| | Print
restaurant decor ideas lighting

Food, service, ambiance. These are the key elements that attract customers to a restaurant, and great ambiance doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Simple decor changes can make a big difference to a restaurant’s atmosphere—and even how quickly diners eat.

Read on for 6 simple restaurant decor ideas that you can try today.

1- Can You See The Light

The lighting you choose can alter how the size of a room is perceived. Natural light is always worth investing in if you’re able to install large windows or a skylight. In general, it’s wise to avoid the vibe killer of exposed direct lighting; use shades and covers (unless you’re trying to get people to move on as quickly as possible). Play around with DIY lighting fixtures, whether the ubiquitous Edison style bulbs (use an energy efficient LED filament bulb), candles and candle holders or using salvage material for lampshades and light covers.

2- Dig Up Local and Historical Gold

Particularly in smaller towns, the building you take over for your restaurant may have a history of its own. Find out if any celebrities ever visited and see if you can find any tchotchkes or media referencing the occasion. Experiment decorating with items from the neighborhood or town, such as pennants, high school memorabilia, and posters from local bands, events, and sports teams.

3- Color Me Gone

Studies have shown that restaurant colors affect not just diner’s moods, but also their appetites—and even how long they want to stay. Paint your walls red to enhance appetites, yellow to encourage quick turnaround, blue to elicit freshness and the feeling of water, green to evoke a relaxed, calming environment that encourages patrons to linger and order more, brown as a base color that also stimulates appetite, and white to create a leisurely and relaxed atmosphere.

restaurant interior design lighting

Restaurant decor helps you stand out from the crowd. If you have 5 minutes, you can learn the ins and outs of restaurant interior design.

Download The Guide

4- Mirror Images

Mirrors reflect light, which opens up space and makes it feel larger. Hang a suitably sized mirror on the right wall and you can change the feeling from cramped to relaxed. Play around with different sized mirrors on a wall, or mirrored tiles to make the whole room feel more spacious.

5- Art for Art’s Sake

Invest in local art. Whether it’s a full wall mural or regularly rotating pieces from neighborhood artists, you can showcase art that references the area and creates focal points that drive the conversation.

6- Get Into the Green

Plants always change the atmosphere of a room—literally. By converting the CO2 you exhale into pure oxygen, plants make any room feel more relaxed and comfortable. Try experimenting with different types of wall plants, floor plants, and hanging plants for a (relatively) cheap and easy way to switch up your restaurant’s ambience.

Written by   |  
Mitchell Hall is a writer and editor living in Boston, MA. Originally from New Zealand, growing up he spent nearly ten years greedily imbibing the spirit of hospitality as a kitchenhand, waiter, and barman.
Restaurant Insider