Wonder Walls: How Restaurants Are Getting Into Custom Décor

Instead of Instagramming what’s on your plate, consider turning your camera to these restaurants' walls.

Coda di Volpe
Photo: © Kira Williams

Bye, distressed and dusty brick walls.

Chefs and restaurateurs are going beyond salvaging what’s left of a building’s skeleton—or previous tenants’ questionable design choices—and creating one-of-a-kind looks for their walls.

Every room is getting the DIY treatment at restaurants these days, from packed main dining rooms to singular restrooms (for the ubiquitous bathroom selfie, of course). Here’s how they’re doing it:

Striking Paint Colors

Aside from the crisp Neapolitan-style pies and uni-swirled pasta, the thing that brings bystanders inside Coda di Volpe in Chicago is the striking blue wall treatment. The team collaborated with design firm 555 International and Benjamin Moore to dream up this blue-green hue, though unfortunately the paint isn’t for sale just yet. At the soon-to-open Botanica in Los Angeles, owners Heather Sperling and Emily Fiffer are going with a coral pink base coat, a departure from the art-making parties they hosted in the space while waiting on building permits.

Bread & Butterfly
© Bread & Butterfly.

Designy Wallpaper

We’re not exactly sure why, but Albany Maison Wallpaper Collection’s retro pink flamingo wallpaper has taken over New York City restrooms, from the bathroom at Vic’s to the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club. (We're not complaining though!)Not one to be copied, chef Billy Allin has a custom black-and-white illustrated wallpaper for the bathroom at his latest restaurant, Bread & Butterfly in Atlanta. Look closely at the pattern and you’ll see little loaves of white bread and fluttering butterflies in the pattern.


The breeze-block bar leads out to a vibrant mural of intertwined hands at Mud Hen Water in Honolulu. Chef Ed Kenney tapped German artist Case Maclaim to design the patio art. And at Huckleberry Roasters in Denver, April Frankenstein painted the primary color-powered geometric pattern outside the building.

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