Tips on Designing a Restaurant

Written by Julia

On January 31, 2020

Designing a restaurant sounds like a lot of fun and of course, it is, however, keep in mind the smallest details count. From the entrance to the kitchen to even the bathrooms- it all counts. There is nothing more satisfying than (besides making a profit) creating a design that reflects your style and having your customers enjoy your restaurant as well.
Ariana Smetana owner of Art Via, an award-winning design firm, stated in an interview with Upserve “No matter the size of your restaurant, the food you serve or the kind of crowd you attract, creating the right kind of ambiance through design will go a long way in helping you run a profitable restaurant, so take the time and make sure yours is properly-suited to your style and diners.”
Read on for tips on designing your restaurant, and the factors to consider when designing your restaurant. Let’s get started!

Significant areas to focus on:


1. The outside of the restaurant

This is the first impression besides the entrance of the restaurant (which we will discuss after) that customers will notice. The outside of the restaurant should represent what customers will see inside before even walking in.

  • Making your sign visible
  • Choose your colors wisely- the colors should reflect your interior colors as well and the feeling you want to portray of your restaurant
  • According to Eleanor Frisch from Food Service Warehouse , red and yellow stimulate the appetite (think of McD’s). Bright red and yellow also implies a speedy dining experience. If you’re going for the upscale look, less bright colors imply a relaxed dining experience and can lend your restaurant exterior a feeling of elegance. Be careful Be careful using too many colors. too many colors. A mix and match of dark and light colors can be confusing to customers, which will not be appealing to the eye.
  • Keep it neat and clean
  • Add greenery
  • Have parking/valet

All of these factors play a part in how appealing your restaurant looks from the outside. In this case, the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t apply here. People will judge your restaurant from how it appears on the outside.

2. The entrance/ waiting area

This entrance and waiting area is one of the keys to your restaurant being a success. The entrance should be easy and the hostess stand should be easy to reach. You need a good separation from the entrance and the hostess/waiting area. If you’re in a cold location, the last thing you will want is for the door to open and the wind to blow as your guests are waiting to be seated. Near the hostess stand, be sure to have seats or couches as your guests will not stand and wait for their table otherwise. You want your guests to be as comfortable as possible when waiting for their table. If not done correctly, this can be a big deal-breaker in a restaurant.

3. The eating/dining room

This is probably the most important area of your whole interior design. This is where your guests spend the most time in your restaurant as they will be receiving their food and service there. You may want to get an expert to create your vision and style for you. This is the hardest area to design and also the most important one, therefore, hiring an expert is your best bet. It also saves you time and money. If you take on the task yourself, you will probably mess up along the way which in the long run will waste your time and you will lose money.
Think of the look you want your restaurant to have and the style of it. If it’s fast food, then tables and chairs can be near each other and you can also use booths. However, if you’re going for the upscale look, make sure the tables and seats are not too close to each other. Consider how many people will be able to sit on each table, the look you’re going for will very well depend on all the factors you need to consider. This is where an expert comes in handy!

4. The bar

This area is also important as some guests will decide to wait for their table here, or some may even eat at the bar. Therefore, your bar needs to look just as good as the other areas mentioned above. Similar to the seating in the dining and waiting area, you will want to think about how many seats will be available. Decide what you will use the bar for in the first place (besides the obvious) Will you be applying a full menu? Will you be creating various types of unique drinks? Where will you be placing your bar? What is the main purpose of your bar? These questions will help you in designing the bar to fit your theme of the restaurant. If you have a color theme going, make sure to input that into your bar as well.

5. The bathrooms

When you are designing the bathroom, the main thing you have to first think about is where to place them. Bathrooms should not be visible and should be in an area far away from the tables and guests. Most restaurants place them by the end of the bar or in a downstairs location. You also don’t want to put them near the kitchen as guests using the bathroom can take a peek into your kitchen and see what happens in the backend and just the thought of the kitchen being near the bathroom can disturb some. It should also be in a space where your employees are not bumping into your guests. As for design, the theme you are going for will affect how your bathroom will look. For an upscale restaurant, dimming lights and dark colors work well. For a fast food place, bright lights and white walls work best.

6. The kitchen

Kitchens are by far the hardest to design. You have to take into consideration the regulations, accessibility for the cooks, servers, and dishwashers. This can be a challenge for many, and again hiring an expert would be best. Kitchens, of course, need to be bright, neat, clean and everything should be easily accessible for your employees.

General Factors to Consider in your Restaurant:


1. Decor

The decor of the restaurant should match the food you are serving and the style you want to reflect. Also, consider areas where guests will take photos for social media accounts as this is one of the best ways to advertise your business. The tables where guests will be seated, consider wallpaper in the back or a design that pops out or a scenic view placed somewhere in the restaurant as well.

2. Lighting

The lighting should reflect on the style of the restaurant. If you’re going for the upscale or romantic look, dim the lights and put candlelight everywhere. If you’re going for the fast-food kind of restaurant, bright lights or regular lights can work. Consider natural light as well, especially if you have a backyard area for seating.

3. Music

Your music should blend with the type of food you are serving. For example, if you serve French food, consider putting french or classical music. If you’re serving Mexican, Italian, or Mediterranean food, the music should match the region. Consider how high or how low you will play music. Will you have live music? Etc.


Opening a restaurant requires a lot of work. Aside from getting a license, insurance, and permits- designing the restaurant should be the fun part. It does require capital and funds in order to turn your restaurant into the vision you are hoping for. If you do decide to invest in the design part and want it to be perfect, get an expert to help your vision into reality.

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1 Comment

  1. Murray

    Good Music and lighting make good atmosphere. I don’t like the one with loud volume.


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