Creating the right ambience for your restaurant is as important as serving top dishes. The decor sets the mood for the adventure your guests are about to enjoy. From rustic charm to modern minimalism, there’s a world of options for restaurant decor.
Here, we look at 10 restaurant decor ideas and concepts that enhance the dining experience and make your place truly memorable.
- Open up your space
Even if your restaurant is on the smaller side, there are ways to open up the space. Integrate the kitchen into your decor to create a sense of openness. Alternatively, a standout feature like a wood-burning pizza oven can become a visual highlight and centrepiece of the restaurant. If showcasing the kitchen isn’t feasible, think about revealing other intriguing areas like a wine cellar or a whiskey display. Guests who engage with these elements tend to enjoy an enhanced experience.
- Pay homage to the restaurant’s location
Utilising colours and styles that reflect the local environment is a highly effective way to set the atmosphere. This approach is particularly beneficial for restaurants situated in tourist destinations where guests want to continue their experience while dining. By leaning into the surrounding landscape, your restaurant creates a cohesive dining experience that’s an extension of the local neighbourhood.
- Outdoor dining
There is a trend of expanding outdoor dining spaces, and for good reason. It adds another dynamic to your restaurant and increases capacity. Restaurants are increasingly utilising available open areas to offer al fresco dining options. Some have even renovated existing outdoor spaces to make them usable year-round.Many guests prefer the option of eating outdoors enjoying the fresh air and open space. Offering outdoor dining caters to these preferences while also providing a versatile business model that allows restaurants to adapt to various circumstances.
Pop-ups aren’t anything new, but they are an incredibly popular and successful trend. Exploring the concept of a pop-up restaurant can be a savvy move if you’re thinking of opening another location but are hesitant to commit to a permanent brick-and-mortar venue. Pop-ups offer a low-risk, high-reward opportunity to test your restaurant concept, menu and customer engagement in different locations.
They’re also an excellent way to generate buzz and attract a following before making a more substantial investment.Whether it’s a weekend stint at a local festival or a month-long residency in a trendy part of town, pop-ups give you the flexibility to experiment with various aspects of your business.
- Offer communal dining
Why not consider adding a communal dining area to your restaurant? Doing so can be a great way to offer a different ambience to your restaurant, and it doesn’t have to be a full-time concept. Instead, offer it during special nights and events once or twice a month.Long tables in the room’s centre are ideal for big groups. Communal dining sparks conversation, laughter and memory-making over delicious food. This vibe draws people in, generating a lively buzz that’s soul-boosting and business-boosting at the same time. Guests enjoy a night to remember, and you could see more bookings as a result.
- Keep it minimal
Go minimalist for a clean vibe, and use sleek furniture, sharp lines and geometric forms as your go-tos. You can also choose to sprinkle in natural elements, including wooden tables, stone accents and potted greenery.If you want the right colour tone, opt for soft greys, muted blues and earthy hues. With a minimal approach, each item you pick shapes your restaurant’s mood and creates a luxury setting that sets the tone for guests.
- Have more than one concept
Certain places are more profitable during particular hours, such as brunch spots bustling in the morning and bars that come alive at night. But there’s nothing to say you can’t combine concepts and boost earnings by attracting guests for specific reasons during different times of the day.
Why not try something like a combined coffee shop, brewery and breakfast/lunch venue? If you excel in one area, let guests know about new concepts you plan on trying and attract a core group of regular diners before marketing it to a broader audience.
- Industrial settings
Embrace the raw energy of industrial design at your restaurant. Think exposed brick walls that tell a story, metal accents that add a touch of grit and open-concept spaces that breathe life into the room. Picture iron light fixtures hanging from the ceiling, reclaimed wood tables and maybe even some exposed pipes or ductwork.
It’s about celebrating the unfinished, the raw materials that most try to conceal.This aesthetic has become popular over the years and is functional, offering easy-to-clean surfaces and a spacious feel. It’s a style that says you’re chic yet grounded, modern yet timeless.
- Mix and match furniture
The rise of online communities has led to a surge in eclectic tastes, and this is spilling over into restaurant decor. Mixing and matching furniture has evolved from an at-home design trend and is now present in many different types of restaurants.Tap into this style with tables and chairs that share a colour palette but differ in design.
Picture a dining area with tables in shades of warm wood paired with mismatched chairs that share the same colour palette but vary in style, such as mid-century modern, rustic and industrial. Mixing and matching furniture is a subtle way to add character and make your guests feel right at home.
- Design with Instagram in mind
Social media plays a big role in a restaurant’s success, so why not design with Instagram in mind – at least to some extent? EL&N is known as an Instagrammable café, and it has landed into this label with its prominent pink walls, floral installations and stylish furnishings perfect for a pic or two. From walls with eye-catching text to outdoor murals ideal for selfies, these elements can boost your marketing without breaking the bank.
Some restaurants gain social media fame through visually stunning dishes. Others opt for design features like neon wall art to attract those in search of the perfect photo. Unique plating techniques, such as using dry ice for a misty effect, also add visual flair. Join the ranks of Instagram-famous eateries with carefully curated design elements.
- Keep it classic
Opting for vintage, retro, or classic styles in your restaurant’s interior design is a timeless choice that’s often popular with guests. The key is to strike a balance between old and new elements without going overboard. Consider an elegant bar seating that captures the essence of a Parisian wine bar and café, blending historical charm with modern flair. Or think about an art-deco look with geometric shapes and fixtures like chandeliers, chrome door handles and bar carts.
Summary: it’s all in the concept
Whether you’re looking for fresh inspiration for new design ideas or are thinking about creating a concept to add a new dimension to your restaurant, these tips are here to help you get started. Who knows, you might land on one that changes the whole dynamic of your restaurant and gives it a new lease of life.