Smart Design With Suzette: Entertaining Essentials – Home Bar Ideas

Home bar. Courtesy photo
Los Alamos

Hospitality is about sharing. A hospitable home welcomes visitors and draws them into the warm family circle as treasured guests.

The first thing that guests are offered is a beverage. What better way to offer hospitality then to lead them to your perfectly designed and stocked bar.

I’m not sure it’s because of hit series like “Mad Men,” but there’s a definite return of the home bar. It seems everyone wants one. It not only provides the entertainment of guests, but also benefits you in the convenience, privacy and security it affords you. Whether you choose to have a glass of wine after work or a brandy after dinner, nothing compares to the comfort of knowing you can fully relax and enjoy the moment.

If you want to replicate the experience of having a night out on the town or create the feeling of an intimate bistro wine bar, these design tips can make you and your guests feel very special.

For many people the idea of having a home bar is somewhat like a dream, but it is much easier than you might think.


First, determine how much space you want to use: a seated bar for two to eight people will need more space than a single wall wet bar. Next, consider where you want it to be located; a wet bar will need plumbing to operate efficiently.

Basement bar. Courtesy photo

If you are considering a seated home bar, the best area would be one that you can use exclusively for this purpose. Location-wise, one of the most popular home bar ideas is to dedicate the basement area. This home bar style sparks images of a place to retreat from the world and indeed it can be the center of your entertaining universe. However your seated home bar can be designed to blend into your living room as well.

If seating is not part of your design, the options of home bar ideas are even greater. There are wonderful materials available for creating a traditional single wall wet bar with cabinets for glassware, an under mount sink with a decorative tile backsplash. A single wall home bar can be designed to fit into a small space using the corner of a room, an alcove or even a closet. For a larger expanse, you can use wall-hung cabinets for glassware with refrigeration and storage units for wine, mixers and liquor bottles

Elements of Your Home Bar Design

Due to the demand, interior designers have focused on home bar ideas that creatively extend the use of a room. For example, you can design a home bar into your kitchen decor with a wood cabinet to hold glassware, an icemaker and drawers to hold liquor bottles and utensils along with a wine refrigerator.

Keep in mind the storage you will need for your home bar. Using a console for your home bar is convenient, however you need to keep in mind the number of stock items you want to store. If you want to keep a vast wine collection along with many bottles of liquor, you may need to complement the console with a standalone wine storage unit.

The shelving system relates directly to the amount and type of glassware you have to store. Your glassware depends on the type of wine and liquor you will keep in stock. Champagne flutes, brandy snifters, shot and wine glasses for a party of eight along with mixing equipment can easily fill a cabinet.

Bar cart. Courtesy photo

Bar Essentials Checklist

How does one acquire a perfectly stocked bar? Well, there should be:

  • White spirits: vodka, gin, tequila and rum (light);
  • Brown spirits: scotch, whiskey, bourbon;
  • Cocktail ingredients: triple sec, bitters, sweet and dry vermouth;
  • Mixers: tonic water, club soda, ginger ale, tomato juice, coca cola and sprite;
  • Beer and wines: Bottle of red, white, champagne and beer;
  • Bar tools: ice bucket, whiskey stones, cocktail shaker, bottle opener, strainer, bar spoon, jigger, muddler and corkscrew;
  • Glassware: for red wine, sparkling wine, white wine, shot glass, pint, martini and tumbler; and
  • Garnishes: lemons, limes, sugar cubes, orange slices, cherries and olives.


The one element that is often overlooked is lighting. Matching the lighting fixtures to your decor is key to creating the right mood for relaxation and entertaining guests.

Even for a small home bar, you need enough illumination for the counter and the surrounding area to focus attention as well as make it easy for you to prepare drinks. A classic way to accomplish this is to use recessed lighting in the ceiling, especially above the counter or the wall trims of a single wall home bar area. To add light to a seated bar you could use pendant lamps. For a more traditional style basement bar, Tiffany lamps are a popular choice to bring a touch of elegance to the area.

Hiring an interior decorator is one option you have to find the perfect way to express your personal style. There are an unlimited number of home bar ideas to use when you are ready to design an entertainment area where you and your guests will love to spend leisure time.


Feel free to contact Los Alamos Interior Designer Suzette Fox to suggest specific design topics or for help with your home. For more information, find her on Facebook at and on her website

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