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Top 5 Summer Design Trends for Bars and Restaurants

Posted on | Posted in Hospitality

Summer is high season for bars and restaurants, when people want to get out and make the most of the improved weather while it lasts. Drinkers and diners craving a respite from the daily grind seek the best-equipped venues to enjoy some downtime out in the open air, to socialise al fresco with that unbeatable holiday atmosphere.

Take a look at five top summer design trends for bars and restaurants, and see how a restaurant canopy can significantly enhance your outdoor space and boost your custom by ensuring that nothing gets in the way of your clientele having a good time.



A popular trend among bars and restaurants is to blur the lines between interior and exterior. Whether extending the outdoor experience indoors via tropical plant life and extensive glass walls, or recreating the indoors in outdoor spaces with comfortable furniture and TV screens, it’s all about creating an immersive experience which defies the boundaries of the space.

Paul Pruitt, Principal at the New School, told Tastingtable.com of this year’s biggest restaurant trends: “You’re seeing plants everywhere: everyone’s gardening out of their restaurants. Either a full-on greenhouse look with the arched roof and glass and tons of plants, or, if not [actual] plants, you’re seeing floral or plant wallpaper.”

Summer is the perfect time for making the most of the outdoor experience. Open-sky dining, rooftop bars and heated terraces are becoming as ubiquitous here as in Europe. Bar and restaurant canopies fit naturally into this environment, for both customer comfort and protection of the space. See our case study of how restaurant canopies can transform an outdoor space from functional area to destination in its own right, foliage and all.


Dark is Out – Bright and Light Is In

Deep oak, dark leather and industrial fixtures moodily lit by barely-glowing vintage bulbs – sound familiar? This reliance on atmosphere and nostalgia has been commonplace in restaurants and bars in recent years, in an attempt to evoke a connection with customers and reflect an air of New York-style sophistication.


However, design trends in the hospitality sector are starting to see a shift to a much brighter, cleaner aesthetic. This no doubt owes much to modern society’s ever-growing awareness of health and wellbeing, as well as the growing desire for optimism and positivity in today’s uncertain world.

Speaking to Tastingtable.com, Amy Morris, co-founder of The MP Shift said: “Everyone is getting sick of that dark, heavy look from Grandpa’s house… The white, bright, fresher look, the California boho-chic look, is the trend. We’re going away from dark and going toward lighter colours.”

Summer is the perfect time for lighter spaces to come into their own. Nobody wants to lurk mysteriously in the shadowy corners of a Manhattan-style cocktail bar on a sunny afternoon or balmy evening, when the energy of the most lively and sociable time of year flows through us all.


Café Culture Vibes

Sitting on the pavement, watching the world go by with a cold drink and perhaps a delicious bite to eat… are there many things in life more enjoyable?


The rise of café culture in the UK has been a huge boost to the hospitality industry over the last few years, evidenced by the number of bars, cafés and restaurants now offering outdoor seating wherever they can find the space and the increasing pedestrianisation of squares, avenues and roads in our towns and cities. When the lighter months finally appear, who doesn’t want to feel like they’re in Paris or Rome while on a casual after-work outing or whiling away the hours on a weekend?

Bar and restaurant canopies are the perfect way to keep up with the surge in al fresco drinking and dining, ensuring that the unpredictable British weather can’t stop anyone’s fun.


The Hygge Influence

If you haven’t heard of the term ‘hygge’, you’ve somehow missed one of the biggest lifestyle buzzwords of the last year. According to Visit Denmark, it means “creating a nice warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people around you”. Bars and restaurants everywhere have inevitably seized this opportunity to capture the zeitgeist, creating cosy spaces which retain that signature minimal Scandi feel. Hallmarks are natural materials like cork, wood, cane and rattan, and touchable textures such as sheepskin and cashmere, all in neutral tones such as beiges and creams.

The quest for cosiness is aided with design features such as nooks, secret spaces, private booths and deep sofas, enhancing that feeling of indulgence and comfort.

Speaking to the Morning Advertiser, Ardour Design co-founder Amy Ilic said: “People are seeking out sanctuaries in space, places in which they feel calm and clear-minded.”


Atmospheric Music and Lighting

Think of the best ways to spend your time during the summer. Wining and dining with great music can’t be too far from the top of the list? When customers love to bask in the ambiance of the longer days and nights, there are a few finishing touches which will keep them hanging around for longer and getting the most out of their leisure time.

Whether it’s investing in a great sound system, hiring a DJ or using fairy lights, music and lighting are a huge part of keeping up the al fresco atmosphere, especially on colder days or after dark when people are tempted to go inside.

A bar canopy is the perfect way to shelter your electronics as well as keeping your clientele protected from the elements.

See how The Garrack Hotel made the most of their prime seaside terrace by turning it into an in-demand party venue with the help of Canopies UK.


If you’d like to now how you can maximise your bar or restaurant space with the help of a canopy, we’d love to help. Fill in this quick form with your details and we’ll send you a brochure!