Top Ten Considerations When Creating A Home Bar

The finest contemporary homes are being created to accommodate an enjoyable variety of rooms that enhance the pleasures of entertaining. From capacious dining areas to the modern audio-visual room creating spaces for welcoming friends are our stock in trade, but the trend we are enjoying more than any other is the welcome return of the Home Bar.

We’ve worked on numerous Home Bars and have a sound idea of the elements you should consider when creating one; this then is our guide to the ten major considerations for creating your perfect Home Bar.

1. Style

In many ways the Home Bar is all about style, alongside a reflection of the owners’ unique taste. It’s a place that conjures a convivial mood for enjoying cocktails, aperitifs, parties, after dinner drinks or even a well chosen cigar. So it’s worth considering how you’re going to use the bar and what mood you want to convey.

If you’re like us you’ll want somewhere snug and comfortable, we’re big fans of wood paneling, discreet lighting, an impressive drinks cabinet and comfortable but striking furniture. Think of the classic American bars, amongst our favourites are the Campbell at Grand Central in New York with its huge marble bar-top, and Melbourne’s Everleigh with its clubby sophisticated interior.

If you prefer something more funky and modern consider seamless lines, interesting shapes and influences of gleaming wood and chrome. We love the Dog & Badger in Medmenham, Buckinghamshire with its sleek mahogany and cedar bar evoking the sweeping lines of a classic Riva Launch from the Italian lakes.

2. Lighting

No one likes walking into a halogen bright bar; bad lighting is the biggest mood killer any bar can have. So it’s really important that you install integrated mood lighting.

Discreet lighting throughout the bar can create an intimate atmosphere, perfect for relaxing. We’d recommend hidden lighting within the cabinets and storage spaces. Soft lighting picking out reflections and shadows in glassware helps create a mood while subtle lights can be integrated into any piece of bar furniture but look especially good glowing from within the bar top itself.

3. Finishes & Work Surfaces

We get especially excited about working on a bar because the combinations for different finishes and work surfaces are endless. We’ve already mentioned how fabulous mahogany can look as does walnut, but think of the possibilities for creating something truly individual with the bar-top. Wanting a classic Zinc bar is understandable but there are so many other finishes to make your bar unique such as copper, polished concrete, slate or cherry.

It’s fun to contrast the finished bar itself with oak surfaces for shelving while the cabinetry favours discreet smoky shades.

4. Furniture

In a bar you need to be comfortable and if you’re creating your own space you can be expressive too. If you’ve ever wanted to create your own perfect bar stool this is your opportunity. Depending on the size of your Home Bar you could also have a few tall or low bar tables with comfortable bucket seats or leather armchairs, created especially for the space.

The fun part is thinking about the upholstery, for example we came across a bar in Madrid where every stool was covered with beautiful cowhide, though personally we like to be more subtle favouring rich fabrics and antique leather.

5. Mirrors

Mirrors always look good in a bar, they give the room a feeling of space but can also be used to enhance the ambiance. They can be used in clever ways such as behind the shelving where glassware is displayed or in cocktail cabinets enhancing the soft lighting within, but large mirrors can also be a feature on their own.

Amongst our favourites to use when creating a bar are antiqued or smoked mirrors that create a feeling of luxury, giving the whole room a discreet impression of space.

6. Storage

Every home bar needs ample storage, which is where creative cabinetry plays such an important role. Think about everything that needs to live in the bar; spirits, beers, wines and mixers; cocktail making equipment, sharp knives, ice buckets and chopping boards; glassware that can serve everything from a Martini to a Craft Beer; and even books containing your favourite cocktail recipes. You also want the cabinets and shelves to look great but be functional too.

Our recommendation is to never underestimate the storage you’ll need, but make sure the units are fantastic pieces of furniture with wonderful dovetails, subtle pocket doors that can slide away and discreet lighting. Think too about the ironwork; handles need to complement the style of the bar, which is why we love the industrial styles of Buster & Punch.

7. Wine & Beer Fridges

Every home bar needs refrigeration; wine, beer and mixers need to be kept cold, as do garnishes for cocktails, so a good fridge is an essential investment. And we’ve always thought Vodka straight from the freezer is always much better too! Don’t forget you’ll also need copious amounts of ice so a fridge that can deliver straight into an ice bucket is also worth considering.

No one likes the distraction of a humming appliance so consider low noise level options, we recommend Gaggenau at the luxury end of the market, but if you’re after an efficient workhorse Fisher & Paykel can’t be beaten.

8. Wine Storage

A specific wine fridge is a brilliant addition to any Home Bar and can also be an interesting focal point. Modern wine fridges are not just for whites either, multizone fridges are available from companies such as Eurocave to keep red and white at different temperatures with capacities from as small as two bottles up to 100+.

Many Home Bars combine a wine fridge with an elegant wine storage and display unit, that can be handcrafted to accommodate as many bottles as you need.

9. Sinks & Ice Troughs

All the best bars have a lot of sink capacity, not just for washing up but for storage too. One of our favourite bespoke items to create is an ice trough, which can be filled with ice to keep beers and spirits suitably chilled.

You should also consider hot and cold water options. The latest innovation from Quooker, the CUBE combines their existing boiling/cold tap with a Sparkling water option to deliver filtered chilled sparkling water straight from the tap.

10. Dishwasher

Perhaps the most practical part of your Home Bar is the dishwasher. Someone has to clean up at the end of the day, but there’s no reason why you can’t have something stylish that integrates well into the overall design of the bar to do the hard work, which is why we recommend Fisher & Paykel Dishdrawers. Each discreet Dishdrawer is a self contained dishwasher but they can be configured in stacked units if extra capacity is needed.

Everything in your Home Bar should be elegant and stylish right down to the dishwasher!

For more information about creating the ideal Home Bar please contact Langstaff-Ellis using the details below.