COLOR: Considerations
In Restaurant Interior Design

Familiarity with color psychology, color combinations and color theory helps achieve a total restaurant interior design effect. If you do not have access to the services of a design professional you may wish to refer to the summary below for some helpful guidance in the selection of surface finishes.
There is much controversy about the psychological effects of color upon people.
There are also many excellent books and other available resources. See below for one great book and some links to more information.

If you are thinking about colors for an interior environment, think about these color effects too.

Light and Cool Colors Recede

Light and cool colors can make a space seem bigger.

Dark and Warm Colors Advance

Dark and warm colors can be used in large rooms to keep the space from feeling vast.

Bold, Primary Colors = Speed

Appropriate for encouraging fast food turnover and children's areas.

Subtle Colors are Restful

Pastels can make a room feel bigger and often have a calming, peaceful effect.

Color Can Convey a Style

Color can evoke a theme or style:
Green for nature, pastels for Post- Modernism, red, black & white or gray & pink combinations for a 1950's look.

Colors Should Relate to Climate

Warm colors feel right in colder climates cool colors feel right in warmer climates.
Think about the feelings colors convey and what colors can do and say.


Red suggests aggression, hostility, heat, stop, error, warning, danger, error, fire, lushness and passion. Red & black is a classic combination. Some say red enhances the appetite.


Associated with nature the pastoral and general well-being. Green also suggests envy and jealousy. Green should not be overused. Too much can affect skin tones and the appearance of some foods.


Yellow suggests the sun, expansiveness, happiness and high spirits. Yellow commands attention and suggests caution. It can be used successfully as a highlight.


Blue suggests the peaceful, the sad and water. Blue is often associated with the male.

Blue is a cool color and can visually expand a room. It does not compliment most foods. Blue goes well with warm colors and materials.


Black can have negative sociological connotations like evil, mourning, ghostly, night, death and fear. However, black can be very stylish and and modern. Black works well as an accent with other colors.


White suggests the virginal, the innocent, the cold and the clean.

White walls can encourage turnover and are in keeping with the bright, clean atmosphere of a fast food environment. Too much white can contribute to glare.


Dark browns suggest masculinity, lighter browns warmth and femininity. A neutral background allows for flexibility.

Gold and Chrome are not "Colors"

But are used as colors in surface decoration.


Gold has a warming influence and can help offset cold materials like stone or brighten dark materials like dark wood.


Neutral, cold, hard and clean. Mirrored surfaces add color by reflection. Suggests modern style as well as antique style ( Deco ) and nostalgic (1950's. )


Can also be used as part of the interior designer's color palette

Links To More Info on Color

Three great sites, one great book. This is what you're looking for!

Color Matters Web Site

Colors On The Web
Color Theory
The science of how to use and combine colors
The Color Wheel
The Color Wheel is the basis for it all
Color Combinations
Learn more about combining colors and creating color schemes
Color Physics
What are colors? Read more about the physics of colors here

Color Psychology for Atmosphere in Retail Sales By Connie Speer

A great book ( Actually a series of them ) Designer's Guide to Color