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How to Furnish the Restaurant of Your Dreams

For many business owners in the restaurant industry, the thrill of finding the ideal location or cultivating a brand-new menu brings excitement and joy. If you are building your dream eatery, restaurant interior design ideas can be more difficult for you to come by. As you reach the phase of construction where it's time to furnish your new establishment, you may need a little help with restaurant interior design. The following 18 tips and tidbits can help you turn your vision of the perfect restaurant into a reality on opening day and for years to come.

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  1. Ideally, the restaurant furnishings you choose should balance both style and functionality.
  2. In today's foodservice industry, trending styles include all of the following:
    • Traditional
    • Modern
    • Mid-century modern
    • Contemporary
    • Industrial
  3. Traditional furniture can bring a classic feeling to your restaurant. As you shop for traditional restaurant furnishings, look for pieces with clean lines and deep natural hues. Traditional pieces often include the use of wood and bring a sturdy, Old-World appeal.
  4. Despite how it may sound, modern furniture doesn't necessarily refer to current trends. Instead, modern style draws inspiration from design elements of the 1900s to 1950s. Modern restaurant furniture is often thought of as a contrast to the more old-fashioned traditional style and is popular for creating dining areas with eye-catching patterns and unique flair.
  5. Mid-century modern pieces take cues from the styles and colors of the 1950s to 1980s. Mid-century chairs and tables often have thin, skewed legs as opposed to straight angles and lines. The look of these furnishings usually falls somewhere between old school and contemporary.
  6. Unlike furniture used in modern restaurant design, contemporary-style pieces don't take reference from a specific time period. Contemporary design is future-minded and tries to keep up with or get ahead of current trends. Bold prints, contrasting colors and funky shapes and patterns are all common elements in contemporary furnishings.
  7. Industrial furnishings create bold visual statements. Inspiration for industrial-style restaurant furniture may come from machinery, industry and unexpected materials. Metal, wire, rivets and raw wood are all common elements of this design category. Industrial restaurant design is often seen in open-space floor plans with lots of natural light, open ceilings and exposed pipes.
  8. When calculating how many tables and chairs are needed, the general rule for spacing recommends leaving at least 24" between table corners to allow adequate space for dining as well as walking by.
  9. While maximizing the amount of furniture you have in the space, be sure to avoid overcrowding the dining area. Some restaurant decor ideas may suggest filling your restaurant with seating for full capacity dining to allow for booming business. However, if guests feel lost in the crowd, the dining area is too loud, or the seating is too close together, your guests may become uncomfortable or not have enough room to eat their meal.
  10. As you choose the places for your guests to sit at, remember that tables that seat fewer people can be moved and pieced together to create the ideal dining space for groups of any size. Fit a large party comfortably, or split the tables apart to accommodate smaller groups at once. Use bar-height tables along walls with windows or wherever a full table would not fit. Bar stools work great for more casual environments where guests seat themselves or wish to sit alone.
  11. Restaurant furniture should be easy to wipe down so you can maintain its cleanliness and visual appeal. Tables and chairs with small crevices and delicately carved grooves require higher maintenance. If not properly cleaned, furniture may start to fade, stain or break prematurely.
  12. When choosing an easy-to-clean seat, don't sacrifice comfort. If you prefer a chair with a cushion, consider getting a vinyl fabric that can be wiped clean with a wet cloth. If you prefer a different fabric, have it pre-treated with stain-resistant spray.
  13. Select sturdy pieces that will outlast the rigorous use of restaurant diners. Consider the typical diner who may visit your establishment. Chairs with thicker legs may be harder to accidentally knock over or displace.
  14. Keep noise control in mind. If you have a large dining space, high open ceilings, or hardwood floors, noise may be a problem you need to deal with right away. Upholstered seating can help absorb some of the noise and echo that occur in such a space. Add carpets or rugs to entryways to absorb sound.
  15. When trying to maximize small spaces, consider custom-built booths. By using seating designed with your layout in mind, any space can be made into a functional dining room setting.
  16. To create a feeling of privacy and intimacy, use booths as dividers between dine-in parties. Guests like to have conversations without feeling like the whole room is listening. Booths can be used to create spacing in restaurants with one large dining area.
  17. Whatever your restaurant design ideas, consider your typical dining audience, the atmosphere you wish to create, and how you plan to maintain your setup. Quality furnishings can be purchased in bulk to save money and create a cohesive flow throughout your space.
  18. The restaurant of your dreams should always include a well-thought-out design plan that takes into consideration the style and functionality of the furnishings.