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Bringing your dream of owning a restaurant to fruition is an exciting endeavor that can also be a bit overwhelming. Especially when it comes to choosing the aesthetic of your business. While the food is a massive component of your restaurant’s success, the interior design of your establishment can be equally important. Establishing a unique brand identity and creating an inviting atmosphere through interior design can make your business flourish. To help you develop the perfect aesthetic, we’ve compiled a list of five restaurant interior design ideas that will wow your guests and maybe even get you some free press.


Consider an open floor plan

For ages, food has been used as a means to bring people together. Because restaurants are communal spaces, an open floor plan in your restaurant’s interior design will allow for a more authentic connection between you and your guests. You can implement an open floor plan by having one large dining room that incorporates every aspect of your restaurant, including the kitchen, bar, and outdoor seating.

Consider an open-facing kitchen that can be viewed from the dining area to connect your guests to their food from start to finish. This option is perfect for farm-to-table eateries or authentic restaurants like rustic Italian pizzerias or sushi bars. An open-facing kitchen is a distinctive design element that allows your guests to get an intimate look into the food preparation process and can also really drive home your brand identity and mission.

Restaurant with an open floor plan

If you have an outdoor dining area, you can use glass walls to connect it to the rest of the space to ensure that every guest gets an inclusive experience. You can also utilize strategic seating arrangements to create the illusion of intimacy while maintaining a communal atmosphere.

Open floor plans are a great way to make your business more inviting and give you a fantastic opportunity to show off some of the behind the scenes work that makes your restaurant unique.


Bring in natural and organic elements

Adding organic and natural elements to your restaurant interior design is a sure-fire way to bring the space to life. Indoor greenery has taken over the interior design world and for good reason. When it’s chosen and arranged strategically in restaurants, it creates the perfect dining experience for your guest that will be impossible not to Instagram.

Greenery is such a powerful design tool because it’s versatile enough to adapt to any design aesthetic and can be used for various purposes. Hanging plant baskets, exotic floral boxes, and flower arrangements are great for bar and table decor. Experiment with large trees like palms, olive trees, or fig trees as statement pieces that play on size and perspective. You can even incorporate a living wall into your design as a natural divider or foyer focal point. There are so many creative ways to arrange greenery to compliment the space and give your guests a striking visual that will immediately get their attention.

Indoor greenery at a restaurant

Plants are not only great for aesthetic purposes, but they have several benefits that can improve your guests’ dining experience. They have been proven to reduce stress and create an overall feeling of well-being so that your guests will feel relaxed and refreshed as they enjoy their meals. Flora also naturally improves air quality, so your restaurant will literally be a breath of fresh air. Greenery has the fantastic ability to absorb sound, so strategically placing plants around your restaurant can limit background noise.

If you need some inspiration on how to use greenery in your restaurant interior design, check out how we used vibrant potted plants and flowers in our commercial project with The Shores Restaurant at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.

The Shores Restaurant at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club


Connect with your community through artwork

Artwork is a must when it comes to restaurant design. Art can immediately personalize a space and seamlessly tie together your brand identity in a creative way. When selecting art focus on style, color and cohesion. The style of the artwork should match your restaurant’s overall theme and contribute to the atmosphere you’re aiming to create. Consider murals, portraits, photography, sculptures, graffiti, or any other medium that fits your overall aesthetic. If you have a minimalistic design, you may want to use artwork to add a pop of color into the space. Regardless of the color or style you choose, the art should complement the space and cohesively mesh into the overall design.

Using artwork in your restaurant interior design also gives you a fantastic opportunity to connect with local artists and commission one-of-a-kind pieces. Not only will you have a unique statement piece to draw your guests’ attention, but working with local artists is a great way to show support for your community.

Unique artwork in a restaurant


Take advantage of color psychology

Color is arguably the most important component when it comes to interior design. It’s essential for establishing a cohesive and aesthetically appealing design, but did you know that your color palette can have psychological effects on your guests?

Color psychology suggests that colors have the power to affect human behaviors. Research shows that certain hues can influence our productivity, energy, and self-esteem by activating different parts of our brains. Taking advantage of color psychology in your restaurant design will allow you to customize each space, depending on the feelings you want to invoke.

Using a red palette in a restaurant

Have you ever noticed that most fast-food chains and restaurants use the color red in their logos and interiors? It’s because the color red is proven to increase appetite. It also creates feelings of excitement and passion, so using red in your color palette will not only make your guests hungrier, but it will energize your staff.

If you’re aiming to create an upbeat, youthful atmosphere, opt for a yellow accent wall. Blues and wood tones are ideal for restaurants looking to create a relaxing environment, much like this design we worked on for Pacific Coast Grill. No matter what color palette you go with, make sure it’s going to have the appropriate effect on your guests by learning how to use color psychology in interior design.

Pacific Coast Grill interior designed by Nativa


Don’t underestimate the power of lighting

Lighting is a fundamental design element that sets the tone for a space. A study conducted by the Journal of Interior Design shows that lighting can affect the emotional responses that influence consumer behaviors. Light intensity, hue, and contrast all play a part in setting the ambiance for a restaurant.

When choosing your lighting, consider the type of environment you want to create for your guests. High-contrast lighting with low brightness creates a calming and intimate effect, while low-contrast lighting with high brightness creates a more energetic vibe.

If your restaurant prides itself on beautiful Instagram-worthy plating, you’ll want to have plenty of direct light above your tables so that your guests can snap the perfect pic of their meal. Overhead lighting is ideal for illuminating the entire space to show off any wall art or decor you’d like to emphasize. String lights and lanterns can add a romantic, whimsical flair to outdoor areas. The options are endless.

Lighting offers an excellent opportunity to get creative and use a wide variety of light sources to achieve your desired atmosphere in a restaurant.


Professional Restaurant Interior Design

Opening a restaurant is extremely time-consuming and demanding, so the last thing you need to worry about is picking lighting fixtures, paint colors and tile. Working with professional interior designers for your restaurant will allow you to bring your vision to life with the help of qualified experts. Our award-winning interior design team has helped design and furnish commercial properties all over the country, and we’d love to help you with your next venture. Talk to one of our designers today to start on your restaurant interior design.