19 Restaurant Lighting Ideas And Best Advice To Get The Right Design

restaurant lighting ideas featured image

There are different ways of illuminating your establishment by googling restaurant lighting ideas. However, you cannot just apply what you see on the web right away. Knowing what kind of lighting is best for specific areas of your restaurant is essential.

19 Creative Restaurant Lighting Ideas

There are different factors and elements to consider before installing lighting fixtures in your restaurant, which we will break down in this blog.

Different types of restaurants accommodate different kinds of markets and demographic. Fine, casual, fast casual, online restaurant, family style restaurants, fast food, cafe, and buffet style are some of the most common.

Aside from considering the types of restaurants, you also need to consider a few parameters such as menu style, pricing, seating capacity, method of food preparation, and how it is served. Your market niche will go alongside your branding. Thus, the lighting ideas will vary based on these two.

Restaurant Facade and Entrance Lighting

The facade and entrance are your initial engagements with your target customers. These essentially represent your restaurant on social media, google maps, and backgrounds for bloggers, including vloggers. It’s vital to have an inviting facade and entrance for your clients.

1. Pique Their Curiosity

pique curiosity restaurant lighting ideas

Track lighting and a snowy effect that trickles down to the bottom, just like the inspo, will make your guests want to check out your restaurant.

You can substitute that trickle lighting with string party lights or solar fairy lights for a more convenient way of designing. It’s easy to set up and take down.

This means you can have multiple lighting designs whenever you want to. Plus, the solar panel will conveniently lessen your electricity costs.

Additional Tip: This design stands out when combined with a wooden door and glass windows. Add a bit of LED light for your signage and a trail light above that shows the entrance is inviting. This will undoubtedly draw the attention of your customers. 

2. An Eye Catcher Lighting

eye catcher Light restaurant lighting ideas

Modern wood panel design, dressed up with backlighting, will catch anyone’s attention as they pass by. Adding a little recessed lighting to highlight your entrance is an inviting scene for any passersby.

Make use of your surrounding lights like the streetlight. It points people to the establishment by reflecting its light on the frontage.

3. In Plain Sight

plain sight restaurant lighting ideas

Sometimes it’s best to just lay it out on the line and plainly tell them what your restaurant is about.

The inspo is a perfect example of that. An “All Day Dining” signage that lights up on top of a wooden frame with warm backlighting amidst the greens is alluring. It’s also an elaborate way of waving your customers to come in and dine. All day if they want to.

The large pendant lights behind the glass windows create a relaxing mood at first glance. It projects more of a getaway place from the bustling city life. A terrific place to relax.

Kitchen and Work Area Lighting

The kitchen and work area is where the magic happens. The follow-through of your facade is your food! Besides having the best chef in town, it should be bright with ample space for foot traffic and comfort.

A system must be in place, and the layout design must abide by that system from the service area, meal cooking, food preparation, storage, cleaning and washing. Of course, the functionality of the work area lighting plays a vital role in the busiest area of the restaurant.

4. Recessed Lighting

recessed lights restaurant lighting ideas

Having recessed lights installed in the kitchen is the most practical way to keep dust buildup to a minimum to avoid food contamination.

Though it’s easy to clean, replacing recessed light on the wall with plastic coverings requires more attention. But other than that, your kitchen is bright all around.

5. Let's Hang Out

focused lighting restaurant lighting ideas

With a kitchen island in the middle, you mostly see pendant lighting linear fixtures. However, you can opt to line it up with hanging pendant lights for focused lighting. With this lighting design, your kitchen staff won’t miss a thing.

6. A Kiss of Vitamin D

skylights roofing restaurant lighting ideas

The use of skylight roofing would bring more than just illuminating the space naturally. This roof allows the natural light to burst through your workplace, giving everyone the much-needed vitamin D.

In addition, a kiss of vitamin D rejuvenates everyone to keep going and serve the guests with so much energy.

Like what we always say, sunlight is your friend. Most restaurant owners know that. Natural lights during the day with a bit of task lighting for slicing and decorating food areas is economical as it is efficient.

7. Strip Tease Lighting!

strip lights restaurant lighting ideas

Not what you have in mind. But most kitchens have stainless or slim wooden shelves above their workstation. Installing a task or recessed light can be tricky since it requires more space.

Strip lighting is a convenient and practical way of illuminating the work area without the need for too much space. Tease your strips here and there as long as you produce balanced lighting, then you’re good to chop your onions away.

