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Hospitality interior design project: a welcoming bakery café for baked goods and coffee

Today I'm excited to show you a recent hospitality interior design project: a welcoming bakery café where customers can enjoy a coffee and pastry (or two).

The client, a family run artisan bakery, had gradually grown their brand and customer base over the years selling their fresh breads and pastries at local markets and via their website. They were now looking to further expand their independent business by opening their first bricks and mortar bakery café in their Hampshire hometown.

Studio SK was appointed as the interior designer to create a design concept for this new physical space for existing and new customers to enjoy, and which could be implemented as the interior design blueprint for future locations - the client's long-term dream!

Interior design and all images by Studio SK

Design brief & interior inspiration

In terms of project requirements and logistics, the primary function of the site was to be a bakery providing the local community with fresh bread, pastries and daily selection of handmade sandwiches. The site also needed to serve as a café with hot drinks for customers choosing to eat in with their baked goods, or purchasing as an extra to takeaway whilst buying their morning bread.

One of the main challenges of the space is that it's quite long and narrow with a relatively small overall area, so it was making sure that the site could fit in all the retail and café processes whilst achieving optimum movement logistics for staff and customers.

The client had a medium budget for the overall project - this included investing a good chunk of money on kitchen equipment and updating the gas, electric and plumbing services on site. So another challenge was money spent on hard finishes and bespoke joinery design needed to be as cost-efficient as possible whilst achieving an aesthetically pleasing and inviting interior.

All produce (breads and pastries) for the bakery café would be prepped at the client's existing commercial kitchen unit and then finished (i.e. baked) on site, with sandwiches also being made daily on site. I wanted the interior design to reflect this notion of a hard-working independent business making all their produce themselves. Interior inspiration focused on an industrial, utilitarian aesthetic - think simple, hardwearing finishes - but with plenty of warmth and softness added via colours, textures and lighting to create a cosy, relaxing feel for customers.

Project process

A full hospitality interior design project at Studio SK is typically broken down into the following stages and sub-stages:

  • Stage 1: Concept design

  • Stage 2: Detailed design

  • Stage 3: Implementation

If you want to find out more about the interior design process you can have a look here.

For this project my interior design service was needed for Stages 1 and 2 - these stages are usually a very collaborative process between Studio SK and the client. This way the interior design scheme is fully understood and any necessary changes to this are made so that the client is happy and the design is 'signed off'.

Concept Design

After visiting the site to measure up in detail and get plenty of photos of the existing space, I begin most interior design projects exploring the potential of the site's layout, and researching and collating images to create a mood board of the design concept.

The mood board(s) is an overview of the general look and feel and proposed interior design ideas so the client can understand what the interior for their independent business will look like. I also like to a digital material board at this early stage to show suggested main finishes like paint colours, flooring, wall tiles etc so my clients can really get a feel for the proposed design.

Detailed Design

Once the concept design stage has been 'signed off' by the client I start working on the interior layout in much further detail and producing detailed drawings for bespoke joinery etc.

For the bakery café the client needed detailed drawings of the counter and back bar, banquette bench seat and two self-serve stations. With the client's long term goal of opening future locations, the joinery detail drawings were not only needed for this current site but also important for future builders and joiners to work from - creating a common design thread between each site and the overall brand identity.

To maximise storage on the ground floor (i.e. public access floor) I designed the banquette bench seat to have push-front drawers built into it to store extra consumables like take-away boxes, cutlery and sugar sachets etc. Customers hardly notice them, and staff has easy access to top up these items before opening or after closing time.

The self-serve station by the entrance has built-in waste and mixed recycling bin chutes - not only super practical for a food and beverage space but having these designed into the station unit keeps the interior looking tidy. There's no after-thought with a plastic bin awkwardly shoved in a corner by the door!

And for any hospitality or retail business the front counter is the beating heart of the space and is so important to get right for clients. Having detailed drawings of the front counter and backbar for the bakery café allowed the client to see what equipment would fit and what the working setup would be like. And having detailed notes of the various finishes and construction, as well as plenty of dimensions, meant they could then get accurate trade quotes and know how much of the budget would be spent on this key element.

Alongside the detailed drawings, I produced 3D visuals for the client so they could fully understand what the finished interior would look like (keeping scrolling down to have a look these).

3D visuals aren't always needed in an interior design project, but they can be super helpful for trades people to see what you want the outcome to be from them, for use in landlord packages, and even for using on your independent business social media channels to get customer excitement going during the build and lead up to the (re)opening of your site.

I also spent a lot of time with the client developing the materials board, ensuring they were happy with all the proposed samples - seeing samples in person is something I always highly recommend before ordering anything, as colours, textures and scale of patterns etc can vary so much from the online images!

Wherever possible I always like to provide some different options for key finishes to make sure my clients are fully happy with the interior design scheme, and that we have some varying price options to allow some flexibility with the budget where needed.

Hospitality interior design outcome

Here's a look at the proposed interior design outcome for the bakery café via the 3D visuals. The client was so happy with the scheme, and I can't wait to see when it's all completed on site!

As mentioned it's quite a long and narrow interior but the designed flow and movement through the space embraces this. I designed for the baked goods to be kept near the shopfront to entice in passersby from the high street, and the layout of the front counter means that customers entering and queuing get to see all the delicious breads, pastries and sandwiches on offer before making an order.

(And if you're like me, I can pretty much always persuade myself to get a lil something with a takeaway coffee.. support independent business is my (good) excuse!)

The colour palette for the interior design scheme took inspiration from the green, beige and brown hues of grain fields through the seasons, creating a cosy and welcoming interior. The uplifting green paint colour used for the front counter grabs for your attention, seeing as its design is inconspicuous but, importantly, cost effective. The other darker greens seen on the banquette seat help with 'grounding' the space and prevent the overall aesthetic from looking washed out.

I strategically chose light fittings with opal finish lamps/shades to help diffuse the light throughout the whole interior and create a cosy glow during the darker months (as the only natural light source is via the shopfront). The wall lights above the banquette seat not only provide light for customers, but also adds a point of visual interest on an otherwise plain wall.

Because there a lot of bespoke design elements for a relatively small space, I consciously kept the cost of other items down - like the simple stainless steel shelving used throughout, and utilising the movable baking racks as the bread displays, leaning into the industrial, working bakery aesthetic.

There's plenty of budget-friendly, durable finishes like the white gloss wall tiles that are used throughout the bakery café, allowing for easy cleaning in the serving area and giving a nod back to the client's commercial kitchen (along with the concrete/stone effect LVT flooring).

I proposed the same timber finish to be used on the banquette seat and self-serve stations to keep these bespoke design elements as cost efficient as possible, and also as a means to minimise waste during production.

All aspects of the customer experience have been considered in the interior design. You'll see there's coat hooks for wet and cold weather visits, and a glass water dispenser on the self-serve station at the back of the site for customers sitting in. There's stainless steel containers for consumables like biodegradable cutlery, napkins, and sugar sachets etc neatly displayed above the self-serve station by the entrance for customers on their way out.

I even managed to fit in a local produce retail display next to the counter to be stocked with local eggs, breakfast spreads and coffee beans so customers can pick up what they need to fully enjoy their baked goods at home. My client loved this extra design thought!


If you're looking to start your own hospitality interior design project head over to my hospitality interior design service page for more information. Or please do get in touch if you want to chat more about how working with an interior designer could specifically benefit your independent business.


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