Top 18 Best Ideas for Low Budget Small Restaurant Design That Goes a Long Way

October 26, 2022
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Restaurant design is key to increasing your customer experience, business sales, and customer loyalty. According to a RIThink study, even 8 years ago, guests agreed that restaurant interior design is a determinant of their satisfactory dining experience. As competition in the restaurant space becomes fiercer than ever, creative and divine overall design for your restaurants is critical. 

Should you happen to be a small space business and on a tight budget, you can still be rich in restaurant decor ideas that will be an extra boost for your space without breaking the bank. Read on for such inexpensive ways to design your dream restaurant!

Top 18 inexpensive restaurant design ideas

1. Focus on a theme

Image: RomanBozhko

While it is fantastic to have decor ideas, as a new restaurant, you should hone in on a particular interior design theme to keep your aesthetic from getting over the top. 

For example, Italian restaurant design ideas may include rustic walls and sports bars place the TV where everyone can watch. An emphasis on a simple design and minimalist look can be good for Chinese restaurants. Low budget cafe design themes are probably a coffee shop doubling as a bike repair one.


2. Create a strong first impression

The best restaurants have one thing in common, which is integrating the entrance into their interior design. Restaurant owners who mainly rely on attracting potential guests outside their establishment find this especially helpful. 

Here are some best low budget restaurant design ideas in this regard:

  • An unusual-shaped entryway. For instance, your seafood bar design features a shell door.
  • All glass windows and doors to give guests an idea of the interior.
  • Mural surrounding the entryway.
  • Neon sign with your restaurant name.
  • Some tables outdoors.
  • Outstanding bold colors.

Image: BarbareKacharava

Image: Tripadvisor

Image: via AlejandraMro/Pinterest

3. Improve indoor air quality with greenery

Image: JonathanBorba 

Image: jardindujasminldn via prettylittlelondon

Image: restaurantfurnitureindia

Consider this smart move for your restaurant layout. It would save money and make your customers & staff feel happier and more energized. The restaurant design also increases your space’s luxurious visual appeal to attract more guests and helps better air quality. Better yet, you can even leverage your indoor garden herbs as decor for the food you serve. Should you serve healthy food, and your target customers are young and educated people, this low budget decor idea has a high impact.

Some creative tips include:

  • Pots of fresh flowers on the tables.
  • Large plants on the floor on the dining area corners.
  • Small potted plants across an entire wall.
  • Medium-sized greenery hanging from the ceiling of your small space.
  • Build wooden or metallic frames for your restaurant's indoor garden.

4. Be smart about colors


Colors are great at conveying various emotions, influencing feelings of thirst and hunger in your guests and affecting their attitudes towards the surroundings. Where the most popular colors for restaurant walls are shades of purple, blue, yellow, orange, green, brown, and red, it is crucial how you use them.

For example, speaking of small restaurant design ideas, you may make the space feel larger without breaking the bank by using whites, or a fresh coat of light blues or creams. Red is a good bet for the interior design of fast food restaurants. It makes customers feel hungrier, encouraging impulse eating.

5. Create a professional-looking website 

A quality website in the eyes of search engines and customers is essential for any restaurant type, particularly a low cost small restaurant. It helps improve your potential customers’ awareness of your brand and display your restaurant food items. One of the pro tips is plugging One2’s contactless menu into your existing website to have an always-up-to-date, beautiful menu and website in no time.

6. Showcase art of local artists


Feature artwork of local artists in your restaurant's interior design, transforming it into a part-time gallery. It will save money on the decor, elevate the space layout that you can share on your social media, promote your business, improve the dining experience, and help the local artist gain more exposure.

Hire local artists via Fiverr or social media like Instagram. Find those who have painted wall art and not had lots of followers. Or choose those with engaging typography and design.

7. Use LED lighting

Ambient lighting is an essential aspect of the interior design of any restaurant type, making your space look and feel more captivating and expensive.

Tips for low budget small restaurant design is using low light to create a more relaxed atmosphere. You may also consider energy-efficient and long-lasting LED lighting.

8. Add HVAC to your restaurant's interior design

Short for heating, ventilation & air conditioning, HVAC is the necessary service given by your restaurants. By paying attention to them, you are creating a satisfying experience for your guests. For example, diners can beat the summer heat in your cool restaurants. Add in how crucial ventilation is to prevent the kitchen smell from entering the dining room.

