You have settled on a location for your new cafe, almost finalized the menu, and picked out the furniture. Now all you need to do is choose the perfect lighting to tie everything together and set the mood.

Whether your cafe project is an upscale lunch eatery or a neighbourhood coffee joint, lighting is essential in establishing atmosphere and showcasing your establishment. Strong lighting choices can also reinforce your branding, helping you attract and retain your business’s target clientele.

These simple considerations are all you need to worry about when selecting the right lighting for your cafe project.

Determine Your Vibe

If you have reached the lighting stage of your cafe design, you are most likely already have a pretty good idea of your cafe’s style or vibe. Naturally, the lighting you choose is as important as any other design element in your front of house.

Will a dramatic chandelier fit in with your branding or are you going for a more simplistic, industrial feel? If your business highlights its eco-friendly nature, maybe lighting that uses natural elements like this hemp lamp will work best.

Natural Light

If your cafe is open during the daytime, make use of natural light as much as you can. Not only is natural light better for the environment and your bank account; it also provides a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

You also can add lighting in places like the cashier stand or barista counter to help guide patrons where they need to go and make sure your staff members have enough light to do their jobs.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting contributes to a space’s overall brightness levels while accent or directional lighting highlights certain areas. Ambient lighting does more than allow people to see – it can change how your patrons feel while they’re in your establishment.

If you’d like to establish a crisp, fast-moving atmosphere during breakfast and lunch, opt for brighter ambient lighting. When diners are enjoying a meal in the evening, you can establish a more relaxing ambiance with dimmer lighting accompanied by romantic hanging lanterns.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting fills in the spots that ambient lighting misses or adds interesting variety to your cafe’s lighting scheme.

You can use accent lighting to highlight specific areas of your cafe or to showcase focal points like plants or wall art.

Sometimes the lighting itself is attractive and unique enough to be considered art, such as this bamboo lantern or macrame pendant. Or you can group a few accent lights to add a point of interest in an otherwise bland corner of your cafe.

Accent lighting can also have practical purposes, such as lighting up the cafe’s specials board.

Directional Lighting

Directional lighting is just what it sounds like – it helps patrons figure out how to navigate your cafe. A line of pendant lights will draw the eye towards the counter or wherever you want to direct people’s attention.

Likewise, you can use directional lighting to highlight areas like the toilets or exit.

The more you can do to make things clear for your customers, the better. Avoiding confusion leads to an overall better experience for the customer and keeps your staff from constantly directing people to where they need to go.

Colour Considerations

No matter what style of lighting you choose for your cafe project, you will want to consider the colour properties of the bulbs you use to get the most out of your lighting fixtures. Two helpful things to keep in mind when choosing bulbs are their colour rendering index and the colour temperature.

Colour Rendering Index

Cafe designers often factor in the colour rendering index when choosing cafe lighting. The colour rendering index measures how accurately a light source reveals the details of the objects it is lighting.

Ideally, cafe lighting should be 80 or above on the CRI scale, meaning it does an excellent job of showing the details of your food and beverages.

Colour Temperature

Colour temperature refers to how white or yellow a light source looks. Whiter light is referred to as “cool,” while yellower light is considered “warm.”

Cool light tends to make a space feel more vibrant, and warmer light lends an air of cosiness and intimacy.

Some say that cooler light aides in quicker customer turnover, but be careful – if your light is too cool, it can come across as harsh and sterile. For this reason, it’s best not to use bulbs over 5000K.

April & Oak for Unique Cafe Lighting

April & Oak is a local, Australian-owned company specializing in unique, globally sourced furniture, lighting, rugs, and decor. We offer a best price guarantee and a 30-day return policy, so you can be confident that you’ll be taken care of when shopping with us.

We offer a selection of pendant lights that would be perfect for any cafe project. Check them out here.