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How to Create a Welcoming Atmosphere: Tips for Designing Cafés


Courtesy of Canva Photos

They’ve always been around and always been hangout spots for friends and family. But with the rise of Instagram, cafes have become so much more.

So, what should you keep in mind while designing your café?

First things first, you need to figure out your target audience, and what you want your people to do when coming into your café.

Are you in the middle of a trendy, young area? Or maybe your lakeside with cottages surrounding you.

Once you figure out who your target market is, think about this: Do you want people to come in, grab their coffees and go? Or maybe you want them to come in and stay away.

This completely influences how you design your café, almost more than the target market.

Let me explain.

If you are designing a café space where you want people to pick up and go. Or maybe you are in the middle of a busy business district, where you just know people will pick up their coffee and food, grab it, and go.

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In this case, you don’t need ample space for seating, you can focus more on the actual behind-the-counter area to make sure your baristas have good space to make coffee fast and efficiently, to ensure your customers are happy. But don’t get rid of seating altogether. Furniture like hard chairs, benches, and high tables are a better option. It doesn’t keep people long, meaning you can have a better flow through the café.

Bright colors can also help with this. Generally speaking, brighter, more saturated colors influence the human brain into being more spontaneous, which is great, but it also means that it makes decisions quickly and can influence your customers to leave faster. Which, if that is your goal, is perfect!

What about café spaces where you want people to come in and stay awhile?

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This is where Instagram becomes more important. Aesthetic and seating are highly important in these types of cafes.

Here are a few things to think about:

  1. Lighting – be sure to keep the lighting lower, using natural lighting as much as possible. Bright lights can become distracting and don’t lend themselves to relaxation, which is what you want with a ‘stay-awhile’ café.

  2. Colors – Opposite of what I spoke of earlier in the ‘grab-and-go’ cafes, make your colors subtle. You can always include a bright color or 2 as accents, but be sure the undertones are all warmer, neutral tones to promote a relaxing environment.

  3. And finally, your furniture.

I’m going to give this its own paragraph because we may be here for a while. 😉

I’m joking, but obviously, if you want people to sit and stay a while in your café, your furniture choice will be very important. Stray away from harder chairs and maybe look at a more comfortable option. Soft seating specifically is a great option. Don’t go as extreme as recliners, as that’s a little over the top. But think about what kinds of people come to cafes to ‘sit and stay’.

University students, studying, businesspeople, working, and friends, socializing. So, consider that there will be individuals, not just groups of people.

And although you don’t want to stretch yourself too thin, having something for both types of clients is key. Soft-seating, group areas, where they may not even be a table or more of a coffee table for them to set their stuff on, but the idea is to sit back and chat.

And then comfortable benches, or seats, with proper café tables, for businesspeople and students to have a place to put notebooks or laptops.

Either way softer, more comfortable seating is necessary.

And…we can help! Reach out to us today for design tips and a quote for soft-seating for your café today –


Coffee Business, Planning and Design. (2019, September 23). The 14 Rules of Coffee Shop Design. Retrieved from Bellissim Coffee Advisors:

Lightspeed. (2021, March 17). 5 Proven Tips for the Perfect Coffee Shop Design. Retrieved from Lightspeed:

Pattnaik, D. (n.d.). Café Architecture: Important Tips to Design a Cafe. Retrieved from The Design Gesture:

Posist. (n.d.). Essential Cafe Design Tips That You Must Include In Your Cafe In 2022. Retrieved from The Restaurant Times, Powered by Posist:


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