All of us at Liqui are heavily involved with the coffee industry and we have been for many years, so it’s not unusual that the question “What is the future of Coffee Shop design?” comes up constantly in discussion or as we work on our client’s projects.

We know the coffee industry is ever-changing and adapting, so it is really important to us that we understand the sector to help our clients stay ahead with their business planning, branding, and interior design. This ensures we’re always producing the most forward-thinking design solutions and giving our clients an unfair advantage in this very competitive market.

Over the years we’ve done a number of talks at the Los Angeles Coffee Festival and London Coffee Festival on the future of coffee shop design. We thought it was about time to put some of this into writing so you can get an insight into where we see things heading from our unique position as coffee shop designers.


Where we were

So in recent years, it’s clear that the coffee industry has become more sophisticated and consumers have become better informed; subsequently looking for higher quality coffee and richer experiences. With the boom in high-quality artisan coffee bars, there’s a continued interest in high quality roasted coffee, brewed to high standards and employing elaborate methods of extraction.

There is no doubt that coffee shop owners and consumers have changed the game when it comes to coffee consumption. We do not see this changing any time soon.


Some coffee shop trends

Here are some of the trends we see enduring and are set to mold the coffee industry over the coming months.


There is a more informed consumer base using their purchasing decisions to support companies that reflect their values.

This has resulted in a lot of the trends we’ve seen in 2019 and looks to continue into 2020 and beyond.


One trend we see enduring is the move towards customers wanting to eat more healthily, with a focus on coffee being pure and natural. This is being driven by the heightened awareness of wellness.


Another trend we see that will continue to endure, which is important to us, is sustainability. For the coffee industry, it will become about sustainability beyond just the coffee bean. Consumers are beginning to understand that it means more than focusing on environmental conditions at origin – encompassing issues like packaging, waste management, and the support of coffee communities.


We also think that the love of premium coffee is an ever-growing trend. For coffee lovers, premium means quality, of course, but it also means uniqueness, and story. That can mean a unique taste experience, a rareness of product, or a special processing method.


The only trend that really matters

These are a few examples of trends that we think will endure. There are others. We believe, however, that there is one overarching trend that affects everything. That trend is the pursuit of quality and authenticity.

Quality and authenticity in coffee, in food, in service, in brand, and, in terms of the future of coffee shop design, in interior as well.

There is a driving force behind the importance of quality and authenticity.

We look set for an enduring era for the coffee industry, where high-quality boutique chains will be a major feature of the market. These will be professional; have comprehensive branding; fast and efficient service; high-quality food; and it goes without saying – the highest quality coffee.

These businesses will have sustainable and profitable brands with a comprehensive and advanced set of business practices. They’ll strive to be the best in everything they do. They will deliver an authentic, artisan experience – at scale. From coffee and food to customer service, interior, and brand.

We would argue, along with others, that this era is being driven by huge competition in the coffee market. Whether it is big coffee shops, bakeries, or fast food outlets, everyone is offering coffee. As a result, successful businesses have to respond to this crowded market. They will need to go to greater lengths to consolidate and grow their market share.

Therefore, there is the need to stand out from the crowd and make customers feel like your coffee shop is their place to go. It’s not just about the coffee, the whole experience is important. It’s about the quality and authenticity of everything.


Coffee shops and design

So this brings us on to the future of coffee shop design which will be progressively more important for those looking to attract an increasingly savvy, time-pressed customer base in this highly competitive market.

We would, therefore, say that with this focus on quality and authenticity the future of coffee shop design will be about creating memorable experiences; communicating a brand; and getting across what’s important to that business in a way that aligns it with the customer base they want to engage with.

In this evolved market, maintaining a distinct brand identity, with an interior to match, is so important in setting a coffee shop apart. Especially in this visually aware, social media world we now live in.


The design trends

So with this in mind here are the design trends to take into consideration.

Do it for the ‘gram…

One trend we’re seeing, that will continue to thrive, is the creation of photogenic interior spaces. It is an ideal way for coffee shops to market themselves to a social media savvy customer base.

Today’s customers are using the physical world to connect with a digital audience. Interiors will be designed with a touch of spectacle appealing to photo-driven social media. Elements such as natural light, giving higher image quality for daytime photos, will be more prevalent, as well as statement fixtures with an installation look that will create popular focal points, making them ideal for sharing occasions on social media.

Creating an “Instagenic” interior is such an important tool for creating brand awareness.

With this, we’ll see coffee shops becoming more playful.

In terms of interior design, we’ll see the use of elements with a bold character, combined with pastel tones to create a relaxed atmosphere.


Another rising trend is the rise of sustainable coffee shop design. Something we are passionate about. This will become increasingly important as sustainability becomes a greater priority for a growing number of consumers. There will be a stronger need to reflect this through the interior for those forward-thinking sustainable and ethically focused brands. We will subsequently see greater use in techniques and materials that limit the strain on natural resources.

Materials and colours

Forward-looking coffee shop interiors will continue on the path to be fresh and warm, using natural textures.

Colour will continue to be important – Colour pallets have drifted away from cold greys and ivories. Pastel colours balanced by strong jewel tones are now showing up in interiors.

We will continue to see colours being used in refined and thoughtfully balanced ways.

The dark reclaimed wood we’ve seen in the past is now being substituted for materials like White Oak, Ash and Birch. These will be used to great effect – creating cosy and inviting spaces.

Interiors will increasingly be fresh, light and bright. An interior that is positive lifts the spirits. The dark heavy spaces of old are gone.

This more colourful, luxurious feel will also be reflected in furniture.

Tactile fabrics such as velvet will be used more. Colour on chairs, table bases, etc. will add a vibrant and fun edge to coffee shop interiors.


One trend that has been gaining momentum over the last few years, is the use of greenery within an interior space. This is not going away anytime soon.

Multiple studies have shouted about the advantages of integrating greenery within interior spaces. Plants purify the air and add a heightened sense of wellness and relaxation.

We will continue to see more and more living walls, hanging planters and potted plants in coffee shop interiors.


Our conclusion

So, to summarise, people are looking for comfort and warmth – to have memorable moments they can share with others through an engaging brand that aligns with their values.

We would therefore say that the future of coffee shop design is focused on quality and authenticity to create multi-sensory interiors that create memorable moments.

With quality coffee being offered everywhere – coffee shop goers today look beyond just what is being served. They opt for places with a fun and fresh ambiance.

A thoughtfully designed interior that creates superior experiences will encourage repeat customers and word of mouth recommendations. It will also generate publicity through other avenues which is a powerful tool to have in this market.

So with all this said, if we were only allowed to impart one piece of information, it would be the pursuit of quality and authenticity in everything. It is this that will be the defining mark of those successful coffee shops – these will be the ones that stand the test of time.