Have you ever visited a restaurant that felt very comfy but you couldn’t really tell why? The furniture, the customer service or the music? Perhaps the lighting?

Lighting design is often overlooked and yet it completes the overall atmosphere of your restaurant. Whether you opt for a dramatic, comfortable or casual theme, lighting helps you to set the mood and it is important to get it right. It influences emotions, energy and mood.

When designing your restaurant lighting, try to create for your customers an experience involving all senses. Taste, obviously, but also smell, touch, hearing and sight. Lighting should look beautiful, but most importantly it make your customers feel comfortable.

3 different types of lighting can be identified and your restaurant should include them all:
- Task lighting – to allow basic tasks (such as reading the menu)
- Ambient lighting – to set the mood
- Accent lighting – to emphasize specific areas or objects in your restaurant

Where to start?

1. First things first, define the layout. Select where you want to have lighting positioned and try to find the perfect combination of daylight and electric light. Some rooms might not need additional lighting?

2. Then, define what kind of fixture. Ideally, you want to use a mix of several fixtures having different purposes (task / ambient / accent lighting). We help you further in the next paragraph.

3. Finally, define how the light level should be. Too bright? It could ruin an intimate atmosphere. Too dimmed? It could keep your customers isolated (can’t read your menu, can’t see their partners, can’t share the love).

What fixture options?

lighting-in-your-restaurant- Pendant, lighting hanging from the ceiling. It can be positioned over tables, bars, and countertops.
Purpose: task and accent lighting.

lighting-in-your-restaurant- Chandelier, either hanging from the ceiling or standing on tables. It doesn’t provide much light and is purely aesthetic. Candlelight is proven to be highly relaxing.
Purpose: ambient lighting.

lighting-in-your-restaurant- Wall light, practical as well as decorative. Ideal to illuminate interiors and exteriors.
Purpose: task and ambient lighting.

lighting-in-your-restaurant- Fiber optic ceiling light, used for aesthetic purpose only, creates a dazzling lighting effect.
Purpose: ambient lighting.

lighting-in-your-restaurant- Antique-style light bulbs, usually hanging by themselves. With their clear glass envelopes, they are very attractive and emit a flattering warm light. Currently very popular and match perfectly vintage / industrial restaurants.
Purpose: task and ambient lighting.

lighting-in-your-restaurant- Track lighting, multiple fixtures attached on ceiling or beams. Ideal to create focal points.
Purpose: task and accent lighting.

lighting-in-your-restaurant- Rope & string lights, reminding your customers of holidays. They look gorgeous but doesn’t provide much light.
Purpose: ambient lighting.

So you see, there are countless lighting options for you to choose from and play with.

Unless you run a dark restaurant where customers eat in a pitch-dark room, you do need to worry about lighting. Get creative, and remember, your ultimate goal is to create a welcoming environment and invite your customer to return.