Restaurant Lighting Featured Image

Restaurant lighting may not seem as important as other business affairs, but it can drastically dictate the atmosphere you are trying to present. If it’s too dark, your customers may not be able to read the menus or see other party members clearly. If it’s too light, it may be a bit bright for sensitive eyes. Whether it’s simply the aesthetic value of the establishment or for functional purposes, you would be surprised how different light affects us all.

Here are some things to consider when lighting a restaurant:

Creating Ambiance

When you’re trying to create ambiance in your restaurant, lighting can make or break the mood. Color temperature plays a big part in the overall atmosphere of your foodservice establishment. For example, in a more upscale restaurant, a warmer color temperature works well. Anything between 1800-2700K will do the trick. If you manage a quick-serve restaurant, however, you could still use warmer temperatures, but we would recommend something a bit cooler. Maybe in the 2700-3500K range. This brings a more casual aura to the place.

Dimming The Lights

If you want to further enhance the mood of your restaurant, being able to dim the lights provides great range. This comes in handy when your restaurant has a banquet hall. With multi-zoned lighting, you can easily dim this area to keep the mood classy and sustain proper brightness throughout the rest of the business. A halogen lamp is useful in this scenario. They typically start at 3,000K, so as you dim it, the temperature dips with a warmer result. This new warm tone creates an intimate vibe.

Showcasing Art and Decorations

We’re going for pretty AND functional here. You want your customers to clearly see the effort you put into building atmosphere, and with the proper lighting, you can achieve this. You must ask yourself “Where is the focal point of the table and room?”. Visualizing the elements that you want your customers to focus on will greatly assist you. See which lighting fixtures surround the object(s), and aim said fixtures so that the light beams towards where you want to highlight. And if the angle isn’t just right, you can always quickly adjust it. This doesn’t just apply to decorations. If your customers can’t properly see their menus, use the light to your advantage so that they’re not kept in the dark.


We could go on and on about what makes or breaks lighting in a restaurant, but the most important part is experimentation. You are the only one that can properly dictate the mood you’re trying to convey, and by experimenting with different fixtures, temperatures, and placements, you can achieve any outcome you desire.