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How Lighting Can Affect the Atmosphere of a Restaurant

Lighting, as they say in the movies, is everything. The right lighting can make you look and feel great, boosting confidence. Bad lighting brings all your blemishes and imperfections to the fore and is a guaranteed route to dented self-esteem. This is why venues like restaurants and hotels place such great emphasis on the right kind of lighting.

With this in mind, let’s go over how important lighting is in creating an atmosphere in a restaurant.


Photo by Patrick Tomasso / Unsplash

First Impressions

The first thing a diner will notice – before the décor, before the furniture and before how good the food looks – is lighting. This is a fundamentally human trait. We’re designed to perceive many shades and tones of light, way back to our days hiding in forests and trying to avoid being eaten. We’re innate experts at assessing lighting.

Harsh overhead lighting is sure-fire way to make a restaurant look and feel uninviting. A guest wants to see relaxed, low-key lighting that feels welcoming. They don’t want to sit at their table and feel they’re about to interrogated.

In terms of a first impression, the right lighting is key.

people in front of cafe desk
Photo by Dogancan Ozturan / Unsplash

Multiple Light Sources

The best way to develop a relaxing, inviting lighting scheme is to use different sources of light. The bar and serving areas should be individually lit, with enough light so everyone can see what they’re doing, but not so much that these areas become blazing beacons of illumination.

Up and down-facing wall lights are another avenue to explore. They provide a localised light source that, when next to tables, create a feeling of intimacy. Team this with candles on tables, and you’ve got a cosy, warm dining atmosphere.


Photo by Jason Leung / Unsplash

Break Up the Space

Restaurants, because they like as many customers as possible, are big spaces. This means you can use lighting to delineate different areas of the restaurant, so it doesn’t feel like one big, cavernous space. Think along the lines of brighter lighting for waiting areas where visitors will have to sit and peruse the menu, and darker lighting for more personal spaces.

Lighting different areas of a restaurant with their own lighting scheme is an easy and effective way to mark out the mood you want.

The Right Lighting has Real Results

The goal of any restaurant is to craft a welcoming, enjoyable atmosphere so customers stay as long as possible and want to return. If the lighting is right, diners will stay for longer, ordering more food and more drinks. They’re enjoying themselves and love the feel of the place, so why wouldn’t they?

This is why lighting is so important. Get it right and visitors will love you for it, get it wrong and they’ll feel self-conscious and unconnected.

Created by Gary Baker on 9th August, 2018

Author

Gary Baker

Gary Baker

BLT Direct