32 Best Home Bar Ideas That Will Impress Your Guests
, by Loren Quimbo
, by Loren Quimbo
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Alcohol enthusiasts have been building their DIY home bar since the 1950s. But most recently, people are becoming more inspired to upgrade it from a simple liquor section to a full-fledged professional setup.
That craze is likely to continue now that people are getting used to doing everything at home, including social activities. If you want to join in on the fun, this list of the best home bar ideas will give you a place to start.
Armoire Bar - Image by Hometalk.com
An armoire is a particular type of wardrobe that can serve several purposes. It is typically ornate or antique and was initially intended for storing weapons and armory (also, “armoire” kind of sounds like “armory”).
If you have an old armoire, don’t throw it out yet! All it needs is a little bit of refinishing and lighting so you can repurpose it into a liquor cabinet for your home bar. What’s great about this home bar idea is that it already has multiple compartments where you can keep your precious wine bottles and bar tools.
Fish Tank Bar - Image by Wsiwebefectivo.com
Do you know the expression, someone who “drinks like a fish”? If you want to bring some aquatic vibes into your setup, a fish tank bar is a great home bar idea.
The most basic design is to have a large aquarium as your backdrop, which you can enhance further through lighting and color-enhancing decorations. Some people even go as far as converting their bar counter itself into a large fish tank.
Remember, however, that incorporating an aquarium into your home bar means you’re going to have to maintain two things: the bar and the aquarium. Cleaning the tank itself is not an easy chore, especially if it’s a big one. Invest in a high-quality filtration system to lessen the burden.
Old Piano Bar - Image by Lifeonbeacon.com
Got an old piano that doesn’t seem to fit in your living room anymore? Here’s another genius home bar idea: turn that piano into a home bar!
A piano already has that elegant feel, especially if you have one of those old grand pianos with ornate designs. Just give that old thing a little makeover, and voila — a perfect second life for your old piano.
The top makes for an excellent storage place for bottles and anything else you’d like displayed, while the inner container is for more delicate stuff like stemware and decanters. You can even take it a step further by installing a little basin in one of the stools to convert it into a fully-functioning wet bar.
Vintage TV Bar - Image by Homebars.barinacraft.com
Speaking of repurposing old things, if you have one of those Mad Men retro television sets from the 1960s, it will make for an excellent home bar. They’re big enough to store several tall bottles, and you can even display stemless glasses and decanters on top.
If you didn’t inherit a retro TV from your grandma but still want to go with this theme, you could always look for one in thrift stores or nostalgia shops. Some of them may have become too frail to hold heavy bottles, so make sure to check their integrity before using them for liquor storage.
Also, look out for toxic substances such as lead, mercury, and beryllium. The wooden casing would have even faded in most cases, but that could easily be fixed with a little varnish.
Old West Rustic Bar - Image by Havenhome.me
Many men like Western movies, which is why the “old West” concept is one of the most popular home bar ideas around. Imagine inviting your guests in, and they see something that resembles a saloon from the old West, with all the rugged countryside vibes and the warmth of rustic aesthetics.
We’re talking about bare concrete floors, brick walls, and wood-paneled ceilings. Add to that some vintage wood and metal bar, vintage light, and old-school bar stools to achieve that old-school industrial look.
Of course, an old West home bar deserves an old West approach to drinks, meaning there will be whiskey sour cocktails. There’s also going to be a lot of beer, so make sure you have the right beer glasses to stay consistent with the theme.
Pallet Bar - Image by Ctendance.fr
A DIY recycled pallet bar is a great home bar idea for people who have natural woodwork talents. It’s easy to assemble and cost-efficient — the only cost would be the pallets, a few nails, and a weekend’s worth of work.
Once you have the pallets, clean, sand, and put them together. Add a little finish to make it look a bit weathered or rustic, and perhaps even add a bit of lighting.
