Green Valley Grill Copper Bar

The Top 3 Restaurant Design Trends of 2018

In today’s competitive marketplace, restaurants must constantly re-evaluate their design in order to keep up with evolving consumer tastes. Trends come and go in any industry, so how do you know which trends of 2018 will last into 2019 and beyond? As with all design, what goes around comes around and what’s old will always be new again. After evaluating the top restaurant design trends of 2018, here are our top 3 trends that will look fresh today and remain timeless in the years ahead.

1) Retro Metals

Many interior designers associate chrome and aluminum finishes with old-school diners in 1960’s and 1970’s. Thanks to the Fall and Winter 2018 runway collections by designers like Balmain and Paco Rabanne, these retro finishes are gaining renewed interest. (Source: LA Times) These splashy metals make a huge statement, simultaneously giving a nod to the past while appearing fresh and futuristic. This is one of the many traits that make silvery chromes and aluminums so versatile.

Another consistent trend over the past several years has been the incorporation of copper. This particular throwback is reminiscent of the Roaring 20’s and remains relevant because of its incomparable warmth. Copper looks great in Industrial-style interiors as well as traditional spaces. If the coldness of chrome and aluminum aren’t your thing, the soft, reflective tones in copper could be just what you need.

Whether you’re looking for slick silver or classic copper, high-pressure laminates with real metal surfacing are a time-tested way to incorporate durable metals into your space. ATI’s NuMetal collection of HPLs feature real metal surfaces in Aluminum, Copper, Real Stainless Steel, and Unique Art—perfect for introducing retro metals into your space.

Brushed Aluminum HPL in a Restaurant

2) Bespoke Ambient Lighting

For restaurants looking to stand out from the crowd, custom art-inspired light fixtures might be the hottest trend of 2018. After all, what restaurant doesn’t want a unique look that can’t be replicated? Lighting is a particularly effective way to stand out in the public sector. Research continues to show the positive psychological effects of good lighting, and custom light fixtures provide a unique way to cash in on the science. Restaurant designers now have more options than ever to choose the best temperature and light layering for their space.

Bespoke ambient lighting is not only an excellent way to set the mood of your restaurant, but also a fantastic opportunity to make your space more “Instagrammable” to patrons. If your restaurant is the kind of place that customers wouldn’t mind taking a selfie, they’ll be happy to share photos of their dining experience with friends and family on social media. This new, digital form of word-of-mouth marketing pays off in huge dividends.

Thanks to ATI’s advancements in illuminated graphics, retailers have more choices than ever to create the mood that matches their brand. Our one-of-a-kind LumiSplash decorative laminates combine custom art with lighting in a durable laminate that’s perfect for high-traffic areas, including wall art, backsplashes, and bar tops. Anyone can use this technology to create a truly memorable bespoke lighting solution.

Restaurant Tabletop featuring Bespoke LumiSplash Panel

3) Unexpected Natural Elements

Bringing elements from nature indoors is not a new trend in-of itself. However, 2018 is the year that this design theme has been taken in a direction no one saw coming. Wood paneling—yes, you read that correctly—is giving restaurants an unexpected way to bring their favorite natural textures indoors.

Unlike the wood paneling of days gone by, today’s trending wood panels are lighter, brighter, and more modern than ever. Forget the overwhelming orange glow of the 1980’s—wood paneling in 2018 is all about coziness, freshness, and craftsmanship. When you consider the combined influence of Mid-Century Modern and Danish Hygge (HYOO-guh), it’s easy to see why 2018 has seen a rise in this unexpected natural element.

If you’re looking for an easy way to incorporate this trend into your restaurant, consider MirroFlex Wall Panels. MirroFlex is a 3-dimensional, thermoplastic panel that’s available in hundreds of pattern and finish combinations—including 7+ wood grain finishes. Combine these finishes with one of our 50+ MirroFlex Wall Panel patterns to create a unique, carved-wood look that transcends the basic wood paneling trend.

Restaurant using MirroFlex Wall Panels in Ariel Washed Oak

What’s the big takeaway for restaurant design in 2018?

If our Top 3 Restaurant Design Trends for 2018 are any indication, the biggest takeaway for restaurant designers everywhere is to find new, artful twists to trends that may have seemed dated only a few years ago. By using metal finishes in a nostalgic way, you create sentimental value. Bespoke lighting solutions can instantly revitalize an otherwise stale space. Even unexpected elements like wood paneling can breathe new life into your space when applied artfully.

No matter which trend you want to incorporate into your space, ATI Decorative Laminates has a product that will bring your restaurant’s design concept to life. Speak with an ATI representative today to learn which ATI solution is right for you.