When eating out, a good review isn’t solely down to the food; a restaurant’s interior design plays an important role in the whole experience. Knowing how to create an environment that complements the menu and space’s interior architecture is no simple feat. That’s why high-end luxury restaurants sometimes need design inspiration.
From defining restaurant furniture to choosing a colour palette and lighting plan, we share our advice for restaurant design inspirations along with insightful commentary by David Collins Studio.
Explore the art of restaurant decoration, distilled down to seven core design inspirations with illustrative case studies straight from David Collins Studio’s portfolio of commercial projects.
CHOOSE A STRIKING COLOUR PALETTE
As with domestic projects, high up on the subject list for design inspirations is that of the colour scheme.
Colour in a restaurant can also become a huge talking point. In larger establishments, it acts as a tool to define distinct areas. David Collins Studio used colour as a trademark in numerous high-end projects, such as the Blue Bar at The Berkeley or the heather cashmere walls in The American Bar at Gleneagles. The colour becomes an icon for the restaurant in question.
Remember, also, with colour decisions to reflect on how they sit together in daylight and how they evolve when night falls and they rely on candle and lamp light for luminosity.
MASTER A FUNCTIONAL LAYOUT
A restaurant’s floor plan forms an immediate impression of ambience. Keep tables spread out so that each feels secluded, and the guest experience will be an intimate one.
Tables packed tightly together, on the other hand, is a statement of conviviality and liveliness. Determining restaurant layout requires a decision on what atmosphere is hoped to be established.
There’s a purely functional aspect to the restaurant’s room plan too though. David Collins Studio always stresses the importance of a clear operational layout for staff and patrons to move freely. The traffic should flow seamlessly. Bottlenecks are immediately apparent and cause an awkward distraction that guests will pick up on.
A division between the bar and restaurant area is another question to be answered on the subject of the layout. This will affect the feeling of formality or informality across the whole space.
SPECIFY HIGH-GRADE CONTRACT FURNITURE
When a luxury restaurant approaches its furniture design choices as objects of function and nothing else, the entire experience becomes devalued. The importance of carefully selected restaurant chairs, tables and accent pieces is not to be underestimated.
In all of its projects, David Collins Studio features bespoke items of furniture that resonate with the chef’s ethos and in turn, the restaurant’s atmosphere. For Tom Kerridge’s Bar and Grill at Corinthia London, the restaurant’s bar design features club-style and highly comfortable bar stools. This style is continued through to the restaurant with its deep, Chesterfield-inspired banquettes in cherry red leather. Such design inspirations reinforce the menu’s message of classic British cuisine that marries comfort with unwavering quality.
The Karoo Bar Chair by Brabbu is our suggestion for this design inspiration!
SELECT SHOW-STOPPING LIGHTING
Arguably one of the most crucial aspects of restaurant design, lighting ideas must be respectful of the fine line between necessary, task-style beams and ambient illumination.
David Collins Studio also acknowledges the effect that lighting has on each guest, considering what is the most flattering light at every angle. In the Harrods Dining Hall, they focus the lighting on the plate to showcase the food, with soft, low-level lighting for the diners to bask in.
Inspired by the sconces used in the David Collins Studio interiors, we suggest the Metamorphosis Sconces.
CURATE A UNIQUE DECOR COLLECTION
As David Collins Studio puts it: “If there’s exquisite detail in the food, then there should be exquisite detail in the way the room is put together.”
Remember too that in the social media-centric world that we live in, carving out areas of appealing vignettes, complete with trinket boxes, decorative bowls and impressive floral arrangements, means your restaurant’s design is all the more likely to become a must-visit and must-photograph location.
DISPLAY PERSONALITY-FULL ARTWORK
By extension of decor and accessories, displaying expertly curated arts and artefacts is a great source of design inspiration. They serve as points of interest, they reinforce or subvert the overall interior design direction and they add warmth and texture to the space.
DON’T NEGLECT THE RESTAURANT’S BATHROOM DESIGN
It’s not uncommon to hear creative types and interiors aficionados claim that to know the true dedication to design of a restaurant, you must check out the bathroom. This is where the same level of attention to detail seen in the main restaurant either flails or flourishes.
David Collins Studio comments: “The combination and contrast of materiality are so interesting in bathrooms. Marble and stone give a luxurious finish and contrast beautifully with timber, which can add warmth. Mirrored glass, brass and nickel all give a reflection and a sense of luminosity.”
Lighting, too, is a fundamental design inspiration in this area of the restaurant, otherwise undoing all of the hard work in setting the perfect level of ambience during dining.
All ambience images courtesy of David Collins Studio
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