The most common pallet bar design has two built-in shelves to store beverage bottles and a countertop to serve the drinks. As for the pallets, the two most frequently used wood types are oak, which is a type of hardwood, and pine, a type of softwood. Both of them are robust and durable enough for your home bar project.
Here’s a quick video tutorial on how to build a home bar using pallet wood:
Classic Tiki Bar - Image by Beachfrontdecor.com
Tiki bars emerged out of nowhere in the 50s when Ernest Gantt (also known as Donn Beach) opened the first tiki restaurant in California. Today, it remains one of the most popular home bar ideas because of its exotic decorations and an escapist longing to travel to the South Pacific’s tropical regions.
The goal is to aim for an authentic island feel, with just enough make-believe to turn the bar into your private paradise. You can start by decorating the tiki bar with items you’d typically find in Polynesia. Then, make sure that the bar’s bare essentials are solid.
You want it to be a fully-functioning tiki bar rather than just a place of decorative materials. And most importantly, you must have the right tiki mugs when serving your exotic drinks.
Here’s a great DIY tutorial on how to build a tiki bar at home:
Stereo Player Cabinet Wet Bar - Image by Southernrevivals.com
Aside from armoires and vintage television sets, an old record player table or cabinet can also be repurposed into a home bar. Nothing can give off that vintage vibe better than antique stereo furniture from the good old days. The structure is almost always wide and tall enough to convert into a bar counter and storage cabinet for your favorite liquor.
It’s even better if your old record player cabinet opens from the top, so you can have several mini compartments for tools and use the center space (where the record player would usually go) as your mini-basin for a wet bar.
You can even place a functional mini record player with a pure copper horn on top and keep your guests entertained with the lush sounds of vinyl records.
Secret Room Bar - Image by Architecturaldigest.com
Home bar ideas and designs where the “secret stash” of liquor is hidden in plain sight are becoming more popular. The goal is to make the home bar discreet yet accessible, which maximizes the “wow” factor.
You can hide your home bar with a fake wall that doubles as a cabinet door, or you can even have it structured to conceal (and eventually reveal) a full-scale home bar that includes an elegant service counter with enough space for your drinks and your guests.
If you’re not yet ready to put a hole in your wall to build your secret bar, you can start with an expandable bar unit that you can fold away to look like a regular living room cabinet when not in use.
Treehouse Bar - Image by Venuereport.com
Here’s a home bar idea that requires a bit more work to pull off but is worth it: a treehouse bar. That child in you will never let go of that dream treehouse, and now that you’re an adult that enjoys the casual drink, you can get the best of both worlds when you invest in a treehouse project and eventually turn it into a fully-functioning outdoor bar.
There are several options in building your treehouse, from super-simple to insanely elaborate and intricate designs. It all depends on how well you can work your tools — that is, if you plan to build it yourself.
A treehouse project is almost like a regular house project, so if you’re not confident enough to hammer those nails yourself, you can always just leave it to the experts. The last thing you want is a poorly-constructed treehouse with hundreds of bottles and glassware inside it.
Bar Under the Stairs - Image by Nextluxury.com
Make the most out of that awkward space under your stairs by converting it into a home bar! It could be a creative display of your extensive wine collection, or it could be a full-fledged bar complete with equipment, glassware, and stools (if the space is large enough).
Of course, this would require a bit of remodeling to make sure it doesn’t affect the integrity of the stairs or the internal plumbing, especially if you’re planning to include running water and a sink.
It should also have accessibility to a power source if your under-the-stairs bar consisted of a fridge and decorative lighting. And since you’re dealing with glasses and other breakable stuff, the structure of the bar itself must be stable and shockproof.
Patio or Deck Bar - Image by Fromhousetohome.com
Most patios and decks have lounge chairs for relaxation or tables for afternoon tea times. You can maximize that space even more by turning it into an outdoor home bar! This way, you can do the entertaining outside and minimize interior remodeling.
