Bright Ideas that will make your Restaurant Shine

When it comes to hospitality, first impressions are everlasting. Restaurant lighting design plays a very important role in the customer’s dining experience, unbeknownst to many business owners. Unfortunately, a lot of them are oblivious about how much of a difference the lighting can make in the ambiance they want to create for their patrons.

Turning a Blind Eye to the Problem

Imagine for a moment that you are on a romantic outing with your significant other at one of the most upscale and reputable restaurants in your neighborhood. The interior design is mind-blowing, the seating is very comfortable, and service is excellent. But the lighting, however, can dim the intimate atmosphere you are both trying to enjoy. Food, drinks and efficient service cannot make up for the ambiance that was ruined by poor lighting. With inappropriate restaurant lighting, the food changes color giving the dish an unpalatable appearance. Such conditions can figuratively (and literally) leave a bad taste in your mouth. There are even studies that prove that.


A recent survey showed that 72 percent of patrons have left the venue earlier than planned because of the discomfort caused by lights that were too bright or too dim. In contrast, guests have stayed longer at dining establishments with the right amount of lighting as it made them feel more welcomed and relaxed. Thus lighting for restaurants and other commercial venues is something managers should take seriously. Time is money and remaining in the dark can have devastating ramifications for your business.

Making Lighting Central to the Restaurant Design

Opening and operating your very own restaurant is an exciting way to earn a living and create a family business that can be passed down from generation to generation. There are many considerations to take into account and lighting is one of them. While the menu, staff, and food are important factors for the success of your dining establishment, ambiance and the environment will allow your guests to dine in comfort and style. Therefore it should behoove you to create an inviting atmosphere with proper ambient and efficient lighting that compliment your design.


For many restaurant owners, lighting is an afterthought shadowed by the seating layout. Conversely, there are a number of factors which are essential to lighting design that should be considered when opening up a venue such as location of electricity sockets and the restaurant layout. Let’s take tables, for example. The most effective way to highlight the tables is with restaurant ceiling lights or pendant lamps. If not installed properly directly above your tables, they may not receive a sufficient amount of light.

Illuminating the Mood with Right Lighting

When it comes to gastronomy, ensuring par excellent service to your customers is of vital importance. Quality lighting can help you achieve that. Lighting is primarily designed for the customer, not just to fit the architecture of your venue. As such, creating good lighting should be an integral aspect of your layout plans. Good lighting is attained through a combination of daylight and electric light. Daylight is naturally most convenient and comfortable. Electric light fixtures are easiest to control and can adapt to your business needs.


The efficiency and the color of the lights can also influence the customers’ emotions and moods. Colors are normally used to accentuate details of a design or the atmosphere. They can also be used to promote branding and entertainment. They should be synchronized with the motif and the environment as well. Taking that into consideration, you should be cautious in the choice of colors you as doing so molds the restaurant ambiance. Customers may not appreciate the circus-like feel at a high-end bistro. When applying color to your restaurant lighting, do so sparingly though.

Various Lighting Fixtures for Locations

The right lighting for your venue can illuminate the perfect ambiance for your customers. You would need different light fixtures and equipment to achieve that. The freezer, stock room, and kitchen require brighter lights. Pendant lights in the dinning room can set the mood for your patrons. There are lighting fixtures exclusively for bar areas, menu boards and signage. The entrance and the outdoor patio space has its own lighting too.


Depending on your hours of operation, the brightness level of the light varies by meal and dining establishment. For example, a lot of light is required when customers stop by in the morning for breakfast. They can read the newspaper while enjoying a cup of coffee at a cafe or bakery. If you run a fast food restaurant, a moderate amount of lighting is all that is needed to create a quick turnover of customers looking for lunch venues. During dinner hours, low intensity of light is recommended for creating a romantic setting.

How Lighting is defined by Usage and Space

One of the most common mistakes restaurant owners make with lighting and sometimes even with commercial grade furniture is selecting them according to the design and not their functionality. Just as much as having a high quality restaurant booth that allows customers to dine comfortably whilst meeting the rigorous demands in a high traffic location, your standards for lighting should be just as high. Success of your business is measured by the impressions and feelings of the customers for whom the space is designated to. Defining the purpose of the space and how it is being used are stepping stones towards generating good lighting for them. This also dictates the amount of light you need.


The next step is to select the fixtures and shapes that are best suited for your décor whether they are pendant lights, chandeliers, ceiling fans, wall lamps, track or utility lighting. Regardless of the fixture you use, lighting is an extremely important feature of your restaurant layout and design. From different types of lighting and their usage, there is a lot to be accounted for. Lighting can make all the difference whether you are trying to set the right mood for your tavern or need to make adjustments between breakfast, lunch, and dinner services at your restaurant.

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