How to Decorate an Indian Restaurant

Updated February 21, 2017

While the menu and cuisine are the most important choices when opening an Indian restaurant, the ambience you create with the restaurant's decor will also contribute to your success. Because Indian cuisine covers a wide geographical and chronological area, you may wish to focus on a particular region or even a particular era of Indian history when selecting artwork, colours and uniforms. Strive for authenticity in your decor and avoid cheap clich├ęs that your guests might find offensive or disrespectful.

Pick a colour scheme. Restaurant interior designers frequently pick colours that match the style of food. For Indian restaurants, the palette tends to be drawn from saffron, orange, green herb, dark neutral and tomato. Go with choices that are warm and neutral. Use these colours for walls, carpeting, dishware, furnishings and decor.

Install wall coverings. Hire a professional painter and wallpaper hanger. Choose a base colour that is within the Indian colour scheme and is consistent with the ambience you want for your restaurant. Then choose trim that complements that colour. You can choose to have painted trim or wallpaper trim. Murals are a popular feature for Indian restaurants and typically feature trees or flowers, often mixing greys and pinks. Some Indian wallpaper features the intricate and ornate designs found in Indian art from 3500 BCE forward.

Order chairs and tables. Wooden chairs are a common choice in Indian restaurants. They will often have chair backs that are intricately carved. More modern Indian restaurants may combine these chairs with upholstered booths that add to a clean appearance with smooth lines.

Purchase wall decor. If you have chosen ornate wallpaper, you'll want to use minimal wall decor. If, on the other hand, you have gone with a warm, solid colour, you can add to the Indian ambience by your choice of wall decor. Some choices other Indian restaurants have made include draping curtains to frame murals, paintings, decorative plates and planters.

Place tablecloths over your tables, if you have a formal restaurant, or place mats at each chair for a more casual restaurant. Choosing a simple white tablecloth is elegant, saves money and makes washing easier. It also allows you to select tabletop features that help make your restaurant unique. For an Indian restaurant, consider using dried floral arrangements as centrepieces. Side tables may have a samovar or tea sets.

Design uniforms that contribute to the ambience and are utilitarian. Uniforms play an important part of your restaurant's decor. Design uniforms that are practical for your servers and hosts but that also speak to your theme. Draw the colours from the palette you used to design the rest of the restaurant. You can also adopt design elements from traditional Indian costumes such as the sari or the choli.


There are many specific types of Indian cuisine. Decorate your restaurant to match the decor of the region from which the cuisine is drawn. So if you are serving Buhari cuisine, consider incorporating depictions of rivers into your cuisine. If you are serving Kasmiri cuisine, incorporate more Persian and Asian elements into your decor.

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About the Author

As a professional writer since 1985, Bridgette Redman's career has included journalism, educational writing, book authoring and training. She's worked for daily newspapers, an educational publisher, websites, nonprofit associations and individuals. She is the author of two blogs, reviews live theater and has a weekly column in the "Lansing State Journal." She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Michigan State University.