggles with falling and staying asleep have to do with our relationship to our electronics. For that reason, Zaheer urges readers to practice proper sleep hygiene.

“Don’t fall asleep with the TV on. Try to stop watching a screen one hour before going to bed. If you, do turn the device to ‘night mode’ to reduce eye strain and prepare for your circadian rhythms.”

If you’re very committed to getting a good night’s sleep, you might even consider making the bedroom a no-screen zone. Banish the television to another room, and limit phone use as much as possible.

Break out the tape measure.

When making a new floor plan for a room or area of your home, it’s best not to wing it. Be aware of how much space you have to work with, so you can break it up accordingly. But take note, designing a layout is more than just a math equation. You might even consider working with an home interior designer who is experienced in feng shui and movement in space.

“The proportions of the room are critical to creating a dedicated space in each room for personal recovery such as yoga, stretching or meditation.”

Keep your rooms spacious enough that movement is free and flowing, and consider blocking off a designated space for rejuvenating movement and stretching, as Zaheer suggests.

Art should speak to you.

Zaheer says the Equinox generally develops its statement art pieces along with the design of the hotel’s interior. But if you’re planning on searching for your art, rather than having it privately commissioned, she still has some helpful advice.

Sculptures and other pieces of fine art at the Equinox are meant to complement the overarching themes, ideas, and values that inform your aesthetic. “For us,” Zaheer said, “the representation of movement and balance are both good themes, as well as the passage of time.”

Ultimately, however, curating art for a private home comes down to your personal tastes. Try to cast a wide net rather than searching for something very specific, as you never know what might surprise, delight, and move you for years to come. When it comes down to it, Zaheer says, “People should look for something that instigates emotion for them.”

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