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Effective small restaurant design ideas


Just because you don’t have a whole lot of space, doesn’t mean you can’t have a charming restaurant! In fact, sometimes little space can actually work in your favor to get that cozy feel so many people are looking for so they can just kick back and relax after a long day.

The right small restaurant design doesn’t have to cost a whole lot, either – much like with an unforgettable gift, it’s often the thought that counts most of all. Let’s take a look at some of these small restaurant decor ideas and get inspired!

Simple restaurant decoration ideas

Let’s start with square one. What are some basic things you could do to transform your limited eatery space and give it an inviting, relaxed atmosphere? Well, you could:

Get cute furniture cheap

The word ‘cute’ can mean different things to different people, but that’s not the point, as there are no right and wrong answers to what is cute. The idea is to get furniture that conveys a certain atmosphere. Wooden pallet boxes, for example, are all the rage right now when it comes to furniture, and they are perfect for the small eatery design idea for a burger joint, for example. Pallet furniture is also relatively cheap and famously durable.

Pallets don’t suit your concept? What about assorted second-hand furniture? No, we don’t necessarily mean pricey antiques, but rather the kinds of seemingly random chairs, coffee tables, and perhaps bookshelves or other assorted pieces of furniture you could have seen at a grandparent’s house when you were a child. The best part about this idea is all of these pieces of furniture don’t need to match, so you can pick up a new chair or table when you see something adorable without worrying it will ruin the feel. The result will be a quirky mix-and-match that will be unique to your establishment, won’t break the bank, and will be kind to the environment, to boot!

Use that wall space!

If your restaurant is a small one, you need to pay special attention to how you utilize every square inch of it, including the walls. There are different ways of doing this, but at the end of the day, it’s about utilizing that potential!

You might want to transform an entire wall into a blackboard where you write and sketch out your menu – this will help you save money on printing new menus every couple of weeks, to boot.

You could also go with mirrors. Putting one large – or many smaller – mirror on one wall is definitely an interesting small r restaurant design concept. Firstly, it creates the optical illusion of more space; and secondly, it creates a whole bunch of new angles to see the world from.

You could also have a local artist come in and produce a unique piece of wall art for you. And who knows? What started as a decoration may well evolve into a selfie Mecca of sorts, where people come just to take a snap of that work of art you have on permanent exhibition. Not to mention a large, extravagant piece of art on one wall means the rest of your decor can be simple, even minimalistic, so as not to overwhelm your guests’ senses – and this will save money, too.

Go green

Plants have a way of relaxing people – don’t ask us why, that’s just science! More and more restaurants these days are opting to use plants as decor, for the simple reason that they’re relatively cheap, every one is unique, and most require just a little water and sunlight to flourish.

Have an open kitchen right in the middle

This has got to be the ultimate way to save space! Not to mention the endless entertainment it will provide your guests.

Of course, this idea is not suitable for fast food restaurants – nobody wants to watch the deep fat fryer over and over and over again. But if the dishes you serve are in themselves little works of art, why not let your guests watch them being created? If there’s one thing people love, it’s a peak behind the curtain!

Decorate with your local suppliers

Do you make a point of souring your products locally, are you proud of the farms, vineyards and breweries you cooperate with? Chances are they have some awesome photos of their properties you could blow up, frame and put up at your restaurant to drive home how important product quality and supporting local businesses is for you. This also helps your suppliers gain more recognition, so win-win!

Modern small restaurant design ideas

Now that we’ve talked about the basics, let’s say you wanted to take things up a notch and lend your restaurant a modern, progressive air. What could you do in such a small space? Well, you could:

Use table ordering apps

Not everyone is a people person, and for some, just the idea of having yet another conversation after a long day of meetings at work is exhausting. Not to mention 2020 ushering in a whole new era of remote social interactions! There are plenty of table ordering apps to choose from, such as Upmenu. While these apps are all slightly different, they have a couple of important things in common: they help restaurants organize their work better and reduce the number of no-shows, therefore saving money. Table ordering apps also help restaurateurs do something that is currently incredibly important: reduce the amount of face-to-face contact.

Let the light in

And by this we mean, have as many windows as possible, perhaps even an entire wall made of glass – or two! Nothing says modern like a well-lit interior filled with delicate wood furniture and perhaps some green here and there.

Go industrial

The raw appearance of cement or pipes and wires jotting out here and there used to mean that an interior was simply unfinished, but in the increasingly popular industrial style, that’s just the point. People seem to be tiring of the perfect, the shiny and the flawless these days, and raw, unfinished-looking interiors seem to be the antidote. When it comes to industrial interiors, slightly chipped is the point, uneven is the point, and imperfection is what gives things their uniqueness – so with that in mind, go where your imagination takes you!

Go black and white

No list of modern small restaurant ideas would be complete with the simultaneously old-school and modern idea to go black and white. Like salt and pepper, this color combination has not aged a day since its creation, heaven only knows when, and remains just as effective and elegant today as it has ever been.

The great thing about a black and white restaurant decor concept is that once you commit to it, you will never have to make another color decision ever again – as long as you stick to those two, you’re good.

Small restaurant decor can be a challenge, but there are plenty of ways to make the smallest of spaces interesting and unique. Do you have any tried and interior ideas of your own? Let us know!

Monika Kamińska

Monika Kamińska

Marketing and communication enthusiast with 20+ years of experience, a psychologist by education.

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