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Restaurant & Bar Lighting

Restaurant and Bar Lighting

While there are many functional, utilitarian lights in restaurants and bars, lighting design is really about creating an atmosphere and specific feel, rather than simply providing useful light. Thankfully, as LED bulbs has grown in affordability and flexibility, it's never been easier to create unique dining experiences for customers.

About Restaurant Lighting

Dining Areas

As the section where customers will spend most of their time, this is where owners should spend most of their lighting budget and design time. Typically, dining areas utilize small aperture downlights or accent lights in decorative fixtures. The type of light bulbs used in these fixtures are often halogen, although LED bulbs are making inroads.

For restaurants with a more casual environment, fluorescent tubes and fixtures may be used to provide uniform light throughout the area.

Sit-down restaurants that are open for dinner may use dimmers with incandescent or halogen bulbs, or use warm-dimming LEDs. If switching from traditional lighting technology to LED, take note that not all dimmers work with LED bulbs.

Ordering Lines & Kiosks

Increasingly, consumers are looking for quick bites to eat and casual restaurants where they can order in a line, pick up their food, and find a place to sit. In these cases, even the menu needs to be well-lit to enhance readability.

Kitchens & Food Preparation

Fluorescent bulbs and fixtures are most often used in areas where food is prepared. Many restaurants will utilize NSF-rated bulbs, which meet minimum sanitation standards for materials, design, and construction. Increasingly, linear LEDs are replacing fluorescent in these areas, due to lower maintenance costs and energy savings.

Infrared heat lamps are also commonly found in cooking areas to keep food warm.

Exterior & Parking Areas

Exterior lighting can provide a welcoming feel for potential customers. LED bulbs and strips can be utilized throughout the exterior of a building to offer different color temperatures and colors of light. These lights can accent the color scheme of the restaurant itself, enhancing the visibility and memorability of the establishment.

For functional parking lighting, metal halide bulbs and LED HID replacements are common.

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