Hospitality Venues – What makes a space welcoming

Patricia Inatey

In Business, Design Posted

They call it hospitality for a reason. A welcoming venue is the most important thing to consider when creating a new hotel, restaurant or bar. Here’s how.

The first impression of a venue is an important element in capturing a patrons interest. Whether the venue is a speak easy with an inconspicuous facade or a well-appointed facade with perfectly proportioned signage, the first view inside the venue is pivotal to creating a welcoming first impression. It sets the mood and the story of the venue.



The story is the starting point for everything when designing a hospitality space. The story/concept is the central spine of all design decision making. When a venue has a story, there is life and soul in it. This is something a patron can feel. Something they can taste. I once worked on a venue that was to be set in the apartment of an old man who was a collector of exotic things. The owners wanted the patrons to feel like they had stumbled across an abandoned apartment. Untouched, untainted by the outside world. At first, I thought they were crazy. But as the project developed, you could feel the magic and the history in every item. This invites you in, to explore the inner sanctum of someone/something/sometime.




No one wants to sit in a space that is plastered with logos and branding, they do however enjoy knowing the back story of a brand and space. This is when the brands identity needs to be thoughtfully layered into the design. This could be anything from a brand statement hand painted on a wall, a reference to the produce suppliers in the menu or a pressed detail in the leather coaster. Subtle details that speak to the venues story, the brand and inject interest into the space.



Lighting makes or breaks a venue. Like a naked woman, a venue looks best in dim lighting…..Well maybe not dim. But definitely not harsh direct lighting. Warm welcoming lighting helps to relax people, allowing them to immerse themselves in the space. Lighting in a venue needs to be a layered device. Highlighting bar shelves or art showcases high impact key elements. Lamps, illuminated shelving, pendant lighting, illuminated signage, under bar lighting and other forms of nondirectional lighting should wash the venue.




The fine details in a venue help transport a patron to the intended time and place of the design. The smallest of styling elements portray history and a sense of identity. This is a part of the design that develops a story. From old portraits on a gallery wall to a collection of vintage books on a shelf. The concept is brought to life by the small details being layered. These lived in elements take the stark lifeless edge off a new build and warm the space.


Mjolner restaurant allows the diner to select a hand crafted knife for their meal.



The Bathroom! – there is nothing more satisfying than walking into a venue bathroom and it being a seamless continuation of the concept/theme. In a bathroom you have a captive audience providing a great opportunity for big impact design. Great lighting, fine detail and quirky accents create intrigue and a talking point for the evening. These days a venue bathroom is often the backdrop for an Instagram photo shoot or a cheeky selfie. Create a space that your patrons will be comfortable in.


They call it hospitality for a reason. So, a welcoming venue is the most important thing to consider when creating a new hotel, restaurant or bar. Our design team can help bring this to life and … end to end.


By Patricia Inatey
Senior Interior Designer at Prospace Australia

Patricia Inatey has always been obsessed with making things beautiful and making spaces feel lovely. She studied interior design and has worked as a residential designer, as well as in hospitality, retail and commercial office design. Patricia is a Senior Interior Designer at Prospace Design Studio and has worked with clients such as Happytel, Whittaker’s Chocolate, and Aje. She is a fur mum to English Staffy Carlos, and loves to walk – the longer the better.