The world moves fast and the never-ending search for all things modern can quickly leave some consumers looking for the joys of the past. This is why people love the fun vintage throwback of going to a diner for a taste of the past! When it comes to getting the right diner lighting to create this fun throwback vibe, there are a few things to keep in mind. Let's take a look at the top tips for creating successful diner lighting for your restaurant.
When you think of retro-inspired diner lighting, you might not think of modern technology such as an LED, but you definitely want to consider it. LED offers the best performance on several important matters. For starters, it offers the best lumen out for a lower wattage consumed which means it is brighter than other options while still using up less energy for better utility costs. LED also offers the best options on matters such as color rendering indexes, color temperature variations, and they are a no heat option which helps with their overall longevity and performance. LED is also better for the environment since they use less energy and the lamps last a long time before requiring replacements.
Play with color
A diner should have an atmosphere of fun! By playing with lighting colors, you can easily create the right vibe for the location. Whether you prefer the soft pinks and blues of a classic 50s diner or the later red, white, and blue style of an all-American burger joint, the color of the lighting is important because it adds to the experience for your customers. While adding a few colorful lights to the mix is pretty much expected for this type of atmosphere, make sure you keep general lighting in mind for basic lighting needs. Colorful lighting is more of an accent to add ambiance than the primary source of light.
Consider color temperature
This is where many people unfamiliar with lighting details get confused. When we talk about color temperature in a light source, we aren't talking about hues such as pink or blue as mentioned above. Color temperature in relation to light sources is how warm or cool the light is as rated on the Kelvin scale. A warmer light will give a yellow tinge to it and a cooler light will be white to blue-white in appearance. When looking at this aspect of diner lighting, keep in mind that you want to create more of a fun and lively atmosphere than a cozy, warm feeling for the most part. In order to achieve this effect, it's best to opt for lights in a cooler rather than a warmer tone when looking at the scale. It's a good idea to stay within a color temperature scale realm of warm white to cool white rather than too yellow or too blue so around 2000K-3500K is best.
Opt for a higher color rendering index
Another matter of color worth noting when choosing the lighting for a diner is color rendering index. This is the measure of how well a light source shows different colors under the light. A higher color rendering means the eyes will be able to differentiate between colors with more ease while a lower index means certain colors may be less noticeable and potentially washed out. This is important in any setting, but even more so in a diner since a diner is full of lively colors to create the atmosphere. From reading colorful menus and the way food looks to the wall décor or other ambiance elements, color rendering index plays an important part in how customers perceive your establishment. A good rule of thumb is to opt for color rendering indexes of 80 CRI or better to get the right outcome for your location.
Add wall sconces
When looking for the right fixture types of the unique needs of diner lighting, a few fixture types come to mind. Wall sconces are the perfect addition to a diner because you can easily place them on walls throughout the dining room to create an inviting light source that isn't overpowering to the space. They allow you to mix and match light sources in a pleasing way while keeping with the theme of the location.
Use rope lighting
Another fun way to add to the lighting of your diner is with rope lighting. This type of lighting is great because you can run it along all sorts of areas such as the ceiling, floors, counters, and rails. This solution gives extra lighting to the location while creating a fun ambiance unique to a diner. If rope lighting isn't the right fit, you can also illuminate areas such as under the counter with the use of undercabinet lighting which will give the diner an appropriate glow to the space.
Space out troffer-style lights
When looking at overhead general lighting, most diner locations employee a few troffer-style fixtures. While accent lighting for fun is the key a diner, the general lighting needs to be in place as well because no one wants to eat a meal in near darkness. When looking at troffer placement, a good tip is to space them out evenly to get the right mix of general lighting and gentle lighting. If you install a troffer in every panel or even every other panel of the ceiling, it will be too bright for the vibe you are trying to create so make sure you space them out.
Mix and match mounts
One of the easiest ways to add to the fun and function of diner lighting is to mix and match your mounts. If you use just one type of lighting fixture thought the space, it will look drab and rather sad. With the combination of different mounts in place, the lighting plan will look more balanced and remain exciting. For example, feel free to use wall sconces mounted to walls with individual hanging style fixtures over the tables or rope lighting coupled with gooseneck or barn style fixtures mounted over the counter area. The key is to make sure the lighting is fun and meets visibility needs so feel free to mix and match fixture mounts and fixture styles!
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