Service Area

Every area in your restaurant must have proper lighting, especially between the dining room or service area and the kitchen. Your staff’s safety and visual health are essential for optimum customer service.

8. Don't You Glare!

transitional lighting restaurant lighting ideas

To avoid glare between dining and kitchen areas, install transitional lighting. Keep the brightness balanced between areas. If the eye constantly adjusts between poorly lit and bright areas, it can cause eye strain. 

As the day passes, your staff may feel tired and heavy-headed, resulting in poor performance and possible accidents.

9. Cash It In

concentrated lights restaurant lighting ideas

The cash register service area is the lifeline of your business. That is why task or concentrated lighting with cooler Kelvins is recommended to aid the differentiating colours of money.

If it has a dimmable feature, all the better. This will enable you to adjust the brightness depending on the ambient lighting. Also, nobody wants to short-change the customers by mistake because of poor lighting.

Of course, you could also place your cash register strategically where it is also covered by ambient lights.

10. Next In Line With Comfort And Style

comfort style  restaurant lighting ideas

The waiting area should still be regarded with the comfort of your guests in mind. They are willing to wait to dine in your restaurant rather than go elsewhere.

Recessed lights and pendant lights, plus natural lighting, will extend their patience to new heights.

RELATED: 11 Best Cafe Lighting Design Ideas Suitable for Outdoor and Indoors | Coffee Shop Lighting Guide

Bar Lighting Design

The atmosphere in the restaurant bars can be relaxed and then become fast-paced all of a sudden. That all depends on the conversation between customers. This is without taking the occasion into consideration. A bar is just a bar. The type of people that come and go makes it what it is.

11. Spot On

bar lighting restaurant lighting ideas

The bar is where most of the engagement between customers and staff happens. It is also a bustling work area for bartenders. Designs that highlight prestige and excellent customer service will give your guests the feel of celebrity treatment.

Artificial lush greens combined with pendant lights with green lamps popping here and there on the ceiling will give a James Bond on a mission sort of vibe. At the same time, removable table lamps on your countertop will provide a classic feel. Line up your bar shelf with strip LED lighting for added visual oomph.

12. We Got You Covered

large lamps restaurant lighting ideas

Trying to say this to your customers without actually saying it. Tricky, ain’t it?

If you have massive pendant lights with equally large golden lamps, this signals to the guests you’ve got their backs. This lighting fixture can be blended with recessed lighting under the bar.

13. A Dash of Extravagance

extravagance restaurant lighting ideas

It is easy to give your guests a taste of luxury at its finest with gold plated metal and warm white pendant lights. Aside from lining these up from one end of your bar to the other, add a curtain of gold metal chains.

The cove lighting adds more to the ambient light, complementing the pendant lights’ intensity. Now, if it ain’t too much, all you need is a gold floor to bring your customers to another level.

Restaurant Dining Table Lighting

Table lighting would depend on the type of restaurant and occasion or event. To give an overall idea, fast food restaurants rely on recessed Fluorescent bulbs with reflective backs. Fine dining restaurants, on the other hand, have more complex lighting designs.

We also have to consider the time of the day, like breakfast, lunch and dinner.

14. Let It Glow!

natual lights restaurant lighting ideas

Imagine walking in a restaurant with rays of morning sunshine bursting through the glass windows. Now, picture yourself sitting at that table with a thick curtain or closed window. It is blocking nature’s light and depriving you of a natural boost of vitamin D. Certainly, you don’t want that.

Let that ray of sunshine be the twinkle in your eye and warm your cheeks to a slightly pinkish glow. You can also enjoy the sunrise to mark the start of your day. It will give you a pep in your step for sure. Make use of natural lighting during certain times of the day.

15. ARCHistically Bright Wall

arching swingarm lamps restaurant lighting ideas

We know interior designers recommend bright lighting. So, what do you need to do for some parts of your restaurant that are far from the windows and doors?

One way to resolve shady areas during lunchtime is to add arching swingarm lamps with huge Edison bulbs on walls. This will bring a balance to your restaurant lighting.

Of course, pendant lights or vintage sconces can also play the part. You save energy costs and brighten up your customer’s day.

16. Sit Back, Relax and Enjoy!

ambient accent light restaurant lighting ideas

Dinnertime! Time to unwind and be with family and friends. Task lights, ambient, and accent lighting should come into play based on the time of the night.

The most commonly used luminaires are restaurants pendant lights. And, there are tons of designs to choose from.

Tips: A drum shade pendant compliments square or round tables. While multi-light pendants look magnificent on long tables, track lightings are also suitable tools to ensure every part of the table is illuminated.

