The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Decor and Design

The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Decor and Design

Table of contents

Grow Orders, Save Time & Eliminate Tablet Chaos
Cuboh integrates your delivery apps and online orders with your POS and consolidates them into a single tablet.

When it comes to dining out, it's about more than just the food; it's an entire experience. The ambiance, the comfort of your seating, the visual appeal of the decor, all plays a crucial role in crafting memorable experiences. Whether you're stepping into an aesthetic restaurant in the heart of New York City or exploring a cozy local eatery, the restaurant decor sets the stage.

In this blog, we dive into the world of restaurant design ideas, from selecting the perfect tables and chairs to designing an Instagrammable restaurant's dining room. We'll explore the finer details, such as wall decor and light fixtures, and how they contribute to the overall aesthetic.

First Impressions Matter: Crafting a Welcoming Entrance

The entrance of a restaurant is the initial touchpoint for diners, setting the stage for what's to come. An inviting entrance not only captures attention but also sets the mood.

An entrance is more than just a functional space; it's an opportunity to make a statement. It's the first interaction diners have with your establishment, and it can influence their perception and overall experience. A well-thought-out entrance can evoke excitement, and curiosity, ensuring that customers step in with positive expectations.

Ideas for Crafting the Perfect Entrance

  • Unique Signage: The right sign can be both informative and decorative. Consider using materials, fonts, and lighting that align with your restaurant's aesthetic and theme. For instance, a rustic wooden sign might suit a countryside bistro, while a neon sign could be perfect for an urban eatery.
  • Outdoor Seating: If space permits, outdoor seating can be a game-changer. Not only does it increase capacity, but it also creates a lively atmosphere, drawing in passersby. With the right decor, comfortable seating, and ambient lighting, an outdoor area can become an extension of the restaurant's interior design.
  • Thematic Elements: Incorporate elements that resonate with your restaurant's theme right at the entrance. For a beach-themed restaurant, consider using surfboards or marine decor. For a vintage diner, perhaps a classic car or retro elements can set the tone. These thematic touches can pique curiosity and promise an immersive dining experience.
A restaurant entrance with unique and bold signage
Image Source

Colour Psychology in Restaurant Decor

Understanding colour psychology is essential when considering restaurant interior design decor ideas, as it directly impacts guests' perceptions and dining experiences. 

Each colour has a unique effect on human psychology and can significantly influence the overall ambiance of a space. For instance, red is known for its appetite-stimulating properties, often found in fast-food or grill-themed restaurants. It evokes excitement and passion but used excessively, can also lead to discomfort. Blues and greens are calming, promoting relaxation and comfort, making them ideal for casual or fine dining settings aiming for a serene environment. Yellows and oranges are warm and welcoming, often used in cafes or bistros to promote friendliness and conversation.

Tips for Selecting Colours That Resonate with Your Restaurant's Theme and Cuisine

  • Reflect Your Cuisine: Let your cuisine guide your colour palette. For example, earthy tones can complement a farm-to-table concept, while bold, spicy colours might suit an exotic restaurant.
  • Consider Your Brand: Your colour choices should align with your restaurant's brand and the feelings you wish to evoke. If your brand is about elegance and luxury, opt for deep, rich colours like royal blue or burgundy. For a fresh, healthy dining concept, shades of green can emphasize natural, vibrant foods.
  • Create a Mood Board: Before deciding, create a mood board that includes your theme, elements of your decor, and potential colour palettes. This visual aid can help ensure cohesiveness and allow you to visualize the customer's experience.
A bright colourful restaurant design
Image Source

Mastering Space: Efficient Layouts and Designs

An efficient layout ensures that both diners and staff can move seamlessly, enhancing the overall dining experience. By mastering space, restaurants can optimize operations, improve customer satisfaction, and elevate their aesthetic appeal. Every restaurant is unique, and its layout should reflect its character, theme, and operational needs. 

Layout Considerations for Different Restaurant Types

  • Fine Dining: These establishments often prioritize ambiance. Spacious seating, private dining areas, and a clear path from the kitchen to tables are essential. The decor should complement the luxurious experience, with attention to detail in every corner.
  • Cafes and Bistros: With a more casual setting, these places can experiment with communal tables, cozy corners, and open spaces. An outdoor seating area or a patio can add to the charm.
  • Fast Food and Quick Service: Efficiency is key here. Clear queues for ordering, pick-up points, and a straightforward seating layout ensure quick turnover and high volume.
  • Small Restaurant Bar Design: For establishments where the bar is a focal point, it's essential to have a design that encourages interaction, showcases the drink selection, and provides comfortable seating. The layout should also accommodate those who are just dropping by for a drink and those who plan to dine.
A cafe restaurant layout
Image Source

Lighting: Crafting the Perfect Atmosphere

The ambiance of a restaurant is a delicate balance of various elements, and lighting plays a pivotal role in this equation. Soft, warm lighting can create a cozy, intimate atmosphere, perfect for romantic dinners. In contrast, bright and cool lighting can energize a space, making it suitable for lively brunches or bustling cafes. The intensity, colour, and direction of light can influence diners' perceptions, time spent at the table, and even their food choices. By understanding and harnessing the power of lighting, restaurants can craft atmospheres that resonate with their brand and target customers.

