Wall Murals in Restaurant Design & Décor

The use of wall murals and other wall art in the interior design of your restaurant can offer a significant boost to your business.

Successful restaurant owners will tell you that the décor of a restaurant is as important as the quality of the food, the ability of the staff and the attractiveness of the location.

A wine cork wall mural presents an attractive atmosphere to potential diners looking through the front windows of this Italian restaurant.

A wine cork wall mural presents an attractive atmosphere to potential diners looking through the front windows of this Italian restaurant.

In fact, striking and attractive décor inside (and immediately outside) your dining establishment might be the primary factor in getting new diners in through your doors. Until they actually come in and sit down, they may have little idea what your food tastes like or how attentive your service staff is.

This is particularly true for restaurants in high foot traffic areas such as main downtown thoroughfares or strip malls where pedestrians may have dozens of restaurant choices within a short walk of one another. You not only need to set yourself apart from this kind of direct competition, you need to set yourself above them.

A tropical wall mural at Brian's Shave Ice in Northridge, California lets passers by know this is a fun establishment that cares about the customer experience.

A tropical wall mural at Brian’s Shave Ice & Boba in Northridge, California lets passers by know this is a fun establishment that cares about the customer experience.

It’s imperative that when a potential customer looks through your windows they see a restaurant that looks like it will provide them with the experience they’re looking for. You can’t guarantee they’ll always see a restaurant full of happy customers (especially early or later on in service), but you can ensure they’ll always see inviting décor.

Perforated window film murals give O'Malley's Pub an authentic Irish feel. While allowing patrons inside to still see outside, they also cut the glare of the setting sun every day.

Perforated window film murals give O’Malley’s Pub an authentic Irish feel. While allowing patrons inside to still see outside, they also cut the glare of the setting sun every day.

In an advice piece “10 ways to build business inside your restaurant’s four walls,” about expanding restaurant sales, National Restaurant News reports that an interesting entryway can help to attract customers.  Restaurant design should use visual elements “that draws the guest in and sends a signal that this is an interesting place. The entryway can also provide a transition that takes guests from the “crazy world” to a place in which they are going to be nurtured.”

Restaurant-Hospitality.com, in their article “Restaurants Have an Appetite for Art,” goes a step further, reporting that paintings, murals, sculptures and installations show a restaurant is serious about the total sensory experience of its guests.

Make Sure Your Outside Signage & Your Inside Décor Work Together

Magic Murals' "NYC Taxi" mural in the New York 2 Chicago Pizzeria in Kent, Ohio.

Magic Murals’ “NYC Taxi” mural in the New York 2 Chicago Pizzeria in Kent, Ohio.

The signage outside of your restaurant, the window film and other décor visible from within and without your restaurant’s windows and doors, and the view that patrons first get as soon as they open up those doors, need to work in harmony with one another to draw them inside. Every action up to the moment they pass through your threshold is based on the sense of sight and what visual cues you’ve given them up to that point in their journey.

Once inside, the wall décor should work in harmony with all of the other senses you appeal to in your effort to give your guests a great meal (and a great time) and get them to decide before they even get the check that they’ll be coming back regularly.

 

A really bright wall mural in this eclectic looking cafe makes it hard to resist going inside and hanging out for a fun time.

A really bright wall mural in this eclectic looking café makes it hard to resist going inside and hanging out for a fun time. It’s bright inside even when it is overcast outside.

You know what vibe you want your restaurant to have. Bright and bold colors and subject matter for a fun spot or when you want to achieve high turnover. Warm and earthy for something more homey. And you’ll know something is right for a romantic restaurant or fine dining establishment the moment you see it.

Whether Quick Serve or Fine Dining, There’s a Mural to Match the Mood

If you only think of “restaurant murals” as something appropriate for quick serve or fast casual dining, then note that Architectural Digest has highlighted New York City’s Le Bernadin, ranked as one of the best restaurants in the world, in their article, “Gorgeous Interiors from the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.”

A wall mural featuring rushing ocean waters gives a fresh feel to Le Barnadin's fine dining.

