Modern restaurant design is as much about architecture and ambience as it is the food – and for good reason. Achieving simplicity in design as well as merging time-favoured practices with contemporary flair is fast becoming an innovative way of drawing more attention to creating a memorable experience, seemingly adding value to the meal itself.

Restaurants in 2016 are increasingly becoming more open, more participatory, friendly and natural spaces that celebrate culinary culture. Dining out, simply put, is all about dinner theatre these days.

Here we discuss the what’s-what in trending restaurant design for 2016:

 

It’s All in the Small Details

Little accents and attention to detail are massively uplifting good spaces into great spaces. Additions like simple chalkboard menus for example; these recyclable pieces of creativity are easily erasable, and a great place to update daily specials, drink menus, and new arrivals.

Similarly, including text on your walls is a popular choice in lieu of large pieces of art. This typographic accent wall trend builds off of popular quotes, and can easily boast postmodern design cues that upstart your restaurant space into a chic space without investing much time or effort.

 

Visible Kitchens

This year, many dining establishments have taken the plunge and are trying to blend their front and back of house. This exposed kitchen design trend increases transparency, and helps the establishments food become a source of entertainment for the guest. It gifts customers the chance to actually see with their own eyes that the meals are prepared fresh, in essence, becoming a new mode of advertising for the restaurant.

To make the open kitchen concept even more likeable, many restaurants are beginning to incorporate bar stools close by, allowing diners and patrons the opportunity to watch, converse about, and seemingly partake in their meal being made.

Further, stools are easy to maintain, cheap to invest in, and come in just about every shape, material and colour under the sun, making them an adaptable piece to consider adding to your own restaurant space.

 

Art Consciousness

Many restaurant owners are acknowledging the blend of dining establishment with a museum, or gallery type of aesthetic. Owners are becoming more and more generous in adding big, bold pieces of art to an empty wall, drawing attention to the greater space by accentuating its size.

For a unique twist, made specifically for your own restaurant, consider commissioning a piece directly from an artist to be painted or penciled right on the wall itself. The more striking, the better, as your space will become a pseudo conversation-starter and if you’re lucky, a buzzing locale on social media.

 

Concept and Production Design

Giving your patrons a distinct experience is another emerging restaurant trend of 2016. Long gone are the days of thinking that specificity means lowering your target demographic, Instead, owners and foodies are realizing that offering a specific experience garners a feeling of exclusivity, and of uniqueness. For example, instead of starting up a sports bar, cater your beer offerings, starters, or even decor to a distinctly German, Belgian, or Italian feeling.

The key to concept is telling a story within the space, this gives your guests a unique experience from the moment they walk in the door, to the moment the leave.

 

Soft & Humble

Last year, the restaurant industry worldwide seemed to go through a very hard-edged aesthetic, showcasing bold concrete, steel and glass designs. While they’re still popular, 2016 has toned its design sensibilities back and is experiencing a softer, humbler experience, offering up textured fabrics, softer and warmer lighting, and cozy finishes.

As an even more dynamic relationship between spaces, contrasting this divide between hard and soft is a great way to keep a foot in both doors. Consider taking advantage of the ease and postmodern charm of a concrete bar top with warm wooden barstools and cream cotton table runners in the dining room for a visually satisfying blend of soft, humble, and functional. Use corrugated metal or an upcycled tin roof as a divider, and accent with industrial styled lighting fixtures that give off a sunny, yellow light to warm the room.

Further, a humble space will inspire a feeling of authenticity, of personality and puts the food first, broadcasting genuine dedication to your menu and the experiences of your guests.