8 Commercial Interior Design Tips to Transform Your Restaurant/Cafe on a Small Budget: The Complete Buying Guide (You Will Love Tips #3)

By | May 15, 2019
Read Time4 Minutes, 9 Seconds


Eating out is all about the experience. The customer pays accordingly depending on the quality of food, the size, and location of the place, the reviews and it’s popularity. Profit margins are tight and constantly being squeezed, whether that’s due to competition, inflation, fashion or the countless other factors. For some, the decision to invest in refurbishment and employ a designer is a natural process… space is tired and in need of a re-think. For others, that decision is a whole lot harder and it’s primarily down to a lack of a budget.

With many design projects, if the wrong people are involved then it can be very costly, with targets, budgets and time frames sliding ever further away. But, done correctly from the outset, and with a good design and build team, the process can be managed to meet any budget and any time frame. Listed in this article are our top 8 interior design tips on how to transform your restaurant or cafe on a limited budget…..

1. Employ a fully qualified designer. Why? Well, they could actually save you money in the end. They will take a professional objective approach to your space as they have no emotional connections with it. They can also bring a lot of good contacts to the job, good tradespeople, suppliers, joiners, and fitters. Think about it, they won’t recommend anyone that they haven’t worked within the past as it’s their reputation on the line as well!

V0038344 Chinese interior design at the 1904 World’s Fair, St. Louis
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
The 1904 World’s Fair, St. Louis, Missouri: the Chinese pavilion: decorative furniture, lamps and other interior decorations
1904 1904 World’s Fair (or Louisiana Purchase Exposition), St. Louis.
Published: –
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

2. Flooring. If it’s a timber floor simply send it back and re-stain. It will look as good as new. If you have carpet, replace it with a more practical timber effect vinyl flooring. These are very cost-effective after having fallen in price over the last few years, good for acoustics, easily maintained, hygienic and can be fitted very quickly.

3. Re-clad the joinery items. If you’re not wanting to re-space plan the entire restaurant then you will have to make do with the location of certain things ie. the servery counter, the bar, waiter/press stations. If you think they need replacing have a good look, as you would be surprised as to how you can transform these items relatively easily. Phone a joiner to come down to cost the replacement of the timber top. Clad the front in tiles. Insert a lighting strip under the counters leading edge.

Peaceful, homely interior scene with classic designer recliner, modern lamp and sound system.

4. Bespoke or ‘off the shelf’ lighting pendants. Adding pendant lighting is such a cheap and striking tip to transform the space. Lighting can drastically change the mood of the space between day and night and is key to the success of a space.

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5. New paint scheme. Yes, it’s the most obvious and cheapest of the bunch, but if done well it really does work. If, however, which is very often the case, it goes wrong it isn’t so good. If in doubt go neutral, bright colors in a dining environment are not conducive to a relaxed environment.

Interior Living Room Room Sofa Settee Lounge

6. Design feature. If you have a large wall or an area that most people will see, attempt to make this a design feature. Whether it’s a full-scale graphic, cladding, a lighting feature or even a collection of pictures, this is a really good cost-effective solution that really will transform your space.

Home Modern Interior Design Living Room Furniture

7. Space plan. This one is crucial. If the space isn’t working, simply move the furniture around. Make the flow of people better. Insert timber screens to create privacy and zone areas. Ensure there is adequate space between tables. Don’t put people next to the door. Have provision for buggies and a baby changing area. Try to zone the space into different groups of people (if your offering suggests this). For example, have an area of 2 seaters for couples, 4 seaters for families and make the space flexible for parties and groups.

Interior Apartment Furniture Room Living Room

8. New signage. You won’t attract the customer into your restaurant if the exterior is looking dated. Invest in a modern-looking fascia, with swing signs, A-boards and make sure it’s illuminated so customers can see it when it’s dark! You’d be surprised at the number of under illuminated fascias – remember, if they won ‘t see you they won’t come in!


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