Depending on your budget and preference, your patio or deck bar can be as simple or elaborate. Many people go with repurposed objects and materials like pallets and barrels, while others opt for pre-made pub sheds and mini cocktail bars.
Here’s a great home bar idea: you can attach your patio or deck bar to your interior kitchen and have a narrow countertop connect the inside to the outside through a pass-through window. Now you can host patio parties that serve meals and drinks at the same time.
Window Room Bar - Image by Sierrapacificwindows.com
Say you have an empty section in your house that has a full-window view of the great outdoors. Wouldn’t you want to put that space into good use?
For someone who loves the great outdoors, a home bar with a full-window view of the natural landscape can be the perfect place to relax and entertain. The great thing about it is that you won’t have to worry that much about ventilation and lighting—everything’s natural, including the cool breeze during cold seasons or the invigorating warmth during summertime.
The first step is to decide where the bar counter would be, setting up where your guests would be facing. While regular home bars would have guests directly facing the wall of liquor racks and signages, you might need to move things around if you want them to maximize the window view.
Wine Cellar - Image by Luxury-houses.net
If you’re already thinking about remodeling a part of your house to build a home bar, why not create an adjacent wine cellar while you're at it? This home bar idea is usually a no-brainer for wine lovers, but wine cellars aren’t necessarily exclusive to wine.
Technically, it wouldn’t be a cellar because cellars need to be below ground level, and they’re usually a dark, enclosed space to protect wine bottles against contamination.
A home bar-adjacent wine “cellar” would only be for aesthetic purposes, like having an excellent, elegant way to display your wine collection or any other liquor for that matter. But of course, you can always go for a full-scale wine cellar in your basement and take your home bar there instead.
Plants-Inspired Bar - Image by Theanastasiaco.com
It may seem odd for some people, but it makes sense to decorate your home bar with plants since all liquor is made from a certain kind of plant. This home bar idea is perfect for people who want to build a garden bar but don’t have an actual garden to pull it off. You can always bring the outdoors inside and make your home bar more in touch with nature.
Go with low-maintenance plants that can survive lower light levels, such as snake plants, ferns, and peace lilies. These plants also filter out nasty chemicals in the air.
You can also opt for homegrown herbs that you can use as cocktail bitters: basil, mint, and rosemary. You need to stay away from plants that produce the most pollen, such as daffodils, periwinkles, petunias, and columbines.
Elegant Minimalist Bar - Image by 1stdibs.com
Perhaps you’d rather have a home bar with a modern and sleek design that doesn’t need much decoration to captivate. It’s what the younger generation call “minimalist.”
It’s one of the most popular home bar ideas, mostly if the interior is already stripped down to several basic shapes and colors. A clean, single-colored backdrop is an excellent way to give off that minimalist aesthetic.
A minimalist design for a home bar isn’t just about geometry and color schemes, though. It’s also about space. You need to have ample spacing so that they won’t look like a junk pile of clutter. The furniture and home bar tools you will be using and where you place them can also help keep things simple.
Here’s a not-so-subtle way to show your love for beer: a beer bottle chandelier to go with your home bar. There are many pre-made bottle chandeliers you can buy, or if you have the skills and the tools, you can build your own.
You can go for a mix of different beer brands to make a colorful kaleidoscope-y chandelier, or you can tone it down to several colors for a warmer and more intimate lighting effect. You don’t even need to limit yourself to beer bottles. In the video below, a fellow whiskey lover built a chandelier made of Jack Daniels bottles.
Every drinking party host wants to be the coolest home bartender there is. And sometimes, all it takes is a bit of behind-the-bar flair and the coolest bar tools. Speaking of cool bar tools — a surefire way to make your home bar cool is a liquor dispenser.
The Oggi Revolving Liquor Dispenser is a great find. It’s made from stainless steel and can securely hold up to 3 bottles. It looks super elegant, too. Just place this beauty on the counter and give perfect pours to your guests like a true professional.
