7 Fresh Restaurant Decor Ideas

Sarah Buckholtz
Post by Sarah Buckholtz
June 21, 2022
7 Fresh Restaurant Decor Ideas

Ambiance is one of the most important factors in creating a restaurant's atmosphere. Whether you're looking to open a fine dining restaurant or a casual cafe, it’s important you choose decor that matches your location, clientele, and menu offerings.

But choosing the right restaurant design and decor ideas can be overwhelming because there are so many options out there.

Accordingly, we've compiled a list of some of our favorite restaurant decorating ideas along with tips to help you create your ideal restaurant interior. 

Why Is Restaurant Decor Important?

Restaurant decor is important for several reasons. Not only aesthetically pleasing, but the design of your space also sets the tone for your entire brand, teasing customers about what inspires your cuisine and menu. With that in mind, take a look at our ideas for unique ways to add decor to your restaurant.

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7 Fresh Decor Ideas for Your Restaurant

Jump on the Mural Trend

Hiring an artist to create a mural is not only a great way to showcase local talent and generate much-needed publicity for your restaurant, but it also gives your space an artistic touch that’s sure to impress guests.

A mural is a great way to decorate the exterior of your restaurant, especially if you don’t have a wall inside that would fit the colorful piece of art. If you’re looking for the ultimate photo op, hire an artist whose work you admire to create a mural along your building’s exterior.

Guests will be unable to resist stopping by to take a photo with this Instagram-worthy piece of art that gets you added publicity in the form of user-generated content!

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Embrace What’s Uniquely You

You can have a design that is classic or contemporary, but always make sure the decor fits your personality. If you’ve got your own personal style (rustic antique, collectible Americana), don’t be afraid to use it as a restaurant decoration idea.

For example, when Santa Cruz-based Humble Sea Brewing Co. opened a new taproom in Pacifica, CA, co-founder Frank Scott Kruger wanted to embrace the brand's California and surfing roots. If the brand’s original location is a 2-foot wave, then the new one in Pacifica is over 6 feet.

Humble Sea Brewing Co. taproom in Pacifica, CA

Featuring branded seafoam green walls, whimsical artwork (including a neon hammerhead shark on one wall and a neon sail boat on another), 3,000 square feet of indoor space that includes a succulent garden on a brick wall, and an additional 9,000 square feet of outdoor setting, the new space showcases the next iteration of the Humble Sea brand.

“[Our team strove to] create an environment where you wouldn’t even need beer, that beer was secondary,” says Scott Krueger in a previous article for Untappd for Business. “People come in for the vibe… We reacted to the space and building rather than jamming our brand into it. It still feels like a tavern, though uniquely Humble Sea.”

Another unique example is the GreenHouse in Nashville, TN. Located inside a repurposed greenhouse, the owners filled this nature-inspired bar and restaurant with organic materials like stones, water features, oak chairs, and of course plenty of plants!

To reflect and honor the space, the GreenHouse offers clean eats as well as craft cocktails garnished with plenty of fresh fruits and herbs.

When you let your personality show through in your decor, your guests will feel happy and comfortable in your restaurant.

Get Creative with Seating

Restaurant booths and four-person tables are the most common seating options, but don't let the industry influence your design.

To add a bit of uniqueness to your establishment, get creative with how and where your customers sit. Add stools instead of chairs or incorporate long communal tables instead of smaller, separate ones.

Why stop there? How about repurposing some barber chairs or captain’s chairs at the bar?

The end result will be unique and memorable experiences that guests won't soon forget.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Incorporate Open/Industrial Elements

Keep the space breezy with open shelves and exposed lighting and pipes. The trick with this type of interior design is that the less you have, the more your customers will see what’s around them.

It’s all about the details with this option, so choose wisely!

Select the Best Lights

Lighting is a crucial element of restaurant decor (see our Top Guide to Lighting Your Bar or Restaurant in 2022) because it can create ambiance for your guests. Choosing the perfect lighting for your restaurant sets the mood and creates a unique experience for your customers.

This can be done via bright open windows with natural light or with actual lights. With so many factors to consider, it can be tricky to figure out what will work best for your space or look.

Whether you need dim lighting to create an intimate atmosphere or bright lighting to encourage conversation, your light fixtures define your space.

Step away from the everyday fluorescents, create a mood, and set yourself apart from other restaurants in your niche by choosing unique lighting options such as string bulb lights or decorative sconces.

Match Your Menu to Your Theme

When creating the decor for your restaurant, begin with a look at your menu. How does it make you feel?

If you own a pizza place, you might consider red and white tablecloths with brick walls. Or maybe you are opening a diner—synonymous with jukeboxes, cozy booths, and checkered floors. We crave these nostalgic experiences that send us back in time, and the matching decor helps us travel there.

Perhaps you’re opening a wine bar, so things to consider might be dim lights, dark colors, and romantic motifs throughout.

Examine what makes your menu different and let that be your decor inspiration.

Add an Element of Green

Living greenery is one of the best restaurant ideas that you can implement on a budget. Plants and flowers can be used to create an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere. But they also have many more benefits.

They can improve the air quality, reduce stress levels, boost productivity, enhance focus, and so much more.

A restaurant that isn't worried about being too precious with its decor can opt for a plant-heavy look that is less susceptible to dust and humidity.

Create a lush garden with ferns, ivy, spider plants, philodendrons, and more. Whatever the style of your restaurant, plants can give it a fresh feel.

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Sarah Buckholtz
Post by Sarah Buckholtz
June 21, 2022
Sarah Buckholtz is a Content Writer and Editor for Untappd, Oznr, and Hop Culture. For more than a decade she has interviewed everyone from artisan makers to Grammy nominated musicians to Jefferson Award winning preservationists. She is a former blog writer and marketing manager for American Pickers creator and host, Mike Wolfe, covering stories about heritage tourism and preservation coast-to-coast. Sarah grew up on the shores of Lake Erie in Pennsylvania and is currently drinking a Jackalope Thunder Ann in Nashville, Tennessee.