Choosing the Right Interior Designer

Choosing the Right Interior Designer
for Your NZ Bar, Restaurant or Cafe:
A Game Changer

If you’re looking to up the ante for your hospitality space in New Zealand—be it a bar, cafe, or restaurant—you already know the impact an excellent interior designer can have. It’s not just about throwing some paint on the walls and moving tables around. It’s about creating an experience, setting the mood, and making your place the place people don’t stop talking about. In this piece, we’ll dive into the essentials that make for a best in class interior designer in the hospitality sector and guide you on how to find the best in New Zealand.

Dialled-in to Hospitality Fundamentals

The ideal interior designer for your hospitality venture isn’t just keeping up with the latest trends, they’re tuned into what actually matters in the hospitality industry. Think labour efficient layouts, the latest technologies, efficient service, incredible venues that customer love… The goal? To make your space not just look the part, but works well too.

Creative Mojo

Your interior designer should have a touch of that creative genius – a knack for unique and inventive ideas that set you apart. Whether that’s a brand that’s instantly recognisable and understandable, automatically managed lighting levels, a bar setup that gets people talking, or seating that’s more than just somewhere to park – it’s the unique points that make a space unforgettable.

Solid Communication

We’re talking about someone who doesn’t just listen but really gets your vision. They should be the kind of communicator who can articulate their ideas as clearly as they understand yours, all while playing nice with architects, contractors, and whoever else is on deck for the project.

Obsession with Detail

When it comes to hospitality spaces, details are more than devilish—they’re divine. The right designer is meticulous, sweating over everything from the lighting mood to table placement, because they understand that in this industry, it’s the small things that often make the biggest difference.

Flex Factor

Adaptability is key. Your designer should be able to pivot across various styles and budgets, customizing their approach to fit what you specifically need. In an industry as varied as hospitality, a one-size-fits-all mentality just won’t cut it.


Look, rules are rules. Any designer worth their salt will have a firm grasp on local building codes and regulations to ensure your space isn’t just stunning but also up to code on the safety and accessibility fronts.

Proven Track Record

A portfolio crammed with incredible hospitality projects is your best bet to gauge what a designer’s really capable of. It should speak to you, align with your vision, and frankly, it should get you excited about what they could do for your space.

So, How Do You Find This Unicorn in New Zealand?

Digital Dive: Search online focusing on hospitality interior design.

Association Assistance: Local design organisations often offer databases of vetted interior designers.

Word of Mouth: Don’t discount recommendations from others in the hospitality game. Personal experiences are often the most telling.

The Interview: Once you have a shortlist, meet them, gauge their vibe and style, and dig into their past work and client experiences.

By ticking these boxes and doing your homework, you’re setting yourself up to find an interior designer who’ll make your New Zealand bar, restaurant, or cafe a hit. Remember, good design doesn’t just look cool—it creates an atmosphere that makes customers want to come back, boosting your business in the process.

At Mille, we don’t just design spaces, we create experiences. We’re deeply entrenched in the hospitality interior design space and collaborate with operators who know their stuff. Want to chat about bringing your vision to life? Reach out to us.

Call us now