What’s in A Café Design?

The design of a restaurant or café, for that matter, doesn’t just happen. Instead a designer will use a cleverly thought out process from the colour of the walls and the shape of the chairs to the lighting. They go to huge lengths to get the psychology of the space just right.

So, how’s it done?

The brief

Before putting together a brief for the design of a restaurant or café, a designer will want to know two main things: the story behind the concept and the operations within the setting. Such things as where customers enter, how they make their way from the counter to their table, which route is necessary to take them from their table to the toilets, and so forth. It’s crucial to have an understanding of all these factors if your café or restaurant is to be successful.

Tricks of the trade


One of the most important aspects of the design is the lighting. No one wants to sit in a room that is so dimly lit that they can’t see their food, nor do they want to relax in the evening with lights that are extremely bright. The most effective solution is ambient lighting which can be used to create just the right amount of light whether it’s day or night.

Functional light is naturally essential for both staff and customers to perform tasks, illuminating workstations and pathways, for example. Accent lighting is great for drawing attention to objects that are visually interesting.

Strangely enough, bright lights in fast food outlets have been shown to encourage people to eat quicker and consume more whereas warm ambient style lighting creates more of a relaxed atmosphere. When paired with comfortable chairs, there’s more chance that customers will linger longer and order more drinks and food.


Furniture in cafes and restaurants is used to encourage certain behaviours. For example, comfortable upholstered chairs are used in restaurants to encourage diners to stay for longer. This naturally isn’t the case in cafes that that have a fast turnover. It’s also important that both cafes and restaurants have a mix of small and larger tables. Couples or solo diners, for instance, won’t want to sit at a table intended for 6. It’s a good idea for cafes to have a few 600mm tables, which are great for couples or solo diners, together with square tables for 4 which can be easily pushed together to make larger tables for groups.


Colour can also be used to good effect to create an atmosphere that is energetic or relaxing. Did you know that colours can also affect a person’s appetite? For example, red, orange, and yellow, increases blood pressure and energy making a person feel hungrier.

As you can see there are several details which go into planning a café or restaurant. Above all, it’s important to make every customer feel welcome and important. Whether this is by a warm greeting and a smile, placing a few fresh flowers on the table, or giving them a complimentary ‘mint’ to suck when they leave.

Don’t forget the huge part that smell plays when entering a café. The smell of fresh coffee and recently baked bread or cakes, will make most customers order more than they came in for.




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