11 Festoon Lighting Ideas For Your Restaurant

Written by Ben Forde | Posted under:

When we go out to restaurants for dinner with our partners, we want an intimate dining experience. The food has to be great, and we want to sit in a nice environment. How a restaurant uses light plays a critical role in how we feel.

The lighting shouldn't feel like daylight. And the lighting should not be so dim people struggle to see the menu. If people need to use the light on their phone to read your menu, you've got lighting problems.

Festoon lighting is one of the fastest ways to add beautiful lighting to your restaurant.

So let's look at some great ideas and a couple of things to be aware of when using festoon lights for restaurants.

1. Outdoor Dining Area

people in outdoor bar area under festoon lights

Outdoor festoon lights instantly change the look and appeal of an outdoor area. You can install festoon lights above your outdoor dining area and create a beautiful and inviting atmosphere for your guests. Depending on the shape and size of the area you want to light, this helps decide the best pattern to hang the festoon lights in.

For example…

If the dining area was 15m long and 5m wide, one of the best patterns might be a zig-zag pattern that crosses over the area 4-6 times.

Often with outdoor lighting, you don't need a heap of lighting to create a beautiful lighting effect.

TIP: If your outdoor area is exposed to the weather and your string lights are for permanent outdoor installations. Only use commercial-grade string lights with IP65 Waterproof rating.

2. Lighting Narrow Alleyways And Narrow Areas

festoon lights hanging above outdoor restaurant sitting area

Nothing brings a narrow alleyway to life faster than beautiful lighting. Get some outdoor festoon lights and string them across the alleyway to create an intimate dining experience for your guest.

TIP: When you buy festoon lights, get dimmable festoon lighting.


Because then you can control the level of light you get. Suppose the lights are too bright. Dim them if the light is not bright enough. Turn them up. You'll struggle to get beautiful lighting without the option to dim your festoon lights.

3. Lighting Restaurants With High Ceilings

festoon lighting restaurants with high ceilings

You can create a captivating focal point by hanging festoon lights vertically from the ceiling or beams. For example, you can suspend them from the centre of the ceiling to the floor or from the top of a wall to the floor, forming dazzling light curtains.

4. Indoor Ceiling Canopy

festoon lights in a canopy style

You can hang festoon lights in a canopy style from the ceiling to create a stunning lighting effect in your indoor dining area. This can work well in larger spaces or the restaurant's centre to draw attention to a specific area.

5. Festoon Light Wall Art

two types of festoon light bulbs

I once had a customer using 700 light bulbs to turn a wall into art. When guests walked into the hotel, they were met with a wall of lights. You probably don't need 700 bulbs. However, a similar concept can create beautiful ambient lighting in your restaurant.

The festoon lights could be run in straight lines. You could even spell out the name of your restaurant.

TIP: The type of light bulbs used for wall art play a critical role. You want beautiful light bulbs. Led lights are the best, and LED filaments look stunning.

6. Festoon Light Frames

You can create custom frames or shapes using festoon lights and hang them on the walls or near the entrance. This adds a unique and artistic element to your restaurant's décor.

7. Pathway Lighting

pathway leading up to restaurant door with festoon lights hanging

If you've got a pathway leading up to your restaurant, light it up. Festoon lighting is easy to hang, and your guest will love the new look.

The festoon lights draw attention, let people know you're there, and let people know you're open for business. And what's more, the beautiful ambient light feels welcoming and inviting.

8. Light The Area Out Front Of Your Restaurant

restaurant outdoor shining with lights

If there is no dining out the front of your restaurant, people simply enter off the street. Light the area out on the street.

Maybe there's an awning. You could light that.

Why do this?

You'd be shocked at the number of people who say. "I never knew there was a restaurant there." So when you light the front up, it's easier for people who've made a booking to find you. And it lets anyone and everyone going past know. Hey, there's a great restaurant here.

9. Festoon Lighting Vs Fairy Lights

This is a question that gets asked a bit by restaurant owners.

And here's the thing…

I've seen my festoon and fairy lights in hundreds and hundreds of different settings. The right lights have to be used in the right space. Otherwise, it just doesn't look any good. From what I've seen and observed, in most cases, festoon lights are the best option for a restaurant.

Festoon lights look stylish. You can dim them; you can hang them in beautiful patterns. And if you're using the lights outside. Some festoon lights are made for harsh weather conditions. They last for years and years.

Fairy lights in a high-end restaurant would look tacky.

10. Festoon Lighting At Different Heights

Instead of all your festoon lights being at one height, you can use droppers to lower some bulbs.

For example, you could run the festoon lighting along a brick wall and have the bulbs at different heights. This creates stunning lighting and a beautiful feature wall.

You could have bulbs dropped down lower over tables, creating an intimate dining effect.

11. Festoon Lighting Design Tips For Restaurants

Here are a few important things to know when creating beautiful lighting.

  • Low-voltage festoon lights with shatterproof bulbs are a great option for commercial applications.
  • Get festoon lights you can dim. If you can't dim them, you'll simply create more lighting problems.
  • When installing festoon lights over public spaces, use a wire cable to support the lights.
  • For outdoor string lights, get IP65.
  • Use a layout that's best for your area. Just because you saw something somewhere else doesn't mean it will work in your area.

For Help And Advice Lighting Your Restaurant

Contact me if you need help, have questions, or want a festoon lighting expert to look at your area.

You may also be interested in

Shopping cart0
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping