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Key tips to light up a restaurant

14 Sep 2022 // by Iván Meana

When choosing a restaurant, customers look at issues such as the menu, service and location, but the lighting in a restaurant is also a determining factor in the comfort of users and the quality of their visiting experience.


The lighting in a restaurant has a direct influence on the atmosphere that is created, and above all on the feeling that customers have when they are spending time in the restaurant.


Do you want to know how to use lighting in a restaurant to achieve an attractive, comfortable and welcoming space? Here are some tips on how to achieve this.



Project: Cúrcuma


How to light each area of a restaurant?


The general rule for lighting a restaurant is to match the architecture of the space.


In addition to this rule, there is our basic premise: light only where it is needed, respecting the needs of each corner. Sometimes, we tend to think that the more lighting, the more beautiful and attractive a space is, but nothing could be further from the truth.


It should also be taken into account that a restaurant has different spaces, and although they will all be perceived by customers, they do not have the same importance in the customer experience.


In this respect, the lighting in a restaurant should mainly take into account the following areas:

    • The tables
    • The bar
    • Passage areas
    • The entrance and waiting area
    • The bathroom
    • The exterior

Project: Cúrcuma


Lighting of the table area in a restaurant


Tables need to look beautiful and attractive at all times, whether there are guests or not, as it is not only about the experience for the guests, but also about how attractive the place looks, inviting them to stay. In this area, the most important thing is to avoid overly bright spots and spots where shadows are created.


In this sense, it is best to use recessed luminaires, such as the Deep model by FARO Barcelona, which is perfect for restaurant lighting in the table area. It is a luminaire that is completely integrated into the ceiling and has three different degrees of opening, greatly increasing the lighting comfort of the place and adapting to each type of table.


Another equally valid option is to use surface-mounted luminaires such as the Stan model, always with the possibility of orienting them towards different points, as the tables in a restaurant tend to move from place to place quite frequently. It is precisely for this reason that pendant luminaires are only recommended for restaurant lighting where the tables are fixed in one place.



Lighting of the bar area


As for the bar, this is another area that must also be pleasant and attractive to customers. If there is a bar top, it is also advisable to use recessed lights, although in this case smaller models, as the luminaires will be closer to the users. The Fox recessed model is undoubtedly a close-angle luminaire that is perfect for illuminating this area and going unnoticed.


If, on the other hand, no over-bar is available, one option is to use suspension luminaires for general lighting or direct lighting, always depending on the type of lighting desired for the area.


If you also want to highlight the lower part of the bar, it is possible to install a profile with a recessed LED strip under the counter to achieve an original and eye-catching effect.


Lighting of passageways and entrances


The lighting in a restaurant should be consistent in all areas, so it is best to follow the same style and philosophy as in the rest of the restaurant in the transit areas, only choosing more open opening angles and lower wattages.


As for the entrance and waiting area, together with the façade, this is the first thing that customers will see, so the lighting must be carefully planned to invite them to come in and stay and to ensure that the first sensations they perceive of the restaurant are pleasant. It is in this area that the lighting should be more striking than in the rest of the premises, as it should indicate to customers that this is where they should go to be served.


It is also vitally important to properly signpost the restaurant with lighting on its façade, not only to invite people to enter, but also to make it easy to find.


Project: Cúrcuma


Bathroom lighting


In addition, there are other areas such as bathrooms that are often underestimated, however, having nice and elegant bathrooms is also the key to relate the restaurant to a clean, modern and well-kept place. For this, the lighting should be arranged in a way that is functional but also accompanies the design and makes it pleasant and attractive.


Lighting of outdoor areas


Outdoors, on the other hand, are places in which to relax and spend time, and where lighting can change a lot. In spaces of this type, such as terraces, the lighting will vary at each point, such as passageways, lighting on walls or vegetation, and it is also advisable to use discreet ornamental lights that create a close and welcoming atmosphere and recessed lights in the floor that point the way.


Issues to consider when lighting a restaurant


Within a restaurant there should be different levels of lighting adapted to each specific area. While one area is for sitting and enjoying, another is for welcoming people and so it changes at each point in the restaurant. The important thing is to use different intensities according to each space to guide customers and make them feel comfortable at every moment of the whole experience.


In this sense, an important issue in the lighting of a restaurant is also to have the possibility to create different scenes for each moment. The lighting should not be the same for breakfast as for dinner, so it is necessary to have different scenes for each part of the day and above all to have in mind the atmosphere that you want to create.


Finally, one of the most important factors in restaurant lighting is the CRI of the luminaires. It is necessary to use luminaires with a CRI above 80 to ensure not only that the interior colours pop as planned, but also to make sure that the dishes are appetising and show their natural colours and textures.


Lighting control in a restaurant


As in any other space, the lighting in a restaurant changes throughout the day, so it is necessary to combine and regulate the luminaires to adapt to each moment.


To achieve this adaptation in each zone and at each specific time of day, it is no longer necessary to use complicated control systems with special wiring. With the Casambi home automation system this is much easier for several reasons:

  • No additional electrical installation is required.
  • The luminaires can be dimmed from a smartphone or tablet.
  • You can create scenes and groups of luminaires for every moment.
  • You can change its configuration without the need for a technician.
  • New luminaires can be added at any time.

Using a luminaire dimming system can also lead to significant energy savings, which means that not only will the restaurant be more comfortable and convenient, but also more sustainable.


At FARO Barcelona, we know that the lighting of a restaurant not only influences its architecture and interior design, but also directly influences its success. That is why we put our experience and knowledge at your service, so that your architectural or interior design project in a restaurant has the best aesthetic and functional results, do not hesitate to contact us!


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