Restaurants and the psychology of colour

September 16, 2019

Restaurant interior design is no longer just a case of picking a colour that looks nice or that matches your eatery’s brand – great restaurants are now specially designed to utilise colour schemes that adheres to the restaurant experience of their unique clientele.

They say the first bite of the dish is with the eyes. This saying could also take into account the colour scheme of the restaurant itself, not just the colours on the plate in front of you. There is a psychology behind the colour choices for a restaurant which can help designers tap into the senses of the diner and create a deeper dining experience.

The colour wheel

A colour wheel is used by designers to choose different hues according to function: Strong Stimulant, Mild Stimulant, and suppressants.

Strong Stimulants

Red – One of the most popular colour choices amongst fast food restaurants, most notably McDonalds. This is because when we see the colour red, it raises our blood pressure and heart rate which all add to make us feel hungrier.

Orange – Not only does the colour orange stimulate people into thinking of healthier food it also increases mental activity all together, giving people a feeling of relaxation and comfort.

Yellow – The other half of McDonald’s colour palette utilises yellow as it too makes people more energetic and happier.

Mild Stimulants

Green – Has for a long time been associated with health, specifically, healthy diets and lifestyles but also arouses feelings of abundance.

Turquoise – Nestled in between green and blue, turquoise is often associated with feelings of happiness and a carefree attitude which works well in food settings.


Blue – When people see the colour blue they immediately feel calmer. It is one of the main reasons that blue is such a popular choice of paint for bedrooms as it can help induce sleep. This can be a positive or a negative for restaurants depending on the aesthetic they want to achieve.

Purple – Although often associated with unpopular foods such as aubergine and red cabbage, it is seeing a revitalisation amongst vegan restaurants who like to achieve natural colour schemes that praise veggies of all hues, shapes and sizes.

Brown – usually one to avoid for restaurants for the connotations it invokes and the reminder of burnt or overcooked food.

Black and Grey – Rarely used as the major colour in any restaurant due to the fact they cause the appetite to diminish and can even repel some from the thought of food.

Come and dine at Royal Nawaab’s halal restaurant in Manchester today to experience true Pakistani cuisine.