Restaurant Refresh: Upgrade Your Decor

When you run a restaurant, your focus can oftentimes be on the food, rather than the aging or incomplete decor. While food is obviously important in the restaurant business, people are also coming to you for the experience of eating out. Whether it's getting together with others around a table or just getting out of the kitchen, diners come to you wanting the experience AND the taste of eating at your restaurant. So, whether your restaurant is brand new or it's been around for years and years, it's important to keep an eye out for aging or incomplete decor.

If you do decide that your restaurant's decor could use an upgrade, it's difficult to figure out exactly what that should entail. You're busy running the place and making sure the food is good, so decorating and keeping up appearances can often take the back seat. Don't let this happen to you! If you're looking for a starting point to redecorating or just updating some of your decor, use this list to decide where your priorities lie.


The color of your walls can make a huge difference in your decor. You can instantly brighten up or change the space by changing to color or style of the walls. If the wallpaper is peeling, it's time to take it down. Have a definite idea of what style you want to space to be in. Your design choices will obviously be different if you need a modern design, rather than a country/rustic design. Browse pictures of other restaurants that are done in a similar style to what you want. Consider doing something new, like a painted pattern or cool wall tiles.

Image License: Image author owned

Window Treatments

Especially if you're redoing the wall, it's probably time to refresh the window treatments. Make sure that they block sunlight from getting in customers' eyes while they're dining, but let light in during other times of the day. For instance, if you have curtains that don't open all the way, they're probably making it darker inside during the day than it should be. Consider new colors and patterns for curtains and drapes. You'd be surprised how cheaply curtains can be made, especially if you've got someone on staff who's good with a sewing machine!


If you can see stuffing coming out of booths or chairs, it's probably time to upgrade. This can be an expensive venture, if you need to replace all the furniture. Consider repurposing them, if they can be salvaged. They can be reupholstered and repainted, and look completely new. Look at pictures of other restaurants to pick up fun ideas for tables and chairs. Make sure they match the overall design of the space, especially if you're changing up the walls. Also, consider comfort. You don't want guests to be uncomfortable while they're dining, so make sure chairs and tables are the correct heights, and that booths aren't too close or too far from the tables.


Art is not a trivial part of your decor. For many restaurants, the art is the most recognized thing in the room. For instance, if you go to your favorite local western-themed restaurant, would you expect anything less than horseshoes, lasso ropes, and pictures of horses covering the walls? Or that iconic diner with pictures of the famous people who've visited in the past? Chances are, you've taken on a sort of theme while you've been open. Don't change things up so much that you look like a completely different place. If you want to completely change, keep a couple things that were on the walls and repurpose them to work in new ways.

Whether you choose to update one or all of these things, your guests will probably appreciate the updates. Just make sure to keep the essence of your restaurant's personality in tact, and stay within your budget and comfort zone. For design inspiration, try these sources:
Joli D
About the Author:

Joli D. writes for Shingobee Builders, providing commercial construction, restaurant construction, casino construction, and more in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

No comments