Great Coffee Shop Ideas and Designs

Coffee Shop Design, how to start a coffee shop

Dreaming about what your coffee shop will look like? Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to get inspiration while developing your own personal concept. While staying true to  your own coffee business ideas, why not look at some beautiful ways others have decided to move forward? While your budget plays a critical role in executing your ideas for your coffee shop design or espresso stand outlook, we have found that a little creativity and a lot of tenacity goes a long way.

Here are a few great ideas that we've found online. The pictures are not ours – we are just admirers – and have posted the link for you to find out more about them.

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Beautiful wooden counters. Photo Credit:


I've always loved integrating wood into any design. Coffee for all its glory is still an agricultural product that has hundreds of years of history. While we also appreciate the sleekness of modern designed cafes, I also love to come back to what I consider coffee to be: organic, simple, and beautiful. This café utilizes the space and windows to provide their customers with a beautiful perch to enjoy their coffee.

When used in the right way, wood can be extremely elegant, modern, and offer a rich ambiance that you may be looking for.  Consider adding some wood into your coffee shop or coffee stand. Finding reclaimed wood might be trendy but it can be affordable if you start early and do a little work in hunting down the reclaimed stuff.


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Small spaces can make for great cafes. Photo Credit:


The truth is that you don't need to have a “big” space to have a profitable café or coffee place. If you are not sure you want to open an espresso stand or drive-thru coffee joint, but you also don't think that opening a full-fledged café is your cup of tea, then why not open a tiny coffee shop like the one above? The space above maximizes every inch to accommodate customers, operate functionally, and provide the ambiance it wishes to portray. Many coffee businesses are tiny – I means really, really tiny.

All the space you need may be right before your eyes. You just need enough for a chair and an espresso machine to serve customers. Of course, you'll need a commissary and access to a bathroom, but you don't have to be large to be in charge! Start small, start with quality, start with building your brand and then moving out when you are ready.

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Photo Credit:


how to start a coffee shop, how to design a coffee shop

Great cafés come in all shapes and sizes. If you want to start your café or coffee business in your community but you don't immediately “see” a location that works. Consider looking again, you just might find a space that works. I've known coffee owners who “saw” a space where there seemingly wasn't anything there. They looked for the crowds (potential customers) and then found a space that worked within their budget.

Like others before you who found a way to make it work: Look for the secret spots, look at where your customers are, use your creativity to extend beyond your budget.

We've written about this spot in previous posts, but consider the following coffee business in Portland:


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The picture above is from one of Caffe Vita's spots in the Pacific Northwest. The corner is a great spot actually because of the crazy level of foot traffic and it is only steps away from a famous doughnut business. Look closely. The coffee shop is shaped like a thinly sliced birthday cake (coffee cake?).  It offers everything a customer might want at this location – beans and coffee. I can't remember if they offer any snacks, but I assure you it's not a large menu. The espresso machine needs to be plumbed, there is a small hanging bulb for lighting. Personally, I love this design!


Opening Your Coffee Shop: Mixing Your Creativity, Function, & Budget

When you think about the your ultimate coffee shop design, you will be mixing your vision and your creativity. It actually takes a little creativity to mix all the important elements to the final realization of your coffee shop: your concept, with the function of your coffee business, and your budget.  

Your budget is obviously a big component of implementing coffee shop design. Once the cash flow dries up, so too does the ability to fully realize your vision. Additionally, you have to ask how you intend to serve coffee and to whom? For example, a coffee stand may be the perfect functional choice. Your coffee shop design doesn't have to be limited to a typical stand like the following:

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Depending on who you customer is (or who you would like them to be,  you may alter the design or “vehicle” of serving coffee.  Your customers may be a little more transitory and seasonal. If the goal is to go after this market segment, consider the following:


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Coffee trailer. Source:


Dream big. Think out of the box. Align your goals with your budget. Be creative. And ferociously design your coffee business to make your customers happy. 

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