Restaurant lighting ideas – what to consider

Categories: Uncategorised

By: Kemps

The images featured in this article are from Sophie’s Steakhouse Soho.

Lighting is one of the main contributing factors to a restaurant’s ambience. The right lighting design makes a venue feel warm and inviting, whereas poor levels of lighting (too high or low) can leave customers disliking their surroundings and even having a negative experience.

Finding the right balance depends on a few things, including the style of your restaurant and how large a venue it is. There are some key factors to take into consideration when looking around for restaurant lighting ideas. Read on to find out what they are.

The brightness of your restaurant lighting

The brightness of a light source impacts our mood, with bright light making us feel more alert, energised and, in some cases, more anxious. Warmer, less bright light has the opposite effect, helping us relax. This is the principle behind avoiding ‘blue’ light right before you go to sleep.

In terms of restaurant lighting, you need to think about the tone you want to set. For instance, an avant-garde fine dining restaurant might require moderate-bright lighting to keep customers switched on to the experience. But, if you’re aiming to create a tranquil, cosy or immersive atmosphere, warmer lighting is the better option.

Whatever the tone, define it and select a brightness level to suit. It’s likely that different areas will require different levels of brightness and one size won’t necessarily fit all. In these circumstances, you should spend time developing a lighting system that factors in the key areas individually.

Restaurant lighting that’s suited to different times of day

Any restaurant or bar is likely to need to switch up the level of lighting at different times of day and days of the week. It’s a good idea to install remotely controlled lighting system.

The best control systems allow you to amend how much light is given out and at what temperature. Many are programmable with colour too. This gives front of house managers complete control when it comes to creating the right atmosphere, whatever the time, day or event.

The fixtures you choose should bring your interiors to life

Restaurant lighting fulfils a purpose, but it’s also there to emphasise and enhance the interior décor of your venue. Many of us relax in our own homes by lamp light, with lamps enhancing the overall look and feel of the room.

In terms of restaurant lighting ideas, it’s important to consider what combination of fixtures you want and where, in the same way you would within a domestic space designed for dining and recreation. When picking the fixtures, it’s useful to draw on your interior design scheme.

Take into account the interior décor, including features, furniture and accessories, so that you can tie the lighting in with the rest of the space. You could take inspiration from the building’s architecture and history and the restaurant’s concept and menu.

Exploring all of this will mean the finished lighting system and fixtures complements the style and décor of the restaurant, as well as lighting it effectively.

Accent or indirect lighting fixtures?

It may be that part of your scheme includes statement or accent fittings that draw attention to themselves. This can be achieved using bespoke, reclaimed or new fixtures, depending on budget restraints and the design theme.

Another option is to use indirect lighting, concealing the fixtures in order to throw light on the surrounding areas. Indirect lighting is great for adding structure to spaces and emphasising key features, such as coving, ceilings, bars or inbuilt furniture.

Ultimately, it’s down to what looks best in the room you’re designing for and you may need to play around with some ideas to fine tune this. It’s important to remember that although the finished scheme needs to look great, the focus should remain on creating the desired ambience.

We hope you’ve found these restaurant lighting ideas and pointers useful. If you’d like to talk to us about a restaurant lighting project, get in touch with us on 0113 263 9039 or

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