Combining Functionality and Aesthetics in Restaurant Design

Many restaurant guests and diners don’t just want great food, they expect a great experience as well.

The most successful restaurants in the industry are designed to support an efficient and smooth service, while delivering innovative and memorable experiences to guests through a range of design elements and components. What this means is that a restaurant interior design project should deliver a balance between functionality and aesthetic design.

In this article, we’re exploring some of the key restaurant design elements that should be considered, in order to achieve a balance between function and design – covering layout and the floor plan, lighting, furniture, acoustics, and how both your branding and innovative features contribute towards the finish of your space.

Why function and aesthetics are both so important in the restaurant industry

Contrary to popular belief, innovative design features do not have to become obstacles to the functional use of a space – nor does a highly practical and efficient space have to be boring.

In order to bridge the two and create a restaurant which flows seamlessly while delivering an exceptional experience to guests, you need to know and understand what you’re planning from the off. This means creating a fully drawn out plan for the layout and design of the restaurant before you start any practical work on the building or site.

Without further ado, here are some things to consider in order to successfully combine functionality and aesthetics.

Layout and the floor plan

The layout and floor plan a restaurant doesn’t just encompass the dining space but also those backstage areas that customers don’t see. While the kitchen, bathrooms, and pantry or store room may seem like obvious additions that don’t require much in the way of design consideration, knowing where they are and how well optimised they are to facilitate efficient work can make or break your restaurant business.

In terms of the dining space itself, it’s important to consider the very first touchpoint that guests come across, and work through the details which connect layout to capacity and the creation of open and more private dining areas.

Lighting Design

Restaurant lighting needs to be functional enough for team members and guests to see what they’re doing, while creating the mood that you want to achieve. Effective lighting can instantly achieve a good ambience, with accent lighting cast over individual tables adding to the privacy of diners.

Furniture and fabrics

Restaurant furniture

By this we mean all of the soft furnishings and materials which are integrated into the design of the restaurant, and which ensure that it remains a functional and comfortable setting that delivers on that refined and stylish experience.

When selecting furniture and other materials such as flooring and the different surfaces, pay attention to cleaning and maintenance needs, and take care to connect both guest comfort and the way that specific materials and finishes play into your design plan.


An often underrated part of the design process, the acoustics of a restautant can completely transform the way a space is experienced – with noise reduction techniques often used in restaurants to minimise the echo and to ensure that guests feel an element of privacy when dining.

To further facilitate the creation of a pleasant and private space, consider design elements which give you more control over the sound – for example water features and music.

Branding and innovative features

This final stage is where it all comes together, uniting the practicalities of your design with those details and refined features which connect it with your brand and what you’re hoping to achieve.

Once you’ve got the canvas prepped and ready with effective acoustics and a functional but comfortable layout, it’s time to develop that memorable setting that will stick in peoples minds and keep them coming back for more.

As this article is focussed on the balance of functional and aesthetic design touch points, it’s important that we mention the need for informational signs as well as those which play into your overall theme. Emergency signage and directions need to be accessible and easy to spot, while supporting the experience that you are looking to deliver.

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