9. Include smaller tables in your dining room 

As a small restaurant may feel cluttered, you should leverage every square inch. Think about a design that features some smaller tables instead of large ones. This has the power to create a more open and welcoming space. 

10. Make a statement wall

Image: LorenzoMitil

Image: bestmetropolitanlinen

This restaurant design will brighten up your small room instantly and provide it with a necessary pop of individuality. Especially, should you create a wallpaper with high impact, you can make the rest of your floor plan simple and clean. 

Some restaurant interior design ideas include:

  • Large text wall decals
  • Bold graphics
  • Diagrams & Charts
  • Doodles
  • Illustrations.

11. Create a stunning menu

A menu is a list of food you serve and shows guests what your restaurant is all about. That is why making it beautiful and image-driven with One2 Menu is recommended. Some of its features include:

  • Simplified menu management (including updating your prices and great deals instantly)
  • Website integration
  • Google My Business Sync
  • Improved SEO.

Google integrated menus made possible with One2

12. Make a creative bar

Image: MichalMancewicz

You should not underrate the bar design because it tends to be a restaurant’s central gathering place. Beautify it with colors, signage, lighting, etc.

13. Make ceilings a part of your floor plan

This is one of the most creative small restaurant interior design ideas. Paint the same color for your walls on the ceiling, making the space look bigger. Else, use peel & stick tiles to cover the entire thing. 

14. Take full advantage of mirrors

Image: SabriTuzcu

This is one of the easiest ways of maximizing your space. As they reflect light, mirrors also make your restaurant appear brighter. 

Creating an interesting look for mirrors is not hard. For instance, decorate them with chalk paint and whatnot. Or, put up some ornate vintage mirrors, hence creating a quirkily charming vibe. 

15. Save money with reclaimed materials and low budget furniture

Buying second hand furniture, reclaimed glass, metal & wood, and shopping at your local antique shops are resourceful and budget ways of creating a fascinating aesthetic.  

Rather than everything matching, select mismatched ones to promote a modern but cozy atmosphere. For instance, a drink table with comfy old armchairs and another that features tall stools. 

16. Skip the tablecloths

Using linens in your restaurants can be expensive. Regular cleaning and replacement costs make them more unsuitable for low budget small restaurant design.

You may use linen napkins as a budget alternative to a full linen service. Washing and drying them in-house is easy. Paper tablecloths are another option that makes a fantastic coloring surface for children to play on when awaiting dinner.

17. Create a pleasant bathroom experience

A restaurant design that delivers an all-around pleasant experience is the one that sells. Ensure your bathroom is always clean and smells good. Further, we suggest adding decor there as well, for example, hand cream, pretty wallpaper, and mirror frames to make an impact.

18. Free up space and streamline operations with One2 virtual POS

One2 ordering platform supports your team from discovery, and ordering, to fulfillment. It helps spin up free online ordering from any device as well - Android, iPhone, iPad, or laptop. 

Setting up the system is easy and quick, without expensive, cumbersome hardware required. It also allows the ability to scale up affordably and efficiently. Generally, One2 enables small restaurant owners to offer improved services with limited resources.

Related questions 

1. How much does a small restaurant interior design cost?

The average price is between $85 to $500 per sq. ft.

2. How much seating should be there in my low budget small restaurant design?

The space for diners (and seating): 60% and staff and kitchen spaces: 40% - According to Total Food Service Industry & Restaurant News

3. How to make my small restaurant look more expensive?

  • Use real silverware and plates rather than disposable plastic.
  • Give patrons board games to play when they are awaiting dinner.
  • Inject a bit of personality into your design by adding unique shelving.

4. How to create a minimalistic restaurant design?

Purchase fewer pieces, meaning spending less money and leading to an open, easy-to-clean space with clean lines. To add style and function to your space interior, consider minimalist shelving.

5. How to make my small restaurant stand out?

  • Make your place inviting and comfortable.
  • Use quality ingredients.
  • Create signature dishes.
  • Make the restaurant safe to dine in and keep your menu updated with One2’s touchless menu
  • Deliver excellent customer service.
  • Create social media marketing campaigns that boost sales.
  • Make it easy to find your restaurant location through a map on your website, a clear sign, and by listing your business in GPS systems and online directories.
  • Use simple, branded tees that you can sell to guests and get some more advertising.
  • Unleash your imagination, for instance, a Mona Lisa painted on the ladies’ restroom wall.
  • Create loyalty programs that drive repeat sales. Contact us for unmatched support in this regard.

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