When people go to a restaurant, they are there to enjoy a great meal. However, while the meal is the main focus, there are many other factors that go into creating an unforgettable dining experience.
In order to create an environment that will keep customers coming back, restaurants need to cultivate an ambiance. One of the easiest ways to create or change ambiance is by introducing different lighting design trends. That’s why we’re taking a look at the top restaurant lighting design trends for this year.
Whether you are searching for ideas to refresh the design of a dining location or are creating a completely new environment from scratch—we can help you get started! We’re going over the latest trends from lighting control retailers including automation options and how to create lighting accents using unique fixtures. Let’s get started!
Lighting Control Systems to Create Unique Ambiance
By implementing lighting control systems, restaurants are able to automatically change lighting depending on the occasion or time of day.
Spaces with lots of natural light benefit the most from adaptive lighting.
One of the most common ways that restaurants are improving their lighting is by introducing automatic lighting control systems. A lighting control system is a way that restaurant managers can control lights in a dining space without the need for human interference.
By introducing these systems, managers can create alternating lighting landscapes for different occasions and save money on lighting costs. Let’s take a look at an example to give you a better idea of how these lighting control systems work in a restaurant.
Predetermined Lighting Settings
For restaurants that serve more than one meal per day, a change in lighting is required over the course of the day. For example, if a restaurant is switching from lunch to dinner service or from dinner to bar service, there needs to be a change in lighting.
Instead of having a staff member manually adjust the lights during their shift, restaurant managers can pre-set different lighting landscapes. These landscapes then operate on automatic timers. So, when the dining room transitions from dinner to bar service around 9 PM or 10 PM, the lighting control will automatically adjust the lights to create a more intimate feel.
Using these control systems, restaurants can even automate flashing the overhead lights to signify “last call.”
In addition to using pre-set lighting landscapes, restaurant managers can also take advantage of the automation capabilities that come with sensors. Light sensors are able to sense the amount of natural light coming from the outdoors.
These sensors, when connected to the control system, are able to automatically adjust the light throughout the restaurant. By adjusting the light automatically, the sensors ensure that no part of the restaurant is ever overlit or underlit. This is more important than just offering ambiance.
Properly lighting a restaurant space is essential for guests to read your menu, find the restroom, and navigate the area without tripping or wandering into employee-only spaces.
As natural light adjusts throughout the day, the sensors will be able to make sure the indoor lighting stays at the perfect brightness level. When your indoor lighting is always at the right level, managers and employees no longer have to worry about manually adjusting different light switches.
As an additional perk, these automation capabilities also help restaurants save money on lighting costs. Since there is no need for human interference with the lighting, there is no space for accidentally wasted energy.
Use Lighting Fixtures to Add Interest in Your Dining Room
Pendant lights are perfect for creating a modern, yet comfortable environment for your guests.
An example of suspended pendant lighting used above tables and booths.
In recent years, modern industrialism has become the predominant style for restaurant design. This means copper fixtures, exposed brick, and—of course—industrial lighting fixtures to match. One of the easiest ways to create an industrial vibe in your dining area is by choosing accent pendant lights.
Pendant lights are a type of lighting fixture that is suspended from the ceiling and have distinctly decorative fixtures that house the bulbs. They come in a wide variety of designs, so you can find a type of pendant light that will work well in your restaurant no matter the vibe you want.
There are, however, a few things that you need to consider before you start placing pendant lights around your dining area. The first thing you need to consider is height. If you have enough room, you can suspend pendant lights from the ceiling. The suspended pendant lights often look the best over a bar, over tables, or as part of a lighting display at the entrance.
If you are trying to place pendant lights in a space with lower ceilings, there are options to implement pendant lights on the side of a wall. Wall-mounted pendant lights retain the same design, but are suspended from a wall instead of a ceiling. These fixtures are perfect for installing along the perimeter of a restaurant.
You can even place your fixtures in a way that aligns with booths or other tables that are set against the wall. By using these pendant lights in different locations around the restaurant, you can add an industrial-chic look to the whole dining area.
Upgrade Your Outdoor Lighting
Create romantic and effective outdoor restaurant lighting using our tips.
An example of how street lamp-style lights are used for restaurants.
These days, outdoor dining is more popular than ever. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, more restaurants have opened up previously unused spaces to accommodate additional outdoor dining.
In order to maximize the appeal of outdoor dining spaces, restaurants should put careful thought into their lighting. If your outdoor dining area is visible from the sidewalk or the road, your lighting is not only for the people enjoying a meal—it is also a feature that can attract walk-in guests who are passing by.
The first thing you should consider when it comes to an outdoor lighting landscape is safety. In order to get to their table, guests will have to navigate your outdoor area. To make sure that the area is safe for all of your guests, all pathways and guest dining areas must be well lit.
If there are gaps in your lighting or if you have insufficient outdoor lighting, it could lead to guest confusion or some serious safety issues. A great way to accomplish safe and effective lighting is by implementing garden lights. These garden lights can either be installed into the walkways or placed beside walkways to illuminate a path.
Once you have your essential pathway lighting covered, it’s time to move on to outdoor accent lighting. One of the great things about outdoor lighting is that it can be accomplished at a relatively low cost. If you are operating a casual restaurant with an outdoor space, a few sets of string lights are often enough to create a romantic atmosphere.
For an upscale environment, you can try something a little bit more elaborate. For example, street lamp-style lights are perfect for a sophisticated outdoor setting. You can even combine the street lamp style lights and string lights! How you choose to light the outdoor area of a restaurant all depends on how you want the dining area to appear and how you want your guests to feel while they enjoy a meal.
Overall, it is important to remember that restaurant lighting is about safety first and design principles second. After all, it will be difficult for patrons to appreciate the lighting design when they can’t figure out where they’re going!
Once you’ve ensured that all areas of the restaurant are properly illuminated, you can move on to creating a unique atmosphere for your guests to enjoy.
Use the principles we’ve outlined to get started—then add a few design elements of your own to set your restaurant apart from the others. Remember, the right lighting design can completely elevate a restaurant space!