Raising the bar: Your guide to designing a home bar


You know those nights when you’re apprehensive about leaving the house to socialise? Where you know, you’ll struggle to find a car park, battle crowds to buy an overpriced drink only then to strain your voice attempting to speak with friends over the thumping music. We have the solution to all your Saturday night woes, why not build a bar at your house?

While it may not be to everyone’s taste, it's the best way to stylishly enjoy drinks with friends in the comfort and convenience of your own home. Your place could quickly become everyone's new favourite watering hole if you’re not careful.

The perfect accessory to formal lounge rooms, home theatres, games rooms and outdoor kitchens, here’s what you need to consider when setting up a home bar.

Position

The first thing you’ll need to do is consider the layout of your home and where a wet bar would be most functional and viable to install. Think about where you like to entertain and relax. Maybe that’s in the open plan kitchen and living room, the rumpus room or maybe even outside on the deck?

Think strategically about the space you have and look for a lesser used corner, empty nook or cupboard you could transform. You also need to have access to electricity (for extra lighting, a fridge or blender) and existing plumbing if you want a sink in your design, so a spot near a bathroom or off the kitchen or laundry would be ideal.

Components

The main items you’ll need to invest in to build your wet bar are cabinetry and a benchtop. You may want to include storage cupboards and drawers below your bench to tuck away your bar tools, cocktail recipe books and glassware. Also, don’t forget to set aside space for a mini-fridge or small dishwasher. Your cabinet maker will able to advise you on sizing, material choice and layout.

An interesting splashback will bring the whole bar area together nicely. Depending on the existing décor of your space wall paper, mirrored, glass or tile options may suit.

Floating open shelving behind the bar and overhead racks can be a visually exciting way to display fancy glassware and liquor bottles. Optional finishing touches include bar stools, coasters, serving trays, overhead cabinets and pendant lighting.

Up the ante

If you take your beer, wine and spirits very seriously there are a few luxurious bar upgrades that'll be worth considering.

Cocktail fanatics may want to include an ice maker, a sparkling water tap, a blender or a frozen margarita machine for example. Live out you and your best mate's dream, by getting your preferred beers installed on tap at your home bar. While, wine connoisseurs will opt for temperature controlled wine fridges, decanters and bottle racks to show off their collections.

Take your entertaining game to the next level by installing a wall mounted TV so you and your buddies won’t miss a second of the big game while enjoying a beverage or two and bar snacks. It’s also a nice touch to install in-ceiling speakers and dimmer switches, so you can play your favourite tunes (at the optimum volume level) and create that cool dim mood lighting reminiscent of a hip city bar.

If you have incredible views or a stellar outdoor area you may also contemplate adding a servery window to your bar (pictured below). That way guests can perch on a stool outdoors taking in the view and you can play bartender serving them from inside à la a luxury resort.

Cheap thrills

If you don't have space for a full bar or your budget doesn’t stretch as far as plumbing, cabinetry and new appliances, there are DIY alternatives where you could turn around a mini bar set up in a weekend.

Look around your house for a piece of furniture you could convert into a bar. For example, a buffet, sideboard, bookshelf, desk or built in shelving are all perfect candidates for a DIY bar. With a fresh colour and coat of paint, and a few accessories the piece will be given a new functional lease on life.

Image: West Elm

Image: West Elm

Think about adding a floating shelf directly above the furniture item to display cocktail shakers and for ease of access to liquor bottles. Add a record player or vintage poster to ramp up the retro charm of your bar sideboard.

A cupboard under the stairs or built-in robe are also feasible for a bar transformation. Simply remove the cupboard doors, add in a couple of sturdy shelves at bar height and apply decals or wall paper to the back wall to make the new drink prepping station really pop.

If a furniture or cupboard conversion doesn’t appeal to you, there’s always the option of setting up a bar cart.

Cheers!

The Homely Team

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