How to Design the Coffee Shop of Your Dreams

For many Americans, coffee is not just a drink—it’s a necessity. In fact, data shows that Americans drink 400 million cups of coffee a day, with the average American drinking three cups daily. And while it’s easy enough to brew your own java at home, people also love heading out to the local coffee shop to have a cup made for them and to even meet up with friends.

moody coffeshop with chalkboards


The Booming Coffee Shop Market


As of 2022, there are over 64,510 independent coffee shops in the U.S. alone and more are opening every day, with a 2.4 percent YoY growth over the last 5 years. Even during a pandemic, the U.S. coffee shop industry was worth $35 Billion in 2020 and $156.9 Billion globally and is expected to hit $201.4 Billion globally by 2027.


But with big names like Starbucks®, Dunkin’ Donuts® and Tim Horton’s® popping up on every corner, smaller coffee shops need to work harder to attract customers and keep them. A major factor is the overall design of your coffee shop.


The Importance of Your Interior Design Plan


Of course, you want your coffee shop to be an inviting and comfortable space for everyone who enters so that customers continue to come back (and bring friends!). However, it also must be functional so that you can carry out day-to-day business with ease. To create your coffee shop layout, consider these items:


The brand. Will your coffee shop have a specific concept, such as being family-friendly, all organic, etc.? This will have an impact on your overall design, including décor and signage. Everything you choose to have in your coffee shop—and how you position it throughout the location—should reflect your brand.

people inside cafe

The atmosphere. Think about how you want customers to feel when they come into your coffee shop. Are you going for a homey vibe, or a trendier look? Will your main customer base be families, professionals, young singles, or both?  Some of the most common design styles for coffee shops include:


  • This boasts a warehouse feel, with lots of space, exposed pipes and bricks, as well as metal accents.
  • Think clean lines and neutral colors, smooth surfaces, sparse furnishings, and bold accessories.
  • Mid-Century. Similar to a modern aesthetic, mid-century allows you to mix different materials in the same space, but still with a focus on function over form.
  • Place an emphasis on elements of nature, including plants and flowers, as well as a mix of different wood types, chalkboard signage and other farmhouse décor.
  • Take customers back in time with floral wallpaper, ornate accessories, chandeliers, and pretty porcelain china.


The colors. Studies show that color may have a direct impact on our mood, so the hues you choose for everything – from the walls to the furniture – need to reflect the overall theme of your coffee shop. Do you want to create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere, or go bold and bright? If you want to play it safe with the walls, you can always add pops of color via the accessories and wall art.


The furniture. The tables, chairs and couches should be comfortable but also fit well into the space and theme.


The lighting. People do more than eat and drink in a coffee shop. They also read, work on a laptop, or even watch shows and films on their tablets. That means the lighting in your location needs to complement the activity accordingly. A good rule of thumb to follow is cooler lights help to bring in natural light, while warmer colors make reading easier during the evening.


The convenience. You also want to make your coffee shop mobile friendly so that people that sit down can also charge their electronics. Consider how to incorporate USB outlets into the layout, as well as offer free Wi-Fi to all. People won’t sit and stay (and buy) if they can’t get onto your network.


woman in black leather strap watch holding black and white ceramic mug


The equipment. While this is listed last, it is the most important consideration in the design process. Be sure to design your coffee space around your equipment to make sure you have everything you need and won’t need to make sacrifices on quality because you ran out of space. Some essential equipment you’ll need includes:

silver espresso machine

  • Coffee brewing: Espresso machine; drip brewer; pour over equipment; grinders; blenders; cold brew toddy; etc.
  • Accessories: Steam pitchers, bar spoons, espresso shot glasses, scales, water kettles, whisks; etc.
  • Ovens
  • Microwaves
  • Freezers and refrigerators
  • Prep equipment: Knives; cutting boards; mixing bowls; mixers
  • Prep area
  • Storage and shelving
  • Sinks
  • Point-of-sale system



Once you have chosen your coffee shop’s name, you’ll of course want to get an eye-catching outdoor sign to entice people to come in. But don’t forget about the signage inside the location to display specials, upcoming events, and more. Make it interesting with a mix of chalkboard signs, countertop signage, and floor standing sign holders. To add even more interest and buzz opt for customization. Add the business name or slogan on signage to make an indelible first impression.

chalkboard with fresh coffee

Food Displays 

Menu items should be easy to see so customers can order with ease. You can spotlight special treats with food stands and risers, and place every day snacks, sandwiches and such inside food display cases. Multifunction acrylic cylinders are the perfect place to store everything from biscotti to beverage stirrers.

Place grab-and-go items, such as prepackaged muffins and bagels, as well as packaged bags of chips, in countertop basket displays.


If you’re selling any business merchandise at your coffee shop—insulated coffee mugs, bags of coffee, even gift cards—you can display them on pedestals and trays. Or get creative with floor standing basket displays, which can keep everything organized and easy to find. Select mobile displays for even more possibilities!

Two Basket Wicker Display

Regardless of design theme, put the “fun” in functional with creative signage, displays, and merchandise that support your business needs, coffee shop vibe, and marketing messaging that will have customers coming back for more of your superior products and customer service.