5 Restaurant Design Tips to Boost Customer Experience

Dirt of the Day

The time has finally come for us to once again enjoy the simple pleasures of going out for a meal with a partner, a group of friends, or celebrating a business victory with colleagues. Now that more restaurants are reopening and people are eager to get together, your place of business needs to be as inviting and alluring as possible. 

From your seating arrangement ensuring some form of social distancing, all the way to infusing your restaurant with a splash of color, there’s so much you can do to adapt your brand’s design to meet the modern customer’s expectations.

Taking into account the need for smarter layouts and the fact that you should still preserve your brand’s core values, let’s go over a few of the most coveted restaurant design ideas that can have a positive impact on customer experience. 

Weave your difference into the design

Like any other business, a restaurant needs its brand identity in order to attract the right clientele. For you to be able to “tell” people more about your restaurant through your design elements, you need to pinpoint what makes your restaurant different from all the rest. Is it a unique theme, like a cat café? Do you maybe support a local charity? Is your chef the star of the show?

No matter the purpose of your restaurant, you should be able to set the stage by creating the right layout and decorate the space according to your brand’s vision. A contemporary fusion restaurant will typically be modern and edgy, with sleek colors and furniture, while old-school eateries will often go for that rustic charm and warmth. 

Comfortable and authentic furniture

With a theme and concept picked out, it’s time to create a layout that will help you welcome as many guests as possible without making your place feel cramped. After you have created the right layout for your tables and seating, you can find quality restaurant furniture that matches your brand identity and concept. 

Make sure that your furniture is not just visually appealing, but also comfortable enough to inspire your guests to stay for as long as they please. You can get creative with seasonal furniture changes, so that you can add some accents like curtains and throw pillows for the colder months of the year, while picking out lighter and cooler hues and fabrics will help you make your restaurant summer-ready. 

Versatile lighting to set the mood

No matter how impressive your art collection and your furniture might be, if you have poor lighting that causes eye strain or doesn’t help customers feel relaxed, it’s time for a change. Depending on the time of day, season, holiday (think Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, or 4th of July), and the theme of your restaurant, light can help you improve the ambiance.

Use ambient lights to set the right tone for your entire restaurant, but also use accent lights such as smaller lamps and pendants to draw focus to a piece of art or to create that intimate setting for an evening dinner for two. 

Support local artists and innovators

Like stock photos on your site, bland artwork on your restaurant’s walls speaks volumes of your commitment to authenticity, or the lack thereof. In recent years, restaurants have started supporting local artists by purchasing and showcasing their work in their dining halls. 

This is one of the best ways to find and express your restaurant’s values and identity, and to help support your local community and its most creative people. These will serve as real conversation starters, but they’ll also help establish your business as a genuine local treasure trove of art. 

Bring some nature indoors 

When you have a restaurant smackdab in the middle of the city, and your customers are surrounded primarily by concrete, buildings, and traffic noise, it makes sense that you want to create an oasis for them to enjoy. One possible way to do that with your design efforts is to rely on Mother Nature and the plants that can easily thrive indoors, in many different and creative ways.

Not only do plants have the ability to cleanse the air inside your restaurant, but those that can bloom often have a pleasant, faint scent. Unlike scented candles that can be very forceful and affect the flavor of your dishes, certain plants can contribute to the visual aspect of your restaurant’s design, and create the right setting for your senses. From vertical walls filled with herbs and floral arrangements, all the way to hanging baskets of lively plants, your restaurant can become a natural getaway from the urban chaos.


Some trends in restaurant design remain as timeless as ever, while others will help your restaurant create a unique footprint in your local community and impress customers every day. Be mindful of what your business is all about, and make sure you stay on track with how you represent your brand through all your design choices. That way, you can still make the most of some of these emerging trends while at the same time putting your unique brand identity forth.

Claire Hastings on Facebook
Claire Hastings
Claire Hastings is a design student, wanderer, and a writer. She writes as long as she can remember, and she is very passionate about fashion, running, other cultures, and her cat.
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