A dining experience is all about ambience.

Remodelling a working restaurant is a costly and disruptive undertaking for restaurateurs. While the actual costs will vary depending on the size of the space and the scale of the renovation, the fact is this isn’t a viable option for many restaurant owners.

But what if we told you there was another way? In this post, we’re going to be dishing up a veritable feast of restaurant revamp design ideas that won’t cost you a lot of closure time or valuable money.

From furniture revitalization to a fresh layout, read on to discover ideas galore for breathing new life into your own restaurant dining spaces on a low-budget.

1. Update the base color

A successful restaurant decor theme starts with the base color—and a fresh coat of paint on the walls can work wonders when it comes to giving tired dining areas a new lease of life.

In the name of saving money in the short and long term, opt for a timeless, neutral shade like white or cream. This will provide a color palette that will never go out of style, as well as a solid foundation for you to build on in the rest of your design using a mixture of colors, textures and accents.

2. Switch up the layout

The adage “a change is as good as a rest” can easily be applied to your restaurant layout and could be one of the best budget-busting updates for your dining space as, in some cases, it doesn’t have to cost you a dime.

When you work somewhere day in, day out, it can be tough to see how things can function another way—but we invite you to take a step back and play around with your floor layout.

Simply reposition a few tables to allow for extra seating—or go all in by removing integrated seating to make way for freestanding tables and chairs. However you choose to reconfigure your floor layout, rethinking the design can instantly create the illusion of a whole new space.

However, one crucial consideration is the overall functionality of the space for you and your guests, so be mindful of accessibility and traffic flow.

3. Update old furniture

Chairs, tables, service bars, and other surfaces inevitably begin to show wear and tear over time, but you don’t have to splash the cash on replacements to make these look as good as new.

If you have perfectly functional pieces that simply look a little lacklustre, why not give them a makeover with durable vinyl film wraps?

With realistic designs and finishes like wood, concrete and leather, plus countless color options, you can revitalize existing pieces at a fraction of the cost of new ones – and with minimal disruption to your daily service. It’s a no-brainer.

4. Revamp the lighting

A dining experience is all about ambience, and lighting has an important part to play in a restaurant’s sense of atmosphere. So, if you’re looking for a quick and affordable option to elevate your restaurant dining areas, it could be worth rethinking your light fixtures.

For those on a very tight budget, this can be as simple as changing the lightbulbs’ lumens, allowing you to play around with different lighting levels to create your desired mood. Low lighting works best for cost, intimate evening dining spaces, while lighter and brighter options are right at home in casual and fast-food restaurants.

If you have a little cash to splash, updating old fixtures for new, on-trend options can provide a quick fix when it comes to making an area feel more modern.

You can also use lighting to emphasize specific features within your restaurant design, such as a feature wall or piece of artwork.

5. Spruce up with greenery

For a pocket-friendly update that also comes with added perks like air-purifying and destressing properties, introducing plants to your restaurant remodel just makes sense.

Bringing oodles of texture, color and a connection to the outside, plants are a natural choice for interior décor—and you can go as big or small as your taste and budget allows.

For larger budgets, a living wall feature could be a creative way to bring the outside in and make a real style statement. Alternatively, adding a few small pot plants like succulents and herbs to tables and shelves throughout the space can go a long way towards making your dining space feel fresh and inviting.

6. Make a great first impression

When it comes to renovating your restaurant, don’t forget to think about the outside of your space, too.

Giving the front exterior of your premises a budget makeover will not only impress your existing customers, but also help you to impress and entice new ones.

On a tight budget, this can be as simple as investing in a striking new sign, painting doors and windows, or installing a slick host station for greeting your guests. The key here is to make small, cost-effective changes that can positively impact the customer experience from the moment diners walk through the door.

When it comes to giving your restaurant a makeover, you should now be armed with options galore to help you pull off a sleek and stylish restaurant redesign. Whichever of these ideas you choose to implement, you can make meaningful changes to improve your customers’ dining experiences without having to spend big.

Jack Carr is the Marketing Executive for Architextural, who stock the UK’s largest collection of high-quality architectural vinyl film wraps used by interior designers, architects and specifiers.

Expert Takes, Feature, Restaurant Design