A Savory Sense of Space


A Savory Sense of Space

10 Restaurant Interior Designs Boost Dining Experience

What makes for a successful restaurant? Besides the anticipation of an exceptional culinary experience, a well-thought-out interior design is what draws people away from their home-cooked meals to the ambiance of a restaurant space.

DE&DE/Boutique hotel and restaurant design, Behance, via Pinterest.


Restaurant interior design is an intricate art where every detail matters. The interior design elements of a restaurant play an important role in creating a delightful atmosphere for customers. Therefore, it is crucial for every restaurant owner to pay keen attention to all of the following elements when designing their restaurant spaces.

1.     Customer Expectations

Your customers come first, and it is therefore paramount that the first aspect you think about is who your customers are and which design most resonates with them. You then want to design a restaurant space that curates a memorable customer experience. From the moment your guests walk through the door, you want them to feel at home—and for that to happen, every aspect of your restaurant design should reflect that. Your ideas of your audience is what brings out the differences in the design between a luxury restaurant, a family-friendly restaurant, or a nightlife restaurant.

2.     Restaurant Theme

Once you have figured out who your customers are, this can lead to choosing a restaurant theme. What type of dining experience are you designing for? Fine dining would require clean, grand, luxury interiors, while casual dining is more lively and kid-friendly. A quick-service restaurant or a café can be designed to be industrial, creative, or a modern restaurant.


Restaurant Design, Behance, via Pinterest

Decide on the design style, whether contemporary, art deco, minimalist, urban, coastal, bohemian, eclectic, or tropical. You can also design your restaurant theme around a specific concept such as a famous artwork, historical era, popular genre, game, or hobby. For instance, a book-themed restaurant can combine the experience of good literature with the love for coffee or baked goods.

Finding the right theme for your restaurant design will set the baseline for all your interior décor, helping you create an overall look for your business that will stay consistent throughout all the areas.

3.     Brand Identity

Modern Coffee Restaurant Design, Behance, via Pinterest.


Another aspect that goes hand in hand with your restaurant theme is your brand identity. This refers to the personality of your business and the mood it conveys. It is what sets you apart from other restaurants. A strong brand identity is often achieved through color choices, décor items like artwork on walls, and fonts used in signage, graphic design, and menu items.

4.     Restaurant Layout

Your restaurant layout should take into consideration the seating areas, the focal points, any scenic views, the level of privacy required, and comfortable restaurant furniture. You can design for different sitting arrangements, in sets of twos, fours, and larger groups in your restaurant concept, installing comfortable, movable restaurant furniture that is in line with the theme.

White garden restaurant by Insignia Design Group, Amazing Architecture, via Pinterest.


Spread out furniture for intimate culinary experiences, or place closely packed furniture for a more active and lively ambiance. You can design with an area of 10 to 20 square feet per seat. Remember to also design for flow of traffic and circulation areas for ease of service by the waiters. Your restaurant layout and furniture will most likely differ in every space depending on the purpose, for instance, the lounge areas, the dining areas, and the bar areas. Lastly, ensure that the bathrooms are well designed and hidden from the dining area view.

5.     Color Scheme

Whether you intend to create a relaxing space or an energizing environment, it is important to understand the psychology of colors on customer behavior. Warm colors such as red, yellow, and orange are generally more welcoming and stimulate hunger. Green colors create a feeling of healthiness, while blue induces calmness.  

Use bold, vibrant, warm colors in a quick-service restaurant design where you want the customers to leave faster, and subtle pastels and neutrals in a dining room where you want the customers to linger longer.

Sheraton Bursa Hotel Prusa Restaurant, Sheraton Bursa Hotel, via Pinterest.


However, when you need to incorporate the hunger stimulation effect with the relaxing effect of color, you can utilize the 60-30-10 rule. Employ 60% of dominant neutrals in your walls, floors, and ceilings; 30% of a secondary color in the furniture and window treatments; and 10% of a bold accent color in the artwork, decorative accessories, accent chairs, and throw pillows.

