The Balancing Act: Using Modern and Classic Restaurant Furniture Together

by Amy Post

Modern restaurant design draws you in with its  clean lines and simplistic elements. Classic choices keep things comfortable and familiar. But how do you create designs that embody both modern appeal but with that all-important classic warmth?

It’s a delicate balance, because modern restaurant design can often come off as cold, uncomfortable, and even cheesy. Classic furniture connotes sophisticated, stuffy, and sometimes even dated and old. Finding the perfect balance between these two aesthetics comes when you blend modern and classic restaurant furniture in a space that is both welcoming, relevant, and comfortable.

We’ve been a part of finding the balance between old and new a few times before, let’s take a look at some of our favorite combinations:

GRChairBlogImage3.1-The Optimist in Atlanta GA.jpg

The design team that created The Optimist in Atlanta manages to create a dramatic but classic look to their stunning restaurant. This chef-owned and operated restaurant focuses their restaurant on a seasonal menu with high-quality ingredients with a goal of letting the food speak for itself. The design elements complement this focus. Although a fine dining restaurant, the designers keep it welcoming and classic without being pretentious. By combining our classic Bentwood Armchairs with the exposed ductwork, brick, and rustic flooring, it creates a beautiful medley of classic and modern elements  with interest and functionality.

GRChairBlog3.3-Gravity Taphouse of Grand Rapids.jpg

And right here in West Michigan’s backyard, the Gravity Taphouse of Grand Rapids, Michigan, presents a beautiful and dramatic space with its upscale but comfortable taphouse. Lynn Hollander of Concept Design created this modern look of dark tones and uneven pendant lighting and partnered it with our modern Sadie Chair to present a strong modern vibe. But the subtle wood tones on the tables provide some classic warmth and comfort that cultivates an environment that’s perfect for sipping on one of the hundreds of craft brews they offer.

GRChairBlogImage3.2-Gravity Taphouse of Grand Rapids.jpg

Nothing says modern like exposed brick and wooden ceilings, but this cozy restaurant strikes design harmony that errs on the more classic end with subtle dashes of modern styling. This restaurant pairs the more traditional wood elements with a bold, dark version of our classic Bentwood Chair. Other classic elements like rich velvet textiles, farmhouse-style tables, buffalo checkered table runners work together with the modern elements like the seamless picture window, copper lights, and the wood ceiling—creating a harmonious balance in this cozy and appealing space.

Today’s seemingly endless design options provide the ability to strike the right design balance of both classic and modern elements that differentiate a space from anything else.

Design Bentwoods Trends