Your Guide to Building a Home Bar: Layout and Design

Completing the layout and design of your home bar is the most exciting part, that is, besides toasting its completion. Here, your vision really starts to come together. If you haven’t had a chance yet, read the first post in our series, Planning Your Home Bar: Exploring Your Options. After you’ve explored your home bar wish list, the next step in building your own home bar is deciding on layout and design. Let’s just dive right in.
Planning Your Home Bar: Layout and Design
Going through this important part of the planning process will help you determine what size bar your space can accommodate, what type of bar furniture and beer refrigeration you’ll need and the time and resources that you’ll need to make the dream a reality. Here are three suggestions for getting started on layout and design:
  • Take Note Out on the Town
  • Take Note at Home
  • Creating Your Blueprint
  • Take Note Out on the Town We suggest that you start your planning process by visiting your favorite taverns and/or restaurants and take a close (sober) note of what you like in a bar. Visit your favorite establishments, notepad in hand, paying close attention to elements you like. For example: Do you like a big glass mirror behind the bar? What types of stools and bar rails fit your style? Take special note of the bar’s structure – how it was made and what’s it made of. Bring along a digital camera if you’ve got one – pictures always help! Things to take note of:
    • Overall look and feel
    • Bar surfaces
    • Bar stools
    • Carpentry
    • Draft beer systems (towers, tap handles, etc)
    • Bar foot rails
    • Bar décor; signs, mirrors and the like
    Take Note at Home More important than what you want, is what you can actually have. Identify possible restrictions and obstacles in your home, particularly in the room where you will be building your home bar. Things to keep in mind:
    • Ceiling height
    • Doorway and stairway widths
    • Sump pump location
    • Electrical outlets
    • Cable TV hookups
    • Access to waterlines
    Creating Your Blueprint When you are ready to layout a blueprint for your home bar – the first thing to think about is how much space you’re working with. Size The average home bar is 42-inches high and 24-inches deep. Of course, you should customize your bar’s size to fit the area that you have available and your preferences. Just remember that most bar stools are 30-inches tall, so your bar should not be much lower than 42-inches high, to allow for leg room when seated. Shape You’ll also want to think about the shape that you’d like your bar to be. There are several options to consider including L-shaped, horseshoe shaped or rectangular bar designs. Find something that works perfectly in your space. If you’re starting your project in an area with a concrete floor, it’s smart and simple to outline your layout on the floor where the bar will be, in chalk. If you’re working in an area with finished floors, it is still important to make an outline – you might consider using string or painters’ tape to protect your flooring. Remember that your bar will be three-dimensional. The outlines on the floor won’t visually take up as much space as your finished bar will, once height is incorporated. Sinks, Refrigeration and Other Things to Keep in Mind During the planning stages, you should also take anything that will be housed behind the bar into consideration, particularly sinks and refrigeration. Sinks are usually placed under the front bar, but putting them in the back bar is not unheard of. The location of your existing plumbing may play a part in where you decide to build your bar or install the sink and drainage. From simple, shallow one-bowl hand sinks to standard bar sinks (with legs, up to three bowls and a drain board) you’ll have tons of options when selecting a sink to best fit your space, needs and design. Refrigeration needs will depend on whether or not you’re including a draft system and also what kind of entertaining you do. If you are planning on having beer on tap, you’ll need a kegerator or refrigerator to keep your keg cold. Big wine drinkers may also want to install a separate wine refrigerator for their favorite bottles. We suggest that everyone should assess how much refrigeration they will need for bottled beer, malt beverages and mixers. Television placement is also key. You’ll want to position or mount your TV so as many people as possible can have a clear view of what’s on.
    Our next post in the Building Your Home Bar Series will delve into building options: Building the Bar Yourself or Hiring Out. Stop back soon! [techtags:HOME BAR, BUILDING YOUR HOME BAR, HOW TO BUILD A HOME BAR, HOME BAR LAYOUT, HOME BAR DESIGN, HOME BAR TIPS]


  • Joe January 1, 2016 @ 9:43pm

    Have so many questions to ask

    • Caitlin Hartney February 4, 2016 @ 2:12pm

      Hi, Joe. Ask away!

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