How Social Media is Revolutionizing Restaurant Design

As if starting a restaurant business wasn’t hard enough, restauranteurs now have a new consideration to take into account: the impacts of social media. You may think this is in regards to how they style their foods, which isn’t entirely untrue. Many chefs have had to step up their plating in order to make the foodie hashtags on Instagram, but we’re talking interior design.

Suddenly, the ambiance of a restaurant is equally as important as the quality of its food. More and more diners are choosing eateries based on the Instagram photos showcasing their atmosphere.


Good lighting is everything when it comes to photos, right? No matter how many filters you put on a photo, it can’t fix a poor lighting situation. For the purposes of social media, your restaurant’s lighting should be neither too bright nor too dark.

Overly dim lighting may be good for setting a romantic mood, but it’s not conducive to flattering Instagram photos. Furthermore, it’s important to note that direct lighting rarely makes for a relaxing dining experience or a complimentary photo.

As a result, soft indirect lighting is your best bet. With a mixture of warm overhead lighting consisting of Edison bulbs (known for their orangey glow) and bits of natural light from window fixtures, Instagram photos of your restaurant are sure to be favorable. This goes for photographs of your restaurant’s interior and the dishes it serves.

Cold lighting is both unappetizing and unnerving, moods you don’t want in your restaurant, so avoid fluorescent overhead diner-style lights. Keep the light fixtures themselves attractive too. Stylish chandeliers and wall lighting can serve as an excellent backdrop for customer photos.


Your restaurant should mirror the Instagram-favored interiors that currently fill the site – an equal balance of plush and modern. Comfortable seating is essential, so invest in chairs that make social media viewers think, I want to be there.

Take it a step further and allow your restaurant design to mimic a living room vibe. Throw pillows and blankets, candle lighting, and other touches should elicit a feeling of home that conveys a mood of comfort through the screen.

While the seating at restaurants was previously overlooked, it is now a crucial aspect of your eatery’s social media draw. This goes for the tables you choose too. The entire aesthetic should be original, so shoot for custom table bases with unique tabletops (think granite on metal legs or reclaimed wood on chrome for an industrial vibe).

If you’re a restaurant owner at a complete loss and on a budget, professional restaurant designers swear by these three guidelines:

  1. A simple aesthetic can suggest luxury, so don’t overdo it.
  2. Flea market picks can give your restaurant a sense of personality.
  3. Chalkboard walls are a fun and contemporary addition to any restaurant.


The sprawled and spacious dining layout is most preferred for Instagrammable restaurant design. Tables should not be placed too close together, and should not be in a grid-like pattern. Not only is this an unpleasant setup for diners, but a crowded restaurant with individuals eating does not make for a good photo backdrop.

At the same time, you don’t want your restaurant to come across as empty, so keeping an open floor plan will give a sense of liveliness for social media.

Restaurant owners should embrace their restaurant’s interior design as part of their social media marketing efforts. Nowadays, a beautifully plated filet mignon is just as appealing as an ivy-covered terrace with fairy lights when it comes to choosing where to dine. It may seem silly to build your restaurant around your customers’ photos, but it just might give your business a reasonable boost.

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