For a restaurant, lighting is more than just an aesthetic—it’s what makes the space come alive.  Did you know, lighting will affect our emotions and influence behaviour?  This means that restaurant lighting plays a significant part in the overall dining experience both positive, or negative.

Designing a restaurant lighting scheme

A well-designed lighting scheme can contribute to many aspects of a restaurant’s success.  The process, from concept to completion, requires several skilled professionals to work together to achieve a seamless execution.

“From a psychological point of view, one of the key aspects to a restaurant’s design is the lighting.” (Independent, 2017)

Restaurant lighting












As we know, lighting plays a crucial role in enhancing the customer experience when dining in a restaurant.  Architectural Lighting Designers and Lighting Designers will develop lighting concepts that consider the unique factors and theoretical frameworks associated with restaurant settings.  They bring years of specific technical and theoretical experience which helps to establish a particular mood with different lighting levels. 

Without realising it, when you go into a restaurant, its lighting scheme will have been designed with many of these unique considerations in mind…

The psychology of lighting in restaurants

Lighting has a profound impact on the overall dining experience. It influences mood, ambiance, and the perception of space.  While customers may not consciously notice the lighting, they will certainly feel its effects if it isn’t well executed.   

Balancing design and functionality

Effective restaurant lighting requires a delicate balance between aesthetic appeal and functionality.  Different lighting levels are used strategically to establish various moods and atmospheres in different spaces based on what’s happening there.

Health & safety

Meeting regulatory standards ensures the well-being of both customers and staff and is an important, and legal, requirement.

Although not necessarily unique to restaurant settings, energy efficiency and sustainability are crucial considerations in today’s environmentally conscious world too.  The implementation of energy-efficient lighting can be an important positive contributor to any restaurant lighting scheme, but so too is the longevity of the fittings themselves and the quality of the manufacturing process and craftsmanship. 

At William Sugg, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of the circular economy.  We understand the importance of maintaining the heritage and character of long-established restaurants which often experience heavy wear and tear.  Our products are built to last for hundreds of years, which means there is no need for replacement, simply repair or refurbishment in time, as required. 

Our refurbishment and renovation services allow historical fittings to be updated or reinvented, or given a new lease of life for future generations.  By offering services that encompass repairing and updating the light sources to extend their lifespan this commitment to sustainability benefits both our clients and the environment. 

Restaurant lighting styles & ideas

Each and every restaurant is purposefully different to its rivals so there are countless options when it comes to lighting style for restaurants; if it can be imagined, it can probably be done!  From modern to heritage, bespoke designs to classic and familiar historical designs, the options for restaurant lighting really are endless.

Restaurant lighting includes interior lighting and exterior lighting as well as decorative lighting like wall lights and ceiling lights.  Lighting will be carefully chosen to enhance the unique characteristics of different areas within the restaurant, including seated areas, the bar, washing facilities, entrances and outside seating areas.

Decorative Lighting for Restaurants

Decorative fittings play a pivotal role in softening architectural lighting schemes. While architectural lighting can impressively emphasise a building’s features using high-output, highly focussed light, decorative lights add a gentle touch, grounding the overall scheme and creating balance and harmony.

Decorative fixtures can frame important viewpoints, guiding people through spaces, and drawing the eye to specific elements that deserve attention. Decorative lighting also has the ability to position a building in terms of its age and style.

In restaurants, decorative wall lights are often thoughtfully placed at head height which helps soften the atmosphere.  Their warm glow helps to create a rhythmic atmosphere around the space and really bringing it to life.  They can highlight significant artwork and provide intimate zones of inviting light.

Hanging lanterns, on the other hand, produce soft balls of light that work wonders in softening the architectural emphasis of places such as entrance lobbies with high ceilings. While architectural lighting often highlights the arches of a building with narrow beams of light, decorative lanterns then come into play, lowering the perceived ceiling height and creating a welcoming touch.  The combination of decorative lights prevents large welcome areas (such as lobbies) from feeling overly lofty and intimidating, striking a fitting balance between an impactful first impression and an invitation to come in.  

