Furniture Trends in the 2020 Restaurant Scene

Watsons Bay Hotel’s design caters to the social media savvy


In this digital age, where everyone can instantly share their dining experience via their smart phone to social media channels, the design of restaurants needs to be more attention grabbing than ever before. While the comfort of patrons remains foremost, the design trends for 2020 also cater to the photogenic needs of food bloggers, Insta stars and influencers.

From statement lighting to rattan furniture, booth seating and outdoor dining experiences with soul, restaurant designers are daring to be different to attract patrons with a hunger for the new, the unique and the shareable in design as well as a great dining experience.


Here are some restaurant furniture trends currently lighting up the social media channels.


Parisian panache

Wicker and rattan furniture have been trending in residential interiors for some time and have now made their way into dining establishments, both indoors and out. A traditional look that is making a big comeback is the classic coloured wicker chairs that have graced the pavements outside Parisian bistros since the 19th century.


That Parisian-style bistro feel at Bathers’ Pavilion


While these were traditionally made from natural rattan sourced from French colonies in South-East Asia, Mesh Furniture’s range of Parisian style cafe chairs, bar stools and lounge seating is made from synthetic wicker for a longer lifespan with the highest grade of natural rattan, Tohiti, used for the frames. It’s a look that speaks of nostalgia, elegance and culture, adaptable to both fine dining establishments and more casual cafe environments.


Mix-and-match furniture

The term “resimercial” design, which is a combination of residential and commercial, is becoming something of a household term in the design world. It evokes a “welcome home” feeling, using the residential trend of mixing and matching furniture to adorn a bar or restaurant space.


Mixing and matching furniture styles at The Paper Mill Food


Using contrasting furniture lends a home-like feel and also sends a visual cue that an establishment is not a chain, but rather a thoughtfully handcrafted eatery. To achieve this look, try staying with one shape of furniture while varying the colour of your pieces, or you could keep colour consistent throughout and go wild with the shapes.


Booth seating

Upholstered booth seating for cosy tête-à-têtes is definitely back on-trend, along with upholstered banquettes which can be strategically used to save on space. Both booth seating and banquettes also reduce ambient noise in restaurant interiors with hard flooring as there’s a reduced scraping of chairs.


In the pink

Breadway Bakery, Odessa, Ukraine


If your booths and banquettes are upholstered in blush pink then you are really hitting the trend button. In fact, blush pink is appearing everywhere in restaurants from walls, to upholstery and even flooring. Perhaps because it’s flattering to skin tones in selfies?


Communal dining

Communal dining at Pizza East in Shoreditch, London


For more spacious and casual dining establishments, at least one communal dining table is a must, indoors or out. Communal dining is a double win for restaurants: adding more seats makes room for more customers and a tightly packed space creates an infectious energy which in turn lures in more customers. And as a bonus, patrons have an opportunity to meet a new friend or a cute stranger. Not everyone, however, enjoys sitting down with strangers, so communal dining tables should be specified with caution.


Recycled timber

Sustainability is a vital consideration for designers these days so restaurant design is also seeing an uptick in the use of recycled timber furniture, the more rustic and raw-looking the better. Recycled timber is also an important element, along with cast iron, in creating a modern industrial look with a nod to steampunk culture.


Rope furniture

Rope furniture is perfect for outdoor dining venues


For a modern, graphic look with texture and geometric interest Mesh Furniture’s range of rope furniture is ideal, and can be specified for both interior and outdoor dining areas. As an alternative to synthetic wicker furniture, rope furniture is a wonderful choice for creating a comfortable and funky retro vibe indoors or out. The fact it is waterproof makes it ideal for outdoor spaces and we are seeing more and more high end rope furniture turn up in on-trend venues.