The Importance Of Ambience In Your Cafe

CROWDED CAFEIf you look up the word ‘ambience in the dictionary it will tell you that it equates to “the character and/or feeling of a place”. While having a good ambience is great, can it really have a detrimental effect on your coffee business if it doesn’t exist? The answer is probably more than you realise? It’s one of the most important reasons that customers are likely to choose you over your competition and yes…that includes the coffee and food!

With this in mind, just how do you get it right?


The first steps if you have a design theme or style in mind is to ask others. Remember the ambience isn’t solely about the interior décor. Instead it’s about setting the whole scene. With this in mind you might want to get together a focus group or cross section of people from within your community and put your ideas to them. Explain to them using mood boards or drawings how your finished cafe is going to look, and ask for feedback. Listen to their feedback carefully and in doing so you’ll have a great idea of the direction you need to go on. Obviously you can choose to ignore it and plough ahead with your design, but remember that focus groups form the backbone of many a successful restaurant/cafe chain, so do so at your own peril.

Taking the opposite approach

Of course, another way to create a great ambience is to do the exact opposite of what some of the larger coffee and restaurant chains are doing. Inevitably by going against the grain, this makes you stand out from the crowd. As an example some café’s are going back to basics and doing away with sofas, comfortable furniture, and seating altogether, in favour of a hard-core espresso bar mentality. People enter, drink their coffee of choice and leave. That’s a long way away from the ‘linger-as-long-as-you-like’ mentality that many cafes portray, but it’s a popular concept that strangely seems to appeal.

Don’t alienate your potential customers

Because the above approach can be a bit of a gamble you may want to try and match the ambience of your cafe to appeal to as many potential customers as possible. Having a variety of cafe seating available for those who want to linger, or for those who come in alone, or for those who want to work, is a good idea and one that can be utilised by having various zones or seating areas throughout your cafe. However don’t forget it’s still important to put your own stamp on your establishment to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Lighting it up

Another factor to creating the perfect cafe ambience is getting your lighting right. Too bright and it will prevent people from relaxing, but too dark and it will have that seedy bar or night club feel that might just put many people off. The trick is to use different lighting in different areas. Create intimate areas of recess lighting next to couches and soft chairs. Alternatively look to place spot lights near reading areas or areas where freelancers may be working. By differentiating zones it creates areas of interest within your cafe, that if done right can deliver a great ambience.

Here at Cafe Furniture Brisbane we stock a wide range of commercial-grade cafe furniture designed to help you create that perfect ambience. From modern funky and contemporary, to classical, retro or rustic, we have the cafe furniture to suit your needs. Visit our website at or contact us on 07 3205 1616. Alternatively, if you’re in the Brendale area of Brisbane, why not check out our showroom where you can see a wide variety of furniture first hand.