Decorative restaurant lighting

Bringing a successful restaurant lighting scheme to life

Designing and implementing successful restaurant lighting will involve the skill and experience of several people including interior designers, architectural lighting designers, architects, electrical contractors, restaurant owners/managers, manufacturers and crafts people, electricians and maintenance staff. 

At William Sugg & Co. Ltd, we understand the importance of effective collaboration and communication among all stakeholders involved in any lighting project.  As experts in our field, we work closely with architects and lighting designers to manufacture and provide superior quality lighting solutions for all aesthetic preferences, both heritage and contemporary.  

We are well versed in collaboration with the design team to interpret the design brief.  Our goal is to thoughtfully manufacture quality lighting fixtures that not only enhance the visual appeal of a space such as a restaurant, but that also withstand the test of time, ensuring longevity for generations to come.

We take pride in being heritage lighting experts, and specialists, with a long and rich history and a reputation for excellence.  For over 175 years, we have been at the forefront of the lighting industry, supplying interior and exterior decorative lighting that is second to none.

We understand the importance of collaboration and work closely with lighting designers and architects to create stunning lighting solutions that stand the test of time. Our team of experts collaborate with designers and architects to provide light fittings that not only enhance the overall look and feel of a restaurant but also last for generations.

A key objective when it comes to restaurant lighting is to create different layers of light that guide people through the space.  With careful consideration of the functional requirements and ambiance of each area, our team works alongside lighting designers to add period references to their designs as well as creating bespoke, one off, designs to help them realise a specific vision.  This collaboration ensures that the light fittings not only meet the design goals of the project, but also make an appealing atmosphere for customers.

Who’s involved in restaurant lighting?

When designing and installing a restaurant lighting scheme there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes and several aspects to consider.   Here are the main groups of people who are likely to be involved, along with an overview of each person’s role…

  1. Restaurant Owners/Managers: Their input and decision-making are crucial in determining the desired atmosphere, branding, and target audience, which ultimately influence the lighting scheme choices.
  2. Interior Designers: They are responsible for overall aesthetics and ‘conceptualising’ a restaurant’s theme, including interpreting the clients brief and providing visuals, and f&f schedules.
  3. Lighting Designers: These professionals specialise in creating lighting concepts and layouts, taking into account factors such as task lighting, accent lighting, colour temperature, control systems.  Ultimately, accentuating the design brief with light.
  4. Architects: They work closely with the interior designers and lighting designers to ensure that the lighting scheme aligns with the overall architectural vision and considers structural elements and important architectural features that may be unique to the building (these may be historically significant).
  5. Manufacturers/Suppliers: They provide the lighting fixtures, LEDs or bulbs, control systems, and other necessary equipment for the lighting scheme to operate.
  6. Electrical Contractors & Electricians: They handle the installation of lighting fixtures, wiring, and electrical systems, ensuring compliance with safety codes and regulations. Electricians handle the technical aspects of wiring, power distribution, and fixture installation, working alongside the electrical contractors.
  7. Maintenance Staff: They are responsible for regular upkeep and troubleshooting any lighting issues that may arise after the scheme has been implemented.


It is essential for all these groups to collaborate and communicate effectively to ensure the successful creation and implementation of a restaurant’s lighting scheme.

William Sugg’s decorative lighting for restaurants

Heritage lanterns & bespoke design

At William Sugg, we take immense pride in offering a range of beautifully crafted heritage lanterns that bring ideas and design aesthetics to life. Each piece is meticulously crafted with impeccable attention to detail, adding a touch of sophistication and charm to any dining space.

Our bespoke design service allows us to create lighting fixtures tailored specifically to unique requirements, ensuring a truly one-of-a-kind lighting experience. Supported by a small, agile team, a personalised service awaits.


As we’ve explored here, many don’t realise how crucial a well considered and well designed restaurant lighting scheme is to making customers feel comfortable, relaxed, and welcomed.

With generations of manufacturing know-how, William Sugg is the name trusted  by respected establishments around the world.  Our heritage restaurant lighting solutions are beautifully made and made to last.  Our range of bespoke designs cater to a diverse range of styles, ensuring that a restaurant’s unique personality is reflected in its lighting.  

So, if you’re looking for a decorative lighting solution that is as beautiful and striking now as it will be years from now, contact us to find out more about our products.  One of our experts would love to hear from you.