A backlit wall mural featuring rushing ocean waters gives a fresh and bright feeling to Le Barnadin’s fine dining.

What’s front & center in Le Bernadin’s décor? A mural. You can (very affordably) do something like this in your restaurant too.

If you look at the other restaurants highlighted in Architectural Digest’s article, you’ll note that many of them have large floor to ceiling windows with phenomenal views of sparkling cityscapes, glistening oceans and beaches, and other views to die (or dine) for.

Well… your restaurant might not be located on the top floor of a skyscraper in the middle of the city or with open window views of the Caribbean… but with a wall mural, you can give your diners the same view (and a similar atmosphere). Or a view of Venice… or Tuscan vineyards… or the Great Wall of China or the Eiffel Tower or anything else that matches the mood of your restaurant. You get the picture (literally, you can… with a mural).

This is an example of the restaurant design previews you’ll find in the architonic collections. When you click on the links, you’ll find dozens of pictures and a design profile provided by the design firm.

This is an example of the restaurant design previews you’ll find in the Architonic collections. When you click on the links, you’ll find dozens of pictures and a design profile provided by the design firm.

If you’d like to get more ideas for restaurant design, from interiors to exteriors, check out this constantly updated collection of beautifully designed restaurants from around the world on Architonic.com – the site for all things related to architecture and design. You’ll find the best in restaurant architectural and interior design, both with and without murals. You’ll see how hundreds of restaurants have used their interior designs to help deliver the perfect experience to their patrons. They have a section on cafés too.

Note that the preview pictures focus on the restaurant’s signature backlit onyx show kitchen. They don’t report how much that cost to install, but with a little magic, your restaurant could achieve the same effect with a backlit mural at a fraction of a fraction of the cost.

Wall murals depicting greenery enhance the South American vibe of Toro Toro in Dubai.

Wall murals depicting greenery enhance the South American vibe of Toro Toro in Dubai.

Toro Toro, serving what is considered the best South American cuisine available in Dubai, uses murals similar to this throughout their restaurant to provide a decidedly upscale atmosphere.

Give Your Guests an Instagrammable Experience

We grabbed this shot right off of social media. Cristo's Pizza has nailed how to provide the perfect selfie background with this wine bottle wall mural. We wouldn't be surprised if it increases bottle sales too!

We grabbed this shot right off of social media. Cristo’s Pizza has nailed how to provide the perfect selfie background with this wine bottle wall mural. We wouldn’t be surprised if it increases bottle sales too!

Word of mouth has always been the best (and most affordable) way to attract new customers to your restaurant. These days, word of mouth most frequently comes from Google and Yelp reviews and friends’ posts on Instagram and Facebook. A wall mural is the perfect backdrop for social media influencers (and normal folks too) to snap a picture and let their friends and followers know where they’ve been.

In the same Nation’s Restaurant News article referenced above, Mark Brandau writes: “Restaurant companies count online impressions — some in the millions of page views — from website redesigns or social-media campaigns as a way to calculate their marketing return on investment. But for increasingly Web-savvy consumers, the most important impression is the first one foodservice brands make on the guest’s computer or mobile phone screens.”

You'd never know they were enjoying these eclairs in Alameda, CA and not some medieval French village. Park Street Plaza hosts a number of shops and eateries, with many different wall murals between them to create a transition and provide a social media backdrop.

You’d never know they were enjoying these eclairs in Alameda, CA and not some medieval French village. Park Street Plaza hosts a number of shops and eateries, with many different wall murals between them to create a transition and provide a social media backdrop.

Restaurant-Hospitality.com, in another article, “Restaurant Murals Serve Bold Visuals,” declares that “Today’s murals are big, bold and edgy. They can set the tone for the restaurant’s design as a whole and sometimes serve as a social media identifier, appearing in the background of selfies or food shots.”

So… give your diners the perfect spot to take a selfie. It’s likely to be the first impression your restaurant makes on a potential customer.

