How To Choose Chandeliers for Restaurants
When it comes to the fine dining landscape these days, the devil is in the details. Every detail, right down to the mood lighting, can make or break your restaurant’s ambiance and environment. A poorly-lit restaurant can create a circus-like or otherwise unpleasant environment. Take the time to research your light needs and take into account the subtleties of the space, as well as the ambiance you desire to achieve, in order to make the best lighting decisions for your establishment. You may need to come up with a few different lighting scenarios for different times of the day or the different seasons due to the varying availability in natural light.
Our unique wood chandeliers offer a beautiful option for restaurant décor. We can provide you with a variety of chandeliers in different styles which can provide excellent lighting and decorative pizazz. For most of our chandeliers, you can choose the light bulbs that you install in the light fixture. This enables restaurant owners to adapt our light fixtures to their precise lighting needs. Familiarize yourself with the concept of color temperatures by reading this article to learn more about the types of light bulbs that will optimize patrons’ restaurant experiences.
We offer a variety of chandelier types providing both direct illumination and more decorative lighting concepts. Our chandeliers can add elegance to your bar, dining area, lounge area, menu boards, outdoor and patio, restrooms, and even stockroom and/or cooking area.
Ask yourself the right questions before you begin
Lighting is very important for a restaurant. A poorly-lit or inappropriately-illuminated restaurant can completely ruin the restaurant experience for guests and visitors to the establishment. Also, different spaces require different lighting. Food preparation areas will need more light than areas that are primarily reserved for customers, such as the main entrance or the dining space. In order to properly utilize lighting for a restaurant, you must take into consideration many factors, including:
What atmosphere do you seek to create at the restaurant?
Typically, guests will stay in a pleasant atmosphere longer than they will stay in an environment that makes them uncomfortable. Seek to create a pleasant ambiance so that customers will stay longer and spend more money at your establishment.
What type of venue are you trying to illuminate? (Bar, Dining Area, Outdoor Patio, etc.)
Bar lighting can be more subtle than restaurant lighting due to the necessity to include both mood lighting and “task” lighting. Outdoor patios may also require more bright lights and different kinds of lights than indoors. Restaurant food preparation areas will require more task lighting than customer dining areas.
How will the light fixtures use the space in the restaurant? Are they meant primarily to provide light or will they serve a decorative function as well?
In your lighting decisions, seek to create a balance between ambient and task lighting. The ideal lighting schema should incorporate both functional and aesthetic components. A chandelier is the perfect decorative source of diffuse light and can be combined with other types of light with attention to detail to achieve the perfect lighting effect.
What is the purpose of the lighting in each part of the restaurant space?
Mood lighting can be of very low illumination level and seeks to create a relaxing and warm environment for patrons. Task lighting will be necessary for your patrons to accomplish tasks such as seeing the menu or being able to see and navigate the bathroom.
- Are you trying to adhere to a color scheme or seeking to maintain continuity in your overall decorative theme in the restaurant?
Use light to enhance your color scheme. The way we see color depends on the amount of light absorbed by an object and how the light source works.
Thanks to the advancement of light bulb technologies, you can offer your guests a unique restaurant experience using energy-efficient LED light bulbs that are available in various hues including red, blue, green, orange, and yellow. Try to use light bulbs which create this hued glow sparingly, however; less is more!
- What do you want the final result to look like?
Some restaurants seek to create a homier, cozy feel with lower lighting, while other restaurants have a more functional lighting schema. Decide what you want the final result to look like, and what overall atmosphere you seek to create. Then choose your light fixtures to reflect this. A chandelier can be a perfect decorative piece at a restaurant, serving as a visual point of interest that also provides soft, ambient light.
- What time of day will the lighting schema be used?
You want to consider creating a different ambiance for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; or consider creating a different lighting setup for peak times versus times when there are few customers.
Taking time to make your restaurant’s lighting decisions with utmost attention to subtlety and detail will be very helpful, especially in today’s fine dining landscape. For example, you may want to seek to install bright lights near a food station or buffet table so that your guests can be able to see the table and food options, while you may want to choose more subdued lighting over and near customers’ seating areas.
When making these decisions, remember that your customers should have the highest priority.
Utilize layered lighting principles
In lighting your restaurant, take time to pay attention to the details and employ subtlety just as you would with the more tangible aspects of the restaurant, such as selecting tables and silverware. You will need to use both indirect lighting, such as diffuse, soft lighting from a pendant lamp or chandelier, as well as direct lighting, in which points of light are shone directly on an object to enhance its features. For the best lighting, seek to utilize many different types of light which accomplish different goals, both functional and stylistic.
Many restaurants do not take their lighting concept into consideration when designing their restaurant, focusing only on décor. Unfortunately, their business will suffer, because customers will spend less time and money in a place in which they feel uncomfortable. Take some time to work on the details of your lighting strategy using both direct and indirect light. Your attention to the details will pay off!
