How to Plan and Design Your Home Bar


Turning an unused or underused portion of your home into a comfortable watering hole requires planning and imagination. Whether you decide on a simple drink-mixing station or a fully equipped professional-quality in-home bar, you should consider several factors before tackling this remodeling project. A well-thought-out design and construction plan can save money and ensure the project doesn't run over budget or require midproject redesigns.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Graph paper
  • Measure the floor space you are setting aside for the bar. Transfer the scaled measurements and layout to graph paper.

  • Make note of the current location of any plumbing, drainage and electrical outlets. You can save time and money by utilizing existing outlets and designing your bar around them.

  • Decide which appliances, storage spaces and tools you need. Get the dimensions of any refrigerators, coolers, sinks or specialized storage racks. A modest bar can consist of a liquor cabinet with a few glasses, ice bucket and a comfortable place to sit. This setup can occupy as little as 2 or 3 square feet of floor space. If budget and space aren't your main considerations, a fully equipped bar can include a tap system for beer and soda, ice machine, sink, blender, refrigerated beverage storage and racks for glasses. If your budget includes all this equipment, leave room in your floor plan for the pressurized carbon dioxide or bar gas tanks and associated plumbing. Keep future service and maintenance needs in mind as well. Pressurized tanks need to be replaced periodically and any appliance will eventually fail. Placing these items where they can be serviced with minimum effort reduces future maintenance costs. Experiment with the placement of these items on your scaled layout. As much as possible, put frequently used items together in the most convenient location. An eye to practicality during the planning process will make hosting a social gathering a more pleasant experience.

  • Choose the decor and theme. When the bar is attached to a larger, open area of the house, the look and feel should blend as gracefully as possible with the surrounding area. It is usually a bad idea to put an ultramodern bar in a large room with a Colonial American theme. When the bar is located in a separate area of the house, you have a bit more latitude, but the overall theme shouldn't jar guests.

  • Estimate the costs before you begin. If you plan to hire a contractor to do the work, get several estimates and check references. When doing the work yourself, make a list of the required construction materials and supplies, then do some comparison shopping.

  • Check with your local code-enforcement agency for a list of any necessary construction permits or regulations. In some areas, all electrical and/or plumbing work must be performed by licensed professionals. If you are on a limited budget, you might be able to avoid electrical or plumbing modifications by rearranging your layout before work begins.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider a few field trips to local bars. Professional bartenders will be able to tell you what they like about their workspace layout and warn you of potential problems.

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  • Photo Credit Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
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