How to Design a Luxurious Home Bar to Elevate Entertaining
Home bars are a striking feature of many luxury and super-prime homes. They offer a dedicated place to socialise with friends or to relax and unwind, all within the comfort of home.
A home bar is so much more than a place to serve drinks. The most successful bar designs will seize the opportunity to create an evocative, inspiring environment, unlike any other room in the home. A well-designed home bar can capture the feeling of visiting the world’s finest bars to offer a true escape and a space to entertain friends at home.
In this journal, our designers share their advice and home bar ideas for crafting the perfect bar at home. We cover everything from statement finishes and function to seating and lighting.
Embrace Daring Design Statements
A bar is about daring statements and the wow factor, making it the perfect setting to embrace bold design choices. A room design should always reflect the interior design of the rest of the home to create a cohesive scheme. However, a home bar design can build on this style to take on an entirely new aesthetic without being restrained by the style of more formal spaces. Dramatic angles, statement finishes, patterns and colours are all welcome in a home bar design as they give guests a feeling of excitement and anticipation for the evening ahead.
Design With A Personal Story
A bar design is just as personal as the principal bedroom, so embrace personality and individuality to create a design that tells a story. Design features with a personal story will produce a talk-about bar that sparks conversations with guests.
Explore bespoke handcrafted features, vibrant colours or unusual finishes that symbolise your individuality. Drawing inspiration from your travels, interests, special moments, the property setting or the local area will give your design greater meaning.
Elevate the Atmosphere with Lighting
Lighting is an integral part of any home design, and this is especially true for a home bar to create the perfect atmosphere. A home bar should feature a combination of accent lighting and task lighting perfectly positioned so that the bar feels dark whilst being comfortable for serving drinks and socialising. If the bar is part of a larger, multi-functional room, the lighting should complement the whole environment whilst elevating the atmosphere, specifically in the evenings.
Accent lighting can emphasise key features to create the wow factor without flooding the space with light which would ruin the atmosphere. Low-level task lighting can illuminate areas such as the bar for drink preparation and above seating or places where people mingle so people can see each other.
Lighting schemes featuring dim and warm lighting (<2700 kelvin) will create the right ambience for the evening and should include a combination of ceiling lights, pendants, under bar lighting, shelf lighting and even plinth lighting. Dimmable lights or set lighting zones are great for tailoring illumination to the occasion.
Source Stylish Yet Functional Materials
A bar is much like a compact kitchen, so follow the same principles for functionality. Choosing durable and hard-wearing materials will ensure the bar can withstand regular use. After all, a bar is about unwinding, relaxing, having fun, and not worrying about damage.
Many factors can damage the bar top, from pouring red wine to making a Bloody Mary or preparing citrus fruits for your favourite cocktail. Hard stone surfaces like granite or quartz are best for the worktop as they are less prone to damage and stains than marble or limestone.
For the cabinetry, gloss or lacquered finishes will resist stains and marks caused by accidental spills or splashes. Feature panels are often more decorative than functional, providing an opportunity to be creative with opulent upholstered panels, coloured glass, mirror or natural stone such as onyx.
Choose the Perfect Location
Home bars can come in many forms with options to suit everyone, and the type of bar and location within the home is an important consideration.
A bar area within a kitchen is ideal if the kitchen is the central entertaining hub, perhaps with direct access to the garden for garden parties. A kitchen bar could be a smaller drinks cabinet with short-term drink storage and glasses or a full-size bar in a different zone of the open-plan kitchen living space. Going further, a dedicated bar in a separate room is perfect for entertaining within this space or as a follow-on from dinner parties, moving guests to the bar for cocktails after dinner and maybe even some dancing.
There are no strict rules for where to locate a home bar. If the bar is near the main kitchen, it may not require as many features such as sinks, fridges and storage. If the bar is further away from the central kitchen, such as a basement bar or pool bar, then the design should ensure that the bar is self-sufficient to avoid trips back and forth.
Marry Style with Function
A home bar should be practical, with storage, shelving, drinkware and services for comfortable entertaining. However, if the bar design encompasses both style and function, then functionality doesn’t have to come at the expense of the design aesthetic.
Ultimately, the functional needs are personal to each individual and depend on how they wish to use the bar and its location within the home. A bar can be as simple as a drinks cabinet for glass and bottle storage and a few accessories such as bottle openers and measures, or it can be a self-contained wet bar with all the features. Some bar design features include fridges and freezers, temperature-controlled wine fridge, sink, dishwasher and plumbed-in champagne trough. A walk-in wine room is an excellent addition for those with an extensive wine collection.
Establish the Perfect Layout
Often when we envisage a home bar, an island layout comes to mind with bar seating in a row. However, a bespoke home bar design can follow a variety of configurations to suit the size of the space, floorplan and how the bar will function.
Creating the perfect luxury home bar involves reviewing the space as a whole, planning how the room will function, designing fitted furniture, and placing furnishings to suit. A bar room may feature a smaller peninsula with bar seating for 2, complemented by lower-level soft seating in the rest of the room. Alternatively, the bar and raised bar seating can be the room’s main focal point, with ample seating for more people to interact at the bar. An L-shape or island layout can often accommodate more seating on a smaller footprint than a straight island. If space permits, a U-shape or curved bar can create a more sociable design so guests can see one another across the bar.
Prioritise Comfortable, Sociable Seating
Home bars are all about socialising, partying and relaxing, so seating is essential from a practical and design perspective. A well-designed home bar should offer space for people to walk around and mingle and places to sit or perch. Breakfast bar seating is ideal because people can sit and stand at the same height whilst continuing to chat comfortably. For larger dedicated bars, areas of low-level seating can create break-off areas for smaller groups of 2-4 people to converse.
Home bar seating should be both comfortable and stylish. Bar stools are another opportunity to be creative and make a design statement; however, it’s crucial not to sacrifice comfort. Consider whether bar stools should be upholstered rather than made of hard materials such as metal or wood and whether they should have backs, as these tend to be more comfortable than those without. Remember that footrests are needed, so these should be included within the bar stools themselves or a foot rail bar added to the bar design.
Elevate the Fun with Entertainment
For those that like to introduce a games or entertainment component when they host, a home bar can incorporate features of a games room or media area. To add entertainment to your home bar, you might consider a TV screen to watch sports and games tables such as billiard, poker, ping pong, and table football. There are no limitations when creating a custom luxury home bar, and features can include light-up dance floors, disco lighting, an integrated sound system, a bowling alley and even vintage arcade games for a touch of childhood nostalgia.
Work with a Luxury Home Bar Designer
Designing a home bar is an inspiring and personal project with unlimited possibilities to create a truly individual entertaining space. Appointing a specialist kitchen and home bar designer will ensure that you get the very best from your home bar and achieve the luxury, sophistication and elegance to complement the rest of your home. Moreover, choosing the same designer for your kitchen, home bar, and other fitted furniture is highly beneficial. Having one designer will give you one point of contact who will oversee all rooms and greater value by combining multiple rooms into one project.
Extreme Design is an award-winning British design brand specialising in luxury kitchens, home bars and fitted furniture across the UK. To discover our home bar design service, contact one of our three studios in London, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.