Friday, February 21, 2014

Restaurant Interior Design: The Elements That Set The Experience

Successful restaurateurs know that interior design is a key element to a successful operation. Design is in essence a part of the strategic focus of the restaurant, and a key tool used to differentiate the eating establishment from competing restaurants. Interior designers and their creative uses of building materials such as glass, textures, stone, colors, patterns, mirrors, flooring, furniture, lighting, and metals and so on are the basic ingredients by which designers create a masterpiece of a dining experience. By mixing and using these elements they transform a restaurateur's dream into a reality. In today's highly competitive restaurant marketplace it is not enough to serve delectable dishes and fine spirits, today's restaurant patrons want an experience. It is the experience and everything that goes along with the experience that makes diners come back time and time again. The experience starts on the outside of the establishment, whether the exterior of the establishment is built with such building materials as glass, metal, tile/stone and so on.

Colors, textures, and the way they are applied or installed set the tone for the experience that the restaurant patron is going to have. Inside the four walls it is the interior designer's responsibility to use their artistic ability to select such items as: flooring, wall covering, ceiling materials, lighting, window treatments, bars, furniture, table tops, decorative accessories, fixtures, structural items/changes, sound systems, acoustical elements, nightclub lighting, and so on. Today's highly educated interior designers must act as project managers and co-ordinate the efforts of a working team of architects, contractors, builders, furnishing companies, carpet manufacturers, finishing carpenters, electricians and several other tradesmen; everyone involved in taking the owners' vision of what they want, and transforming it into a reality for the world to enjoy. The interior designer can make the difference between just an average restaurant and one that is frequented by movie celebrities, pro-athletes, and the upper crust.

The interior designer must understand the client's wants and needs, and then use their talents and skills to create the experience that makes patrons feel like they have escaped the stresses and perils of the outside world. Through their talents, hard work, and hours of meticulous coordinating and planning, they transform an open space into a soothing, inviting and relaxing dining experience, so pleasing to their clients that they can not resist but to return again and again.

There are many benefits of using a licensed interior designer. The American Society Of Interior Designers (ASID) licensed designers have gone through rigorous training to achieve board certification. To maintain their credentials they must also take continuing education courses and keep abreast of new and up to date trends in building materials and furnishings. An expert and knowledgeable commercial interior designer with restaurant design experience adds a lot of value to a project. By using their talents and experience they can help design an efficient use of space, and work within a budget set by the restaurateur. Their experience is invaluable and can save the property owner a lot of grief in the long term by knowing what materials will survive environmental effects of day to day business, how colors will affect the design, what options are available for finishing and details, and what materials will truly compliment the project. While it is the interior designers' mission to listen to the needs of the owner or manager of the restaurant and transfer those thoughts into visual and eye catching designs, the strategic mission of the restaurant is still to turn a profit. An interior designer must identify and conceptualize certain aspects of the project before starting a project. They must identify and understand the demographics of the target market that the restaurateur wants to attract. For example: design elements such as outdoor furniture or art deco lighting that works in South Florida, may not have the same results in New York or London.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Unusual Interior Design Ideas

Those moving into a new home for the first time as well as those upgrading their home may want to express their individuality through the materials and design elements they choose. Architects, interior designers and general contractors can all help conceptualize and implement a desired look. Below are just a few suggestions as to how to free your mind of more standard looks for your home and realize what's possible when you let your imagination run wild.

1. Creating a nature room inside the home. Imagine a carpet of grass and moss, trees and bushes planted into the floor of your home. Furniture in tropical colors or in muted tones to blend into the surroundings. People crave quiet spaces in nature, so why not create a natural room inside your home? Hidden speakers can add ambiance and water features such as fountains and rivers that run from inside to outside the home can all help you feel like your sanctuary is an escape into your perfect vision of solitude.

2. Mix up wall materials. Beyond paint, wallpaper and tile, unique materials add a certain touch to a room that won't often be copied. Silk walls, walls of gold or steel or even leather will have guests commenting on your remarkable design.

3. Use of arches and angles. Think of the calm feeling that comes over one as they enter a church. Religious or not, the stained glass windows and impressive arches often give people pause for a moment and create a sensation of awe. There's no reason tall repeating arches can't be used inside a home. Stained glass windows as large as you like will change the look and feel of any room.

4. Create a theme for a room, then make every single detail of the room fit into that theme. For example, if you like water, consider small ponds for sinks or showers made of glass that looks like icicles. Paint the walls blue and use a variety of small tiles of various blue colors to create the feel of movement in your home.

5. Don't forget the exterior. What types of materials can you use that are out of the ordinary? What about a mesh layer over the home? Shutters, as simple as they may sound transform the look and feel of a home.

No matter what your personal preferences, whether they are natural, industrial, minimalist or bright and cherry, there are ways to make a home uniquely yours. Think outside the box and you'll end up with a home everybody in the neighborhood is talking about.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Interior Design Process

Do you really need an interior designer?

You may know what you want, but aren't quite sure where to begin. A professional designer will guide you through the design process with a well thought out plan to help you avoid costly mistakes such as furniture that is too large, colors that are not working and contractors who don't do quality work. They will introduce you to new ideas and solutions.

The Goal

The goal is to prevent common pitfalls and costly mistakes. A professional interior designer will assist you throughout the number of project phases so that you feel comfortable with your decisions. They will work with you to make sure your project is not only beautiful, but practical and functional.

There are several steps that are included in this process. They are as follows:

Initial Consultation

A meeting is held at the project site to see the space and talk about your the functions of the space and design style. This process allows ideas to be formulated. It includes reviewing an idea book that illustrates a variety of design styles and color schemes. A designer will then analyze the results to determine a specific style so that the space is a reflection of you and your personality.

Design and Proposal Fees

Based on the initial consultation, a detailed proposal that outlines the scope of services to be performed is presented. Depending on the scope of the job, there are two types of fees. A one time design fee or flat fee or an hourly fee. Typically a retainer is requested at this time before proceeding with the project. More detailed questions regarding your needs, utilization of space and budget are also discussed.

Detailed Measurements

After the proposal is accepted, a follow-up consultation takes place for detailed measurements and evaluation of existing conditions and furnishings. If there are blueprints for the project they should be provided at this time.

Space Planning

A two-dimensional space plan is proposed and discussed to address particular needs and function of the area being designed.

The Conceptual Presentation

Based on prior meetings, a preliminary conceptual design scheme is presented. Various elements are depicted with photos, sketches, magazine shots and samples of finishes, such as flooring, counter tops, cabinetry, wall and window treatments, lighting and hardware to help visualize the overall plan. Once the concept has been accepted and approved, several meetings may take place in showrooms or on the project site to view additional samples. Specific details are discussed in greater depth during this phase.


A preliminary budget is prepared based on the materials and design ideas proposed during the concept presentation. The budget is evaluated and analyzed at this time. Once items are agreed upon, purchase orders are created and placed with manufacturers and contractors. Follow up on orders include: tracking and lead times, deliveries and coordination of contractors.

Project Management

Contractors are recommended based on the project. The contractor will provide a negotiated bid based on current market values and a remodeling project timetable is evaluated. Pre and post construction meetings and onsite visits during construction are conducted, ensuring the fulfillment of design intent and maintenance of quality levels.


Oversight of actual furniture placement and installations are overseen ensuring proper locations and quality.