Modern Bar & Restaurant Design Trends for 2023 and Beyond

When opening a cafe, restaurant, or bar, you need to be prepared for the inevitable problem of competition. Dozens of new establishments are closing and opening every day worldwide, and grabbing customers’ attention has become a top priority. In this race, the winners are usually establishments where every detail is carefully thought out – and this applies not only to the menu, location, and way of promotion but also to the design.

In the evaluation of cafes and restaurants, the interior and exterior play no less important role than the kitchen. However, today many restaurant critics point to an interesting trend: the striking external similarity of most establishments. This phenomenon is usually associated with the fact that many today simply do not have the time to look for something special or just okay – and try to choose what is predictable, at least visually.

Perhaps such mimicry is quite reasonable, but those who want to create a restaurant with a unique concept for true connoisseurs still look closely at the current trends in the design of bars and cafes when opening or renovating their establishment. We invite you to evaluate the bar and restaurant design trends for 2023 based on the core values – comfort, adaptability, and a unique story.

Handcrafted Brand Identity

In 2023, designers are emphasizing hand-made and custom-made interior solutions for restaurants and cafes. Such techniques allow you to create a place with a specific atmosphere, make it recognizable, and acquire your own brand identity. Among the most requested finishes and furnishings this and next year are:

  • bar counters, chairs, and stools according to an exclusive design with hand-made elements;
  • unusual furniture as a visiting card of the institution as a whole;
  • hand-applied creative pattern on the wallpaper;
  • graffiti, frescoes, and murals – authentic, made by invited or familiar artists.

A notable feature of such solutions is that they successfully combine relevance and references to the past. Thanks to them, the trend “like yesterday, like today, and like tomorrow”, incredibly popular among designers, becomes easy to implement.

Eco-friendly Alternatives

The Eco-friendly style is one of the top interior design styles this year, and designers are sure it will last for a long, at least for the next few seasons. First of all, sustainable materials and design solutions are great for a healthy ambiance in your establishment. Secondly, visitors are very attracted today by places that promote environmental protection. It is a perfect opportunity to grow your business, redefine your restaurant, bar, or cafe design concept, and make a positive impact on nature. 

Replace the usual sources of material for your furnishing and decor with sustainable ones, such as wood, rattan, wicker, sisal, vegan leather, and organic fabrics. Don’t forget to add a few individual touches with nature-inspired patterns and colors on your decor; consider live greeneries or green walls so your visitors can taste nature directly at your place.

Catch the Retro Vibe

To furnish your restaurant or bar with furniture reminiscent of the fifties, you can declare the concept as something other than retro. Today, such an environment is equally in demand in modern and eclectic and even in the eco-interiors of public food service establishments. Today the following furniture options are offered for them:

  • laconic chairs made of wood or plastic on a metal base;
  • armchairs and sofas with futuristic shapes;
  • furniture with slightly worn velvet upholstery;
  • tables with rounded corners made of plastic or wood;
  • furnishings in soft, calm colors.

Equally popular is the very intriguing trend of mixing new and old furniture: designers see nothing wrong with combining custom-made chairs and tables with authentic models found somewhere at flea markets or garage sales. This approach allows you to create a design that has its own unique story.

Food Hall

The combination of various food serving providers in the same place, where you can experience a bit of each cuisine and culture, has become more of a cultural hall concept, and designers are very proud to claim their prominent relevance in the new design season. A place where you can taste food and culture all at once is a great design choice, particularly now when intercultural connection is a key aspect in the contemporary world. Besides, it works perfectly for promoting local food serving providers and bringing communities together.

Ceiling as a Piece of Art

For those who are far from the restaurant industry, it may seem that ceiling decoration is, in principle, not a very important part of the design, but this is far from the case. With a careless attitude to this plane, there is a risk of creating an uncomfortable perception of the space for guests, as well as leaving a feeling of incompleteness, because of which the interior of a bar or restaurant will seem ill-conceived and “quick-and-dirty”.

Designers have proposed two approaches for the ceiling in 2023. The first one is the maximum open ceiling space, making the interior more airy and voluminous and visually increasing the establishment area. There is no special decor for such a solution. All the communications elements passing through the ceiling are organically built into the interior and painted to match the ceiling’s color.

