So you’ve decided to upgrade your entertaining space, and not a moment too soon with the holiday season almost upon us. But, where to begin? One of the most exciting and practical is the addition of a fabulous home bar. Of course there are many options to choose from when designing the perfect gathering place for friends and family.

Modern design home bar

1. It's All About the Style

The first place to start is by choosing the overall style and the actual bar surface and furniture. Whether you want to devote an entire wall, or just an alcove or corner, there is a style that will pull it all together. A rustic bar looks great with wood beams and surfaces accented by stone counters and simple bar stools. With subway tiles, metal fixtures, and quartz countertops, your bar takes on a more modern look. If you’re seeking a more classic or antique look, rich wood surfaces, leather furniture, marble counters, and stained glass accents can’t be beat.

2. Illuminate Your Bar

Now that you have chosen the style and the basics, it’s time to start adding to the effect. Finding the ideal lighting fixtures will add ambiance and character. To accent a modern style, a sophisticated chandelier is a nice touch. The addition of backlighting will make your bottles look like a piece of art. Or simple under cabinet lighting contributes to a comfy casual modern vibe. Toned down fixtures and sconces complement a rustic look. To add elegance or drama to your classic or antique bar, choose mellow lamps with stained glass shades or elegant drop lighting that shows off the richness of the wood and stone features.

3. Cabinetry & Display

Now that your foundation is set, you need to identify your storage options. More than just a place to house your glassware, tools, and beverages, the cabinets you choose will contribute to the overall look and cohesiveness of a home bar.

If your glassware or bottles will be part of the décor, choose open-front or glass-front cabinets. Frosted glass or solid cabinets will give you a more classic look and more places to store things that may clash with the overall style of your bar design. Whatever cabinet type you chose, make sure that the features can be customized to meet your particular needs.

Shelves are another choice that you want to make sure you can customize. Not only do you need to consider what will be stored or displayed on them, but also the height of those items. Do you want a built-in or free-standing wine rack? Or will you want to hang your glassware? Glass shelves contribute to a more modern look while bare or finished wood is an option more in line with a rustic or classic bar. Rich woods with ornate carving look excellent in an antique-style bar.

Storage options like wine racks, or wine refrigerator can also be chosen to complement and enhance any design style. You may want to add some sort of rack or organizer to house the many tools used to make cocktails, or serve wine or beer. Items that are used often enough that they need to be kept close at hand should still be tidied away in a manner that doesn’t detract from the look and feel of your bar.

4. Integration & Design

A great way to integrate your home bar with the room where it is located is with your choice of paint and wall coverings. Matte white, or a soft color, paint and/or reclaimed wood panels will make a rustic bar stand out. Rich wood panelling or warm paint colors add elegance to an antique look, or drama to a classic design. With a modern style, pretty much anything goes with regard to paint colors and wall coverings; let your imagination go wild.

Will your bar be integrated with other activities? For instance, part of a recreation room with billiards, darts or shuffleboard. Or, perhaps a media or theater room. If so, don't forget extra touches like a chalk board or popcorn maker.

Home bar integrated with media room

Perhaps your're a bit tight on space. That's ok too. With a bit of planning and design considerations, a smaller, more efficient home bar can be created with a more compact design.

Home bar for a small space

5. Sinks & Backsplashes

Sinks and backsplashes may sound a little boring but they don’t have to be. A backsplash does more than just protect the wall from moisture. An attractive backsplash can provide a background that enhances the appearance of the bar. Ceramic tile, glass bricks, glossy surfaces can all provide a focal point. The sink and fixtures you choose should also match in style with the overall bar style.

6. Finishing Touches

Now it’s time to add some finishing touches to the bar décor. Paintings and other wall art will add some polish to your bar and provide visual appeal. Sculptures, vases, books, or other decorative elements will provide depth and texture. Don't forget to let your design reflect your personality as well. After all, this is a place where you'll be spending many hours with friends and family.

I knew an avid biker who had a full-size vintage motorcycle displayed as a backdrop for all his bottles. Now that was an eyecatching feature and conversation starter.

Western themed home bar

7. The Tools of the Trade

Now that you are done decorating it’s time to choose your glassware and tools. Keep in mind what you want to serve from your bar when choosing these items. For instance you will need specific glassware for each type of beverage you may want to serve and tools can also be purpose-specific.

Your glassware and stemware can be found in a multitude of styles and colors to enhance your entertaining in your custom home bar. Traditional clear glass in a variety of sizes and types are ideal for most home bars. But charisma can be added in this area too. The stems on the stemware can be decorated in a variety of styles. If you are going for the antique style many artisans offer hand-blown glassware that can look as if they were passed down from one generation to the next.

Mostly the tools will contribute to the efficiency and functioning of your bar, but even some of them can enhance and balance the appearance of your home bar. For the wine aficionado, wine stoppers and wine markers come in styles from classic to funky to works of art. Cocktail shakers, ice buckets, corkscrews, and other tools also can be found to match.

8. Celebrate!

Once you have identified the overall style, addressed all the structural elements, and decorated your bar, you've got one one more step. Now you can decide which beverages to stock, including a variety of alcohol and mixers to meet the needs of your guests. After that, all that’s left is to throw yourself an awesome party to christen your custom-designed home bar and enjoy the fruits of your efforts.

Posted by Tim Shepard - Broker on


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I like the idea of having matching cabinetry or shelving behind the bar. A bar would be a fun addition to my recreation room in the basement, so I've been trying to plan out the design. I think it would be nice to add foot rails at the bottom as well.

Posted by Liz Hudson on Friday, August 23rd, 2019 at 9:20am

I love an exclusive corner. I am planning to change the decoration of my house and I will opt for a bar area <a href=""> bar-area </a> and I will be inspired by this site.

Posted by Britney on Sunday, March 22nd, 2020 at 10:33pm

"The craftsmanship and attention to detail in these wood pieces are truly admirable. It's clear that each item carries a story and adds a unique touch to the home. Thanks for sharing these amazing decor ideas!"

Posted by naniyal on Wednesday, November 1st, 2023 at 6:20am

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