Colour Psychology Series 1: Colour in restaurant design

Colour Psychology Series 1: Colour in restaurant design.

Colour can be used to influence a person’s mood on the most basic of all the subconscious levels. Throughout our loves, we come to associate certain colours with certain meanings. In restaurant design, this can be a powerful tool. Colour has such a large spectrum, so while we are discussing colour on a more generic level in this post, each colour mentioned has a wide range of tones and shades which also vary in the mood they subconsciously are associated with.


Red is a very stimulating colour and can make people feel energized and passionate. While it’s perfectly justifiable to say that for some restaurants, you want people to feel passionate, energised, and associate their food with being good value for money.


Commonly associated with food, orange, if used in moderation and alongside other complimentary colour tones, can create feelings of passion, fun, warmth and comfort. All of these can be beneficial for a restaurant.


When you think of yellow, you think of sunshine, optimism, and high self-esteem.  Yellow is very effective for attracting attention, so use it to highlight the most important elements of your design.

It produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, stimulates mental activity, and generates
muscle energy. When overused, yellow may have a disturbing effect.


Widely associated with nature, refreshment and harmony is a good colour to use within restaurant design. The colour green can enhance your customers feeling of comfort, and being at-ease, both of these will help leave positive associations with the restaurant. In recent years, a design bringing inspiration in from nature and raw using materials has become a trend. Exploring the colour psychology behind the colour association behind the colour green expands this. When you think of the colour green food, you think of fresh produce, good quality organic food and healthiness. After eating these foods, you will find that you feel better, more alive and full of energy.


From a young age society is raised to associate blue with masculinity can also be associated with calmness, being sad and water. One could assume that a feeling of sadness is not a theme you should aim to create in any restaurant. But, as I previously mentioned in the introduction the colour has such a wide range of tones and shades within it, that blue can be successfully used in any restaurant design and generate feelings of being calm, and relaxed without generating feelings of sadness.


Often associated with loyalty being a spiritual, magical, creative, extravagant and luxurious colour, purple can also symbolise decadence.

Purple for this reason is quite commonly used in bedrooms and dining rooms. This can be a powerful tool in restaurant design, by using purple details you can generate feelings of extravagance and stimulation in a soothing environment.


Coming from the red family, pink can affect people in a similar ways, but where red may stimulate, pink will sooth. Being associated with feminine energy and love it a strong and soothing colour, often identified with sweetness and like anything sweet, an overdose of this sensation can leave you feeling, overwhelmed, sick and drained.  So while some pink can be beneficial, too much can be negative.


A colour commonly associated with glamour, security, sophistication and class but it is also widely associated with darkness and seriousness. Having details and accessories in black, for instance, black finishes on table-tops can help to bring forward the positive associations. Being a background colour black will not make a statement and not draw attention to itself. The side effect of this is that it will make your interior feel instantly smaller, it is also the absorbent colour, especially with light energy, and will make spaces feel warmer.

It denotes strength and authority; it is considered to be a very formal, elegant, and    prestigious color.


The most hygienic of the colours, associated with purity, clarity, simplicity, efficiency, lightness and openness. The downside is that white is dirtied easily, so it requires a lot of upkeep. The colour can be used to make rooms look lighter and in effect can make an interior appear larger as it will reflect light more than it will absorb it.