Consider how your color transitions from day to night, and coordinate colors in all your elements. Additionally, ensure your color scheme reflects your brand identity, restaurant theme, and design style.

6.     Material Finishes

Lava Java, Behance, via Pinterest.


The material finishes of your surfaces not only play well into the theme of your restaurant, but also minimize maintenance and replacements. Go for durable finishes designed for high-traffic areas that are easy to clean and manage without compromising on the visual appeal. From tiling to terrazzo, painted finishes, and metallic accents, there are a lot of options from which to select.

7.     Lighting

Lighting plays a huge role in the customer dining experience. Maximizing natural lighting during the day by utilizing large, glazed windows can create an open, airy restaurant atmosphere that is productive, energizing, and mood-enhancing.

Restaurant in Moscow, Behance, via Pinterest.

Complement the natural daylight with warm artificial lighting by installing uniform, diffused, overhead ambient lighting in your interior spaces. Diffused lighting is visually softer and minimizes shadows, and hence more flattering and comfortable for your customers.

Strategically place task lighting only where required, perhaps for reading the menu, in circulation areas, or for bathroom mirrors. Use wall lights for your accent lighting, highlighting artworks and any unique features in the interior architecture.  

Instagrammable Projects, The Contract Chair Co, via Pinterest.


Carefully select decorative designs for your light fixture to add to your theme. You can go for golden or black fixtures for a café, colorful funky lighting for a creative restaurant or fast-food space, and neon lights for a nightclub. Crystal chandeliers and ornate fixtures are luxury interior lighting options that fit well into a fine dining space.

Perfect Picture Lights supplies a quality collection of picture lights and sleek track lighting that can fit into any design style. Highlight the artworks on your walls to add an extra flair to your décor scheme.

Read Also: Track Lighting Ideas

8.     Wall Art

Life From Unexpected Perspectives, Departures, via Pinterest.

Incorporating well-illuminated wall art in interior design is the perfect way to add visual interest and personality to your restaurant design. This can range from still life paintings and photographs to murals, food art, and sculptures. Hanging artworks that reflect a consistent theme or cuisine of your dining establishment can mentally transport your clients for an extraordinary guest experience. For instance, you can hang beach artwork or photography in a seafood restaurant so that guests feel transported into another world the moment they walk through the door.

9.     Plants and Floral Arrangements

Restaurant, Behance, via Pexels.


In addition to serving as color accents that tie together your overall aesthetics, plants and flowers can make a room feel more alive, providing some greenery and softness in an otherwise stark space.

10. Acoustic and Aromatic Sensory Experience

Go beyond the visuals and appeal to all the senses if you want to create an immersive customer experience. Aromas and sounds are powerful triggers for memories and emotions. Boost the mood in your restaurant spaces by playing quality instrumental music that matches the ambiance of your establishment. Ensure that the volume and sound quality does not distract from the conversations.

Sakhalin Restaurant Speakers, Behance, via Pinterest.


Infuse aroma that does not overpower the food by incorporating food-related scents such as chamomile, cinnamon, vanilla, basil, or baked goods. Citrus scents can also make your spaces feel fresh and airy. You can take it a notch higher by creating a signature scent that will always be associated with your restaurant.

Bonus: Add Restaurant Technology

Incorporate modern restaurant technology in your interior design to make it more efficient. You can benefit from light dimmers that allow you full control over your lighting levels, mobile payment options, online menus, digital menu boards, self-service kiosks, and online table reservations, in all your recent projects.

The Moon Is Blue Cheese

Your restaurant interior design sets the first impression for your customers. Therefore, consult a professional interior designer or restaurant designer for unique restaurant design ideas that remain memorable long after your customers leave. Your restaurant is more than just a place to enjoy a delicious meal. It is an immersive experience, one that your customers want to remember, create new memories in, and tell their friends about.


Winny Okoth is a practicing Construction Project Manager and Interior Designer. She is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Construction Project Management. Winny Okoth has a great passion for every form of design as well as 3D visualization skills for architectural and interior design.