Designing a Home Bar Process and Materials

Many times homeowners have space in their home that goes unused—primarily in a basement or bonus room. So the question becomes how to make that space functional, but also fun. There’s also people who love entertaining, but don’t have a space that’s just right for guests. The perfect solution can be a home bar, also frequently known as a wet bar. When creating a home bar, it can become the focal point of an otherwise unused space, or even a main living area. The key to designing a bar is to ensure it’s subtle and sophisticated, particularly if it’s in a primary living area. Consider the Technicalities When designing a home bar space, there are technicalities that go into the process, similar to what’s important in kitchen remodeling, just on a smaller scale. Before beginning the design process, consider:
  • The level of functionality needed. For some people a home bar is more about the look, while other people are frequent entertainers so there needs to be ample space and amenities.
  • Choose a location based not just on how much space is available, but also power and plumbing components that may be required.
  • Think about seating options. If the bar will have stools or seating, the countertop needs to be high enough to accommodate them, and there should be enough space between each seat. Most design experts recommend about 28 inches between each bar seat.
  • For a fully functional bar, storage is a big concern. Storage can range from under-the-counter cabinets, to refrigerators and wine coolers.
Choosing Materials The primary material to be selected in the creation of a wet bar is often the countertop. Much like kitchen countertops, this can be a challenging decision to make. Since it is a smaller space than what is typically found with kitchen countertops, it’s often a good idea to use a high-end material, such as granite countertops. A bar is intended to be for fun and entertaining, so think about going with something more bold and daring, such as a colored countertop, or a waterfall feature where the natural stone extends over the edge of the countertop and to the floor. To make a kitchen wet bar stand out, creating the illusion it’s a separate space, choose a countertop material that coordinates, but doesn’t match the other countertops. Another great way to differentiate a wet bar in a kitchen is to add a unique backsplash just to the bar, such as stainless steel or a brightly-colored tile. Cabinets and Shelving The options for wet bar cabinets and shelving are nearly limitless. Before deciding on cabinetry and shelves, think about how much storage is needed, as well as what’s going to coordinate with the countertops. A great modern option is the use of floating shelves, which are also very popular in kitchen design right now. Floating shelves create a modern, linear look. For a more traditional bar space, opt for standard cabinets. To display barware and glasses, use glass-front cabinetry. Fun and Functional Fun and functional are the two words that should always come to mind when designing a home bar. Once the main components have been selected, it’s time to choose accessories. Select small items, such as delicate bowls, that also have a purpose. They can hold drink garnishments, napkins, straws or anything guests may need when utilizing the bar. Ultimately, the goal of designing a home bar should be style, yes, but also user-friendliness. A home bar doesn’t have to be outdated, boring or reminiscent of a man cave. When done correctly it can be an elegant and sophisticated entertaining space that will bring years of enjoyment for both homeowners and their guests.