Updating the interior of your restaurant can be scary. If you’re not careful, a redesign can blow your budget, interrupt service, and ultimately change how patrons perceive your restaurant — for better or for worse.

On the flip side, you really can’t go wrong with a fresh coat of paint or new, clean curtains. There are ways to be smart about interior design, so it doesn’t eat up your funds or hamstring your service.

Rather than a costly remodel, a few small, thoughtful upgrades here and there can go a long way toward reviving flagging decor. Here are eight of our favorite low-cost, high-return ideas.

 

Go Green

What’s more refreshing than a little plant life? A few low-maintenance plants, like spider plants, golden pothos, or some uber-trendy succulents can breathe life into the lackluster decor. There are several species — like peace lilies — that filter the air to keep your space feeling cleaner and fresher. Healthier interiors lead to happier customers!

 

Opt for Unorthodox Light Fixtures

A signature accent piece is a great way to boost any room’s decor. A very unobtrusive way to accomplish this is to hang some unusual light fixtures. For example, bare-bulb industrial pendant lights work well to reinforce a restaurant’s stripped-down approach to upscale fare, while draped strands of string lights impart a dreamy feel to a romantic bistro. The options are virtually limitless here, so don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild.

 

Redesign Your Menu

New menu, new you. A menu redesign is a simple, elegant way to spice up your restaurant’s design and can often offer inspiration for larger restaurant interior design elements. For instance, for an old-fashioned supper club-style restaurant, a chalkboard menu in retro typography helps diners understand the concept while serving as an attractive wall decoration. There is nothing like killing two birds with one stone.

 

Give It a Fresh Coat of Paint

You’d be surprised what a new coat of paint can do to boost an eatery’s visual appeal. Choose a bright, on-trend color like turquoise, dusty rose, or earthy green—or go for a classic color scheme like white, gray, or cream. As long as it’s clean and neat, it can’t do anything but help your restaurant’s decor.

 

Change Up the Chairs

Buying ten new booths will cost you several thousand dollars; meanwhile, you can get trendy bistro-style chairs for around $50 each. For a truly bold statement, choose a finish in a bright, eye-catching color — or paint it yourself in your desired hue. It can really lighten up your space.

 

Choose Some Unique Dinnerware

Your smallwares offer another chance to enhance your restaurant concept. Bright colors or unusual materials can make a real statement here. We’ve seen restaurants opting for some truly offbeat fare: slate tiles used as cheese boards or metal scoops used in place of standard dinnerware. For those who prefer traditional plates, we recommend Wabi Sabi ceramics. These slightly off-kilter plates and bowls make every meal special.

 

Spruce Up Your Landscaping

The outside of your restaurant says as much about your concept and general ambiance as your interior. Great landscaping can draw customers inside and brighten a patio or other outdoor seating. A vertical garden takes up little space and acts as outdoor art. Another idea is to opt for a trellis, herb garden, or water feature to add a vibrant, tranquil feel to your space.

 

Add a Creative Bar Top

Your bar is a focal point of your restaurant’s decor, offering a chance to express your eatery’s style and reflect your overall concept. Resurfacing your bar top with a unique material, like wine bottle labels or pennies — or even something more traditional, such as copper sheeting or distressed wood — is a fairly straightforward update that will add a little something extra to your interior design.

 

With one or more of these decor updates, your space will feel like a brand new restaurant, so you can put your energy into the work you know and love. Happy redecorating!