How Color Impacts A Restaurant's Atmosphere

 Shagbark's Interior, Photo courtesy of Helen Reed Design

Shagbark's Interior, Photo courtesy of Helen Reed Design

Colors lay the foundation of a restaurant’s atmosphere. For these Richmond, Virginia business owners, the palette to create a relaxed atmosphere can span the spectrum.

 Nota Bene Restaurant & Bar

Nota Bene Restaurant & Bar

Victoria Deroche owns Nota Bene Restaurant & Bar, an Italian wood-fired restaurant. Her restaurant uses accents of red with industrial black and exposed brick to create a romantic experience where guests are not rushed through their meal.

“As a designer myself, the tone and feel was intentional from the start,” Victoria says. “The color palette was based on a print we feature in the back of the restaurant to keep things cohesive.”

 Helen Reed of Helen Reed Design

Helen Reed of Helen Reed Design

Helen Reed specializes in restaurant interiors through her firm Helen Reed Design. She explains warm and neutral colors create a subdued environment for guests to sit and enjoy their meal.

Reed designed Richmond’s Shagbark with these cooler, soft hues and natural wood accents in mind.

“Neutral palettes with accents of stronger colors like reds can create a casual environment. We're seeing this with reclaimed woods mixed with pops of color,” she says.

“Typically, too many bold colors can be a turnoff in a restaurant since they create high energy. These colors such as cherry reds and bright yellows are used in fast food concepts to help create quick table turnover,” Reed says.

“Cooler or soft hues also create a beautiful setting for dining environments. Cooler shades can also create a higher end feel for the space. For the majority of diners, these shades invite them to stay awhile and enjoy the meal and the experience. 

 Perch's Exterior Rendering by Johannas Design Group

Perch's Exterior Rendering by Johannas Design Group

Mike Ledesma has partnered with Helen on his first independent restaurant project, Perch. Currently under construction, the outside brings an industrial facade to the block while the interior will be cool with lighting as a core element.

“Soft and cool colors will make our diners more relaxed, but it’s lighting that’s going to play a big role in the restaurant experience,” Ledesma says. “We’re making sure lighting at our tables is good because it impacts the pictures our guests will take for social media.”

All colors used in a space can dramatically impact the meal and the food being served, the wrong lighting or colors in a restaurant can cause the food to look amazing or the complete opposite.  “This is why it’s important to make sure that restaurants are well lit with dimmable LED lights that are 2700K." Dimmable lighting can transition the energy of your restaurant from day to night.

 Chef Mike Ledesma of Perch Richmond

Chef Mike Ledesma of Perch Richmond