Restaurant Color Psychology: How Colors Influence Customers

Believe it or not, the colors you use to design your restaurant with have a major impact on your customer’s dining experience. Restaurant color schemes can subconsciously affect the patron’s appetite but overall greatly influence their behavior and emotion. Colors can leave an impression among patrons which either tells them to place their orders and leave asap or hang around for a relaxing and enjoyable dining experience which your venue has to offer. Consumers tend to judge a dining establishment based on food, service, and price. However, the more effective the restaurant color design is in terms of creating an image and ambiance to arouse customer’s appetite, the greater success you will witness in your business.

What is (Restaurant) Color Psychology?

Back in 1666, Sir Isaac Newton discovered that pure white light separates into all visible colors when it passes through a prism. He also learned that each color is made up of a single wave length and therefore cannot be further separated into other colors. Additional experiments prove that other colors can be formed when light is pooled. For example, red light combined with yellow light results an orange light. There are other colors that cancel each other out when mixed together such as green and magenta, resulting in white light.

The concept of color psychology has a heavy impact in our lives. Feelings about color are often personal and even rooted in our own experience and culture. Color psychology is the science that explains the connection we make with colors and human psychology. Certain colors can affect people’s moods. In regards to restaurant color psychology, some colors can affect the way people perceive the way you operate your business whereas other colors can help you sell more food. For instance, a pastel color scheme or incorporating light hues into your restaurant color ideas tend to recede, giving your venue an illusion of a large space. Dark and warm colors have the opposite effect, making the space feel smaller and more intimate.

Intensity of Restaurant Color Schemes

Red is known to stimulate and entice and symbolizes passion and energy. When we see red, neurons fire up in the hypothalamus part of our brains, thus giving us an energy boost and enhancing our appetites. Red also heightens our nerve impulses and increases our heart rates. For that reason, red is one of the most commonly used colors in the food industry. When you look at many food corporations or fast food chains, you will notice that the majority of them use red in their logo or brand essence. When you simultaneously think of red and food, you may make an association of meat, strawberries, tomatoes, or even candy.


For coffee house, seafood restaurant, and bar design ideas, blue or purple are strong preferences for restaurant interior colors. These colors are thought to present security and trust. They also suggest peace, serenity, sadness, and water. Blue can visually expand a room and have a calming affect though it does not compliment most foods. Purple is associated to eggplant, red onions, and purple cabbage – not very popular foods. In fact, studies show that people subconsciously connect blue and/or purple to toxins and therefore can decrease their appetites. Subsequently, these hues may not be the best colors for restaurant walls, let alone for your layout design and should be avoided.


Certain shades of yellow have a similar psychological affect as orange on people, making them happy and energetic. While those colors are vibrant and exciting, some people might find them to be too blinding. They are not an ideal choice if you are trying to create a relaxing environment for your guests at your venue. On the other hand, they might find earthy colors like green and brown to be soothing. They can help your guests feel comfortable at your location. Green is commonly associated with nature. If you run a health food business, green is the perfect choice. Brown can give your patrons a sense of stability and support. It can even convince them to visit your restaurant more frequently. This color is recommended for sites with an industrial interior design. But in some cases, brown can remind them of burnt or overdone food.

How Colors in Furniture Mirror Restaurant Image

You can use colors in your commercial furniture to project the sought-after restaurant image for your upscale chic bistro, family style restaurant or a fast food establishment. Bold, primary colors for restaurant booths in either red, yellow, orange, purple or green with bright lighting are appropriate for casual dining as they encourage quick turnovers. Taverns like to use muted, subtle colors for their restaurant bar stools that are not too bright to give diners the impression of a restful atmosphere which allows them to socialize over a glass of beer.


Colors in both the restaurant interior design and furniture can evoke a theme. Retro style diners feel that red, white, and black convey their style the best. Pastel colors can give your restaurant a Post-Modernism impression. They can also make your dining space seem bigger and often have a peaceful effect. Chrome, especially in restaurant furniture, suggests a combination of a modern style, unique style and nostalgia from the 1950's.

Showing Your True Colors

The state of a color in design and furniture alike is something to keep in mind for your restaurant layout. A specific color palette will influence your customers and generate a reaction from them. Selecting the right color is essential for attracting the clientele you want and for eliciting the right response from them. Colors can determine their dining experience. Brand recognition is established through color. As a restaurateur, gaining returning patrons, especially those who enjoy brand recognition, should be your objective. Colors can also be very subjective so doing some thorough research before deciding on a color scheme for your restaurant is advisable. You may want to consider certain types of décor that are presently trending if you operate a modern establishment. Conclusively, the color scheme you select should coordinate with the motif, but above all remain true to your purpose. By doing so, you are setting a mood that should translate into customer satisfaction which is ultimately good for business.

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