Effective strategies for restaurant lighting

Do you want your guests to stay longer in your café or restaurant?

If you have a café or restaurant, you probably want your guests to experience a good and relaxing atmosphere from the moment they step through the door.

As your guests feel the positive ambiance in the restaurant, their mood improves, and ultimately, it has an impact on your revenue – not only for that evening but also in the long run.

Happy guests are more likely to stay longer in the restaurant, naturally providing an opportunity to sell more, both food and drinks. When your guests feel cozy and experience a homely atmosphere, they are more inclined to stay and enjoy an extra drink, a cup of coffee, or a dessert before leaving the restaurant.

Therefore, it is important to consider not only the service in your restaurant but also the coziness through interior design and, especially, the lighting. The right lighting is important.

We guide you on what you should consider when it comes to restaurant lighting.

Restaurant belysning med EASY 3F spots ved bar
A bit about the author:
Picture of Mette Bergholdt
Mette Bergholdt
Mette is Key Account Manager for Projects at Antidark. She is an expert in lighting projects and has a solid understanding of how to create optimal lighting solutions for all kinds of spaces - commercial and residential.
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Good working lighting that can be transformed into mood lighting

In restaurants and cafes, there should be a focus on the fact that the place often has multiple functions. This applies to both restaurants and cafes, either individually or within hotels.

In other words, there should be both good work lighting when the restaurant is closed and cozy lighting when the restaurant is open to highlight the homely atmosphere.

Good working light should ensure that every detail can be seen, which
contributes to the good restaurant experience when the guests steps into the restaurant.

ANTIDARK Spots Izumi

Lighting above tables

In many restaurants, there are lamps above the tables, but the function of the lamps can vary greatly.

The main considerations to make when choosing lighting over tables are:
  • How much light should the lamp provide? Is it purely for mood ligh ting or is there not enough primary light in the ceiling, requiring the lamp to provide a lot of light?
  • Should the lamp contribute to the overall aesthetic and be a design element in the space? Or should it be as minimalist as possible
Regardless of the primary function of the lamps, there are some important features that you should consider.

Firstly, it is important that the lamps do not dazzle. This can be ensured by:

  • The lamp not hanging too high, so that the light source is visible.
  • Using pendants with a shade in frosted glass.

Additionally, it is important that the light has a high CRI. With good color rendering, the colors of the dishes are clearly visible, and it looks inviting. A delicious red steak can look gray and dull with the wrong lighting.


On the other hand, the lighting needs to serve a completely different purpose in the evening when guests visit the restaurant for a cozy and pleasant experience.

To meet this requirement, we often recommend using dimmable LED lighting that can be adjusted to create the desired ambiance, or a 3-phase track lighting system where the lamps can be individually switched off.

Ballerina som spisebordslampe

Focus on the bar area and other elements

To complete the lighting in your restaurant or café, you can consider if there are specific areas where you want extra focus.

If you have a restaurant where the bar plays a central role, you can create attention with the right lighting. This can be done, for example, with LED strips under the bar counter or with spotlights that illuminate the shelves with spirits.

It may also be that you have a large menu sign on the wall, a beautiful painting or similar, which can be illuminated with spotlights with concentrated light.

If you have a lounge area, you can also use decorative lighting to provide a unique atmosphere to this area.

Case: Ruth & Co i Hvidesande

In this case, you can read about what we did specifically at Ruth & Co in Hvidesande, Denmark, which functions as a cafe during the day and a restaurant in the evening.

Ruth & Co sent us a floor plan of the restaurant. Based on this, our lighting experts created a lighting plan that indicated the number of spotlights needed in the space to ensure optimal lighting and the right solution.

The dimmable lighting

At Ruth & Co, our recommendation was to use EASY spots on our Global tracks as the primary lighting. They quickly saw the benefits of this, as it met their desire for a dimmable system so they could turn up the lumens (brightness) during the daytime and very late evening and night hours when cleaning and preparing for upcoming guests.

ANtidark belysning hos Ruth og Co
Restaurantbelysning / restaurant lighting

In addition, the EASY spots have the advantage of being tiltable and rotatable, allowing them to be set to illuminate exactly what they want. This is a great advantage if tables or furnishings are moved around.

We slightly tilted the spots around the walls so that they illuminate the wall and its decorations and causes the walls to reflect the light. However, above the tables, they should only direct the light downwards.

Most of our lamps are dimmable, and our Pro-series spots can be controlled in a 3-phase system, where you have the possibility to turn off some of the light in certain areas of the restaurant while it is still on in other areas.

Attraction to the bar

In the bar area, the light can also be dimmed. Here, Ruth & Co chose our Moon lamp. It provides a good work light when the brightness is turned up, but when the late evening hours arrive and it’s time to create a cozy atmosphere, the light is dimmed.

A nice detail in the bar area is the discreet LED strip mounted under the bar table, which adds extra coziness and attraction to the bar. It is both decorative and cozy.

Ruth & Co had their restaurant designed with lighting that both attracts and retains their guests.

Frequently Asked Questions about restaurant lighting

We recommend both lamps used for primary lighting in restaurants and cafes. Additionally, we recommend incorporating accent lighting to enhance coziness and create ambiance in the restaurant.

As primary lighting, we recommend using adjustable spotlights that can be tilted and turned, providing a flexible system. Our spotlights in the PRO series are particularly suitable for this purpose. The same applies to EASY 3f.

When deciding on lighting over the tables in a restaurant or café, it is important to consider both creating a cozy ambiance and ensuring high color rendering (CRI) to make the food appear inviting.