Restaurant interior design is centered around the experience of the guest. It is meant to create an ambience that is reflective of the brand. It sets the tone for the food and beverage that the kitchen prepares. It’s an experience encapsulated by art and design.


Form and function are critical to restaurant interior design because they collaborate to establish a space that is both operational and visually impactful. The difference between form and function is that form relates to the structure and design of a space and function speaks to the ability of the space.


It is important to design your functional spaces such as the kitchen and bathrooms, before you proceed with the detailed interior design and furnishing of the space. As we’ve already noted, workflow is crucial. Think of the journey from the kitchen to the guests; how can you design the space in such a way that it is effortless and natural?

To establish a seamless environment for your guests, keep traffic at an all time low with efficient and spacious travel paths that allow for guests to move about the space, and for staff to travel from the kitchen to their tables with minimal interruption. The more opportunities to move around, the less traffic there will be.

Restaurant Yugo by JDG // Photo by: Andrew Fyfe Photography

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If you feel that your space is small, especially with the addition of tables and chairs, add mirrors to create the illusion of additional space. It may seem like a minor consideration but it makes all the difference for your guests. In smaller spaces, guests tend to feel suffocated because of the narrow walls and seating areas. Adding a mirror to the mix opens the space up and adds a timeless element to the design.


All elements of the environment play a factor in the overall experience. Ensure that all masses are addressed and considered when designing a restaurant. The walls and floors are usually the initial focus, but don’t forget to include the ceiling in your story. Implementing a design element on the ceiling can make a space more memorable and unique.


The opportunities are endless with color. Go bold and create conversation or go subtle to allow the menu and guests to shine. In regard to the restaurant’s functional design, consider what your restaurant will look like during different parts of the day and in different luminosity.

Warmer tones, such as red, orange, and yellow are considered the best colors for restaurant establishments because of how well they perform in stimulating appetite for guests. Not only that, but in the case of yellow and orange, the human brain associates them with happiness. Warmer tones create a warmer experience.


For guests to see each and every detail of the restaurant, it is vital to ensure that there is adequate lighting throughout. Lighting plays a major role in ambience; the hues and brightness work together to create the environment. Go bright and exciting, or dimmed and calm. The design of the fixtures acts as accents to the overall design. Light fixtures play a key role within the overall guest experience.

Topolopompo restaurant by Baranowitz Kronenberg Architecture, Tel Aviv – Israel // Photo Source: Retail Design Blog

How can you set the tone for the experience? Low lighting tends to be more popular because it creates an intimate environment. Consider the functional element of low lighting though. You don’t want the lights dimmed to the point where your guests are using their phones as flashlights to read the menu – which happens a lot more often than you think!

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Furnishing a restaurant requires attention to detail, as it sets the tone for how your guests will feel. It’s sort of like placing the final touches on the space. You’ve designed the environment, laid out the floors, applied finishes to the walls, and added the accents. Now’s the time to create an intimate sitting area for your guests.

Tables and chairs are, without a doubt, the most vital furnishing choice you will make. They are where your guests will sit and enjoy their meals. Always consider the flexibility, comfort, and maintenance requirements of your furniture. Just because the fabric looks nice, does not mean it is comfortable to sit or easy for staff to maintain.

Although it is important to have a variety of seating options and arrangements to create variety and diversity within your space, it is even more important to ensure that all of the seating is comfortable.

Dandys Ice Cream by JDG // Photo by: Andrew Fyfe Photography


Functionality is of higher value because comfortability and action are more important than the overall design. A beautiful restaurant cannot succeed without the experience that guests feel when they enter, even if the art is imported from Italy or the flooring is brand new.

A noisy, crammed space will always deter guests from returning. Openness and relaxation are the true pillars of comfortability; they give guests a safe escape from their daily lives. Although openness could be thought of as a design element, it is considerate of functionality.

Consider both the staff and the guest’s experience. Always ensure the space allows the staff to easily move throughout the restaurant, take orders, deliver food, and communicate with fellow staff and guests. By designing a space that is functional for staff, you automatically nurture the overall ease and experience of the restaurant as a whole.

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Form and function are especially important in a commercial setting because they are an ode to true productivity, relaxation, and effortless ambience. The goal is to create a memorable experience for your guests, while ensuring that your team has the space and comfortability to service them.

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