The website tastingtable.com, in one of their articles on restaurant design trends, says there’s an additional reason for a wall mural or some other bold design choice: “It seems like it’d be one of those topics that appeals only to industry insiders or those who want to location-scout for their Instagram posts. But there’s a good reason to be in the loop: The décor trends you see now in “hot” restaurants are the ones you’ll see in your living room in the coming years.”

Wall Murals Are Practical & Affordable

Speaking of laminates, dry erase laminate can be used to create a bright and clean version of the every-changing chalkboard menus that are popular in many farm-to-table venues. For a fraction of the price of the custom tile shown here at Côté Maison in Cannes, France, you can have a similar look.

Speaking of laminates, dry erase laminate can be used to create a bright and clean version of the every-changing chalkboard menus that are popular in many farm-to-table venues. For a fraction of the price of the custom tile shown here at Côté Maison in Cannes, France, you can have a similar look.

When it comes down to it, the use of wallpaper murals is one of the most practical and affordable design choices you can make for your restaurant’s interior.

They take up zero floor space, making sure you maximize square footage for revenue-generating tables and customer and staff access around them. They do not block pathways or doors or serving stations or anything else, including electrical outlets or natural lighting. They won’t interfere with wi-fi signals or music speakers or sightlines across the restaurant.

Chalkboard wall mural in restaurant O Chevreuil in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.

Chalkboard wall mural in restaurant O Chevreuil in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.

They’re easy to clean. If being used in an area where they are likely to get occasional food splatter (or be touched by occasional sticky fingers or crayon-wielding children), be sure to ask about laminates which can make them virtually indestructible from your younger and messier patrons.

Of course, if you like the chalkboard look, a printed wall mural can give you the same look without the risk that an unaware patron might brush up against it and destroy your look in seconds. Magic Murals can custom create a look just for you. This particular mural was designed by Marianne Girard for the O Chevreuil in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. This chalkboard mural was featured in an article on designmantic.com which shows dozens of wall murals featuring typography and other graphic elements.

Wall murals featuring typography can be very effective decor elements, providing a casual yet also upscale interior.

Wall murals featuring typography can be very effective decor elements, providing a casual yet also upscale interior.


Celebrate & Connect With Your Community

If your business plan is centered on being the restaurant or pub that everyone in the immediate area goes to on a regular basis for a burger and a brew or when they just don’t feel like cooking for the family, then make it clear with your décor.

Whether there's a game on or not, everyone who roots for the local teams does so at Raleigh's Backyard Bistro, featuring this wall mural celebrating local college sports.

Whether there’s a game on or not, everyone who roots for the local teams does so at Raleigh’s Backyard Bistro, featuring this wall mural celebrating local college sports.

An easily created custom mural can feature local scenes, maps, sports teams, etc. Magic Murals can work with you and your local Chamber of Commerce, visitor centers, libraries, schools, historical societies, etc. to get the pictures required to create a wall mural that really connects with your customers.

This wall mural of vintage miners really puts the coal in the Arigna Irish Pub and Coal Fire Kitchen in Pawtucket, RI.

This wall mural of vintage miners really puts the coal in the Arigna Irish Pub and Coal Fire Kitchen in Pawtucket, RI.

Even a brand new restaurant can provide a sense that it’s been part of the community for generations with the use of vintage photos. A mural made of vintage images can pay homage to the building you’re in, the community as a whole, or to the ancestors who came before you.

In their article “12 Restaurant Design & Décor Ideas to Inspire You in 2020,” Upserve (a company that provides POS and other services to the restaurant industry) quotes designer Taniya Nayak (of Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible fame):

“I always try to grab hold of a piece of history of that space or the area. Locals and tourists always seem to appreciate a good story. My husband and I just opened up Yellow Door Taqueria in Dorchester, Massachusetts. It used to be an iconic antique store for over 20 years—a favorite corner shop in the neighborhood. In coming up with the design concept, we wanted to hold on to the history by designing a taqueria that has the look and feel of an old antique shop. The place turned out great and, more importantly, the guests seem to really appreciate that we went in that direction.”

