11 Inspiring Restaurant Interiors We're Bookmarking, Stat

Great food speaks for itself, true, but the space of a restaurant wields serious power in making or breaking the dining experience. Especially now that we are in an age of shrinking interiors and decreasing levels of comfort (cramped stools, hard surfaces), the restaurants that have taken the time to express their identities through decor truly stand out. These are the establishments that don’t rest on their Edison light bulb-hanging laurels. They couple their thoughtful menus with thoughtful ambiences.

So unique are these design-minded restaurants that they hold some real inspiration for decorating our own kitchens and dining rooms. Remember how serene you felt savoring a salad in a café done all in white wood with tons of greenery? Or how invigorating a bar was, thanks to its brightly hued walls and metallic accents? Seeing a certain aesthetic in action at a restaurant is the easiest way to try it on. Once you know you love it, it’s time to use it to refresh your own space. Below are 12 spots across the U.S. that have set themselves apart with their design, and how those individual styles can be translated at home.

Ocean-Airy: Blue Island Oyster Bar in Denver, CO

When done right, a maritime-leaning motif can be an ideal match for your kitchen. That means less on-the-nose decor like ships and knots and more calming blues in different tones. Just look to Blue Island Oyster Bar, which has managed to make a Denver restaurant feel like an oasis on the coast of Maine. Work light, neutral tones against blues, add hints of pattern, and nod a bit more subtly to the nautical atmosphere with framed antique maps for a room that will relax and inspire.

 by Courtney Iseman • July 19, 2017