Finding Design Ideas & Inspiration: What To Look for at Restaurants

published Mar 14, 2016
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(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Your favorite restaurants can tell you more than just what kind of cuisine you prefer. The spaces you love to be in and eat at can give you design clues for your home. Here’s a “shopping list” of design elements to pay attention to the next time you’re at your favorite restaurants. They just might inspire your home’s decor.

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(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Look at light fixtures (and the light level)

Pay attention to the light fixtures used in your favorite restaurant. You can certainly get style inspiration by noticing whether or not they use industrial lighting, modern lighting, etc. But also pay attention to other lighting details, like how low they hang the pendant lights, how many light fixtures are in the space and how high or low the light level is. By taking note of these small design details, you may be able to replicate them in your own dining room—emulating the atmosphere of your favorite restaurant in your home.

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Pay attention to design principles

Is the design of your favorite restaurant’s dining room symmetrical? Or randomly arranged? Do you sense a balance between the visual elements on each side? Or is there one strong design element that catches attention on one side of the space? By taking note of which design principles your favorite restaurant uses in their interior design, you can get a hint on which principles to try at home. If they appeal to you when you’re eating out, they might appeal to you in your own space.

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Consider what kind of energy is in the space

Take a look at all the stuff in the dining area—are walls packed with art collages? Are dining tables squished closely together? Or is wall decor kept at a minimum? And seating spread out sparsely? The amount of stuff in a space—and how it’s all arranged—can have a big impact on the mood of a room. If you love the way a particular restaurant feels it might be because of the energy it exudes. Consider doing a stuff survey. You might get a direction on how to arrange the stuff in your home (or how much stuff to use) to achieve a similarly peaceful or vibrant energy.

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Look for steal-able art display ideas

At the very least, you could look to your favorite restaurant to find art display ideas. They might be using innovative frames, traditional art, or some other bold design that could give you ideas for your own collection.

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Don’t forget the outdoor space

Many people love to head to their favorite restaurant to enjoy a patio, porch or balcony when the weather is nice outside. Next time you do that, take notice of the restaurant’s outdoor space to see if there are any ideas you can use for your own outdoor space. (And remember, you can still get design ideas even if you have a small patio and your favorite restaurant has a huge inner courtyard!) Again, pay attention to the energy that the space exudes. Look for furniture and decor ideas. And also look to lighting. Your own home probably won’t come with cocktail servers and a happy hour, but getting inspiration from your favorite restaurant’s outdoor area could help you transform your space into a place you want to spend more time in.