Goldberg's New York Bagels celebrates their Big Apple heritage and authenticity with a vintage NYC wall mural.

Goldberg’s New York Bagels celebrates their Big Apple heritage and authenticity with a vintage NYC wall mural. Vintage images are a great way to connect with your diners and position your brand.

The article references design concepts & concerns such as: seating, functionality, lighting, use of plants & greenery, acoustics and wall murals and wall art. It’s a good read.

Note: Plants and greenery are highly recommended if you want to convey farm-to-table freshness. If you don’t want to pay for plant maintenance and/or take the risk that they might attract bugs, murals and wall art of plants offer you a great alternative. Wall murals never need watering, never die and wipe clean with a soapy sponge.

Work With Local Artists – Printed Wallpaper Murals Mitigate The Risk

In an effort to really connect with the locals, many restaurants have taken to working with local artists to create bespoke murals for their restaurants. Restaurant Design & Development magazine investigates the overall use of art in restaurants with a particular focus on graffiti and pop art inspired murals hand painted by local artists. There’s some good ideas in there.

We LOVE local artists (all of our murals come from some artist who is local to somewhere), but the article doesn’t talk about the issues that can occur when you have someone painting a large intricate piece inside your restaurant.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's Trattoria in Surrey, England features a printed wallpaper mural designed by artists at Blacksheep Design.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s Trattoria in Surrey, England features a printed wallpaper mural designed by artists at Blacksheep Design.

There’s a bunch of potential problems, as you can imagine. There’s the extra hours to open up each day so the artist can prep and paint and then clean everything up before you open for business. (Make sure they’re using paint that doesn’t smell.) There’s the preliminary sketches to go over (and over) without hurting the artist’s feelings if your visions don’t mesh 100%. And then, and it happens rather frequently, there’s the final product that doesn’t always look like what you expected. It might not look much like the concept sketch at all. And you’re kind of stuck with it. Arguing with the artist could result in bad word of mouth and a social media mess.

So what’s the solution?

We'll just have to assume that the restaurant owner got what he wanted from his artist. JK - we dig the vibe.

We’ll just have to assume that the restaurant owner got what he wanted from his artist. JK – we dig the vibe.

Easy… hire a local artist to create a scaled down version of the mural, get a high resolution scan of it, and then let Magic Murals create a printed wallpaper mural for you. Not only does the artist save a lot of time, but you’ll know in advance exactly what the finished product will look like. And, should it ever be damaged, we can reproduce it for you. If the local artist is no longer local, it won’t matter. We’ve got you covered.

And you might save a substantial amount of money. The website fixr.com estimates that the average cost for a 200 square foot painted wall mural is about $4,000 with a detailed mural running as much as $10,000.

There’s Some Really Interesting Things You Can Do With Wall Murals…
Like Not Even Using Them On A Wall

Mi Pueblita tabletops covered with custom talavera tile murals“Magic Murals was an integral part of the successful renovations at Mi Pueblito Mexican Restaurants in Western North Carolina! I was unable to find any table cloths that fit my vision and the tables were mismatched. Magic Murals was the perfect solution! I was able to design Talavera tile compositions to fit any table (size and/or shape) using the QuikStik. The prints were easy to apply and then I coated them with bar top epoxy which adhered well. The overall effect is stunning, rich in color and dimensional. Thank you Magic Murals, for making my vision a reality, staying in budget and meeting many deadlines.” ~

Jenna B., Interior Designer

Artifacturing Design & Manufacturing– Rutherfordton, NC

The Mediterranean Sandwich Company stores feature beautiful tile decorations... that are actually wall murals!

The Mediterranean Sandwich Company stores feature beautiful tile decorations… that are actually wall murals!

In Alabama, there’s a chain of quick serve Mediterranean Sandwich Company restaurants that feature beautiful tile in front of their service counters.

Or do they?!?!

Owner Vlad Moldoveanu had artists create the tile design and Magic Murals sends the wall murals directly to each new location as the franchise grows.

