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Restaurant Decor Ideas to Create the Perfect Dining Atmosphere

Creating the perfect atmosphere and restaurant decor can be just as challenging as crafting your menu, and almost as important. 

There is no question that a restaurant atmosphere can have a big impact on an establishment’s level of success. A study by Coyle Hospitality found that atmosphere and cleanliness were second only to the food when diners were asked whether they would recommend a luxury restaurant they ate at to a friend. 

Many things contribute to creating the perfect atmosphere at a restaurant. Ambient factors such as music, air quality, air temperature, and layout are all critical to generating a cozy and comfortable atmosphere. While those factors are extremely important, the restaurant decor is perhaps the most visible and impactful element of a perfect dining atmosphere.

To help you on your quest to master your restaurant design, here are some restaurant decor ideas to consider:

Restaurant Decor Ideas:

Paint a Mural

Murals are a great way to not only enhance the atmosphere of your restaurant but to also create buzz for your business. Every patron that snaps a photo with your mural and posts it online is advertising your business for free. When considering a mural, be sure not to pick anything that is too garish in color or that features subject matter that might turn some people off. Pick something relevant to your location or the type of cuisine you serve. 

Upgrade Lights and Fixtures

Having the proper lighting is critical for establishing a nice atmosphere. As a general rule, avoid fluorescent lights as they can make your dining room look more like an office or hospital waiting room. Opt for incandescent bulbs (or, better yet, LED bulbs) that have a warm hue. LED Edison bulbs are very trendy these days as they provide a vintage old-timey aesthetic that patrons can’t resist. 

In addition to your bulbs, pay attention to your fixtures. Match the material and color with other elements of your restaurant design.

Spacious Seating

The same Coyle survey mentioned previously found that 25 percent of negative comments at luxury restaurants mentioned cramped seating. While you might be tempted to cram more seats to make more money, that may create an uncomfortable a noisy atmosphere that diners will flee from. Instead, choose comfortable seats for your restaurant and space your tables out appropriately. Upholstered furniture is best suited for upscale and luxury establishments, as you want your diners to linger longer. Wooden chairs or benches are a good choice for casual restaurants.

Pick a Color Palette That Works

When it comes to choosing a color scheme for a restaurant, there is no need to try to reinvent the wheel. A mix of neutral tones like grey, tan, beige, and stone, as well as classic black and white, are tried-and-true choices for restaurants. Add a pop of color here and there with a few accent pieces, but don’t go overboard unless you want your restaurant to resemble a circus. 

Add a Chalkboard Menu

A chalkboard menu adds a certain bistro quality to any restaurant. It is a great way to advertise your specials and convey to your customers that you have a fresh, constantly up-dated menu. A clever chalkboard drawing or quote can also set the mood for certain kinds of eating establishments.

Lay Out Tablecloths 

There are lots of practical reasons to add tablecloths to your lineup of restaurant decor ideas: they are sanitary, they absorb spills, and they even soften noise. The main reason to use tablecloths, however, is that they can instantly give a normal dining room a fine dining feel. White linen is synonymous with an upscale atmosphere. Casual restaurants can use tablecloths to great effect as well and have even more choices when it comes to patterns, colors, and materials. 

Incorporate Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood is a popular material for restaurant interiors, not just because it looks great, but also because it conveys a certain commitment to sustainability that attracts many diners in this day and age. Reclaimed wood furniture can add a rustic and naturalistic touch to your space, and can also be used as bar tops, shelving, or as a wall covering.

Hang a Neon Sign

A custom neon sign is a bold choice, but if done right, it can give your dining room a fun and lively look. Like murals, a unique neon sign will easily find its way onto social media and expand the reach of your restaurant while giving your atmosphere a hip and electric mood.

Grow Some Plants

A touch of greenery can add new life (literally!) to your restaurant’s atmosphere. An indoor or outdoor herb garden can serve double duty as a source for kitchen ingredients. Otherwise, choose indoor house plants that don’t require a lot of light and upkeep. Pick quality planters that compliment your other design choices. And of course, make sure your plants always appear healthy and taken care of.

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