Restaurant Design: Lighting

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Lighting is one of the key elements in giving a restaurant its character and atmosphere. Beyond the basic level of light necessary for any space, the patron’s experience of the restaurant is heightened by the quality of light and decorative aspects of the lighting fixtures.

There are 3 main types of lighting:

  • Ambient lighting, which provides a basic lighting level to a large area of a room
  • Task lighting, which provides light to a specific area
  • Accent lighting, which provides dramatic light to a feature such as artwork, decorative items or collection




In this contemporary design, pendant LED strip lights create visual interest and add task lighting to the communal table. In the bar area beyond, recessed spotlights provide task lighting and accent lighting brings attention to the alcove on the back wall. In the suspended ceiling above, recessed lights provide ambient lighting for the entire


The design for these pendant spheres was based on an original fixture from the era of this historic dining room. They are decorative and provide the ambient lighting for the entire large space. On the back wall, glass sconces provide accent lighting to the wall


The lighting for this bar area comes from ambient lighting at the ceiling and pendant task lights over the bar. The fixtures are a double layer of glass – clear on the layer, milk glass on the


This historic vault space turned restaurant has all 3 types of lighting in the dining area. These are separately controlled. At the highest level, light fixtures on a track provide ambient lighting. Lower down, pendant fan lights provide task lighting (and air movement) to the tables below. Along the back wall and behind a cornice, accent lights provide dramatic light to the custom prints in the alcoves.




See our other articles about Space Flow, Seating and Details in Restaurant Design.