Let Consumer Psychology Guide Your Color Palette Choice

While the subject matter of the wall art and wall murals you choose obviously has to match your restaurant’s theme(s), you want to give a lot of thought to the colors you choose – not only for the art, but for the walls themselves, for the table, the chairs, the wait staff’s uniforms, etc.

Psychology studies have shown that different colors absolutely have an impact on diners, from how much they eat to how quickly they eat it to, well, how they feel about eating.

When you first walk into New Jersey's Society of Burgers restaurant, this wall mural featuring happy cows leaves no doubt that the food is fresh.

When you first walk into New Jersey’s Society of Burgers restaurant, this wall mural featuring happy cows leaves no doubt that the food is fresh.

QSRmagazine, the magazine for the Quick Serve Restaurant industry, has a very instructional article on how all five of the senses interact upon the dining experience – good to know whether you’re running a take-out coffee shop or a fine-dining restaurant. Of it, we’ll share their summary on colors:

“Many a restaurant design begins with selecting a color palette, and though the colors chosen often match a brand’s logo and marketing materials, they’re also carefully selected to elicit specific emotions and actions from customers.

Red and yellow, for example, are known to subconsciously trigger hunger and induce excitement, one possible reason why many brands—including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Firehouse Subs, KFC, and Hardee’s—use the hues in their logos and stores. These bold, primary colors, especially when paired with bright lighting, can even encourage quick turnover in the unit—a particularly motivating factor for busy quick serves—while muted tones can create a leisurely atmosphere that keeps guests hanging around even after they’ve finished their meals, according to multiple design experts.

Orange represents wholesomeness and fruitfulness, the experts say, while it can also stimulate appetites and make a higher-priced product seem more reasonable. Green is frequently used by sandwich, salad, and better-for-you concepts, particularly because it symbolizes nature, freshness, and health.

The muted tones of these Italian-themed wall murals provides a warm and casual theme at Monical's Pizza, a chain with more than 40 locations in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Wisconsin. The mural images, including an Antique Map of Italy, the Trevi Fountain, the Roman Colosseum and more, provide diners with a trip to Italy for the cost of a pizza.

The muted tones of these Italian-themed wall murals provides a warm and casual theme at Monical’s Pizza, a chain with more than 40 locations in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Wisconsin. The Magic Mural images, including an Antique Map of Italy, the Trevi Fountain, the Roman Colosseum and more, provide diners with a trip to Italy for the cost of a pizza.

Neutral, earth-toned hues, meanwhile, are often used as a backdrop in many restaurants, as they promote comfort and familiarity. Research has even shown that customers consume larger amounts of product when dining in a room painted in a warm shade, thanks largely to the fact that it evokes a sense of intimacy and ease.”

So… consider which colors to use to meet your objectives. For instance, a Mexican restaurant that wants to churn customers quickly might opt for bright colors like red, yellow and orange, while one that wants to cater to a clientele that will have a leisurely meal and a higher bar tab might choose earth tones and muted/warmer reds, yellows and oranges.

So… What Can Magic Murals Do For Your Restaurant?

Seriously, if it’s printed and it goes on your wall, window or pretty much any other flat service, Magic Murals is the company you want to work with. We’ve supplied hundreds of restaurants throughout the United States and around the world with wall murals and wall art that helps them build their brand and connect with their customers. We would love the opportunity to do the same for you.

Please take a look at our Wall Murals for Restaurants page and contact us. We’ll even send you free swatches when you submit the form there so you can check out the quality of our materials and inks yourself. And while we offer more than 15,000 mural images to choose from on our site for “self-serve customers,” our team of designers can create anything you want or work with your artists and designers. We’re Magic Murals. We’ve got you covered.

A classic black & white beach mural behind the service counter at the Hideaway Restaurant in Bethany Beach, DE. Design & Photograph by Marnie Oursler.

A classic black & white beach mural behind the service counter at the Hideaway Restaurant in Bethany Beach, DE. Design & Photograph by Marnie Oursler. Wall mural by Magic Murals.

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