There are plenty of do-it-yourself plans online for both dry bars and wet bars (bars with sinks), but making your own helps you to custom fit your new bar to your space, your taste and your needs. If you have even basic carpentry skills, some general ideas can help get you started.
Imagine you're at your local bar or pub, sitting "at the bar." Where you're sitting is the "counter." What you're looking at, behind the bartender with all the drinks, is the "back bar."
Space and Plans
Consider how the bar will be used: frequent, but small dinner parties or big but infrequent parties? In either case, a bar does not need to be huge to entertain. So unless you're turning your basement into a pub, there may be better uses for the extra space (like a pool table, for example).
Whether using borrowed designs or your own, measure your space and draw up plans to scale on graph paper. Now you can visually play with different ideas before deciding on one. Once you've got an idea of what kind of bar you want, make a list of materials and prices, and see what fits your budget.
Plenty of ready-made furniture, like shelves and dressers, can be used for your home bar. Repurposing furniture from used furniture stores, garage sales, or your own home can save money and labor. Consider using an outdated shelving unit that you've been storing in your garage, or search at garage or estate sales for antique dressers for a classy, sophisticated bar.
Back Bar with Stand Alone Counter
For the back bar, paint or stain matching dressers and then stack them on top of one another and secure to the wall. Remove the front panel of the drawers on the upper dresser to create shelves for glassware and liquor. You can paint the inside of the dresser to match the room or you can install mirror tiles. For something a little different, paint the inside and then install mirror tiles in a checkerboard pattern, or tiled in diamond shapes.
For the counter, place two heavy dressers (about 4 feet high) next to each other facing the drawers toward the wall for storage space that only the bartender can see. Buy a suitable piece of wood, stain or paint it, and attach it to the top of the dressers for a seamless countertop. Attach another single length of wood to the outward face of the dressers.
Alternatively, run the counter the length of the wall facing the entrance. Just be sure to leave room (at least 2 ½ feet) to get behind the counter.
Back Bar Only
The back bar can work without the counter if you leave the bottom of the upper dresser open to mix drinks. Or, instead of using two dressers, stack a shelf on top of a dresser. This leaves counter top space on the surface of the dresser. Shelves turned sideways, attached to the wall and supported underneath, can also work for a back bar.
Extras: Wine racks, counter lights and mirrors add the finishing touches. If you want to use glass shelves on the back bar, the effect of counter lights on the glassware and mirror tiles will dazzle.
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