Although interior design does not change as quickly as fashion design does it is important to realise, that in as little as five years, if you don’t change your décor you will end up with an interior looking tired and out of date.
Dark, dingy places with sticky table tops and worn furniture were unpleasant places to be and these have been replaced with establishments using lots of natural light and comfortable seating. This started to happen with the smoking ban and the change that occurred in customers drinking habits. Over the last several years the hospitality industry has seen significant changes with customers becoming more selective as to where they spend their money. To compete in this market you must be looking to develop excellent quality and service in an inviting, comfortable environment.
The furniture you choose is very important as it is one of the first things that your customers will see when they enter. Although it may seem a large outlay at first, the impression it makes to your customers is key. You may have a great bar or restaurant, but if your furnishings and décor are wrong the customer may not even decide to stay.
You don’t have to be spend a fortune on a refurbishment as you have the main structures in place with your bar and kitchens. A simple re-polish of a wood bar, good lighting and a new, clean surface can make all the difference. Cleverly highlighted features of your establishment can be incorporated into your design and adding some plush fabrics can finish off a great new look.
Before purchasing any new furniture, make sure you have considered the style of your establishment and what you will be offering your customers. Make sure that your design reflects what you are offering your potential customers and that the furniture compliments this. Many places are now mixing old and new pieces of furniture together very successfully adding a touch of homely, quirkiness to bars and restaurants.
Not all restaurants, bars or pubs have the luxury of an expert design team on hand like the big chains and that’s where specialist designers can help you.
When choosing a designer make sure that they have the experience of the hospitality trade that you are in and not a designer who is more used to working on domestic properties. How your establishment operates is as crucial as the design and an experienced designer will know how to make this all work together.
It is often difficult to explain to a designer exactly what you are looking for so to help you put your design across collect lots of images of things that you like, look around other hotels, bars and restaurants for inspiration or home, fashion and trade magazines. The more information you can provide on what you like will get you a better result in the end, so don’t hold back on putting your own ideas forward.
Restaurant design has gone through a very neutral phase, where everyone was using natural finishes and browns and beige upholstery. We then saw the shift to a much lighter and fresher feel, making the most of the natural light available and using comfortable furniture and textured fabrics.
Today we appear to be split into two trend camps, there are those restaurants following an “urban industrialism” style that features stripping everything back to raw materials and simple seating. This has its routes in the vintage style going on in the fashion world. The other style trending is where the emphasis is on luxury and the fabrics, textures and colours are the focal point of the design. Fabrics and wallpapers are also taking inspiration from the fashion world with many featuring animal prints and traditional designs.
Make sure that you do your homework thoroughly as to what you are offering and who your target customer is and then have some fun with your design and create the venue that everyone wants to return to, time and time again.
Follow this link to take a look at the shortlist of bars and restaurants nominated for the 2012 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards
Author : Tracey Sanders