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  • Writer's pictureMauli Gupta

5 Elements of Restaurant Design That Affect Customer Psychology

While restaurants, ice-cream parlors, cafes, and every other establishment in the F&B industry compete with each other using location, prices, and promotions, only a few take the win from the margin of their interior design. Most people do not know this, but the restaurant interior design impacts customer psychology- prompts them to order more or less, and even impacts the duration of their stay in the restaurant. Seating options, light, music, and architecture, all constitute a restaurant’s interior design.

source: kloos studio

Importance of Interior Design in Restaurants

A restaurant's interior design is crucial to its branding strategy. How it looks and feels is how people determine whether it is a good place to eat or not. A shabby-looking restaurant will automatically attract less attention.

In the age of social media, interior design is your restaurant's silent marketing team. If your restaurant is Instagram-worthy, it will make it to your customer’s feed and attract a lot more customers.

Most importantly, interior design impacts customer psychology. You can make your customers order more, eat fast, sit for longer or stay less, etc. all with interior design interventions.

Now that you understand the importance of interior design, let’s move towards specific design elements and their impact on customers.

Elements of Interior Design and how they impact the customers

  1. Architecture

  2. Lighting

  3. Furniture

  4. Colour palette

  5. Acoustics

1. Architecture

The architecture of your restaurant plays an important role in its restaurant design. The internal layout of your restaurant is crucial in determining the mood and look of your restaurant.

How spacious your restaurant feels, whether it is claustrophobic during rush hours or if the customers and the servers can move around easily, all depends on the layout.

Our article, Restaurant Design 101: How to plan an effective layout? dives deep into this topic.

2. Lighting

Lighting has the power to elevate the interior design to another level. It can make a space look inviting, but bad lighting can easily make a space look shabby. The right lighting can improve people’s mood, thus your restaurant must do so.

“Light creates the ambiance and feel of a place, as well as expression of a structure.”

  • Le Corbusier

Exterior Lighting: It is crucial to correctly light up the exterior because it will attract attention towards your restaurant and also let people know that you are open for business.

Accent and Ambient Lighting: To set a tone for your restaurant, you need to layer different lights. While ambient lighting takes care of the general lighting of the space. Accent lighting is used to draw attention to a specific area or element. Light can also be used to distinguish different areas.

Light presentation: The lighting over or near the tables must not alter the color and look of the food, it detracts from the visual impression of the food.

Ceiling Design: From the beginning of human life, we always look up when we enter a new space. It is a subconscious order from the brain to look for possible danger.

Today, people look up when entering a new space out of curiosity. Thus, having a unique ceiling design will captivate new customers and when paired with good lighting will elevate the overall tone of the restaurant.

3. Furniture

source: thesaltedpig

The type of seats and tables have a huge impact on customer psychology and experience.

For instance, establishments like Mc’donald’s have comfortable seating but not exactly the kind where you would want to sit for a long time. It is because they want you to eat fast and sit for a short period.

On the other hand, establishments like Starbucks have big tables and plush sofas, because they want you to sit for a longer period and order more coffees.

Some establishments go for a mix of both and also mix up the sizes of tables and number of seats to cater to every number of groups coming in.

4. Colour palette

source: industville

There is a comprehensive amount of study done on how color affects human psychology. Colour can elevate customer mood, make them order more, etc. It is far from just being about aesthetics.

Light neutral color: Colours like white or beige make a small space look bigger and airy, thus creating a cozy and comfortable environment prompting customers to sir for a longer duration.

Green and Brown: These two colors remind one of nature. Green creates a sense of calm and freshness. A woody tone gives a sense of elegance.

Bright and Warm colors: Colours like red, yellow, and orange increase our heart rate and lead to faster consumption of food and early exits.

5. Acoustics

The acoustics of a restaurant must be a combination of quiet and loud. Either extreme makes for a bad customer experience.

In a restaurant, the noise from the kitchen must not reach the dining area. The music and the sound of people talking should not overpower. But, it should not be so quiet that people fear that someone can hear their conversation.

Final Thoughts

It’s not enough to design a pretty restaurant space; it should be functional and smart, too. To make the most out of every inch in your space, proper planning and layout are needed. To make your customers feel comfortable, proper seating and a relaxing ambience are needed. To make people come into your space, intriguing design is needed. Thus, paying attention to interior design is essential to ensure a great customer experience.

Employ the design tips provided above in your restaurant’s design to have a desirable impact on your customers!

If you need help with designing your restaurant, email us at or leave us a message here. We'll be happy to help you out.

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