Creating a home bar area is all the rage, and with good reason. As electronics have become an increasingly integral part of our lives, so has burnout. Design follows popular sentiments, ergo the birth of trends. Consequently, the rise of the home bar reflects the desire to intentionally unplug from a world of constant artificial engagement, idealizing the glamor of cocktails and Mad Men (minus the misogyny, of course).
From transforming untouched formal dining and living rooms into cocktail library lounges to tucking a chic bar setup into a built-in nook, the sophisticated home bar – and the craving for connection and conversation – are making a comeback in a big way.
Whether you prefer to enjoy a nightcap on your own or entertain in style, we’ve pulled together our top tips for creating a functional, stylish home bar area that you and your guests can enjoy for years to come:
Start with the Bar
The base of any show-stopping bar area is the actual bar! Whether using a sideboard, a shelf, or a proper cart on wheels, choose a piece that compliments your style. How do you choose?
Review your space and your needs. How much room do you have to spare, and what fits well with your family’s lifestyle?
Things to consider:
- Do you need a bar that locks to keep alcohol and breakables safely stashed?
- Will the bar be utilized in one room? Or would a mobile option work best?
- Do you have any built-in space in your home that could serve as a bar area?
- Do you currently have a piece of furniture that’s begging to be classed up?
If you don’t have space to add another piece of furniture, look for a transformation opportunity! Breathing new life into an existing piece can be as simple as adding a few fun accessories to create a totally different vibe. (And a little paint for a complete transformation never hurts!)
Keep it Simple & Organized
Beware – adding any flat surface can be an invitation for clutter. A bar area works when it is a dedicated space and not a catch-all for other areas of your home. Add pizzazz without over-accessorizing or overfilling. Here’s how we think through this process:
Take stock of the items you frequently use vs things you rarely need.
- Find storage for the non-essentials.
- Showcase special tools, glassware, and bottles.
- Position the necessities for prominent display.
- Utilize multiple levels effectively.
- Add accessories and decor.
Once you’ve pulled together your home bar area, take the most important step for designing a beautiful space: EDITING. In most cases, less is more. Removing non-essential items allows you to showcase the things you love most.
Let there be light! Incorporating a small lamp, sconces, or other lighting sources not only helps you craft the perfect drink – it creates an ambiance for the entire room.
As an expression of who you are and what you love, a home filled with unique finds tells a story all its own. As you stock your bar, look for pieces from local artisans for an extra special touch, from alcohol to glassware to bar tools. If you’re feeling extra-gracious, send guests home with a favorite bar item.
Pops of Color
Whether you prefer neutral with pops of color or an all-out color explosion, adding either to a bar is easy with a plethora of accessory choices, from florals, fruit, and candy to art, books, or a special serving piece. The beauty of accessorizing with color is being able to change out items anytime you like. So, be bold!
Glassware as Decor
Glassware can also serve as decor. So many drinks are served in special glasses that are functional and decorative. Make the glassware a decorative focal point of your bar. Having the glasses do double duty allows space to mix drinks without too much decor infringing on your workspace. Glasses can also be purchased in various options, so you can add the perfect pop of color to your serving pieces and display.
Choose the Right Bar Tools
With a bar in your home, you’ll most likely be creating fantastic cocktails. And to do so, you need the right tools! Many people used to collect china – the modern-day homemaker often chooses cocktail tools. These items range from basic to complex, so start small if you are overwhelmed with options. Choose a basic kit that matches your style and build on it for years to come.
Here is a list of essential tools for creating your home bar area:
- Ice Bucket & Tongs – because no one wants to run to the kitchen for ice
- Stemless Wine Glasses – a universal glass you can use for a variety of drinks
- A High-Quality Corkscrew – one that opens a wine bottle quickly and smoothly
- Muddler – Mash fruit and herbs right in your shaker
- Double-Sided Jigger – Precise measurement is critical for many craft cocktails
- Cocktail Shaker – As Bond says, some cocktails can only be “shaken, not stirred”
- Bottle Opener – Easy for your beer-drinking guests to grab
- Bar Towel – Keep your beautiful bar clean
- Coasters – To add a little pop while protecting your furniture
My favorite place to buy bar tools is The Hour Shop.
Don’t Forget the Non-Drinkers
When you stock your bar area, remember that not everyone partakes in alcoholic drinks. Offer options straight from the bar instead of sending guests to the kitchen for a soda or sparkling water. A large drink dispenser filled with a beautiful mocktail makes everyone feel fancy regardless of their drink, and flavored water for everyone to sip on throughout the evening is both thoughtful and practical.
Decanters for Less Expensive Spirits
Not all alcohol comes in the most beautiful bottles. (I’m looking at you, plastic travel containers from college.) Transferring liquor and complimentary cocktail ingredients into beautiful bar containers is an easy way to spice up your space. Over time, you can add to your collection, finding fun pieces at vintage stores, garage sales, or in grandma’s attic. Remember to label your display bottles with fun tags to label to keep track of which ingredient is in each decanter.
One of the best things about a bar area is the opportunity to style it for the season, holiday, or event. Bar areas are an ideal place to reflect any occasion, and switching up the look keeps the bar area fresh and festive while providing a focal point for your entertaining space year-round.
Curate & Edit
With so many options for styling your bar area, curating and editing your bar is important. You don’t have to display every alcohol, mixer, glass, and tool 24/7. Over time, your bar can quickly go from chic to cluttered if everything is on display. Showcase the ingredients, tools, and glasses needed for 1-2 signature cocktails, add just a few of your favorite decorative elements, and store the rest out of sight.
A crowded bar area is not inviting or easy to use. Keeping the bar neat will create a welcoming space your guests will be comfortable approaching.
If you are hosting a party, consider providing recipe cards for your guests to take home so they can recreate your signature cocktail.
Color, accessories, and cocktails – what more reason do you need for creating a home bar area? Bringing the Mad Men mid-century vibe into 2022 combines old with new, the epitome of Grandmillennial style.
If a home bar area is on your wishlist for 2022, you are not alone! The home bar area trend is on the rise, and this small addition can be done on almost any budget and for any style. Your imagination is the only limit.
Send us a note if you need help with your home bar or any other design project. CoCreative Interiors’ signature, collaborative process is designed to help you use what you love to create a home that reflects your unique style.