5 Restaurant Décor Ideas to Spruce Up Your Space

The look of your restaurant has a significant impact on customers’ dining experience, the way they feel about your food, and the likelihood of repeat business. So here are five restaurant décor ideas to grab their attention.

As a restaurant owner, your food is critically important, of course, but it’s the design components of your restaurant décor that truly make dining an experience that customers will remember. The ambiance of your dining room directly influences a customer’s impression of the establishment. All the elements, from pictures on the wall to the light fixtures and paint colors, contribute to your patrons’ experience. As a restaurateur, you already know the food and beverage industry is incredibly competitive and demanding; implement these great restaurant décor ideas to help you make a great impression.

You know the ins and outs of food cost and payroll, but most restauranteurs are completely stumped when it comes to restaurant interior design. After all, what does the customer dining experience have to do with throw pillow patterns and mirrors in the restroom, right? Isn’t a restaurant and bar all about the food?

It turns out that having the best restaurant design ideas matters a lot to patrons. A study conducted by Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics tool found a whopping 91% of customers pay attention to a restaurant’s interior design and how those décor elements make them feel. “An appealing ambiance influences their decision to visit a particular concept.” Moreover, customers carry expectations when they dine out, which is why all modern restaurants, from farm-to-table cafes to 60’s style diners and Latin-style tapas bars, must deliver on design.

The general atmosphere of your food establishment will make or break a customer’s first impression of you. Tasteful interior design components are fundamental to running a successful restaurant. Try out a few of these restaurant décor ideas today to impress customers and keep your business thriving!

5 Restaurant Décor Ideas for Your Food Establishment

1. Add Life to Dining Areas with Greenery

Hanging plants look great among pendant lights in a white dining room.
via Pxhere

Succulents, cacti, peace lilies, Chinese evergreens, and jade plants–If you can grow it, chances are it will look great in your restaurant. All types of greenery, both natural and faux, are excellent restaurant décor additions (and perfect for small restaurants on a budget). From an entire living plant wall to hanging vines from the ceiling, the creative restaurant design ideas and options for incorporating these natural green elements are endless.

Investing in natural greenery for your food business is also a great way to successfully transport your customers somewhere whimsical when they dine with you. Interestingly, the Tasting Table found customers preferred the restaurants with the most greenery displayed. “From coffee shops to bars, these destinations offer a mini-escape whenever you need one.”

Those restaurants looking to embrace a beautiful, healthy, and natural vibe should consider investing in plants or flowers as part of their interior design and décor. Bistros, coffee shops, clean-eating restaurants, and farm-to-table establishments are all great candidates for using live plants as focus décor elements.

Another example is Brome Modern Eatery in Michigan. This business prides itself on 100% ethically sourced ingredients, including organic grass-fed beef and even repurposed shelves made from reclaimed wood. The living plant wall in this restaurant accurately reflects the values of the establishment and entices customers inside to get the full experience. The food and the restaurant’s interior design complement each other and work seamlessly together.

2. Dress Up Walls with Typography Art, Graphics, and Frames

A large print graphic of your company’s logo, a typography piece featuring a fun quote, or sentimental photos from when your family business first began are all great options to adorn the walls of your restaurant. Remember, every restaurant décor element on the walls of your establishment will tell a story and significantly impact the way customers perceive you.

There’s nothing quite as charming as a photo gallery above the red and white striped booth of this diner wall.
via Pxhere

A fancy restaurant with priceless works of art displayed everywhere says something different than a breakfast diner featuring posters of 90’s pop singers. Both establishments use art and wall décor to evoke very different feelings for their patrons. That’s the great thing about restaurant interior design—you can use it to create totally different environments.

Wall art is a great way to grab your customers’ attention or bring focus to a particular part of your dining space. Rise Art advises restaurant owners to “feature pieces that already complement the colors and textures present in other areas.” All the art on your walls should add to the dining experience for customers, not distract them from eating or enjoying themselves.

Lastly, another critical aspect of wall décor to think about is your restaurant’s overall theme. For example, a picture wall with framed photos of your Italian grandparents evokes the memories of your Noni cooking her homemade marinara and legendary meatballs. This theme is perfect for a homestyle pizzeria with loads of history and heritage to share and will make the patrons feel their dining right there with your famiglia.

3. Choose Light Fixtures to Set the Right Tone

For a dining room with a high ceiling, light fixtures are crucial; hanging pendant lights light up the space and give this restaurant with a dine-in balcony a modern look
via Pxhere

You can do a lot with light, especially in restaurant décor. There’s cozy lighting, bright lights, accent lights, natural light, and so much more. The right light can spotlight your dishes, evoke emotions, and create a feeling like none other. No matter what type of lighting and fixtures you choose to use at your restaurant, the goal should be the same–to create a welcoming space for all customers who dine with you.

