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Tips to Refresh Your Cafe Design


Cafe Design Tips

Do you own a cafe that needs a design refresh? Or are you looking at opening a cafe and need some advice to nail the design from the start? You're going to need some professional advice and guidance to ensure you can do it on your budget and produce the vision that is in your head. 

We have teamed up with Natalie Aichroy from Linnea Design to help get you moving in the right direction. 


Linnea Design

What is Linnea Design all about?

We are essentially design problem solvers, working with new and existing spaces to develop interior and exterior finishes to enhance your customer experience, build on branding and to draw more customers in, and to make sure they come back and bring their friends…..and just quietly we love what we do (especially when coffee is involved).
I often work from a cafe, or meet clients for coffee - so many of us have a daily ritual that starts with enjoying a fresh barista made coffee in a fabulously designed cafe interior, its like therapy and the importance of having a well planned and designed space to keep people coming back is up there with the coffee quality!


Linnea Design's top 5 tips for someone wanting to remodel or refresh their café:


Cafe Design Layout and Planning

Analyze Space & Set a Budget

Always starting with a good old brainstorm session with whoever is in your trusted circle, get out the butcher’s paper and make notes old school style to get the ideas flowing. Take the time here, to plan and refine…..dig out all the ‘what ifs’ and explore them. I always encourage my clients to really just throw everything into the mix at this stage - even the wild ideas! There may be a very cool idea resting in the depths of your baristas mind that will really set our business apart. 

BUDGET - yep look at the amount you will happily spend, this may be a fixed amount that you work your ideas around, or the reverse, where the design will determine the budget – sometimes ideas need to be costed at this early stage for clients to be able to set a budget. Hiring a designer to help during these early stages to drive a direction that will meet budget, or help to reverse engineer ideas to meet budget is always money well spent. For example; moving water and wastes a large distance can be a budget destroyer, it may be possible to shift things slightly to have a similar impact overall - 100mm is a huge distance in my world - small things can have great impact. 


Cafe Design Lighting

Light & Lighting

A great way to update any space is with feature lighting- instantly adding not only visual interest, but ambience and eye catching features …think gorgeous wall lighting and over sized pendant lights hanging over the POS or seating areas. If access into wall or ceiling cavities is tricky, exposing the conduit can again add another really beautiful honest element. The right lighting will draw people in on an overcast or cold winters day, as will natural lighting and air flow on a warm summer's day – working your natural aspect and then analysing where visually lighting is needed, highlighting dark uninviting nooks with ambient lighting for example. Lighting can be affordable, hand made or repurposed, there really are few limitations when it comes to lighting style and budget. I love to play with ratio and scale…don’t be scared to add oversized – even in smaller spaces.


Cafe Design Paint and Paneling

Paint and Paneling

We all have seen the power of a re paint - be it the whole space or just in part. Busy cafes have high traffic volume and freshening up the paint work regularly is key to keeping things clean and fresh. I always view re-painting as an opportunity to add detail into a space- sheet a wall in a cool fluted timber paneling – add some timber batons to create interest. You might even sheet a wall in copper, use a textured render, or add a feature tile. There are so many different type of paint, and if the turn around is quick – using a no or Low voc paint will mean no nasty paint smells…  Paint is the most marvelous tool for any designer when it comes to fast affordable transformations. If a repaint is simply not possible, the next best thing will be to add in some large scale art, if keeping thing super simple you may be able to paint something yourself. Most designers will carry a long list of artists that can supply incredible original, limited edition or prints to meet style and budget.


Cafe Design Furniture

Furniture and Décor

From the early stages of setting up a space, I always recommend using furniture that can be revamped easily or that can have parts replaced at a sensible cost- again, these are high wear items and their life span can be short if not intended for commercial usage. Setting yourself up with items that will last from the early stages not only saves replacing items as often, but also reduces waste and unnecessary consumption. Its a false economy to buy cheap and fast when the usage is for commercial purposes. Think timber table tops that can be sanded and re sealed when needed, steering clear of chrome and uncoated metals when located near the coast, chairs with no or small amounts of commercial upholstery that are easily re upholstered or cleaned as needed….Maximising your space by building in benches and bench seating... can expand here..


Cafe Design Furniture

Add Some Green

Adding greenery be it hanging, climbing or in a large pot can add beauty with a simple trip to Bunnings. Grab a sausage, a plant or 10 and your work is done. Plants calm and connect people to nature, and there are unkillable options for those that have a brown thumb.


Cafe Design Party

Have a Little Revamp/ Renovation Party

Make your staff and trades know you love and appreciate their hard work by throwing a little gathering once the work is done. Making people smile fills the space with good vibes and makes you even more magnetic to the good time customers out there.


If you have any tips you'd like to add, put them in the comments below.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Artisti to connect us or you can send me a DM on my Instagram.

Natalie Aichroy
Linnea Design 

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