Menu boards, for example, will require more direct, focused light than a dining area. Dining areas that are too bright, however, will create an uncomfortable experience for your guests and they will spend less time in your restaurant.
Areas such as bars are known for having more mellow and softer lighting schemas and do not need as much direct lighting. However, you may wish to use spotlights to shine light onto the bottles of beer and wine at your bar so that guests can see them better and to direct their attention to the bar.
Familiarize yourself with the different kinds of lighting techniques you can utilize in your restaurant
The concept of layered lighting means that designers should employ many different types of lighting to achieve a unified look and environment. Ideally, proper lighting design should have three basic layers: ambient, task, and accent lighting.
Ambient lighting is a term that refers to the general lighting of a room. Ambient lighting can be used to create a comforting atmosphere for restaurant guests. Ambient light sources can include natural light (sunlight) or artificial light provided by overhead fixtures such as chandeliers or pendant lights. Ambient lighting enables people to see and move around.
- Task lighting: As its name implies, task lighting is lighting that is used to accomplish a specific task - such as food preparation or reading a menu. Task lighting is essential for both customers and restaurant employees. Task lighting can include bright overhead lights or a table lamp.
- Accent lighting: Accent lighting adds drama and intrigue to your dining space. Accent lighting also enables the accentuation of various visual features of your restaurant. Create a focal point to draw guests’ attention, e.g., by highlighting a piece of artwork, by using accent lighting. Another example of accent lighting is the use of light bulbs in fun colors such as red, blue, green, or purple. You may opt for an exciting pop of color using an energy-efficient LED light in a unique hue to decorate the restaurant’s bar.
Light sources can often belong to more than one category in different circumstances. While a light fixture in an outdoor patio can be thought of as accent lighting during the day, it becomes ambient lighting at night in the absence of sunlight.
Use different types of light sources strategically to enhance colors in your color scheme
The vast majority of our wooden chandeliers enable you to use light bulbs of your choice to illuminate your restaurant. You should choose your light types and sources wisely with an eye to what colors they may mute or enhance in your restaurant’s color scheme. This will enable you to create the most stunning visual experience at your restaurant. Different types of light include natural light, or sunlight, and artificial light, such as light bulbs. Types of artificial light sources includes: incandescent, fluorescent, halogens, and energy-efficient LED bulbs.
Natural light is different at different times of day, and obviously, sunlight is not present at night, necessitating the use of artificial light. Artificial lights also differ in quality depending on which light bulb type you choose.
Incandescent light offers a warm yellow glow that will enhance red, orange, and yellow, while making blues and greens appear less vivid. Fluorescent bulbs are flat and cool and can be used to enhance blues and greens. Compact fluorescent bulbs, also known as CFLs, can be used to create a warm neutral white or white-blue light. Halogen light is very similar to natural light and can be used at night to transition from sunlight. Energy-efficient LED lights are available in either cool or warm shades. While some of our chandeliers do include light bulbs, many of our chandeliers do not come with light bulbs, which leaves restauranteurs free to do some research and determine what type of light bulbs your restaurant requires to achieve their lighting goals.
In order to evaluate the effect of light on your restaurant’s color scheme, including the lighting scheme in your design decisions. For example, take samples of carpet and paint swatches to evaluate under different kinds of light.
Be cognizant of “Color Temperature”
Make sure that lighting enhances the visual appeal of food and drink as well as emphasizes restaurant décor. Familiarize yourself with the concept of color temperature (“correlated color temperature,” or CCT, for lighting geeks) so that you can maximize the visual experience of your guests. Color temperature refers to the range of wavelengths – that is, colors – that are emphasized or de-emphasized by a particular light source, such as sunlight or a light bulb. Color temperatures are expressed in degrees Kelvin (abbreviated by the letter “K”). Counterintuitively, “warmer” colors such as yellows, oranges, and reds are indeed cooler in temperature.
Color temperatures over 5000 K are called “cool” and are more bluish-white in appearance. Color temperatures below 5000K are called “warm” and are more yellowish and red. Cooler color temperatures work best in environments which seek to promote calmness and alertness, while warmer color temperatures make space seem cozier and more inviting.
Warm color temperatures correspond with rich browns such as found in wooden furniture, as well as golds and reds. Cooler color temperatures correspond with blues, silvers, and white colors in the restaurant space.
Research indicates that the flavor and experience of a meal is closely tied to all of its sensory properties – including vision, sound, smell, and touch in addition to taste. With the wrong lighting, a customer about to dig into a juicy steak may be surprised to discover that, under the restaurant’s lighting, their steak looks orange rather than red. With rare exception, nobody wants to bite into a strangely-hued hamburger!
