Instagrammable Cafes Melbourne

Almost always a hospitality design client will tell me they want their space to be Instagrammable.

Honestly, there’s a certain amount of internal cringing going on whenever I hear ‘we want an instagrammable cafe’.  I completely understand the importance of Instagram. But for an interior designer there are many other priorities for example, an efficient flow of movement.  Defining a design strategy.  Nailing the floor plan and furniture layout.

But I get it, Instagram is an important and free marketing tool. And businesses, especially food businesses, believe it’s critical to the success of their café, bar or restaurant.  The thing is, good hospitality design will inevitably create an Instagrammable space.

Location of Art

I love art and encourage all our clients to include art in their spaces.  Art adds interests, extends the design story, radiates a personal feel to the space.  But to have art in a hospitality space is not enough for it to be Insta worthy. 

The right location makes this line Instagrammable, our client Autumn Leaves

The art needs to be in the right position, so that it photographs well. A space is 3D an image is 2D, therefore, the art needs context to photograph perfectly.  A clean shot, with a background, foreground, framing.

A recent example is that we convinced our clients to simply move a statement line they wanted painted on a wall.  The line had to be Instagrammable but the position they wanted it was not ideal.

In their preferred location, a picture of the statement line would have included the backs of chairs in the rear of the cafe. So even though the caption had the potential to be Instragrammable it wouldn’t have been in that position. 

Consequently, I suggested we move it to the wall to the right of the entrance (above). The caption now had context such as pendant lights, a backrest, tables, chairs and nothing in the space would distort the photo.  The caption was now Instagrammable.  This is an example of how interior design can contribute to creating Instagrammable spaces but there are a few other factors as well.


Check the Instagram feed of any hospitality business and you will see a lot of images of well-presented food.  It’s true that we eat with our eyes.  So, it makes sense that images of good-looking food are the primary content on social media platforms.

The food at our client Autumn Leaves

But in the image of a good-looking dish you will also see the plate, possibly a table, a background of some kind, maybe a feature wall, maybe a hand holding a plate or a menu.  With Instragram the key is a well-constructed image not just a beautiful plate of food.

Foodies especially love food that looks good.  It’s exciting.  Good looking food makes your customers WANT to visit and try a dish. 

Making your hospitality business a destination, somewhere that people WANT to go to try a good-looking dish is the holy grail of Instragram.

Just one picture of a pretty food dish and your followers will tag their friends and make a date to visit.  That’s the power of Instragram, one image can create queues.


People attract people.  After food, the next most common thing you’ll see on the Instragram feed of cafes, bars and restaurants is people.  People interacting with the space, eating the food, engaging with the owners and their friends, just simply having a good time.  There is no greater endorsement for your hospitality business other than happy people.

Customers at our client Sycamore Meadows

Images of the owner, the chef, the wait staff, are just as important as images of customers.  Showing your followers, the faces behind your business creates a sense of familiarity that customer’s really respond to.

Neon Sign

I believe Melbourne hospitality business owners have single handedly created a neon sign revolution.  Neon signs take on many different forms, shapes, sizes and colours.  They can be an interesting addition to your hospitality space and done well can be Instagrammable.

The neon sign at out client Little Brother

Consider a neon sign like a piece of art, it needs to be in the right position, extend the design story and add interest for people to want to photograph it.

In the example above, our client, Little Brother Eats, Vietnamese Kitchen and Bar said they wanted a neon sign and a vespa, somehow, in their space in Melbourne’s CBD, so we combined the two. 

Neon signs are both Instagrammable but also emit a nice ambient light, adding to the mood and feel of the space.


As mentioned above we love art and encourage our clients to include it in their spaces.  Art comes in many forms so there is a piece of art that will work for you in your space.  Art is interesting, it can be big and loud or subtle and in the background. 

Local art exhibition at our client Mother Melbourne, Northcote

There is art to suit every budget and your designer can help you make the right selection that works with the design strategy, helps communicate the story behind your business, give your customer’s a point of interest.  Something they can look at and admire and talk about it.

Art adds value in any space and is Insta worth but, as mentioned above, the location of your art needs to be carefully considered so that the photograph can be well constructed.  A picture of picture is not Insta worth.

In the example above, our client, Mother Melbourne Northcote offered their wall space to a local artist for a small exhibition.  This is a win for the artist and a win for the café as they’re shown to support local customer’s and create  Instagrammable pictures.

Surfaces That Provide a Good Back Drop for Photography

Surfaces, primarily table-tops and walls and sometimes floors, are equally important in making your café, bar or restaurant Instagrammable.  Let’s take a plate of food for example, the surface it’s placed on for the photo will most certainly end up in the photo, so it needs to be a surface with texture, depth, interest.

Good background surface for photos at our client The Spade

In this image, our client has used the black table top as the background for the latte.  The contrast in colours and textures, makes this latte Instagrammable.

Good Interior Design

Sometimes good design is not a tangible thing, sometimes good design is intangible, a quality that makes the hospitality space feel great.  A space that people feel good in.  A space that makes people feel valued and important. 

Any hospitality space that has been designed with the end user in mind should have features that are Instagrammable but before the photo is taken, the customer’s needs to want to take a photo.

Customers want to take a photo of a café, bar or restaurant for many reasons, good design is one reason, so is good food and a great experience but it’s also the positive feelings they get and remember long after their visit is over.

We know how important having an Instagrammable space is for hospitality business owners and by applying our design process to your hospitality design project, we will deliver many opportunities for you and your customers to take pictures that will make people stop in their tracks.  Contact us to discuss your project today.