Whether you’re planning to build your home bar indoors or on the patio, this Wine Barrel Vanity Sink is a great addition, more so if your collection of drinks is wine-dominated. It’s made from solid oak and is 36 inches tall and 26 inches wide.
This wine barrel copper sink is designed to fit through small doorways and closer to the wall giving you the storage you want with the space you need. It also features an antique waterfall faucet that offers the perfect flow of water with one hand operation. You can keep cleaning and plumbing tools inside the large storage compartment below the sink.
The recent fascination around LED lights is becoming more apparent, with people looking for an excuse to light their living rooms and bedrooms with neon or pastel-colored LED bulbs. If you want to add more color and vibrance to your home bar, you’re going to like the MUMUXI Wine Bottle LED Lights.
They’re made with high-quality copper wires and can be skillfully designed to any DIY shape you wish. The copper wire part can even be put into water to achieve fantastic atmosphere effects.
A bar cart is a great home bar idea for smaller-space setups since it’s incredibly versatile and mobile — which means you can move it around and still be an integral part of your home bar. The HOMECHO Modern Bar Cart is one of the most popular brands of bar carts.
It has a wine rack and stemware holders anchored from both wooden and metal frames. It also has lockable wheels for safety (you don’t want your precious wines crashing into your guests). Its vintage rustic brown and black finish gives this bar cart a classy and glamorous look.
Keg Stools - Image by Hgtv.com
Keg stools are a fitting home bar idea when you’re building a man cave or a garage bar, and you’re not thinking about elegance and sophistication.
After all, whenever you see a beer keg, you probably think of that one time in college when you accepted a keg stand challenge and zonked out in front of everybody. Good times.
It’s still a brilliant concept and a pretty cool way to vamp up your home bar, though. Plus, they’re usually very comfortable with their padded seating. Check out KegStools if you want to have yours customized to your specific liking.
Again, with the LED lights. This time, it’s used to light the shelves and give liquor bottles that excellent colorful tiered platform. We like this Liquor Bottle Display Shelf with LED Color Changing Lights because it has three tiers, and it comes fully assembled, so you only need to plug it and display your bottles on top.
With a little bit of mounting and wiring work, you can even put the shelves up on the wall for a lovely behind-the-bar backdrop. The lights are also programmable so that you can match the colors with your home bar’s motif.
Whenever we see a hanging rack with upside-down stemmed wine glasses, most of us would think, “I want one of those at home.” And there are a couple of reasons why it’s a favorite among home bar owners.
It’s a very classy piece of decoration and resembles a chandelier, while the stemmed glasses are like silver tulips springing out of the ceiling. It’s also a logical way to store stemmed glasses because when suspended, they won't collect dust, and they’re easier to grab than when stored upright and side-by-side on a shelf.
The FURVOKIA Vintage Wine Glass Hanging Rack will correctly do the job with its convenient design, adjustable height, and space-saving, double large capacity storage. Note that strong ceiling foundations are required, such as cement or wood board, to install a hanging rack like this. Low load-bearing capacity ceilings such as a gypsum board won’t work.
One of the best home bar ideas is to invest in something you could show off when people see your bar countertop, and decanters are typically at the top of the list. After all, whiskey decanters are mainly for display purposes. If you aim to impress, you might as well go big on the decanters instead of getting the usuals.
This Limited Edition Elegant Rifle Whiskey Decanter will be hard not to look at, especially if you’ve got that “macho” theme going on in your home bar. It’s 22.5 inches wide and 8.5 inches high and can store up to a liter of your favorite whiskeys, such as scotch or bourbon. It also has a Mahogany wooden base that adds to its elegance.
Of course, a home bar wouldn’t be great without the right bartending tools. Being a decent bar host means you also have to be a good mixologist, especially if you plan on creating cocktails for your guests. A proper, reliable bartending kit is an excellent place to start on the journey to becoming a good home bartender.