Typically, for restaurants, warmer color temperatures are ideal. For fancy, upscale restaurants, aim for an overall warm color temperature range of 1800-2700K. For fast food places and casual dining restaurants that are more grab-and-go establishments, your color temperature can be slightly cooler – these establishments should feature lighting that is in the color temperature range of 2700-3500K.
Of course, this includes colors that are in your restaurant décor as well as the colors of the foods you serve. For example, if your restaurant serves primarily salads, you may want to choose light sources that work to emphasize the green color in your restaurant fare’s lettuce and greens. Of course, most restaurants do not only serve salads, so this is a very basic example. In the salad restaurant example, you may want to opt for a cooler color temperature with a bluish-white light that accentuates the freshness of the leafy greens served at your establishment.
Once you have identified the desired color temperature of the lights at your restaurant, look for light bulbs which can provide the desired color temperature you seek. Here are a few approximate color temperature values for reference. A candle flame has a color temperature of about 1850K, while a standard incandescent lamp is about 2400K and a “warm white” LED bulb is about 3000K. The color temperature of sunlight in an overcast day is about 6500K, while on a sunny day, it is about 5000K.
Low versus bright lighting
Low and bright lighting should both be used strategically in your restaurant. Low lighting does wonders for a restaurant atmosphere as it can make the space warm, intimate, and inviting. Candlelit dinners are a good example of a restaurant ambiance with low light. This low level of light can even be considered romantic. Remember to make sure to include sufficient task lighting in low light so that your guests can move around safely and easily and can read menus and find the bathroom, for example.
Bright lighting is ideal for restaurants with a high-energy ambiance. Smoothie shops, health food cafes, and family-friendly restaurants are a great place for bright lighting because this type of lighting keeps patrons stimulated and awake. During the day, you can create bright lighting in your restaurant by using large windows which let in natural light. At night, bright overhead lighting can create a similar effect.
Consider different lighting schemas for different times of day
Different times of day, such as early morning or late at night, require different types of lighting. You would not use the bright light that is characteristic of an early breakfast in a sunny diner at 11 pm in a relaxed late-night lounge restaurant. Be cognizant of the light needs of your patrons and staff during various times of the day. You may want to invest in a dimmer or an automated lighting system that automatically adjusts the brightness levels of your light fixtures throughout the day.
Of course, your restaurant may only be open during lunch or dinner, or only be a brunch and breakfast nook. In that case, you do not need to worry about a lighting design for all three mealtimes. However, you may want to consider different types of lighting for the different seasons, as sunrise and sundown times vary from season to season, and this will affect the availability of bright natural light throughout the day, and may require additional artificial light fixtures in your establishment. Here are some recommendations for lighting your restaurant space at the different times of day:
Breakfast: At breakfast time, seek to use bright, stimulating light. In most places in the world, you will be able to use natural light – sunlight – to accomplish this. Make sure that your space has windows that will let a significant amount of natural light into your restaurant. If your space does not have windows, consider using bright lights such as LED, halogen or fluorescent lights to brighten the space. In the morning, restaurant patrons should feel energized as they enjoy breakfast out and begin their day.
Lunch: Lunchtime destinations should be moderately well-lit. If you are seeking to illuminate a space where customers only stop in for a quick grab-and-go meal, such as at a fast food place, brighter lighting can help customers get in and out of your restaurant more quickly, which can bring in more customers and correspondingly, more revenue for your business.
- Dinner: Typically, dinner places offer more subdued lighting, especially in fancier restaurants that rely heavily on ambient lighting from chandeliers and other ceiling-mounted lights such as pendant lights. Romantic low lighting, provided by chandeliers or even a few table lamps or candles, is the norm for many fancy restaurants. The goal of restaurant dinnertime meals is to foster a good environment conducive to spending more time in the restaurant – which translates to greater profits – allowing patrons to enjoy food, drink, and the company of friends and/or family.
There is no “recipe” for great restaurant lighting!
When it comes to illuminating a restaurant, there is no one-size-fits all solution that will make every restaurant perfectly lit. You may not realize why lighting in a room or space looks so great, but will be able to recognize that it does. The best lighting schemas seek to incorporate many different types of light in order to create a specific effect. Lighting schemas that are well-received are successful due to a combination of the room’s architecture, design, materials, colors, and lighting. Ideally, light levels should vary as you move through the different spaces in a restaurant. Food prep areas will require a high level of illumination, while dining tables require a lower level of illumination.
How you light the spaces in your restaurant will determine how your guests perceive and respond to the environment. Take some time to do the research and experimenting required to create a unique lighting design that enhances the environment and decor of your restaurant and improves the customer experience. This will help you create a restaurant space that enables patrons to spend time in a pleasant environment where they can enjoy food and leave feeling inspired and satisfied.