Going out to a restaurant is about more than enjoying chef-prepared food or a night off from cooking. It’s also about the atmosphere that surrounds you. When you’re searching through Yelp listings to find the perfect brunch spot or fusion restaurant for a group dinner, you’re evaluating the environment as much as the menu. Besides the world-famous desserts their menu claims, does this place look like somewhere you would want to spend your time? Is it set up for intimate conversation, or does it give off the more boisterous vibe perfect for a large affair?

Restaurants manage to capture the principle that eludes many home kitchens and dining rooms: the environment and the food play off each other to create a one-of-a-kind mood.

Read on to learn more about six chic restaurant design tips that you can incorporate into your own home, no matter what size or shape! If you’ve been looking to revamp your communal spaces, why not take design cues from the places that do it best? Restaurants can teach us about trendy, functional design for eating and non-eating spaces.

Play with Contrasting Textures

Restaurant designers know how to juxtapose textures to create a rich environment. One common reaction to seeing daring, sophisticated choices in materials come together: “Huh, I would have never thought to mix these but it works!”

Apartment Therapy cites Verandah in Copenhagen as a prime example of playing with texture and color to create depth. The lesson? Don’t be afraid to incorporate metallic fixtures, plants and fabrics all in the same space. If your dining room leans toward the cool end of the spectrum, soften it up with some unexpected warm flourishes. Just because you wouldn’t automatically pair two design elements doesn’t mean they won’t look great together in the end.

Mix Wood with Metal

Yes, a kitchen is primarily functional. No, that does not mean that design should be an afterthought. Restaurants know how to mix wood and metal in the right measure to create a highly usable space that also looks put together. The sterility of stainless steel and the gentle warmth of wood tend to even each other out for a very symbiotic space.

Don’t stop applying this principle with your kitchen! If you were on the fence about mixing a metal table with antique wooden chairs, try it. If your living room includes built-in wooden shelving, don’t be afraid to incorporate structured modern chairs with metal frames.

Add a Movable Breakfast Bar

The kitchen tends to become the hub of the house. Whether your family is convening for an afternoon snack or you’re about to host your annual holiday party, sometimes what you need is simply space for sitting, setting dishes and serving drinks. Unfortunately, it’s not always feasible or cost efficient to install a permanent island or bar into your home. That’s why a restaurant-inspired breakfast bar may be the way to go, according to Homedit. Choose a moveable option for more flexibility with a snug floor plan, and you’ll certainly enjoy the additional surface space. Plus, it will give you an excuse to pick out a new set of bar chairs.

Mix Up Your Seating Options

Speaking of chairs, it may be time to update the seating around your house. Question: What can your living room teach you about your dining room or eat-in kitchen? Answer: That a matching set of wooden chairs from 10 years ago isn’t the sleekest or the most comfortable way to seat people. MyDomaine recommends incorporating unconventional seating like a banquette or a dining sofa for an eclectic, restaurant-ready feel in your eating space, citing Miami’s Thompson Hotel as inspiration. Plus, eat-in kitchens are great for making the most of snug spaces.

Add Dishes to the Design

 

If you walked into a restaurant and saw only empty tabletops, it would feel odd. Take a move right out of the restaurant playbook and incorporate your favorite dishes, silverware, and centerpieces into your eating space more often. If you have serving dishes that are sitting in storage for 364 days out of the year, it’s time to liberate them. Incorporating glassware and accessories around your eating space can make it feel homier and drum up more visual interest than a bare tabletop, per Elle Decor. Just don’t forget to dust regularly!

 

Set the Mood with Lighting

 

Restaurants help us create a little universe that centers around our table. It’s part of their charm. How do they do it? Intimate, focused lighting certainly helps. Pendant lighting is an artistic flourish that casts the right light for eating, chopping vegetables, or reading a cookbook. It’s focused without ever being harsh, and adds dimension to your general overhead lighting for an overall polished feel. With so many materials and shapes available, pendant lights can complete any design scheme. Bonus: hanging lights never clutter up your table or counter space.

Incorporating these little lessons learned from trendy eating spaces can take your home to the next level. While you don’t want your home to go full restaurant anytime soon, small touches here and there can really pull your eating and living spaces together.