Have you ever dreamed about having a bar at home? Whether it’s a cute-as-pie coffee bar or a super chic wine bar, you may have written it off as impossible: “it would be too expensive to make”, “impractical”, or “it would take up too much space”. But the reality is that you can create a home bar on the cheap, if you know how to do it.
Your How-To Steps
When you create your bar, you’ll have to think about a few different components. First off, you have the actual structure of the thing. Next, you have the logistical items that must be included (whether that is coffee-focused items, or alcohol). And finally, you have everything else; those vintage decorative details that make the bar come alive. Let’s take this in chunks, and first focus on the bar.
Think about the specific place you want your bar to go, and then take some measurements. How far out into the room can in protrude, without impeding the flow of traffic? How wide should it be? What kind of height feels right for the space? Jot your dimensions down. If your space allows for many possibilities, do some research first. Start looking through home bars, and see what kind of styles you are drawn to.
Once you know your dimensions, you’ll need to gather your materials. Hit the thrift stores in your area, flea markets, craigslist, and Facebook and see what you can dig up. What is one man’s trash is another’s treasure, so don’t discount the items that others are getting rid of.
You could re-use shipping pallets and a few doors to construct your own bar. Or you might find a dresser, shelf, or desk with just the right dimensions. A cart on wheels will give you the flexibility of moving your refreshments from one place to another. If you are creating a bar for alcoholic drinks, consider planning out space for a small refrigerator. This isn’t essential, as you can also use an existing fridge/freezer set up.
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When you find the right foundation piece, you may need to refinish it. It should become harmonious with the space you want it to live in. A good way to make sure you’ll be creating harmony is to put the actual piece of furniture into the room, in the exact space you are going to be using it, and imagine the colors from there.
You may think that painting it all black will look good while it is still out in the garage, but once you move it into the den it looks too dark. So start out in the den (or wherever you are going to put your bar) and go from there. If you are having trouble imagining the colors, take a photo and then edit it manually into different color options.
Your bar needs to have the tools and resources on it for you to make your favorite drinks. For an alcohol-related bar, you could have a wine rack, a few bottles of your favorite liquors, and a place for beer. Your bar may be a place for friends to gather, so if you plan on hosting some get together, consider having a variety of drinks so that many people’s tastes will be met.
Stock the bar with three kinds of glasses: Wine glasses, beer mugs, and glasses for mixed drinks. You can become more specialized if you like! Martini fans will want to purchase a martini glass or two, and you could also think about including a few shot glasses in the mix.
Here is a list of other logistical tools to look for while you are parousing your second hand stores. These are excellent items to pick up used because they can easily be sterilized and polished up to look almost brand new. Some vintage bar-tending items have wonderful details that make them even more fun to use.
- Wine opener
- Beer opener
- Bar spoon
- Shaker cups
- Citrus peeler
For a coffee bar, the logistics will be a bit different. You will need a coffee maker, mugs, filters, coffee, sweetners, spoons or stir sticks, and a creamer that can be filled with cool cream or milk.
Up-Cycled Bar Stools
If your bar is one that will have a few stools around it, consider making those bar-stools out of re-cycled furniture. As long as you can find a stool with a sturdy foundation, you can turn it into the perfect stool, no matter what shape it seems to be in. Strip off old paint, or simply clean the surface of the stool, and then paint it. You could use transparent stain, or a solid color.
Next, re-uppolster the seat cushions by stretching new fabric right on top of the old. You can even use a staple-gun in most cases, which makes fastening new fabric onto a peice of furniture really easy. If the cushion is flat, dingy, or otherwise unexeptable, strip it off and start from scratch. Build a new cushion with foam and fabric.
The decor on and around your bar matters. Use flowers, signs, pictures, wooden letters, and lights to bring your bar to life. Give your bar a theme, such as the pretty gold details in the photo above. This is the fun part! Find ways to unify every item in your bar area, from the tray that’s holding your liquor bottles to the lining on each shelf. Use playful details that will make your bar into a work of art, not just a functional item.
You don’t have to go out every time you fancy a drink. Why not treat yourself to the luxury of having a cocktail or the perfect cup of coffee, right in your home? You can have cozy slippers on as you mix up a hot toddy, or glam it up with friends for the evening. Create a bar by planning your foundation, looking at second-hand items for your raw materials, and adding fun details on at the end.