Restaurant Design for Small Spaces: Innovative Solutions to Maximise Your Dining Area

Building a successful business means designing within your means and finding ways of maximising what’s available to you. In this case, we’re looking at restaurants which are more compact in terms of design and floor plan – with tips on how to cleverly maximise the way you use your space to maximise diner numbers, enhance the experience of every guest, and ultimately maximise profits.

To cut a long story short, any space can be transformed into a functional and incredibly successful restaurant. To do so, you simply need to identify the space you have available and think outside the box for ways to bring that space to life.

The importance of measuring your space

This blog post is mainly concerned with maximising the dining area of a compact restaurant, but in order to get that far you first need to factor in every functional element of your business. That means knowing how much space you have in the kitchen, for your bathrooms, across the navigation from entrance to restaurant floor, and for storage behind the scenes.

Restaurant kitchens need not be massive, commercial spaces. In fact, the amount of space required in the kitchen will depend on the cuisine you serve (i.e., what equipment you really need) and the number of diners you can serve at any one time. So, a compact restaurant dining space equals a smaller kitchen, as you simply won’t be preparing more than a few dishes at any one time.

Once you know what space you have available to play with, it’s important to plan a layout on paper – noting important details like the placement of electric outlets, gas connections, windows, doors, and more.

Once all the behind the scenes jobs are done, you can move onto the dining area itself – with these tips all designed to maximise the use of that space.

Solutions to maximise a compact restaurant dining area

Compact restaurant dining area

Use levels throughout the space

A very simple but incredibly effective tip for a small space, be it residential or commercial, is to use different levels to draw the eye upwards and to make the overall room feel bigger and more open. Shelves are a great way to achieve this as are drop lights, though in the case of a restaurant floor you can take this one step further with seating on different levels.

A few standard height tables, as well as some higher benches with stools, can be a good way of making the space feel larger and more open – not to mention, bench seating allows you to use the walls to greater effect by positioning seats around the outside of the room as well as within the centre.

Use light and neutral colours

Colour psychology is an important touchpoint when it comes to the interior design of any commercial space – but when bringing to life a particular small space it’s important not to overwhelm the area with bright or dark colours.

Light and neutral colours have become the norm throughout modern spaces and are an effective way of brightening and opening up the space as a whole – particularly when you integrate rustic and natural materials into the room as part of your furniture and design.

Add mirrors to the walls

When it comes to innovative ways to make your dining area seem bigger, it doesn’t get much more effective than a few added mirrors. Not only do mirrors reflect the space back at diners, instantly making it look and feel bigger, but they also reflect any and all light sources so that it feels brighter.

And while we’re on the topic of light…

Make sure there is plenty of light

We often say that dim and mood lighting makes a restaurant feel more intimate – so it follows that if you want the space to feel brighter and more open, you need to inject plenty of light sources. Natural light is the best form of lighting in the day and can be supplemented with ceiling lights, drop lights, individual table lights, and candles as preferred.

Do you really need lots of space to make a restaurant work?

If your restaurant floor is on the smaller side, it’s important to focus on building a functional workspace and kitchen which integrates everything you need, and then work from there – considering navigation for diners and staff and using levels and height across the restaurant floor to make the space feel brighter and more open.

If you’re struggling for ideas and want to build a practical and successful restaurant but aren’t sure where to start when it comes to restaurant design, the Carroll Design team can help.

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