Research Magazine

Auburn Research
Fall / Winter 2021
Undergraduate Research Profile
Sally Ann Missildine: Designs hotel rooms for large families
Sally Ann Missildine
Sally Ann Missildine

All families need vacation time together, but when the family is a large one, adequate-sized lodging options are limited.

Sally Ann Missildine, a senior in interior design in Auburn University’s College of Human Sciences, has devised a solution. Missildine’s efforts recently garnered first place honors in the university-wide, undergraduate poster category for human sciences, social sciences, creative arts, nursing and humanities in the 2021 Auburn Research Student Symposium.

Missildine, from Decatur, Alabama, designed hotel rooms to comfortably accommodate families of eight persons or less. “Two of the main reasons families take vacations are to create memories and to rest from everyday activities,” Missildine writes in her project abstract. “However, vacations often end up putting additional stress on families, in part because of a lack of adequate lodging facilities to accommodate a large family.”

Missildine said she became interested in this topic because she comes from a large family who enjoys vacationing together.

“I come from a family of seven,” she said. “When we vacation together, our only real options for lodging are to reserve more than one room at a traditional hotel, or to rely on a residential option through alternative accommodation services, such as Airbnb.”

Missildine noted that most hotel or motel rooms are typically designed to accommodate two to four individuals. To accommodate five or more, a family must rent a suite or two separate rooms, both of which can be expensive.

“Accommodation services such as Airbnb have taken over a large portion of the hotel industry’s potential revenue because of this,” Missildine said. “But if the hospitality industry could affordably and more comfortably accommodate larger families, more families likely would stay with brands they are familiar with and trust.”

Missildine reviewed a traditional-style hotel floorplan for her project, to keep in mind typical square footage allowances while designing a family-sized room.

“The design focuses on elements of space saving, accommodating features and adaptability,” she said. “I used a computer modeling software to design a room that makes efficient use of space and creates an environment that is easy for families to share. It contains privacy-providing elements as well as family common space, separate space for children and adult family members, and other elements that make for a comfortable and memorable experience. It is a design that presents a solution to meeting hotel lodging needs of mid-to-large-size families.”

Missildine recently interned with an interior design firm in Rosemary Beach, Florida. The internship afforded her hands-on experience in both retail and residential design practice. She is slated to graduate from Auburn in May 2022 and says her hope is to remain in the Southeast, designing interiors in both the residential and hospitality industry. Through her research, she sees that within the hospitality industry there is a need for innovative designs such as the one created for her project.

The annual Auburn Research Student Symposium gives students an opportunity to share their research and creative scholarship university-wide. Undergraduate and graduate students participate through oral presentations, posters and creative scholarship displays.

Last updated: September 30, 2021