By Ellie Batchiyska, Contributor
With the rise of influencer culture, social media is beginning to dominate and impact all aspects of the restaurant industry – from how chefs plate their food to how restaurateurs layout the dining space. It’s no surprise considering just how much diners rely on social media to make their dining decisions.
Research shows that 35% of diners have chosen to eat at a restaurant because they saw it on social media, with Instagram yielding 10% of that influence (and growing).
Due to Instagram’s visual nature, many of its users tend to assess eateries based on their photographic appeal. As a result, many restaurants have begun designing their restaurants with Instagram in mind, and they’ve gotten it down to a science.
Restaurant Lighting is Everything
Instagram in general favors light and clean interiors, from photos of homes to photos of microbreweries. Achieving Instagram-friendly lighting can be a serious matter of balance, however. You want to maintain an essence of warmth while still incorporating plenty of natural light through the use of skylights or large windows.
While many restaurants embody dim, romantic mood-lighting, this isn’t conducive to a flattering Instagram photo. Combine warmly-hued overhead lighting with natural light filtering in from your restaurant’s windows to achieve maximum Instagrammability.
It’s important to note that the light fixtures themselves contribute to your restaurant’s aesthetic, which will shine through in the backdrop of these photos. So, modern and stylish light fixtures go a long way.
De-clutter Your Dining Room Layout
For the purpose of a photogenic background in your diners’ photos, you should probably avoid an over-cluttered dining layout with tables clustered together in a grid-like pattern. Not only does this interfere with the pleasant dining experience, it detracts from the cozy ambiance of photos.
Furthermore, potential diners can’t appreciate the rest of your restaurant’s aesthetic if all they see in photos are other diners awkwardly captured in the background.
Keep a sprawled and open floor plan to give the impression that your restaurant offers space and privacy.
Get Colorful & Creative
Instagram is setting a trend for “colorful and kitschy” design. Well, perhaps not Instagram itself, but certainly its users. Between “unicorn foods” and interior murals, it’s no doubt the most photogenic eateries are the ones that stand out.
Fundera even put together a list of elements that contribute to viral restaurant design, including:
Eye-catching wall art. Specifically lively wallpapers, decorative floor tiles, and neon signs. All of these aspects go together to create a vibrant atmosphere and appealing backdrop for photos.
Exterior feature wall. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an influencer without a photo in front of an outdoor feature wall. These murals attract passersby and even diners whose main inspiration to try your restaurant is to get a photo in front of the feature wall. It could even quickly become a landmark.
Comfy but chic furniture. The tables and chairs you choose matter. Choose seating that matches with the décor of your restaurant and still looks comfortable. Comfort is easily conveyed through photos.
If you’re on a budget or having trouble coming up with unique ideas, professional restaurant designers swear by these three strategies:
Less is more. A minimalist restaurant design is always more appealing than an overwhelming one.
Flea market finds can really add personality for an Instagram-friendly restaurant design.
Chalkboard walls are a cheap, fun, and interactive addition.
Nobody really knows why plants have become such a staple of stylish interior design lately, but they are. They contribute to the clean and airy look that so many Instagrammers favor. So, consider implementing some hanging plants around your restaurant to add a pop of color.
Or, if your restaurant has an outdoor patio, ivy-covered terraces and walls also contribute a cozy and romantic feel. Indoor plants are especially photogenic in modern, minimalist restaurants that are looking to embody an industrial vibe. They’ll soften that aesthetic nicely and give your eatery a homey feel, which is the goal with your new Instagram-friendly restaurant.
Instagram-friendly restaurant design is a delicate balance between the comforts of home and the eclecticism of a local hot-spot. With these facets in place, it’ll be sure to attract attention on social media – and about town.
About the Author
Ellie Batchiyska is a writer for Table Bases, a leading supplier of custom table bases and table tops for restaurants. Her expertise lies in interior and exterior design for restaurants, cafes, and other eateries.