7 Restaurant Lighting Tips to Get the Ambience Right

Posted by Birddog Lighting on Jun 3rd 2019

7 Restaurant Lighting Tips to Get the Ambience Right

Did you know that outside of food quality, one of the factors that people rate the most in restaurants is the ambiance? You can have the best of everything but bad mood lighting can ruin the entire experience.

Lighting can event affect your customers’ mental states. If you can get a good atmosphere through proper lighting, you’ll be able to entice more people.

Proper restaurant lighting needs a good understanding of how people behave. Even then, how do you do it? How do you put restaurant lighting fixtures to good use?

In this guide, we’ll give you 7 restaurant lighting ideas that can help you get more people. Restaurant lighting design needs a steady hand, so we’ll explain what you need to do.

Ready to get more people through your door? It’s all in the lights.

1. Make Restaurant Lighting Design a Part of the Experience

Many restaurants use restaurant light fixtures as secondary to the experience. What sets the more successful ones apart is making lighting a central part of the experience. Rather than use generic lights, use restaurant LED lighting to enhance the ambiance.

You can use pendant lights to focus lighting on individual tables. You can then use dim lights everywhere else. Plan all aspects of the restaurant lighting design.

Take care of the sockets and consider the layout of your location. Focus on essential areas like tables and bars.

2. Use Light to Make Customers Happy

When it comes to restaurant lighting ideas, fit the design for the intended customer. You’re not doing this to make the architecture look good, but rather make the patrons enjoy. The first and last rule of lighting for restaurants and bars is to make everything for the customer.

Use as much daylight as possible and mix it with electrical lighting. Soft daylight is comfortable and energizing. Your goal with restaurant light fixtures is to imitate the comfort daylight gives.

Choosing the right color of restaurant LED lighting is crucial as well. Color can influence mood and emotion. Use it to emphasize details or soften the feel of the moment.

3. Add Different Lights for Different Parts of the Business

Different areas need to have different light levels, depending on their needs. Tables, bars, receptions, and even kitchens should differ.

Reception areas need to be brighter. Restaurant lighting design dictates that places, where communication between staff and customer happen, should have a welcoming feel.

Tables need to be bright enough to read menus and see each other. Even then, it needs to soft and diffused enough to entail the feeling of privacy.

Kitchen lights should be bright, as tasks that need focus happen here. You would want to prevent, however, this bright light to spill to the dining area.

For focal points like menu boards and memorabilia, single bright spotlights should work.

4. Account for Time and Season in Your Restaurant Light Fixtures

Depending on the time of the day, your restaurant lighting ideas should take into account natural lighting. Every time period, season and weather need its own accounting of light levels.

For breakfast, take advantage of superior daylighting. Make sure there’s enough light to wake up people, help them read and enjoy their coffee.

Lighting for restaurants and bars at night need to be intimate. It needs to be low-intensity lights, with a relaxing atmosphere.

For anything in between, you want moderate intensity light. This is best to take care of how busy this time of the day is.

5. Use Restaurant LED Lighting to Orient Customers

To take advantage of your restaurant light fixtures, use them to guide your customers. Use them to orient your customers once they enter your venue. Guide them around the location by taking their attention into the focal points of your business.

Focal points are crucial. They provide a strong contrast between your ambient lighting and accent lighting. Make the most out of these by making accent lights at least 5 times brighter than your ambient lighting.

Use your space to your advantage. With restaurant LED lighting, there’s no template to anything. Consider your concept and keep the theme consistent.

Take into account three things. They are the target audience, theme, and your business space. In restaurant lighting design, small restaurants may only need tables accented, while gradient lighting is a need in bigger spaces.

6. Pick Function Over Beauty in Lighting

When it comes to restaurant lighting ideas, it’s essential that you pick functionality over aesthetics every time. What you want is lighting that always has a purpose, rather than lighting that is all beauty.

You want to make sure that you get around 15 – 20 lumens per square foot, with 30 lumens or more on the table itself. Make sure that your lights also have bright settings.


Multi-setting lights are crucial when using lights throughout the day. When lighting for restaurants and bars, you want dimmer settings for ambiance and light focus. You also want to have a bright setting to help with the eventual cleanup.

7. Don’t Forget to Light the Outdoors

The restaurant light fixtures indoors can be beautiful. Even then, taking care of the lighting outside your venue is as crucial. This will help you see if the customers are showing interest in your business at all.

Make sure to get as much ambient light as possible into your establishment. Let the restaurant LED lighting mix with natural lighting from the outside. Find ways to make light filter out of your restaurant without disturbing the theme too much.

Restaurant lighting design around the windows can help show you’re open for business. It can entice customers and make the business more appealing as well. This can mean the difference between people stepping in or not at all.

What You Need for Restaurant Lighting

When it comes to restaurant lighting, you need to control as much of the mood as possible. Take care of setting a good perception for your customers. Remember that the lighting is there to make your patrons happy, not to show off what you got.

If you’re looking for lighting experts that can help you with your lighting needs, you need someone you can trust.

You need Birddog Lighting.

Whether it’s for landscaping, business or housing, we have the best light styles for you. Contact us now and experience a beautiful world made better by beautiful lights.

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