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Restaurant Lighting Trends

Here we showcase the most prominent restaurant lighting trends poised to take centre stage in 2024. Whether you’re an architect seeking to refresh an existing space or an aspiring light designer, this exploration will equip you with the knowledge to create an ambiance that both complements your projects culinary vision and resonates with their target clientele.

Restaurant Lighting

How Well-Designed Lighting Can Enhance The Overall Ambience

Well-designed lighting is like a silent maestro in a restaurant, conducting the atmosphere and influencing everything from how guests perceive the food to how long they linger. Well-designed restaurant lighting helps to set the mood of the space and creates ambience, it enhances brand identity, highlights the food, and also plays an important role in guest behaviour.

Sets the Mood: Dim, warm lighting fosters a sense of intimacy and relaxation, perfect for romantic dinners or upscale establishments. Conversely, brighter, cooler lighting creates a more energetic vibe, ideal for fast-casual cafes or family-friendly restaurants.

Highlights the Food: Strategic lighting placements showcase the artistry and appeal of your dishes. Focused task lighting on plates allows diners to appreciate the colours, textures, and presentation of the food.

Creates Ambiance and Focal Points: Lighting can be used to define different areas within the restaurant. String lights or pendant lamps can create a cosy atmosphere over booths, while spotlights can draw attention to artwork or architectural features, adding visual interest and a sense of place.

Enhances Brand Identity: The right lighting scheme can subtly reinforce your restaurant’s brand identity. Industrial pendant lamps complement a rustic gastropub, while sleek, modern fixtures resonate with a minimalist fine-dining experience. Coloured lighting will also complement and enhance your brand.

Influences Customer Behaviour: Studies have shown that lighting can even influence customer behaviour. Warmer lighting tends to encourage people to relax and stay longer, potentially leading to higher order values. Brighter lighting can promote a faster dining experience, ideal for high-traffic lunchtime settings.

Apply Different Layers of Light

Layered lighting is key to interior design. Balancing ambient (general) lighting with task lighting and accent lighting (that highlights architecture and features of a room) will create the desired environment that can be easily modified by the user to create different ambiances as and when required.


Use The Lights to Direct Guests into The Room

First impressions are crucial, and the journey into a restaurant should be as inviting as the experience inside. Strategic lighting can be used to guide guests and create a welcoming atmosphere.

For the exterior, well-lit signage, and menus, combined with low-level entrance lighting, ensure both functionality and a warm atmosphere, inviting guests to explore the restaurant.

Interior of a modern hotel restaurant with old instruments hanging on the brick wall as a decoration

Create The Perfect Ambiance

Consider the mood you want to achieve for the restaurant; romantic, upscale, casual, lively.

To create a relaxed and warm ambience, low lighting and warm bulbs can help achieve this. For the opposite, a lively and casual ambience, you want bright lights and perhaps exposed bulbs.

Highlight what matters in the restaurant to achieve the vibe you’re going for. For your upscale establishments, you’d want to highlight artwork, sculptures and have low accents above the table to accentuate the food dishes.

Why Colour and Style Matter

Style and colour matter to suit the brand identity. Colour and style in restaurant lighting add depth, personality, and a unique flavour that reflects the brand identity. But how exactly do they influence the dining experience?

Setting the Mood with Light:  As highlighted above, the colour temperature of your lighting sets the overall mood. Warm tones like amber or yellow create a sense of warmth, comfort, and relaxation, perfect for casual dining or romantic evenings. Cooler tones like blues and greens can feel more energetic, modern, or sophisticated, ideal for high-traffic areas or a contemporary fine-dining experience. The style of your light fixtures further enhances the ambiance. Industrial pendant lamps with exposed filaments add a rustic charm to a gastropub, while sleek, modern chandeliers exude a sophisticated air in a minimalist space.

Visual Storytelling Through Light: Lighting colour and style are powerful storytelling tools. A gastropub might use warm amber lighting and vintage filament bulbs to complement its industrial décor, while a minimalist fine-dining establishment might opt for sleek, modern fixtures with cool white light. Maintaining a consistent colour temperature and lighting style throughout the restaurant creates a cohesive visual experience and reinforces your brand image.

Highlighting What Matters: Coloured lighting can accentuate the visual appeal of your cuisine. Warm white or amber tones enhance the natural colours of food, while cooler tones can create a more modern presentation. Strategic use of coloured lighting or spotlights can also draw attention to specific areas or features within the restaurant, like a beautiful display case or a well-stocked bar.

Show The Authentic Colours of the Food

Restaurant lighting can help the display of authentic food colours. While perfect colour representation is important, creating a visually appealing and inviting atmosphere is also crucial. Ultimately, the goal is to strike a balance that showcases your food in a way that complements the overall dining experience.

Warm white and amber tones are generally considered the most flattering for food presentation. They enhance the natural colours of the ingredients, making them appear richer and more appetising.

Focused task lighting placed directly above the plate allows diners to see the details and true colours of the food clearly. Up-lighting from below can also add depth and enhance the visual appeal.

FAQs About Restaurant Lighting Trends

Do you provide services for restaurant lighting?

Yes, we are architectural lighting designers able to supply you with the very best lighting that suits your restaurant project needs.

Are your restaurant lighting products customisable?

Yes, they are all 100% customisable. You can modify RAL finish, colour temp, light source, beam angle and you can choose what type of controls the lighting has. 

Have you worked on other restaurants lighting designs?

Yes, you can view our latest lighting projects right here.

Do you have a sustainability policy?

Yes! We are proud of our ‘Repair, Why Replace?’.

Can we help?

For a no-obligation chat about your architectural lighting designs, please contact us using our online form, by email at, or by calling 01908 613256.

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