Interior designs to make over your restaurant

It isn’t easy to decide on the #interiordesign of a restaurant. There was a time when all establishments looked more or less the same, gastropubs blended into one continuum of barstools and chalkboards. The only way you could tell fine dining establishments apart was the sign in the front. This kept restaurant ideas quite simple. Now fast-casual spots with white tablecloths and crystal chandeliers aren’t strange and fine dining restaurants dressed down to feel like greasy spoons are considered to be edgy and cool.

Your restaurant’s interior design embodies the character of your establishment and has become increasingly important for turning curious wanderers into seated patrons. The “Instagrammability” of a restaurant matters just as much as the quality of the food and service to modern patrons. So it’s best to forgo the interior design templates of old and aim for something fresh and new. You can use these popular interior design trends for some inspiration.

Go bold or go home

The Milk Bar, Rosebank (

A universal design principle is to always keep it simple. This is an especially common rule for restaurants because simple aesthetics offend (and therefore repel) no one. But they don’t inspire anyone either. Restaurants have started taking risks with graphic wallpaper, bold colours and strategically placed kitschy ornaments – and it’s paying off.

Step inside your comfort zone

Marble, Rosebank (

The more comfortable the patrons are, the more likely they are to dine for longer. Restaurants are maximising on this by incorporating longer picnic-style tables, cosy booths and wide-set cushioned chairs with armrests. Some are going as far as designing their dining areas as lounges with couches, coffee tables and occasional chairs that promote a more relaxed dining experience.

A blast from the past

Roxanne’s Rum Eatery, Fourways (

Sometimes all the best ideas have already been thought of and the best way to change it up is by borrowing from the past. That’s why you’ll start to notice retro elements popping up in some modern restaurants. Copper finishes, neon lettering and linoleum floors used cleverly can bring a cheekier and more vibrant atmosphere to a space.

Lit from within

Locanda, Cape Town City Centre (

Mood lighting, while flattering, makes reading menus a nightmare. Fortunately, bright interiors are making a comeback. Whether by day or by night, restaurants like Locanda are opting for generous (but not overwhelming) lighting and reflective surfaces that open up dining spaces. They also make taking photos for Instagram that much easier.

Handmake your mark

La Petite Ferme, Franschhoek (

Local sourcing and handcrafting trends are going further than good ingredients and filtering into the design of dining establishments. Instead of flashy and expensive finishes, restaurateurs are adding authentic flair to their eateries with handcrafted pieces from local artists and artisans (like La Petite Ferme did when it collaborated with local ceramicist Mervyn Gers for its unique handcrafted collection of dinnerware).

The right interior design can get people talking about your restaurant, but you still have to fulfil the promise your decor makes with good food, an excellent service and streamlined operations.

Download our guide, Secrets Ingredients for a Successful Restaurant, for all the helpful tips you will need along the way.

Author : Glenn Miller