Over the past year, almost every room in our homes has started to serve multiple functions. Our kitchens are now our home offices, our basements are now our home gyms. So it's no wonder that when interior designer Marlaina Teich made over one family's living room, she decided to tack on one more function: a home bar designed for entertaining. On the side of the room, one blank wall was transformed into a bar thanks to built-in cabinets and open shelving for storing liquor bottles and barware. A ledge and bar stools provide a spot to sit, chat, and sip a cocktail. To add style to your own at-home happy hours, Teich shares her tips for turning an underutilized area into a luxurious bar.
When dreaming up your at-home bar, Teich emphasizes that location is key. "When first thinking about where to install your home bar, think about the areas in your home where you do the most entertaining and that have a large, empty wall. Notable places could be your dining room, living room, basement, or garage. This will turn a forgotten-about space into something that is both functional and stylish!" she says.
Once you have a location locked in, consider the details that will make this space functional. Teich splurged on an under-the-counter wine fridge and ice maker that keeps beverages close at hand rather than walking over to the kitchen. "We also included electric outlets on the backsplash area for blenders and USB integrated into the outlets for easy, convenient phone charging!" she explains. If you're planning to build a renovation-free home bar, consider adding a wireless phone charging pad and a cordless blender.
Have Fun With the Design
"Home bars differ from designing a kitchen you cook in everyday; it's a place to let loose and have fun," says Teich. "Opt for a glass tile with a bit of shimmer. Pair it with a statement chandelier on a dimmer to set a mood. Ceramic tile is another great option because the color and pattern possibilities are endlessly festive. Go bold with bright floral or Moroccan motifs to match your Sunday brunch mimosas!" If there were any bold design choices you wanted to make in your kitchen but ultimately went with a safer option, embrace those splashy design ideas in your home bar.
Get the Look
Raise the Bar
To make your at-home happy hours feel more like your favorite cocktail bar, pair a bar-height counter with stylish stools. While most counters are 34 to 36 inches above the floor, a bar-height counter should measure 40 to 42 inches above the floor.
Pick Up a Paintbrush
To visually separate the bar from the rest of the living room or dining room, brush on a vibrant color. Teal is a classic color you won't regret, yet it lends a dark and dramatic look to the space.
Serve Up Style
Whether you're slicing citrus to garnish a gimlet or plating up appetizers, this olivewood and marble serving board creates an elegant presentation.
The Right Light
An easy way to make your living room feel more like a romantic bar: light some candles. Bonus points for a set of metallic candle holders, which will bounce the glow of the candlelight around the room.