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Home Bar Planning Ideas

Few improvements on a home can make the kind of positive, lasting impression that installing a home bar does. A personal bar in the home, basement, or patio adds a sophisticated, convenient entertainment center during dinner parties, celebrations, and get-togethers. A personal home bar is a center during parties- a place to be found- where the host is available for the guests to stop by and strike up a conversation. Throw in a blender and a few good stories, and the entertainer can make a party truly memorable!

With a growing family, a home bar can also serve as the focal point for a children's party. The refrigerator can be used to store ice cream, cold drinks and lemonade as well as napkins, paper plates, and other party necessities. A bar located in a basement can be used to store snacks and soda and used as a recreation center for teenagers who can enjoy a pool table and the privacy of a basement area, enjoying themselves while the rest of the home remains relaxing and quiet without disturbing other occupants.

 

 

The planning stage will include four major factors:

Home Bar Storage and Space

Balancing floor space and bar space in a home can be a tricky situation. Homeowners who are choosing a home bar plan may wish to install a "back bar", as shown on the left, or a classic bar design like the one shown above. The back bar offers the optimal layout for those who want to save as much floor space as possible. However, it does not offer the storage or the "elbow room" of a classic bar design, with its area for bar chairs and socialization.

Many homeowners who choose the classic bar design will create a combination back bar and classic bar layout that maximizes the usefulness of the bar area, with the most storage space for glasses, drinks, and accessories. If you choose this home bar design, just be sure that you have enough space to move around within the bar, as some homeowners may leave themselves boxed in and cramped once they've finished the project.

Convenience: Wet Bar Design? Portable (non-stationary) Home Bar? 

When considering creating a home bar, it's vital to balance whether or not you want a "wet bar" (a bar with a sink, plumbing, and running water). A wet bar will allow you to have an easy place to dispose of drinks and ice and will make washing glasses and countertops much easier. Having working plumbing makes it possible to attach an ice machine and a small dishwasher for added convenience, depending on the space and budget needed for the project.

Plumbing can be expensive to extend to the bar, but in some cases, it can be done within a very reasonable budget. In the case of a basement bar, there have even been cases of homeowners running lines to the wet bar from the hot and cold washing machine lines that have more than served their needs. However, the homeowner will need to choose between plumbing and portability when considering this option: while many home private bars can be moved or even installed on wheels, a home wet bar should be anchored in place.

A spacious, high-quality compact fridge is key to a great home bar plan. Beer, white wine, and some liquors are best served cold, and vodka may need to be stored in the freezer. It's possible to store these drinks in the kitchen refrigerator, but in many cases, such as in an patio bar or a basement bar, tromping over to the kitchen every time the drinks run low can be a distracting and hassling chore.

Additionally, the compact fridge is optimal for serving a variety of nonalcoholic items as well such as milk, cream, fruit juices, cherries, olives, seltzer water, fresh fruit, sodas, and other commodities. When choosing a compact fridge, remember that many entertainers will underestimate their need for ice (an amble supply is going to need plenty of space)! Also, make sure that there are plenty of available electrical outlets. It's easy to run out of sockets when several household appliances are running all at once. Extension cords are ugly, messy, and can be dangerous.

  Durability in a Home Bar Design 

A home bar is going to need a surface that can come in frequent contact with spilled drinks and food. When choosing materials to build this bar, remember that marble and many wood surfaces are going to be vulnerable to stains and damage. Select a high-quality solid or laminate surface that can stand up to this treatment for years to come, or coat the bar top with several coats of polyurethane as shown to the left. When building the bar surface, remember that it's important to create a raised area on the guest side of the bar that will allow them to rest their elbows without an uncomfortable square edge. Along with increased comfort, this raised area will also protect the guests and their clothing from runoff should a drink spill.

A good bar design will include a foot rest in front of the stools that will allow the guests to rest their feet when visiting the bar. These are best when created out of solid wood or brass for an authentic bar look. Be sure to mount them with heavy use in mind. They should be attached firmly to the bar or mounted solidly to the floor. A sports game can last several hours, and it's great to be able to just put your feet up and relax.

Home Bar Ambiance

A home built bar is a naturally attractive addition to the home, but the right accessories can really help things come together. Adding a dart board, a pool or ping pong table, an area for cards, and memorabilia or decorations can really bring the look of a home bar design together. And with a pool table, some creative hosts have even placed a plywood board over the surface along with a fancy tablecloth to double the piece as a buffet table or makeshift dinner table! A little creativity and attention to detail, and your home built bar will be something really special.

When creating ambiance, it's important not to underestimate the value of good lighting. Small, recessed lights built into the top of the bar or into the ceiling near the bar can highlight the bar and add visibility and convenience for the guests. Suspended pendant lighting is also an attractive idea, but if there is a TV mounted into the bar, be careful that they will not interfere with the guest's view. Standing lights strategically placed can add an authentic, warm look to the area. And depending on the design, neon lights and signs or well-placed LED lighting can be a fun addition. Installing a mirror on the back of a corner bar is a great way to give the illusion of more space and make the guests feel less like they're facing a wall, but ideally a homeowner will be able to build their bar near the best view in the house, so that the attending guests will be able to sit back and enjoy the scenery as they unwind.

Comfortable bar stools with arm rests are an often forgotten touch in a home bar plan. Be sure to take the time to select nice, cushioned chairs for company to sit and relax in. Adding a table nearby the actual bar will add versatility to the space, opening the area up for face-to-face conversation, card games, and other entertainment. This table can also become a great place to serve dinner, a buffet, or a birthday cake, as the occasion demands.

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