Not so long ago, a DIY paint job and some cheap second-hand furniture was enough to open a cafe.

How things have changed.

Cafes have arguably overtaken restaurants as the focal point for Melbourne’s collective design talent. Today’s designers work with marble, brass, hardwood, imported tiles and six-figure budgets.

With so many talented architects and interior designers on the scene, it takes a lot to stand out. Many cafes just slip into the derivative pool of polished timber, white subway tiles and hanging Edison bulbs.

Or did, back in 2015. The current “it” look involves rounded edges, lots of plants, metallic highlights and dusky “millennial pink". Some of our choices include these elements – trends have to start somewhere – but on the whole these interiors are strikingly unique.