Ideas for Perfecting Restaurant Lighting

  • Modern Fixtures: Contemporary lighting fixtures can serve as statement pieces, adding character and style to the space. From geometric chandeliers to minimalist pendant lights, modern fixtures can elevate the aesthetic appeal of a restaurant.
  • Adjustable Lights: Flexibility is key in a dynamic environment like a restaurant. Dimmable lights or adjustable fixtures allow the ambiance to change throughout the day, catering to different moods and events. For instance, a brunch spot might benefit from bright, natural light, while the evening calls for a dim, moody setting.
  • Mood-enhancing Techniques: Beyond just illuminating a space, lighting can be used to create focal points, highlight artwork, or even set a thematic tone. Techniques like uplighting, backlighting, or using coloured lights can add depth and drama to the decor. 
A restaurant with unique and modern light fixtures
Image Source

Greenery and Nature: Breathing Life into Your Decor

Plants and natural elements can transform spaces, making them feel fresh, vibrant, and alive. They not only enhance the visual appeal but also contribute to the overall well-being of both customers and staff.

Ideas for Incorporating Greenery into Restaurant Decor

  • Indoor Plants: From tall potted plants that can act as natural dividers to small tabletop plants that add a touch of green to every table, indoor plants are versatile decor elements. Consider plants like ferns, snake plants, or pothos that are both decorative and easy to maintain.
  • Green Walls: Also known as living walls, these are vertical gardens that can be incorporated into the interior or exterior of a restaurant. They not only make a bold interior design statement but also maximize greenery in spaces with a limited footprint.
  • Patio Gardens: For restaurants with outdoor seating, patio gardens can be a delightful addition. Incorporate a mix of flowering plants, shrubs, and even small trees to create a lush, inviting space.
  • Natural Decor Elements: Beyond plants, consider using other natural elements like stone, wood, or water features. A stone accent wall, wooden beams, or a small indoor fountain can bring a touch of nature indoors, amplifying the theme of greenery and nature.
A restaurant with a green plant wall
Image Source

The Bar Experience: Designing for Connection and Craft

A well-designed bar can elevate the dining experience, serving as both a visual centrepiece and a hub of activity. Whether guests are dropping by for a quick drink or settling in for the evening, the bar experience is integral to their overall impression of the restaurant. Crafting the perfect bar design is about blending design, functionality, and ambiance. 

Bar Design Ideas for Crafting the Perfect Experience

  • Bar Design: The design should prioritize both functionality and aesthetics. Consider elements like a sleek countertop, accessible shelving for spirits and mixers, and a visually appealing back bar display. The choice of materials, from polished wood to industrial metal, should resonate with the restaurant's theme.
  • Seating Options: The bar seating arrangement plays a crucial role in defining the bar experience. High stools can create a casual, laid-back vibe, while plush chairs might cater to more upscale customers. Ensure there's a mix of seating options, from communal tables to more private nooks, to cater to different guest preferences.
  • Decor that Aligns with the Overall Theme: The bar decor should be an extension of the restaurant's theme. Whether it's vintage memorabilia for a retro-themed bar, or nautical elements for a seaside eatery, the decor should enhance the bar's character.
A unique bar design
Image Source

Typography and Branding: Making a Statement

Typography in restaurant decor goes beyond mere functionality; it's a creative expression of the restaurant’s personality. By choosing fonts, styles, and layouts that align with the restaurant's character, owners can establish a consistent and recognizable identity that resonates with customers.

Ideas for Incorporating Typography into Restaurant Decor

  • Accent Walls: One striking way to use typography is by creating accent walls with restaurant-related quotes, the restaurant's mission statement, or even the restaurant menu in oversized, artistic lettering. This instantly draws attention and sets the tone.
  • Signature Murals: Large-scale wall murals featuring typography can make a bold statement. Whether it's a mural of the restaurant's name or a meaningful quote related to the cuisine, it becomes a focal point of interest and conversation.
  • Branded Materials: Extend the use of typography to branded materials like coasters, napkins, and signage. This reinforces the brand identity and provides guests with memorable takeaways.
  • Consistency Across Media: Ensure that the typography used in decor aligns with other brand materials, such as the website, social media, and advertising. Consistency helps reinforce brand recognition and trust.
A restaurant with a neon sign accent wall
Image Source

Seating Arrangements: Comfort Meets Style

Seating is a fundamental aspect of restaurant design, where form and function must seamlessly intertwine. The choice of seating not only influences the aesthetics of the space but also plays a critical role in diners' comfort and overall experience. Striking the right balance between functionality and style is key to creating a welcoming and enjoyable dining atmosphere.

Ideas for Crafting the Perfect Seating Arrangements

  • Booths: Booths offer a sense of intimacy and privacy, making them popular choices for date nights or small gatherings. They also maximize space and provide comfortable back support.
  • Communal Tables: Communal dining has become a trend in restaurant design. It encourages social interaction and can make the dining experience more engaging. It's an ideal choice for casual and lively atmospheres.
  • Versatile Seating Options: Providing a variety of seating options can cater to different guest preferences. From high-top tables for quick bites to cozy corner nooks for intimate dinners, versatility ensures every guest can find their ideal spot.
  • Outdoor Seating: For restaurants with outdoor spaces, consider comfortable outdoor seating arrangements. Patio dining can offer a unique experience and expand the restaurant's capacity.
  • Theme Integration: Ensure that the choice of seating aligns with the restaurant's theme. For instance, rustic wooden furniture might suit a farmhouse-style eatery, while sleek and modern chairs are perfect for a contemporary urban restaurant.
A restaurant with booths
Image Source

In the world of restaurant decor and design, every detail matters. From the welcoming entrance to the choice of colors, layout and lighting, each element contributes to the overall dining experience. Crafting a memorable atmosphere through thoughtful design ensures that diners not only savor the cuisine but also create lasting memories.

Grow Orders, Save Time & Eliminate Tablet Chaos

Integrate your delivery apps and online orders with your POS and consolidate them into a single tablet. Helping you reduce order issues, grow your sales, and eliminate delivery headaches.

Continue Reading