How to Design the Renovation of a Restaurant


While restaurants are ultimately judged by their food, the space and decor makes a big impression on customers, too. Designing the renovation of a restaurant may seem like a daunting task since it's a much larger scale than a home. But by planning, you can design a space that is both inviting and chic.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil and paper
  • Contract with architect or designer
  • Assets
  • New furniture and finishes
  • Set your budget, scope and schedule. Every renovation project should begin with a fixed budget and you should establish the parameters of the project. For a restaurant renovation, that can range from a full building renovation, including the exterior, or it may simply involve an interior renovation. Decide whether you are renovating both the front and the back of house. New kitchen equipment can greatly increase the price, whereas a cosmetic upgrade of the dining room may be minimal. Carefully plan out your schedule. Determine whether you can phase-in the renovation or if you need to shut down for a period of time. Figure the financial loss into your renovation budget.

  • Consider hiring an architect or interior designer to help you prioritize your renovation and create construction documents. He or she will help you decide on a layout and choose finishing materials. Look for a designer whose portfolio includes several previous restaurant renovation projects. Also consider hiring a restaurant design consultant that has specific expertise in kitchen design and understands the psychology of the typical customer.

  • Settle on a material palette. The types of materials you choose for your restaurant renovation should be durable and easily washable as well as appropriate for the style of restaurant. Select comfortable and attractive booths or chairs and tables, and choose a floor finish that can stand up to spills. A restaurant's material palette can affect your customers' appetites as well as the length of their dining experience.

  • Use lighting to set the mood. If you want your restaurant to feel cozy, install fixtures that radiate warm, soft light. Chandeliers and wall sconces create a cozy feel, while track and recessed lighting feels more modern. Be sure that your customers can see well enough to read the menu, but don't over-light the space. No one looks good in harsh fluorescent lighting.

Tips & Warnings

  • Think twice about following trends. They come and go in the restaurant world, so be sure your renovation will look good for years to come.
  • Talk to your customers about what would make your restaurant space more appealing.
  • Study the competition. Figure out what works and what does not.
  • Research the local market, and use your restaurant's design as an opportunity to fill a need that's lacking in your town.

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  • Photo Credit at the restaurant image by Dmitry Nikolaev from
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