Restaurant owners usually hire the best designers to create a dining atmosphere that will set their establishment apart from the competition.
This means guests will not only delight in the delicious food but also certainly marvel at the unique themes and décor they use.
Al fresco dining establishments, in particular, employ an abundance of artistry with their design. You would think that the natural setup of the outdoors would be their only attractive point but designers still come up with ingenious implements to make the setup even more pleasing to the eyes.
They experiment with landscaping and, of course, lighting.
Lighting Makes a Whole World of Difference for Outdoor Restaurants
Between landscaping and lighting to enhance the overall ambiance of outdoor restaurants, lighting ideas are much easier to implement. This is because not all outdoor restaurants have a good amount of space for landscaping, plus, there are the usual restrictions on land-moving work for commercial areas.
With lighting, on the other hand, there are more approaches to take that will allow it to serve its purpose of illuminating and beautifying the establishment. Here are some of the popular lighting trends al fresco dining restaurants use to stand out in a highly saturated restaurant scene as well as to create a lovely dining experience for their customers.
1. Marquee lights
These are commonly used to highlight the name of the restaurant. However, with battery-operated LED bulbs, you can also make little marquee signs for the outdoor menu and Instagram-worthy tabletop décor.
2. Bistro string lights
These are perfect for garden restaurants. These lights are strung overhead in different directions (to resemble a canopy most of the time) to provide a warm glow to the dining area. They’re like firefly lights up above, and most people find them incredibly charming and inviting.
3. Light-outlined walkways
LED strip lights are used to illuminate walkways inside and outside the restaurant. They make the establishment come alive and, at the same time, make paths easy to identify and safer to walk on.
Al fresco dining places also outline outdoor stairs with these lights to properly show the elevated steps. Most of the time, people’s depth perception morphs when it’s dark and it truly is helpful to have strip lights showing how high or deep surfaces are.
From an aesthetic point, this trend also easily meets the beauty standards of many – often remind people of the light extravaganza associated with the holidays.
4. String light-wrapped trees
This lighting design used to be only popular during the holidays, but a lot of outdoor restaurants now use it to highlight the vegetation surrounding their space. String light-wrapped trees create a magical al fresco-dining environment.
There are numerous ways to wrap trees with lights. However, one that a lot of people rave about is how little LED string lights are wrapped tightly around the trunk and branches of the tree and then made to hang down like vines. This lighting design achieves the look of an enchanted wisteria tree, which a lot of people find pleasant to look at.
5. DIY LED chandeliers
With energy-efficient and cool-to-touch LED lights being the preferred lighting for businesses, restaurant designers get to try a variety of DIY lighting ideas. Among them are DIY chandeliers, which make use of LED bulbs and up-cycled “anything.”
Some of the DIY chandeliers that al fresco restaurants use are made of old bed-springs, or wine bottles and a vat, rickshaw wheels, bicycle wheels, hula-hoops, and different kinds of LED lights.
These DIY lighting solutions are eye-catching pieces that create a unique “personality” for the restaurant. At times, they are the perfect marketing strategy to use in attracting first-time customers.
So, those are just five of the popular lighting trends used by al fresco restaurants. There are definitely more as there’s no shortage of creative potential for lights. If you own a restaurant with an outdoor space used to sit customers, consider these lighting trends in making your al fresco dining section an interesting and delightful aspect of your business.
Ajay Awtaney is co-founder of Nakashi General Trading LLC, an electrical lighting company in Dubai catering to the needs of clients and projects requiring quality lighting products and solutions. Nakashi General Trading LLC today is an approved vendor of reputable organisations (Jumeirah, Engineering Office, Meraas, Musanadah and Thumbay, to name a few) for supplying lighting products.