The second option is to present overhead space as one of the restaurant’s key design elements as a whole. For this, exclusive installations, metal, plastic, and wood structures, and even fabric compositions developed based on individual sketches can be used. In combination with the restaurant’s main style motive, such a ceiling becomes a natural continuation of the design concept and provides important uniqueness. A vivid example of a successful design is the JIS restaurant in the Japanese city of Sapporo, where the ceiling is stylized as an overcast cloudy sky, the Shizuku cafe in Portland, where light waves of textiles create an airy mood, and the Kyiv restaurant BAO, offering to admire the play of colored mother-of-pearl overhead.

Table for One, Please

The new design season is about self-care, and local establishments for food serving would significantly enhance their design if they would go hand in hand with the latest trends. Raising well-being awareness, professionals tend to promote the ongoing trend of dining alone, having a cup of coffee alone, or enjoying your favorite meal alone. In this sense, the cafes particularly are encouraged to provide one-person tables for those who would like not to be disturbed. It all consists of the appropriate furniture layout. When visitors see their favorite dining place cares about their needs, they tend to return back more often than they might have probably dreamt of.

A Color Scheme for Each Concept

The binding of color design to the institution’s peculiarities is a tendency that was intuitively based on stereotypes of perception of a particular shade. It cannot be called entirely new, but in 2023, it acquires special significance and therefore is included in the list of the most relevant trends.

Depending on the level and focus of a restaurant or cafe, assigning a color code allows you to create an attractive atmosphere for customers and greatly facilitates the search for an establishment with a specific status and concept. So, designers suggest focusing on the following solutions:

  • bright, juicy colors like emerald, carmine, or purple in combination with natural wood textures – for ethnic establishments;
  • earthy, dark red, brown – for steak houses and bars;
  • natural greens, woody browns, and sunny yellows – for vegetarian cafes;
  • natural shades of stone, wood, and fog – for Japanese restaurants;
  • black, steel, chrome, and gold – for elite establishments;
  • light pastel palette – for children’s and family cafes.

“Inconvenient design”

A similar trend in food service establishments design is more relevant for bars and cafes operating in high-traffic areas and interested in more visitors’ traffic. Suppose cozy coffee houses with dim diffused light that imply a mood for long leisurely conversations in a pleasant company over a cup of cappuccino or herbal tea. In that case, the format for fashionable establishments for the next few years offers an entirely different approach.

In a nutshell, this concept can be described as “do not stay too long” – that is, the cafe owners assume that their guests will satisfy their hunger and thirst and give way to new visitors without wasting time or holding a table. You can hint at this today with the help of the following solutions:

  • open space layouts – completely open space without niches, booths, and nooks;
  • comfortable but laconic and functional furniture – primarily benches and stools instead of sofas and armchairs;
  • long tabletops and bar counters, including those located along the perimeter of the establishment.

All this does not mean at all that the interior of such an establishment should be uncomfortable and unfriendly for visitors. Warmth and light, stylish fixtures, and wall decor, with good food, will ensure your visitors a pleasant experience and a desire to revisit the cafe.

Tell Your Story

Cafes and restaurants operating for many years are more trusted, which is well understood by those who are just opening their establishments. Today, a restaurant with “history” is a kind of direction in the design of public food service, which allows you to increase the loyalty of potential visitors subtly.

Speaking about such an interior design, you should not think that we are talking here purely about the classic or vintage style. It may well be eco, modern, and even boho, but in the premises, in any case, it should be felt that the establishment has existed for a long time and, therefore, successfully. Designers have their own secrets for creating such an atmosphere:

  • slightly aged wood floors – possibly with a brushing effect;
  • heavy wood chairs without upholstery;
  • wooden shelves and cabinets – traditional, but at the same time “ageless”;
  • simultaneous use of matte and glossy stone;
  • stucco molding with slight defects;
  • handmade tiles, if possible, without patterns and ornaments.

Geometric ornaments, thin lines, tableware of a specific design for each dish, brick and velvet, wood and linen – textures and solutions for bars, restaurants, and cafes proposed by designers for 2023 allow us to develop unique interior solutions and ensure successful identification of the establishment among potential visitors.

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