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What is a Colour Scheme? Why is it important in any Pub, Restaurant, Bar or Cafe?

It’s understandable to be nervous when creating a colour scheme for your pub, cafe, bar or restaurant, but with a few simple rules, tools and ideas to work with it can be the most fun part too!

At its most basic, a colour scheme uses two colours (in exceptional cases schemes use just one colour such as a brilliant white in a cutting edge restaurant.  Here though, texture would play a part – more about texture later).  This two colour approach is the most usual scheme in venues such as pub, club houses, bar and restaurants with perhaps the lower walls painted darker than the upper walls and ceiling.

A more complex scheme will take several combinations of colours perhaps based around a single colour. Using shades of the same colour will create a tonal scheme, graduating the changes in colour between surfaces.

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More than three colours is really difficult to work with but introducing an accent colour which usually bright, vibrant or dramatic can look terrific in any pub or restaurant area.  If you’re wary of any changes that may be too dramatic then use upholstered pub or cafe furniture - dining chairs, bar stools and comfy chairs, cushions, throws and accessories in contrasting fabrics to get used to the idea in your pub before you commit to paint.  Accent colours add a splash but don’t overpower.

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Patterns can be structural or decorative.  Structural patterns such as brick walls or block flooring are part of the building and decorative patterns are added afterwards with carpets, curtain, upholstery or wallpapers. Introducing patterns can relieve a scheme that is just too plain and uninteresting – wallpapers are a great way to add texture and interest to a restaurant area.


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Here’s a great tip – choose the wallpaper first!

Then paint can be mixed to match one of the colours exactly rather than trying to find a wallpaper that matches your paint choice which is much trickier.  It’s the same with pub or restaurant furniture or curtains – it’s easier to get the paint to match the fabric rather than the other way around.

Although it’s generally accepted that pale colours make rooms look larger try to resist the temptation to paint everything white in the hope that your venue will appear light, airy and big.

Sadly, it may just look a bit clinical and soulless, you really don’t want your pub, restaurant or bar to look like a doctors surgery.  Instead emphasise its cosiness and intimacy by picking a mid-colour such as Farrow and Ball Savage Ground – a warm creamy/beige, and adding upholstered dining chairs and stools in beautiful, colourful fabrics.

One of my favourite places to search for wallpaper ideas is

When a colour scheme doesn’t work it can be because it’s so chaotic or so bland that the customer is not engaged.  Our brains reject under stimulating information and just switches off. Conversely we reject what we cannot understand; so when an interior is overdone and chaotic we’ll be turned off.

The Pub Stuff staff based in Banbury, Oxfordshire, recognise this may be a tricky path to tread and offer a Pub Stuff furniture design service to help you choose your colours and furniture and contract fabrics to make the very best of your interior.

Pub and Cafe Furniture:

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