Skip to main content

Tips for restaurant interior design and why it’s important

The interior of a restaurant is important for generating revenue, amazing customers, and keeping your business running smoothly. Design choices impact you and your customers’ mindset. And the layout of your restaurant impacts your team’s ability to operate the business efficiently.

Your restaurant’s interior design affects the public perception of your brand value, too. If you’ve never thought about the customer experience beyond high-quality food or service, you may overlook the importance of the setting and design in a restaurant.

But the ambiance isn’t something your subconscious overlooks any more than your customers do. Discover why you need to prioritize your restaurant’s design and the tips for making it happen with this guide.

Busy waitress in restaurant
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why the interior of a restaurant matters

You’ve eaten at restaurants before, so you understand what walking through the front door of certain establishments communicates. Depending on your intended ambiance, a business communicates many things with its furnishings, layout, color scheme, and more. Sometimes, a space impacts perception in ways you never intended.

Color choice and mood

Color theory isn’t a new concept, but it impacts customers more than you might think. Lighter and darker colors affect people in different ways. Warmer or cooler tones vary significantly in how they impact space, too. Here’s a brief look at various hues impact on perception:

  • Reds and oranges: energy, passion, warmth
  • Yellows: happiness, creativity, calming
  • Greens: soothing and calming
  • Blues and purples: calming, luxurious
  • Grays: relaxation
  • Browns: calming, relaxing
  • Black: statement, powerful
  • White: clean, purity, sterile

You can mix and match colors to balance different perceptions. Changing the tone and accenting certain areas like archways, transition spaces, and walls affect how people feel and sense a space.

Filling a space

There are many ways you can fill the interior of a restaurant. How you layout the dining space, place furniture near windows, decorate walls, and more impact perception of a space. Too much clutter and a restaurant goes from high style to kitschy.

Too little decor and customers may feel they’re in an austere, clinical space. How and what you fill space can play valuable visual tricks and create an illusion of space. The right design conveys cozy, chic, or whatever energy you prefer.

Energy and flow

If people perceive more energy in a space, it impacts how they feel when eating, ordering, and recommending your business to others. Feng Shui is a cherished tradition in many countries worldwide, focusing on intention when creating a space.

You can apply the same basic principles when designing your restaurant. Paying specific attention to the most important details of your brand will impact your customers’ experience. This kind of intentionality encourages you to prioritize how you design your restaurant’s interior, too.

Modern and trendy restaurant
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to design restaurant interiors

Now that you know why the interior of your restaurant matters; you need to learn how to decorate it. When cultivating a restaurant’s interior, there are many details to consider, but there’s a clear path to designing it effectively. Balancing every detail is challenging but not impossible.

Select a concept

Your restaurant’s concept will likely be informed by the chef and cuisine prepared in the kitchen. If your menu varies often, you may have many concepts to choose from. The most important thing to consider is something that communicates your company and brand value overall.

Once you choose a concept, it’s much simpler to select other features like furniture and accessories. Even determining the restaurant’s floor plan is simpler with a concept in mind. Whatever you select informs the overall aesthetic of your restaurant, no matter how broadly or narrowly you interpret it.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Create a floor plan

Choosing a floor plan is even more important than choosing a concept. How you lay out furniture and accessories depends on your floor plan. Your operations and ambiance will actually be conceptualized with a designed floor plan.

Floor plans vary by budget, concept, and actual square footage. When you layout your space, you’ll have constraints determined by these factors (and potentially more).

Choose furniture and accessories

These details are important for finalizing your floor plan and concept. Restaurant seating, silverware, lighting fixtures, and more all affect the dining experience. Of course, the food is the most important element, but how you sell matters.

Your chosen concept will inform the textures, colors, and materials for goods and accessories. Where you find these items depends on your aesthetic and budget, too.

Designing a better restaurant interior

You’ll find that the more you plan your restaurant’s interior, the easier it is to conceptualize. Design matters whether you’re starting with a competitive idea, an innovative market disruptor, or expanding your restaurant empire. You might base it on a dream chef, your favorite cuisine, your culture or heritage, or more.

Whatever sparked your restaurant’s conception, don’t overlook its insides. Make sure you allow time for proper planning from concept to design to layout to its grand opening.

Editors' Recommendations

Amanda Hoyer
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Degreed in Psychology and English, Amanda fell into copywriting and blogging when she discovered an innate gift for narrative…
Guide to purchasing equipment for your food truck business
Food truck employee at work with a customer

Buying a food truck may be the first purchase you make in building your food truck empire. Most food truck pros will agree: The truck is the heart and soul, but the equipment makes the magic happen. How can you bring your food menu to life without stellar equipment?
Whether you rent, lease, or purchase outright, you need quality tools to prep, cook, and store food and ingredients. Part of planning out your expenses for a food truck business involves equipment. Whether you've only purchased for a restaurant or have no clue what costs and options are for food truck equipment, you need to know. Read this purchasing guide to help inform your budgeting and make the right business moves for your food truck.

What equipment do you need for a food truck?
Most of your purchases for equipping your food truck will happen online. You may find a retailer in your area that sells or distributes for a major carrier, but your local hardware or appliance store may not cut it. One of the biggest retailers of kitchen and restaurant equipment is Webstaurant. All the price ranges listed below were pulled from this site, too. They'll carry the essentials, such as:

Read more
The 9 best vegan food trucks in the U.S.
Two people at a food truck

In 2020, there were 23,873 food trucks in the U.S. It should come as no surprise that there are food trucks for every type of cuisine. No matter the culture or diet, there's a food truck for it. And because food trucks are mobile, you can find them all over the country, too.
Some food trucks are based on restaurants with a huge following. Other food trucks start popular restaurants, too. Most offer sought-after regional cuisines, but some owners bring new cuisines to an area based on heritage or passion for the foods they sell.
Finding vegan food used to be a challenge, but food trucks' increasing popularity has helped change this. Read on to discover the nine best food trucks for vegan cuisine across the U.S. Maybe you'll find inspiration for opening your own vegan food truck operation.

1. Plant Food for People
You'll find this food truck in sunny California in northeast Los Angeles. Favored for its tacos, you'll discover the "hottest vegan meat" around with the use of jackfruit as a meat substitute. The meat alternative's popularity is mainly because of its similar texture to other meats like shredded chicken or pork.

Read more
5 best places to park your food truck for more business
Two people at a food truck

The food truck industry has ramped up in recent years, exploding on the scene in many cities and suburban areas. With a smaller financial and real estate footprint than a restaurant space, the food truck format allows more small businesses to bring a wide range of ethnic and culinary styles to hungry customers.

Food trucks deliver eats to communities in innovative ways and increase the choice of food options at the lunch hour. And since they're mobile, these businesses can experiment in different areas and gauge customer response. Although operational permits are necessary, that requirement doesn't tie food trucks to one location. Usually, they can move from place to place and park in more than one location on the same day.

Read more