Home bar ideas: everything you need to create your own home bar
Interested in building a home bar? We walk you through everything you need, from types of home bar to bar stools to the finishing touches
During lockdown we were spending more time at home than ever, which forced many of us to look for creative alternatives to our usual social activities. And if your usual weekend routine involved a trip to the pub or cocktail bar, that meant learning to enjoy the pleasures of enjoying a drink or two in the comfort of your own homes. And we did! Google searches for 'home bar' soared as we replicated the pub experience in our living rooms, dining rooms and even gardens.
Although we're now once again free to frequent the nation's pubs and bars, many of us also have grown to appreciate the pleasure of a 'night out' without leaving home. If you're thinking of installing your own home bar, we've gathered all the information you need to get started - read on to discover everything you need to create your own home bar, plus how much a home bar will cost you.
Recreate a bar vibe at home with a selection of these yummy pre-mixed cocktails, tried and tested (and highly rated) by the YourHomeStyle team.
How much does a home bar cost?
The cost of creating a home bar will vary depending on your ambition. If you decide to build your own bar unit, you'll retain full control over the cost of your materials as well as saving on the cost of labour. While building a basic home bar should be within the capabilities of a decent amateur DIY enthusiast, it's not a project for a total beginner - we wouldn't advise taking this route if you're not totally confident in your abilities.
When it comes to ready-made options, a simple pre-built freestanding unit can usually be purchased for between £200 and £500 - check out Etsy, where you'll find plenty of cost-effective options from independent woodworkers. Additional features or more expensive materials, such as real oak, will set you back a little more.
A bespoke home bar will cost you more, as you might imagine, but if you're dealing with an awkward space, a made-to-measure home bar is worth considering if your budget will stretch to it.
If your budget is tight, a drinks trolley is an affordable alternative to a permanent home bar, and also has the advantage of being easy to transport from room to room and even into your garden to enjoy on a sunny day.
Home bar unit ideas
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The central component of your home bar is the bar unit itself, usually a countertop with shelves or drawers below to hold that all-important booze, as well as glassware and accessories such as bottle openers, ice scoops and cocktail making equipment.
Don't be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to the shape and style of your units, either. Instead of a traditional countertop bar, you can find bars made out of crates, barrels, and even cleverly remodelled bicycles!
If you're planning an outdoor home bar for your garden, you'll also need to consider how you'll protect it from exposure to the elements, from weatherproof coating to a protective canopy. You can buy garden home bar units specifically constructed to withstand exposure to the elements.
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Home bar stools
For an authentic bar experience, you'll need a few bar stools. Luckily, there couldn't be a better time to be in the market, as high stools are everywhere now, having become a popular option for breakfast bars and kitchen islands as well as home bars. You'll find bar stools made of everything from rattan to steel, but the most traditional options - and often the most stylish - are velvet and real or imitation leather.
Choose from designs with backs or without - a stool with a back is more comfortable if you're planning on sitting up at your bar for prolonged periods of time, but if you're more concerned about the aesthetic, then backless stools are a perfectly legitimate option. Other extras to look out for include foot rests, essential for comfort if your feet are off the ground for a long period of time, and an adjustable seat which can be raised or lowered.
Home bar shelves
Many home bars will have built-in shelves, either on the inside or outside of the unit, but if you need more room or simply want to show off your fanciest wine glasses, look into a display shelf to mount on the wall behind your bar. Search for 'bar shelves' to find designs like the one above, from Rockett St George, which are specifically made to hold bottles and glasses.
Regular wall shelves also make a fantastic surface to display favourite spirits or wine bottles - but if you're a serious connoisseur, you'll want to invest in a wine cooler to keep your bottles at an optimum temperature.
Home bar accessories
When it comes to kitting out your home bar, you can simply fill the shelves with some of your existing glasses, but if your budget will stretch to it, installing a home bar is a fantastic excuse to splash out on some new matching glassware.
In addition, you'll need some basic barware - bottle opener, corkscrew, cocktail-making kit, ice scoop, straws, lemon squeezer and perhaps a couple of fun flourishes like cocktail umbrellas.
When it comes to finishing touches, look for a few decorative pieces that set the tone you want to create. For a fun 'boozer' vibe, decorate with beer mats, bar towels, Toby jugs, retro advertising posters and decorative pumps for made-up beers (cheeky names encouraged!).
If you're imagining something more sophisticated, use metallic accents and antique ornaments to tap into a cocktail lounge ambience. Vintage shops, charity shops and car boot sales are great places to discover one of a kind treasures - and don't forget to scour sites like Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and Freecycle for free or cheap finds, too!
And don't forget that lighting is everything - spotlight bars or over-table light pendants are just the job for creating instant atmosphere.
On the lookout for more inspirational ideas to bring glamour into your home? Check out our home decor section!