As with all other businesses in the hospitality industry, the past few years have been tumultuous for restaurants. From expanding takeout and delivery options to implementing outdoor and socially distanced dining, the pandemic ushered in a wave of new practices to which restaurants had to adapt. Even as in-restaurant dining has largely returned to pre-pandemic levels, some of these practices have remained popular, shaping both the operations and the design of many restaurants.

When it comes to restaurant interior design, another trend driving stylistic choices is an increasing focus on “Instagrammable” décor. While Millennial and Gen Z patrons have long been sharing pictures of aesthetically pleasing food on social media, a growing number of restaurants have been trying to gain traction on popular platforms with unique, eye-catching interiors that look great in photos. As restaurants strive to stand out in today’s post-pandemic, social media-centric landscape, here are five interior design trends to keep in mind:

#1: Outdoor dining areas

Surging in popularity during the pandemic as a way to help patrons feel safer when dining at restaurants, many people are still showing a preference for outdoor dining. For restaurants that have the space to do so, creating a comfortable patio area can be a great way to attract patrons and boost revenue. However, there are many considerations involved—mainly related to ensuring that all outdoor features are both stylish and durable when exposed to the elements. For instance, patio flooring should be water- and slip-resistant, and furniture should be made from weatherproof materials such as coated wood or steel.

While comfort and safety are the top priorities when designing a restaurant patio, ambience is also key. Many restaurants use lighting—such as string lighting and electric candles—to illuminate the space while fostering a cozy, inviting vibe. Another technique is to incorporate plenty of plants, including large planters, climbing vines, and hanging baskets, to enhance the ambience and create privacy between the patio and the world outside.

#2: Warm color palettes

A trend that has carried over from 2021, many restaurants are swapping out their cool, neutral tones for warmer color palettes, including hues such as vibrant yellows, rosy pinks, and burnt oranges. In addition to looking eye-catching in photos and contributing to a welcoming vibe, warm colors have a unique benefit in restaurant settings: they’ve been shown to increase heart rate and excitement levels and stimulate hunger—thereby translating to higher food sales.

#3: Layered textures

One way to add depth and visual intrigue to your restaurant’s interior design is to layer different textures and finishes. As an example, engineered wood flooring (which is an excellent choice for restaurants because it brings the warmth and character of natural wood, with better durability and a more affordable price point) can be paired with plush or patterned textiles. Or, contemporary-style concrete flooring can be paired with metal light fixtures of varied finishes. There are numerous ways to incorporate texture into your interior design; the key is to choose complementary elements that will reflect your unique brand.

#4: Natural materials

Considering that sustainability is a growing trend across numerous sectors, it’s no surprise that today’s restaurant patrons are showing a preference for design elements that reflect a natural, sustainable approach. Therefore, many restaurants are swapping out plastics and other synthetic materials in favor of wood, stone, bamboo, copper, slate, cork, and more. However, when choosing materials for countertops or flooring, it’s always important for restaurants to opt for surfaces that will be durable and easy to clean.

Some establishments are taking the nature theme a step further by incorporating water features or plant walls, which are vertical structures that have living plants attached to them. These features look eye-catching in photos and can help restaurants “bring the outdoors in.”

#5: Local flair

Semi-related to the preference for sustainability, many restaurants have been embracing the cities and communities in which they are located. Locally sourced foods have been increasingly showing up on menus over the past several years, and local flavor is now beginning to work its way into restaurant interior design as well. For instance, some restaurants are making an effort to incorporate locally made furnishings and artwork, or use materials that are sourced from the nearby environment.

At Primera, our commercial interior design team works with restaurants and businesses in a variety of other industries to create interior designs that reflect not only current trends, but also the business’s distinct brand and character. We offer a vast selection of high-quality flooring materials, countertops, cabinets and other elements, and will guide you through the process of choosing products that suit your needs and vision.

Call us today at (866) 752-7336 to learn more!