Lighting contributes to the mood, tone, and atmosphere of a space. It can help enhance the expression of the space while complementing the room. It can entice a diner to stay longer, creating a sense of warmness or intimacy.
Of course, the layout and design of a room and the paint colour will help create an atmosphere. However, the type of light used and where it is placed to help us see is much more important.
Lighting design is an important aspect of interior design, and often people believe them to be the most important factor in restaurant interior design.
Types of Restaurant Lighting
There are three major types of restaurant lighting, each for a different purpose:
1. Ambient Lighting
This refers to the overall illumination of a room. It’s also responsible for setting the mood in the restaurant, as its name implies.
Low lighting provides an intimate, upscale atmosphere, especially in the bar and lounge sections, where customers are more likely to lean into each other.
Bright lighting, on the other hand, creates a more joyful and energetic atmosphere. This lighting is ideal for casual establishments, such as a pizza place.
2. Task lighting
This type of lighting helps customers and staff do activities such as reading the menu, seeing the table setting and food plainly, and cooking in the kitchen.
A salad bar or buffet station requires task lighting to highlight it in a low-light environment; this is often useful for illuminating pathways. It also aids in viewing reflections in toilet mirrors.
3. Accent Lighting
Accent lighting is decorative lights used to attract focus to certain locations and artefacts to create visual appeal. It is more decorative than functional. Accent lighting is often used to enhance paintings, sculptures, fountains, and bars.
How to Create Atmosphere and Perception with Restaurant Lighting?
Warm-coloured, low-intensity lighting can be used in an upscale restaurant throughout dinner hours. This provides a laid-back, intimate, and unwinded setting.
Instead of light flowing down straight from the walls, wall lighting should be used to build a friendly atmosphere. Distribute high-intensity lighting equally to render a room seem larger.
Colour can be used sparingly. Though lighting can help to enhance branding, too many colours can make the restaurant appear like a nightclub or circus.
The Effects of Restaurant Lighting on Diner’s Behaviour
There are significant differences between fast-food and luxury restaurants, apart from branding and targeting consistency: influencing diners’ behaviour.
Bright lighting, for example, helps improve customer turnover and traffic flow throughout the lunch hour at quick-service restaurants. This is especially useful when you want to take advantage of the afternoon rush.
Bright lighting in fast food restaurants may even overstimulate customers, leading to them eat more than they intended.
On the other side, low, warm lighting provides a calming and relaxed mood in an upscale restaurant, encouraging customers to stay longer and raising the likelihood that they will buy dessert or an additional bottle of wine.
Dinner time is often rush hour, so setting a calming tone with lighting is critical to persuading visitors to linger.
The disparity in restaurant interior design between McDonald’s and Starbucks is another clear illustration. Although the two franchises’ service demographics are somewhat similar, the lighting represents the purpose of each: Mcdonald’s is vividly illuminated to stimulate shoppers and promote turnover, while Starbucks invites visitors to stay longer for coffee and pastry.
It all depends on what you intend to achieve. Being intentional about your restaurant’s interior design will make a big difference and add to or detract from its success.
When it comes to restaurant lighting, it’s just part of the psychology and art form of interior design.