Restaurant Industry Trends in Design and Decor

Current design and decor trends in the restaurant industry involve leaving structured elements behind in favor of a more relaxed and interactive feel. Restaurants now use new technology and vintage finds for the benefit of the diner. Here are some decorative restaurant industry trends to look for in dining rooms near you.

Reviving Old Items

Using reclaimed wood and other vintage structural elements creates an important and elegant addition to the overall look of a restaurant. Designing new flooring and counter space from aged planks of wood creates an instant old-school feel in a modern space. While using those elements in the background is great for overall feeling, restaurants are now taking it a step further and showing off what's old in new ways. A Shanghai restaurant took a vintage Coca-Cola refrigerator door and made an entrance to a bar area. Using whole elements of smaller items — or even repurposing an appliance — captures a moment in time for the diner.

Using Distinctive Glassware

When served and sipped from a special glass, a mixed drink is so much more than a cocktail. Old glassware gives modern spaces an eclectic feel and breaks the structured feel of uniformity. A peek into the bar Dirty Habit in San Francisco shows how to create a mood with not only a sleek interior, but by using vintage mismatched glasses to enhance a customer's experience. You know your drink is a unique concoction when the glassware is one of a kind.

Taking Advantage of Outdoor Spaces

If you have an outdoor space, use it — many customers enjoy eating alfresco. Both ground-level and rooftop dining rooms can use outdoor seating to enhance the atmosphere. Restaurants at an elevation give diners an instant view of the city below (and a great picture to share on Instagram). Ground-level establishments provide diners a chance to people-watch while getting a bit of sun in the process. This is a popular option while eating abroad — think sidewalk cafes in Paris and Rome. In inclement weather, awnings, heaters and umbrellas produce a more comfortable experience.

Conserving Energy Stylishly

Lighting is an important restaurant design element as well as a functional need. When looking at spaces with energy conservation in mind, light-emitting diode (LED) lights provide a stylized look while saving energy. Restaurants can select bulbs that enhance the space, opting for ones that emit a warm orange glow or a cooler bluish light. Smaller accent strips can easily be hidden from view and the lights themselves can be customized for shelving and countertop edging. Check them out everywhere from Carl's Jr. to casino and hotel bars.

Breaking Out Digital Signage

Online ordering and mobile payment options have already streamlined the restaurant industry, but using technology as actual signage is something new. Digital menu boards enable the operators to easily display chef's menus, daily promotions and special messages. This trend is so popular, the Digital Signage Expo 2015 held four different sessions about technology in restaurants, including the impact of social media and usage in drive-thrus. Digital signage can be entertaining and easy to use while still conveying necessary messages. In a world where technology distracts everyone, this tech engages and informs customers.

New restaurant industry trends in decor use old elements in innovative ways, but also embrace the new and put technological advances to good use. Outdoor open spaces and accessible lights and signs invite diners to relax under the warmth of the restaurant. By mixing a little of the old with new, the diner's experience goes beyond just a meal.

Photo credit: Flickr