7 creative ideas for a café and restaurant’s interior design

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Saloni Narayankar Interiors Mediterranean style bars & clubs
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Here on homify we have no shortage on articles and advice detailing how to make residential spaces more beautiful and functional. If you research properly, you could even find a few ones highlighting more unique spaces, such as yachts. But today’s piece is a very special treat: interior design tips that will help you attract more customers for your café and restaurant. 

Let’s look at these 7 tried-and-tested tips as recommended by top-notch Interior Designers and Decorators working in the hospitality industry. 

1. Plan your location properly

An idyllic setting and unique furniture to accompany a meal from another planet Imagine Outlet Dining roomChairs & benches Wood Black
Imagine Outlet

An idyllic setting and unique furniture to accompany a meal from another planet

Imagine Outlet

Just like buying / building a house, setting up your café or restaurant needs to factor in location. For goodness’ sake, don’t just zoom in on the first empty lot you find, because your location will determine the flux of customers, the menu, plus the demographic of your clients. The three main placeholders for a café location are:

• A corner shop: Preferably at a junction, this can help bring in lots of clients on their morning journeys to work. 

• A cosy, charming neighbourhood: Check out competition first. Too many eateries popping up in one spot can negatively influence your business. Open your café or restaurant in a neighbourhood that’s high on cosiness, yet low on rivalry. 

• A shopping mall: If your eatery is of the commercial kind, a prime location in a mall is key to attract the desired customer base. 

2. The exterior

Obviously some decent thought needs to go into your business’ exterior as well. That façade needs to represent the interior at least partially, and that is why tall windows allowing generous views are prime. 

It’s also recommended to invest in a glittering logo and a welcoming header to help your café / restaurant stand out. 

3. The lighting

Lighting design for businesses, especially eateries, is no joke. It is much more nuanced than the general lighting for commercial or residential spaces and must create a positive mood while stimulating customers’ appetite and making the products (the food and drinks) look enticing. 

A café’s lighting needs to be bright and breezy to promote a friendly ambience, yet an ambient balance to the space, created through accent lighting and decorative fixtures, must be present.

It is definitely recommended working with a professional in this regard, such as an Interior Designer or Lighting expert. 

4. The colours and materials

A creative combination of the right materials and colours can enhance your eatery’s visual splendour. And since a café is a thematic representation of a coffee house, its main colour palette is made up of dark, earthy hues (keep in mind that this is not a universal application).

In terms of colours, materials and styles, the interiors of a café can be grouped into four categories:

• The grab-and-go café: Starbucks is a great example, a chain café store if you will with some individuality. These cafés’ colours and materials usually follow the logo’s palette and are quite contemporary to implement a modern ambience. 

• The hangout café: A bit upscale, these cafés’ interiors are very casual and usually afford more space for seating arrangements. The best choice here is a partially vibrant colour scheme toned down via an earthy material palette. 

• The corporate café: These ones encompass all sorts of themes, from retro and bohemian to shabby chic. Therefore, its colours and materials must be decided according to a specific theme. But should you feel the desire to opt for a generalised style, go with energetic colours, plenty of texture, and lots of exposed materials to encourage a friendly, relaxed and welcoming look. 

• The old-style café: Antique, old-school designs with no modern or contemporary fixtures of finishes. Easygoing with a homely ambience. Think warm lights (simple pendants), multi-toned shades of brown (you want a rich earthy vibe), and lots of textures (i.e. exposed brick walls).

5. Stimulating clients’ appetites

You want the clients of your café and restaurant to be hungry and spend as much as possible. And according to colour psychology, deep russet tints paired with a golden ambience unconsciously make people desire food. Think of how many eateries are designed with tones of reds, browns, and golds in their colour palettes. 

6. Consider ‘Gastronomic Analogy’

Haji Ali Juice Center, Chennai The Workroom Eclectic style gastronomy
The Workroom

Haji Ali Juice Center, Chennai

The Workroom

In architecture, Gastronomic Analogy is the physical expression of food, preferably the type you’re trying to market, within a certain space. Think of wallpaper that looks like chocolate dripping down from the wall – ideal for an ice cream- or sweet shop. 

With eatery interiors, Gastronomic Analogy could be applied via designing small artificial food objects in your café or store, such as pendant lights shaped like glass cupcakes! 

7. Perfectly pairing function and layout

The layout of your café or restaurant is crucial, and it also depends on the theme of your interior. But be aware that there must always be a perfect balance between the function, aesthetics and the layout, for this is how you create the biggest part of your café’s ambiance.

With function, consider the aisle space between each seating formation (whether that be booths or a simple table-with-chairs setup). It needs to be wide enough for clients and servers, but not wide enough to hinder the interiors’ aesthetics. 

Back to residential spaces: Do you know about The do’s and don’ts of a modern bathroom remodel

Did you learn a thing or two about interior design for cafés and restaurants?

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