Putting in the extra time, effort, and money towards really nailing down the lighting throughout your establishment is one of the best restaurant décor ideas that will continue to pay off as time goes on. WebstaurantStore says it best: “Lighting in your restaurant can add to the ambiance of your dining room or ruin the experience completely for your customer.”

We’ve all seen restaurants that were too dark, leaving patrons to wonder what they’re really eating (or what the kitchen is hiding). On the other hand, restaurants that are bright and harsh can feel jarring and stressful. So it’s crucial to strike the right balance.

Don’t forget that different light fixtures will give off different types and levels of light. The design of the fixtures themselves should fit the theme of your establishment, and lighting should reflect the appropriate tone. More specifically, an industrial restaurant might opt for some pipe pendants lights. In contrast, a more romantic destination might choose a variety of indoor twinkle string lights to set the right mood.

TomTom bar and restaurant in Los Angeles is a perfect example of a unique establishment using one-of-a-kind lighting décor to its advantage. The variety of hanging lights includes chandeliers cased in glass bubbles, bejeweled fixtures with Edison light bulbs displayed at different levels, and classic crystal pieces unexpectedly supported by industrial chains. These elements help TomTom stand out amongst the competition as a truly exceptional food and beverage establishment, taking restaurant lighting design to the next level.

Restaurant décor and interior design aren’t limited to what you see on the walls. The color of your furniture, the types of light fixtures you choose, and the brightness they emit will significantly impact your establishment’s ambiance and the overall dining experience.

4. Keep Restaurant Décor Ideas Simple and Clean

Modern restaurant interior design may feature solid colors like black and red leather chairs, yellow accents and marble table tops with clean lines and simple lighting
via Pxhere

Although every restaurant’s decorating style is different, the overall goal of establishing a simple and clean design should consistently be kept in mind. Too many décor pieces on the wall will get distracting for patrons. Too many pieces of furniture that look complicated rather than comfortable will turn customers off as well. As Toast advises, “there is a big difference between simplistic and snooze fest.” Remember, simple doesn’t necessarily mean boring.

Ideally, the restaurant décor ideas you choose to incorporate won’t interfere with the diner’s experience. For example, if you’re a huge art buff, try not to select any sculpture or art piece that acts as a roadblock for patrons trying to navigate their way to the bathroom. If you’re all in for the greenery game, don’t hang plants so low that customers need to duck when taking a bite of pasta.

Also, remember, restaurants (and food) can get messy. Having too many knickknacks and bric-a-brac to dust can make your restaurant feel cluttered and dirty. This is especially true in dining rooms with soft, low lighting. Keep your restaurant décor free of dirt and grime by choosing pieces that are thematically on-point and simple to clean off regularly.

The minimalist look is trending in the restaurant industry today, and many establishments continue to find great success in keeping it simple. For example, Atelier Crenn in San Francisco is a French-style restaurant whose minimal design on the walls and very few décor elements keep customers coming back. Although sleek, this restaurant’s design aesthetic works well for this type of high-end restaurant. The main focus is on the food and the menu, and the design elements at play complement and highlight that focus.

It’s true that restaurant décor ideas often focus on appearance and looking pretty, but functionality matters just as much! So keep the simplicity and clean look in mind when executing your design concept.

5. Stay True to Your Restaurant’s Brand

Deep red walls, a built-in bar, and leather chairs complement this Chinese style dining room and bar atmosphere.
via Pxhere

Always keep in mind, your restaurant’s theme DOES matter! You could try out a million different restaurant décor ideas, but unless your choices accurately reflect your establishment’s brand, the interior design won’t make sense.

Customers often choose certain restaurants based on the cuisine type, but customers expect the interior design to do the theme and experience justice. For example, if it’s a ladies’ night out, gals might want to head to the nearby Mexican restaurant for margaritas and a fiesta vibe! Bright colors and tropical-inspired wall art might help patrons feel like they’re on the beach in Latin America, sipping fun drinks with umbrellas. On the other hand, a couple’s anniversary dinner might call for a romantic wine bar downtown. Elegant candles and floral linens throughout create a cozy, elegant atmosphere for romance and love.

No matter what your theme, ensure every interior design element plays it up. You should have fun with it and even enlist the help of professionals to take your restaurant décor ideas to the next level. Create a restaurant décor vision for your business, and always remember to edit yourself as you check in with your theme and the types of elements customers may expect to see from you.

It takes hard work to produce a fantastic food business, but a restaurant’s interior design concept will always make or break the dining experience for patrons. It’s a significant determining factor in your restaurant’s level of success.

You might serve the tastiest food in town, but unless your wall art can hang and the ambiance speaks to customers, continuing to thrive will be a challenge. So consider incorporating a few of these restaurant décor ideas to spruce up your establishment today!


Featured image via Pxhere. All post images are licensed for use via Pxhere licensing.

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