12 restaurant interior design ideas that can help attract business

Editorial Team

6 min read
Interesting restaurant interior design ideas

Restaurants offer more than food. They offer guests the chance to indulge in an experience, immersing themselves in art and culture.

Use these interesting and effective restaurant interior design ideas to create your brand of ambience that’s as captivating as it is compelling.

Restaurant interior design tips for all budgets

Ready to craft a branded, in-restaurant experience from the ground up? Start with these 12 awesome ideas that can work with any budget.

1. Choose a theme

Top of the list when thinking about your restaurant’s interior design is choosing a theme that you love and that makes sense alongside your overarching concept. If you’ve already decided what food you want to serve, that should be your starting point – but don’t limit yourself. Embrace industrial chic. Turn your dining room into a European park. Whatever theme you choose, it should carry through or inform every other idea on this list.

2. Focus on the entrance/lobby area

There’s an adage that says you never get a second chance to make a first impression. For the most part, this advice can be attributed to your lobby and front entrance areas. Elements such as your décor and color scheme will set the tone for general aesthetics. Other aspects – such as the seating available for people waiting for a table and the practicality of your lighting – are more about functionality and comfort. All are important.

3. Map out a lighting scheme

Lighting can be powerful. Just think of how your mood changes when you switch your home’s overhead lights for the flicker of a wood-burning fireplace. Lighting can also reinforce a theme. Those popular Edison bulbs are an iconic part of industrial décor, while chandeliers are just right for a classic, French, fine-dining establishment.

However, lighting must be practical, too. Guests need the right lighting to navigate outdoor areas safely and to use the restrooms. You’ll also want transitional lighting to provide a streamlined experience as guests move from space to space.

4. Incorporate greenery/plants

One of the most affordable restaurant decoration ideas is to incorporate plants into your design scheme. Think beyond a bud case on your dining room tables and explore plant options that are a little more outside the box:

  • Succulents on the bar and communal tables
  • An indoor herb garden or a living wall
  • Vines covering the perimeter of your outdoor spaces

There are actually some restaurants in the U.S. that have live trees growing in the middle of the dining room, so the possibilities are only as limited as your imagination.

5. Showcase the location

What’s unique about your location? Perhaps your building used to be a bread factory or maybe your street is the oldest in the city. Use design elements such as light fixtures, tiles, and vintage photos and signs to give a nod to the history of your town and location.

6. Utilize efficient but creative seating options

Most restaurants have two- and four-tops with regular straight-backed chairs. What can your restaurant do differently? Switch up your seating options by outfitting your dining room with mismatched chairs, or go for handmade stools with quilted backs throughout your bar area. Bench seating, communal tables, comfortable club seats – they can all work brilliantly as long as you incorporate them into your restaurant floor plan in a way that makes sense.

7. Create a communal experience/seating area

Speaking of communal tables, restaurants are all about shared experiences. Consider offering large tables where strangers can gather in groups. This works well if you offer organized and timed seating for each service, but you can also have guests order a la carte.

8. Feature local art

One of the best restaurant interior design tips is to use your space to feature local art. This establishes a symbiotic relationship that can prove useful for years to come. You get art to decorate your walls, and artists get to showcase their talents, and maybe even sell some paintings or sculptures.

Consider rotating displays monthly or quarterly to give more artists an opportunity to display their pieces. You can hold special art and food events, too; the artists stick to a theme and your culinary crew comes up with a menu to match.

9. Highlight your kitchen and/or bar

Put your bar on a pedestal – literally. Or, take down the wall between your dining room and kitchen. Food TV is all the rage, and chefs are celebrities. When you highlight the people behind your food and beverage programs, you create an immersive experience that can delight guests and entice them to come back again.

10. Use minimalist concepts

Minimalism isn’t just trendy; it’s also one path toward achieving memorable restaurant interior design on a low budget. Minimalist décor means less is more. Think clean lines, lots of neutrals, and simplicity over eye-catching patterns, bold textures, and drama.

To truly go minimalist, extend the concept beyond your décor. Consider your staff’s uniforms, the layout of your menu, and even core design choices such as your logo and signage, too.

The potential downside of minimalism is that each choice you make will stand out more and is therefore of increased importance. There’s nowhere for a single piece of wall art to hide if it’s the only piece of art in your whole restaurant.

11. Add mirrors to your layout

Mirrors can bring light into your space and make smaller rooms seem bigger. You can create a statement wall using dozens of smaller mirrors sourced from thrift stores and flea markets, or install one huge mirror and essentially make an entire wall disappear.

12. Draw attention with typography

Whether your team is scrawling that day’s menu on a chalkboard at the start of service, or you have printed menus for every meal, you should use typography to draw your guests’ attention – and keep it. This word art can be quite memorable and is also a stellar way to reinforce your restaurant’s theme.

A restaurant POS system for any style

Interior design plays a big role in how your restaurant is perceived. Using a restaurant POS system that is not only sleek but powerful, can also help you manage all aspects of your operation as your restaurant attracts more and more business.

Reach out to a Clover Business Consultant today to talk about your options for payment processing, inventory management, employee scheduling, and more.


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