Restaurant Design Trends: Forecast for 2020

In conclusion to 2019, it’s never too soon or too late to look ahead at the coming year of 2020 which is thought to be a major year of new trends in commercial grade furniture, restaurant design and the food service industry. If you are looking to open a new restaurant or renovate your existing venue, this coming year has many opportunities to help you stay on top of the evolving consumer trends and ahead of competition. Although trends serve a great source of inspiration, you don’t have to follow all of them to a tee. Instead, you can just use them to enhance your space to make it more contemporary and inviting. Don’t wait for the ball to drop on Times Square at midnight. You can get a head start now.

Aside from serving meals, restaurants have played host to multiple major life events. From the simplest dinners to the grandest engagement parties, people hold celebrations at restaurants. This is what makes restaurant trends foremost in the food service industry. Besides providing food and drinks, restaurants play a crucial role in people’s lives. They essentially help fulfill a basic human need for connection and shaping relationships with others. Sharing food has defined the human race. It forms the bedrock of relationships everywhere. This is the reason why restaurants have and will continue to play a critical role in society. Especially with more people dining outside their homes, many yearn for the social experience of dining. Most food industry leaders, chain owners and independent operators are constantly looking for solutions and perhaps a bit of inspiration in customer relationship building with more efficient service, a welcoming décor with the right color palette and comfortable restaurant furniture.

Aesthetic Appeal of Neutral Shades

Though persistently trending, neutral shades will continue to remain in vogue. This color palette shouldn’t be seen as boring and dull. Nor should neutral color schemes be underestimated. On the contrary, they bring a lot of color and the latter seems to be taking precedence among commercial interior designers and restaurant owners. Neutral shades are white with warm or cool undertones that highlight walls and restaurant furniture items. They are also incorporated in light fixtures and other furniture ensemble. We are currently seeing the re-emergence of these shades in various interior restaurant designs.


Black, white, beige, brown and grey are voted to be excellent choices of colors to incorporate into a restaurant’s décor which we can only expect to see more of. When used as an accent, black and dark brown denote sophistication thus making them ideal for a fine dining setting. White, however, represents cleanliness and uniformity. When paired with a bright accent hue, it is perfect for a quick food service establishment. Beige and grey are recommended for creating a warm dining atmosphere that allows food and service to stand out.

Bold Contemporary Elements and a Retro Flair

Commercial grade furniture, especially used in restaurants, has two distinctive features: practicality and comfort. In a restaurant’s interior design, the furniture comes in direct physical contact with customers. It reflects the concept of “people-orientation” anywhere and everywhere. Another feature is its decorative nature. Restaurant furniture is the principle essence that mirrors the interior affects and ambiance. The art and style of furniture symbolizes the kind of furnishing that is used as a space decoration and meets the aesthetic expectations of people in an indoor dining environment, making them feel more comfortable and mentally inspired. Albeit the accelerated modernization and urbanization in a restaurant/commercial design, there is still some intrinsic connection between past and current trends that convey new information of the times.


People’s aesthetic concepts and preference for restaurant furniture are drawing closer to retro-modern. They are expressing their preference through using raw metal-wood combining elements that give their interior a warehouse look and industrial restaurant furniture. People are drawn to the distressed look on these furniture items that are reminiscent of the Industrial revolution. This furniture style is mostly constructed of fully welded gauge metal and solid wood in dark or natural tones. What fascinates them the most about industrial restaurant furniture is the sleek, elegant and noble shape with delicate yet sophisticated carving championed with a special emphasis on practicality, versatility, comfort and style. Nostalgia with a contemporary spin will always remain in style.

Upholstery and Other Materials

Spaces can look flat, boring and uninviting – the very last thing you need with your restaurant business and customer base to think about. Though the bare raw look on industrial furniture is in high demand, some look for a more padded option to provide ultimate comfort. Small channel or button tuft stitching seen in several restaurant booths and upholstered dining chairs, often presented in subtle shades, create elevated quality and breath an air of sophistication and cozy luxury. This can be an arm chair or a fully padded and upholstered chair, or just focusing on the cushioned seat. Soft furnishings such as curtains or blinds can be included as well.


Though fabric and vinyl are commonly used materials, suede, webbed upholstery, leather, and velvet are coming into play very quickly. You may want to consider these materials when selecting your restaurant furniture. Though natural materials aren’t necessarily a new concept, they will continue to impress in the coming year. Substantiality has been a hot-topic and many restaurants are increasing engaging in eco-friendly business practices. Materials such as recycled bamboo, steel and plastic will become more apparent in a restaurant furniture design.


An eclectic mix of metal based commercial furniture will make headway and be seen all over in the world of commercial/restaurant interior design in 2020. Designers historically have stuck to one type of metal in one space. However, the mixed-metal trend has yet to develop. Think of copper, brass, silver and gold. Make sure to only use 3 types of metal in one area as the overall look of a furniture piece can be overwhelming and chaotic otherwise. For instance, silver and brown toned metals work nicely together.

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