There’s something to be said for not trying too hard. Even if you’re bent on impressing a chic clientele, less can be more in the world of coffee shop design.
When it comes to fixtures and final touches, you can create an inviting space by not buying into the “more is better” point of view.
White paint. It's amazing what a quick coat of paint can do to make a shop look fresh and inviting. A warm white will brighten the space and will go with everything, and you won’t have to spend a lot of time testing out different color schemes.
Wall art for less. After applying a fresh coat of paint, it’s time to spruce up the walls. If you have a large wall that needs some life, you can use a large piece of fabric with a graphic design to cover much of it. Or stencil a mural on it.
Make Your Own Menus. Instead of having your menus professionally designed and printed, create your own and print them yourself—or at a local quick-print shop. There are so many options available with standard publishing software that if you keep it simple (don’t fancy yourself a designer if you’re not), customers will probably appreciate your approach. Be sure to ask for second opinions from people who will be straight with you; if you design a confusing or cheap looking menu, it will only detract from your image. As always, avoid clip art like the plague.
Opt Out of Uniforms. Having staff wear their own clothes is the cheapest uniform around, requiring no investment from you. It’s also more the norm than ever at non-chain restaurants. If you want a uniform look among your staff, get custom printed t-shirts instead of investing in heavy-duty button-down shirts with an embroidered logo. A bonus of the staff wearing t-shirts is that you can sell them to customers as well.
With a few shortcuts that won't get noticed, you can spend your buildout or remodel budget on things other than restaurant fixtures.