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A recipe for success: Design advice for creating an epic home bar

With the weather finally warming up and spring in full swing here in Ottawa (yay!) many of us are getting a chance to step out of our homes and perhaps onto our balconies, porches, backyard decks or patios to enjoy a refreshing beverage.

But for the majority of the year refreshments are better enjoyed indoors in the comfort of your own home. There is no better place to whip up a cocktail and lay out some Hors d'oeuvres or snacks then at your custom at-home bar. Whether it be on the main floor, perhaps off the kitchen, in a finished basement or home theater a home bar area can become the center of attention and a key fixture in entertaining your family and friends.

Below we are sharing some design considerations that we employ when designing and building home bars for our customers.

Unconventional Options

If you are planning for a "wet bar", which is a bar with a sink and faucet it is highly recommended that you install backsplash tile on the wall behind the sink for easy clean up and maintenance. Beyond the functional and practical use of tile, consider opting for a fun, perhaps unexpected selection. A large scale tile can help make the space feel more contemporary and modern, and a variation in tile shape can be a welcomed change from traditional subway tile. Especially in small applications, graphic patterned tiles can be a unique way to add interest and personality to a bar space that lends itself well to eye catching and attention grabbing solutions.

Storage Solutions

Regardless of the amount of space you have available to build a bar in your home, maximizing the functional and aesthetic storage and display areas are important. Being able to customize your cabinetry is ideal in making sure you have the right amount of space for storing and accessing particular items. We often recommend incorporating a mixture of drawers and cupboard doors in a bar. The drawers can store smaller items such as serving ware and plates, and the doors can allow for small appliances like blenders and toaster ovens to be out of sight but easily accessed.

Incorporating open shelving or upper cabinets with glass door fronts can be a nice addition to your bar. They can allow for display and easy access to liquor bottles, and glassware and can even be used for styling accessories. If you are looking for a cohesive built-in look having shelves made from the same material and finish as your cabinetry is a great option. If you are looking for some additional contrast and visual interest having them made from wood and stained to compliment other wood tones in your space is a popular choice too.

The Details

Like any well designed space it's the details that bring the overall look and feel together. This applies to bar areas in a big way too!

Often at-home bar areas are a focal point and a popular gathering space within a home. Making sure to pay close attention to the finishes and materials right down to the cabinetry hardware and light fixtures will ensure your bar is deserving of all the attention.

Cabinetry Mouldings: Consider options such as adding crown moulding to the top of upper cabinetry. They don't have to be ornate if that isn't your style. A simple shaker or craftsman style moulding can be just what your bar needs to feel that much more polished and complete.

Fixture & Hardware Finishes: There aren't often too many plumbing fixtures required in a wet bar. But the faucet is a great place to focus some style and flare. Whether your overall style is contemporary, casual or traditional there are bar faucets out there that will suit your space perfectly. Remember to keep in mind the finish of your faucet. A nice option is to choose a finish that is the same as your cabinetry hardware, light fixtures or other hardware and fixtures in the room. This helps to create a cohesive and complementary look. Don't be afraid to have some fun with these choices too- a bold matte black finish is great for more contemporary styles, stainless steel/nickel is timeliness and versatile and brass or champagne bronze can add a touch of regal warmth.

Lighting: In any room, lighting plays a significant role in the overall atmosphere and function. The same is true for the lighting at your bar. Consider how you will be using your bar space. Oftentimes task lighting such as strategically placed pot lights are a great starting point. We always recommend adding dimmers to pot lights in spaces like bars in order to allow for the control of brightness depending on the tasks being done and the desired mood. Mixing in a statement fixture, perhaps one that can provide a more ambient light is another way to heighten the atmosphere and style of the space. Wall sconces or suspended pendant lights can do just that.

An at-home bar is an exciting and fun addition to any home. It can create a dedicated space for socializing, preparing drinks and food and for displaying and housing liquor collections and items for entertaining. A thoughtfully designed bar area is sure to become the most popular and appreciated destination among your family and friends!

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