9 Top Tips For Lighting Your Restaurant Effectively

Top Tips For Lighting Your Restaurant

When it comes to wining and dining, and ensuring that your customers have nothing but an amazing experience each time they visit your fine establishment, it’s essential that you make sure the lighting in your restaurant just right… otherwise, you could find that people go elsewhere, even if your food is the very best around.

It’s all about balance - you don’t want the restaurant floor to be so dark that people can’t see what they’re eating but by the same token, you don’t want your place of business to be so bright that it’s almost clinical and people have to wear sunglasses to enjoy their meal.

So with that in mind, here are some top tips from us here at UK luxury lighting supplier Decolight to ensure that your lighting is nothing but perfect from the outset.

Be versatile

Don’t just think that one lighting system will be fine for your entire restaurant - you’d be wise to bring in various levels of lighting, depending on what each part of the site will be used for. Dining tables need to be lit so that people are able to see what’s on the menu, as well as each other, but you also want to create a sense of atmosphere, so diffusing the lights to a certain extent is wise.

The kitchen, meanwhile, should be brightly lit so your staff can work properly, with task lighting provided in the appropriate areas. Just take care that the lights don’t shine through to the restaurant, as this will have an impact on the overall dining experience.

Consider the time of day

Another key factor in restaurant lighting is the time of day and you’ll want to be able to change your lighting to suit your breakfast, lunch and supper diners. Bright lights are best for breakfast, while less intense lighting is advisable for evening meals.

Invest in LEDs

Energy efficiency is so important these days, with climate change and the impact we’re having on the planet in the news on a daily basis now. LED lightbulbs are incredibly efficient and long lasting, and while they may cost more than traditional bulbs their long shelf life means they won’t need to be replaced as quickly… so you’ll save yourself some money at the same time as saving the planet.

There’s also no warm-up period with LEDs - so you’ll switch the lights on and your restaurant will be properly lit immediately.

Use lampshades!

Glaring light is never comfortable on the eyes, but you can reduce this greatly by using lampshades where required. Diners certainly don’t want bright lights shining in their eyes and your staff members may find it hard to wait on tables if they’re constantly being hit with glare as they ferry food around.

Factor lighting in at the design stage

Lighting should never be an afterthought and you need to ensure that it’s central to the design of your restaurant, making it a priority at the very beginning of planning its design. Remember that you need to think about the layout of your venue, where you’re going to put plug sockets and so on when thinking about lighting design.

Layer your lighting

Another top tip for proper lighting is to layer it up, applying different layers. Ambient lighting is the main source of light in your restaurant, while task lighting should be applied in parts of the site where work needs to be done, from the kitchen to the till. And don’t forget about accent lighting - use this to draw attention to features you want people to notice.

Play around with colour

Lightbulbs come in all sorts of different colours and you can have an awful lot of fun experimenting and seeing what works for you and your restaurant. This is also the perfect opportunity to think about branding and tying your lighting choices in with this to really reinforce your restaurant concept.

Don’t forget about your restaurant exterior

The outside of your restaurant is your calling card. After all, passing trade simply won’t even consider coming through the front door if the outside of your establishment doesn’t look inviting, and lighting truly is a key part of this.

You can use outdoor lighting to draw attention to business signs, any architectural features of interest on the building itself and any menus you have outside.

Hit the latest trends

Always do your research to see what is proving to be particularly appealing for customers at the moment and try to tap into this if you can - as long as the trends suit your style and complement your brand identity.

The Design & Build Review recently blogged about the trends for restaurant design in 2019, which could well prove to be illuminating reading for you and your management team. While it doesn’t mention lighting specifically, it does focus on the importance of social media and specifically Instagram when it comes to eating out.

People love to take photos of their food and share them online, and if your lighting isn’t good enough, you’ll find your brand misses out on this all-important aspect of running a food business these days. Be wise and make it as easy as you can for people to take professional snaps so they can advertise your menus for you.

Check out Get Sling for even more restaurant design tips and advice.