Living room, dining room, kitchen, basement renovation or even a home office – these are all rooms worthy of home bar ideas when it comes to refurbishing a space.
Without doubt, it’s a styling (and furniture) decision that’s all about luxury and pizazz over function and necessity, but what a home bar brings to a scheme is a clear sense of fun and glamour.
Blame it on the Art Deco era; opulent, Great Gatsby-esque entertaining in the home has an irresistible quality that home bar designs serve in droves. Keep it compact with an antique-inspired bar cart stationed in the corner of the room, topped with crystal decanters and bottles of spirits, or go maximalist with a full-scale bar setup that will keep the party going all night long.
HOME BAR DESIGNS
Building a home bar into an interior design plan can be as complex or straightforward as you like. If you want it to melt into the rest of the room and not dominate, treat it as a piece of occasional furniture that will slot in easily, much like a console table would.
On the other hand, if your home bar plans are much bigger and bolder, consider a bespoke commission that will transform your entire room into something that people will be forming a queue outside of.
BUILT-IN HOME BARS
This is the most extravagant of home bar decor ideas when it comes to scale. A built-in home bar is anything but run-of-the-mill in domestic interiors. It replicates what you’d see when going out for drinks – a tall counter with fully-stocked fridges and shelves behind and perhaps stools on the other side.
It’s for serious entertaining, which is what makes it better suited to a part of the home whose sole mission is to host. Put a built-in home bar in a living room or dining room and it’s hard for any other activity to take place because it absorbs all focus. Keep this sort of design for additional reception rooms or basement excavations that have been turned into games rooms. It’s a path to establishing your house as the ultimate party pad.
The only downside with a home bar like this is that it very much marks you as being the host. As soon as you put up a taller counter, it acts as a barrier that might put people off helping themselves to drinks. If that’s something you want to avoid, go for a lower height and use lots of mirrors around the room which will make your room feel much more open and all of the zones within it more connected.
One level down from built-in designs and one level up from the drinks trolley is a liquor cabinet. These are still a larger piece of furniture to bring into the room, making a sizeable contribution to how you’re furnishing the space, but they don’t shout out what their function is, which helps them to stay under the radar.
Lots of drinks cabinets are taller, with an open base and then the storage section starting from about hip height. This is very much an Art Deco aesthetic. Stay on that luxury home bar theme by picking high-gloss, polished materials or lavish metallics like brass or copper cladding. Or, head down the more classic route by choosing wooden cabinets that could be mistaken for an antique.
With drinks cabinets, you can have either concealed doors or glass ones. Go for concealed if there isn’t too many other large pieces of furniture in the room, plenty of space and natural light, otherwise it can make the room feel hemmed-in and heavy.
Solid doors also keep the contents hidden, so they’re a good idea if you want your drinks collection to be out of sight. On the other hand, Glass will make a showcase out of your spirits, making them become a bit of a feature and adding another decorative dimension to your room’s design.
Another point regarding drinks cabinets is that there are purpose-built versions that, when opened, have hanging racks for wine glasses, indents for placing bottles and slim pull-out drawers for corkscrews and cocktail accessories. But you can also create a drinks cabinet using any style of cabinet, closet or dresser – it’s all about what you fill it with.
Perhaps the most trend-led of all the home bar options, drinks trolleys actually hark back to Victorian era tea carts. The same design later evolved into cocktail carts in the 1920s, before being cemented as a drinks showcase in the 1950s. It’s why so many of the designs fuse the glamorous material mixes (like antiqued mirror and bronze) of the 20s and 30s with angular, minimal form – it’s a Mid-Century meets Deco look. The popular TV series Mad Men glamourised and popularised them further with its use of curvilinear bar trollies in almost every episode, helping this entertaining essential to regain its stardom.
What makes a drinks trolley so appealing is how it’s so easy to fit in to any sized room. They’ll gladly sit like a side table, or, if you want to make it a bigger focus, position it in the room like a console table or chest and place an oversized mirror behind it. And being smaller in size, they’re one of the best home bar ideas on a budget.
You could even take a drinks trolley into the bathroom, but instead of displaying bottles of liquor on it, you’d keep bottles of cosmetics, bath oils and salts and bundles of towels on the lowermost shelf.