We recommend the ecoZen Lifestyle Bartending Kit with Wooden Stand. The set comes with a cobbler shaker, ice tongs, corkscrew, two liquor pourers, muddler, cocktail strainer, double-sided jigger, bar spoon, bamboo stand, and a cocktail recipe booklet. It’s also made from high-quality 304 stainless steel, so it's less prone to rust and tarnishing.
For more excellent options, check out our full review of the Best Bartending Kits.
Having a home bar means it’s always best to keep around canned juices and mixers that you can bring out when you need to make cocktails for guests.
The most common mixers are club soda, tonic, ginger beer, fruit juices, simple syrup, lemon, and lime. Bitters aren’t technically a mixer, but just to be safe, keep a shaker of orange Angostura bitters on hand as they go into the most common cocktails.
If you don’t want to run out of simple syrups, always keep white or Demerara sugar (brown sugar used in old fashions and manhattans) on hand. Choose juices with longer expiration dates. For more information on mixers, read our article on the Essential Mixers for Your Home Bar.
Glassware is one part of your home bar that will require a substantial investment because not only are they essential to any bar, they also take up space and are somewhat more expensive than you’d think.
Start with some necessary glassware. The essential ones are pint glasses, red wine glasses, and rocks glasses. Then, work your way up to more elaborate and fancy ones such as coupe glasses, Martini glasses, copper mugs, and highball glasses.
Need more information? Check out our article on the Must Have Glasses For Your Home Bar.
Any great mixologist will tell you that reading up on the craft is a huge help. You can Google anything these days, but even in the digital age, nothing is quite the same as referencing a book and flipping through the physical pages.
The New York Magazine calls “The Craft of the Cocktail” by Dale DeGroff the best fundamental cocktail book. It’s an excellent springboard to learn about cocktails’ basics and build a solid foundation of mixology knowledge, making your home bar even more worthwhile.
You might also enjoy our review and buying guide for the Best Whiskey Books.
It sounds pretty obvious, but one of the biggest problems when entertaining drinkers is running out of ice. There’s no point in having a complete arsenal of cocktails when you don’t have enough ice to complement them.
Remember that some people always drink their liquor on the rocks, so it's still essential to store a decent amount of ice.
If repeatedly going for an ice run isn’t exactly something you enjoy doing, you might want to invest in a Countertop Ice Maker Machine that’s compact but can produce a large volume of ice in an instant. Read more about 3 Easy Methods On How To Make Crystal Clear Ice. You may also like our review of the Best Ice Buckets.
Most first-time home bar owners make the mistake of thinking they need every type of liquor under the sun displayed in their home bar. That’s an ideal scenario in the long term, but if you’re just going to end up keeping tens or hundreds of unopened bottles for years, then it kind of defeats the point.
You only need a small collection of bar drink staples to come up with standard cocktails. The best place to start is to stock up on drinks that you enjoy. After all, you are your home bar’s number one customer.
Then, go through the list of the most common ones: vodka, gin, tequila, rum, whiskey, and a few selections of liqueurs. When you mature as a mixologist, that’s when you can expand your liquor shopping list.
The last thing you’d want to happen to your home bar is to become a reservoir of dust, cobwebs, and sad old bottles that never got to fulfill their destiny. Why invest a lot of time and money in a home bar if you only plan to use it for a short time?
Come up with events and projects to keep the home bar interesting for you and your friends. Allot a budget for simple renovations to improve the bar structure or repair worn out sections. Learn new cocktails as often as you can and make time to show them off to everyone. Host a themed party and doll up your home bar.
Whether you already have a home bar or you’re still in the prospect of building one, we’re confident that our list of home bar ideas will help you raise the “bar” for yourself and your alcohol-loving friends.
Did this list of the best home bar ideas inspire you to decorate or remodel your home bar? Share your ideas and thoughts in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.