Which Restaurant Decor Trends Are Now Total Clichés?


Is it time to retire Edison bulbs, reclaimed wood, communal tables, stools as seating, and other restaurant decor trends seen here? Photo © W Dallas via Flickr.

We need to talk about contemporary restaurant interiors. In cities from New York to Austin to Los Angeles, trends in food—especially the farm-to-table movement and other locavore, organic, and artisanal menu offerings—have encouraged an ironically bland sameness in restaurant interior design (think long, “communal” tables and benches, and reclaimed wood galore). To add insult to injury, as this fantastic piece by Eater critic Robert Sietsema charting the decline of restaurant comfortability points out, restaurants just aren’t as hospitable as they once were. The goal of many restaurants—especially ones in the mid to lower end of the spectrum—seems to just be to get diners in and out. Certain decor choices serve as effective means to that end.

Stools, for example, have replaced real chairs in many a restaurant. And don’t even get us started on design choices—like all-over tile or an abundance of another hard surfacing material—that lead to acoustically unbearable dining rooms. When it comes to style, a Ye Olde-y vibe prevails (cue the Edison bulbs) that’s grown rather tiresome, but the luxuriant fabrics and textures of the ’70s seem to be making a comeback. We’d welcome any smart stylistic moves away from the norm. Our editors even embrace the weird and the absurd, like the ethernet cable-decor to be found at a restaurant in a Japanese city (photo below), or the aggressive, angular look of Kinoya, a bar and restaurant in Montréal.

So, what do you think? What are some of the most bothersome restaurant decor trends you’ve witnessed? And what should we start replacing them with? Sound off in the comments!

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A restaurant in Kichijoji, Japan—designed by architect Kengo Kuma—where disused ethernet cables have become decor. Photo by Erieta Attali via Designboom.

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Montréal restaurant and bar Kinoya sports a unique look, comprising a rough-hewn space with faceted, reclaimed-wood interiors. Photo by Adrian Williams via Contemporist.

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Must All Houses Have Open-Plan Interiors Now? [Curbed]
Are You a Minimalist, a Maximalist, or Somewhere in Between? [Curbed]
Which Kitchen Decor Trends Would You Do Away With? [Curbed]
What’s Wrong With Putting a TV Above the Fireplace? [Curbed]
Which Decor Trends Are The Most Overexposed Right Now? [Curbed]
All Weekly Decor Rant posts [Curbed]

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