Lighting Fixtures for Outdoor and Terrace Area

You can make your outdoor and terrace area a cozy place with proper lighting. But you can also integrate artificial lights with natural ones that are freely available.

17. Twilight To Night Fall

twilight restaurant lighting ideas

The end of the day has many forms for restaurants with a view. Twilight has three kinds— before the darkness falls, when night comes, and when the moon is out.

The sun painting the sky orange, city lights, and the moonlight are just a few factors you need to piece together every night. So, all you need is a table lamp for an outdoor with this natural ambience. Just enough light to enhance the romantic evening.

18. Practically Needed

parasol festoon lights restaurant lighting ideas

A parasol with LED lights is as practical as it is functional. It’s a beautiful addition to your strip and ambient lighting. Just enough light to visually enjoy your food. Just have it folded and tucked away when you want to enjoy the view of the night sky.

19. Towering Paradise

floor lamps restaurant lighting ideas

Floor standing lamps that almost look like mushrooms sprouting here and there amidst the outdoor tables are quite the view. Call it ambient lighting on the foliage. Now, spruce the entire space with glass LED flameless candle holders on each tabletop.

All these are surrounded by towering skyscrapers, giving you an alluring escape from city life. It is quite an attractive commercial place to be in.

Types of Lighting for Restaurants

types lights restaurant lighting ideas

Whatever lighting fixture and element you choose will undoubtedly impact your guests. That’s why we’ve broken down the types and other lighting elements you can use for your restaurant.

1. Light Fixtures
Below are several light fixtures that are useful to illuminate the restaurants:

  • Pendant Lights – A single light suspended from the ceiling through a metal rod, chain, or cord to provide concentrated lighting for a specific task.
  • Chandeliers – Another lighting suspended from the ceiling and with multiple light sources. It is more classy and gives the room its style and tone.
  • Candlelights – Classic and romantic. It gives a subtle flickering glow.
  • Track Lighting – Can be suspended or mounted on the ceiling. It consists of multiple lighting elements that can each be focused wherever you choose. The good thing with this type of lighting fixture is you can replace, re-focus and relocate whenever you want to.
  • Architectural or ambient lighting – This type comes in three forms: valance, soffit and cove lighting. All these are installed in the room’s structure and focus on bouncing lights on ceilings and walls.
  • Recessed Lighting – This fixture is installed flush on the ceiling. Depending on the location and colour temperature, it can function as an accent, task, and ambient lighting.
  • Sconces – Mounted on walls and can be placed almost anywhere. Fantastic for accent and task lighting, especially when placed in the living room, dining room, hallways, and on each side of bathroom mirrors.
  • Ceiling Fan Light Kit – A multipurpose fixture because it provides air and light circulation. Great for indoors, patio, and terrace. Great for indoors, patio, and terrace.
  • Outdoor Lighting – A practical and functional way to illuminate your landscape and surrounding areas for outdoor activities and added security. Decorative, neon signs, pendants, strip lights, sconces, post lights, LED string and fairy lights are some of the most recommended lights you can use. The last two are also excellent lighting for indoors as well.

2. Natural Lights
Skylights, large windows and glass door panels are fantastic tools for letting the sunshine seep into your restaurant.

3. Smart Lighting
RGB LED lighting is the go-to lighting for areas that are hard to reach. These lights can be controlled via voice activation or remote control.

LED strip lights can dance to the rhythm of the music and be programmed to change lighting sequences based on the time of day or occasion. Not to mention, they are the most efficient in bringing down your electrical costs.

4. Outdoor Lighting
String lights across the fence or as a canopy, fairy lights, fairy lights in a jar or bottle, fairy lights on a hedge, and string pendant lights on a patio or terrace are just some of the numerous ways to design outdoor lighting. Experiment, but don’t forget to consult a professional electrician for safety.

And there you have it! Hopefully, the enumerated restaurant lighting ideas have answered the question of how you illuminate a business establishment. Take your pick and make use of them according to your business need.

Lastly, if you’re in the middle of planning your restaurant lighting designs and loved any of the inspirations above, get in touch using our contact page! We’d love to collaborate with you

More Lighting Inspiration

Spend $49, Get FREE Delivery!

Buy festoon & fairy lights from Australia’s Top Festoon Lighting Experts to brighten up your indoor and outdoor spaces!

FEstoon Suppply 3

Business Hours

Mon – Fri: 9am – 5pm AEDT
Sat – Sun: Closed