Building a Home Bar: Easy Tips and Suggestions for DIY Newbies

DIY home bar

Whether you want to upgrade your basement space, show off your handyman skills, or find a new hobby for the upcoming winter months, a DIY bar just might be the perfect project to occupy your free time. With the right tools and a bit of planning, it’s entirely doable to create an at-home bar by yourself, even if you have little or no experience. Let’s get started!

Standard Bar Construction

The beauty of building your own bar from scratch is that you can make it as big or small as you’d like, with any materials that you see fit. For instance, the base of your bar could be made of wood, metal, or stone, depending upon your design preferences. However, you may want to keep some of the standard measurements and features of a bar in mind, especially if you plan to buy bar stools or install a lower bar counter:

  • The average bar is about 42 inches high, and most bar stools are 30 inches tall. If you build a shorter or taller bar, it might be more difficult to find stools at a comfortable height.
  • Remember to account for knee room beneath the overhang of the bar, extending it at least 8 inches.
  • The minimum spacing for stools is 24 inches of bar space per seat. Anything closer than that will have your guests sitting uncomfortably close to each other. 
  • A bar top (including the molding) is typically between 16 to 20 inches wide.
  • If you want to install a foot rail, keep it between 7 to 9 inches off the floor. 

Bars may also have a drink rail (where the drinks are poured), a drip lip to prevent spills, or a lower bar counter, but these elements aren’t necessary for a home bar. It’s up to you whether you want to create a simple dry bar, a bar with a lower counter and a sink, or a wet bar with all the bells and whistles. Or you can choose to go a different route entirely, as shown in the examples below.

Clever Ideas for Your Bar

If you’ve never used a saw, purchased wood, or voluntarily went to a hardware store, rest assured that you’re completely capable of building an at-home bar! There are plenty of unique and beautiful bar designs that don’t require any heavy equipment, woodworking experience, or even an abundance of empty space in your home. Just consider some of these less traditional DIY bars for inspiration:

  • The Pallet Bar. This step-by-step tutorial will show you how to turn a few pallets into a cozy rustic bar with built-in shelves for storage. 
  • Transformed Bookcase Bar. If you have an old, unused bookcase, transform it with some sandpaper, a fresh coat of paint, and some organizers for wine glasses, bottles, and other bar essentials. This tutorial can work with bookcases of any size or shape, or you could even repurpose an old wardrobe or cabinet! 
  • DIY Mini Bar Cart. If you’re short on space and have a limited budget, check out these 14 simple ideas to make your own mobile mini bar! It can be as easy as repurposing an old TV stand or redecorating IKEA shelves with some paint and contact paper.
  • Wall Niche Bars. A recessed space in your wall can make your room look awkward or incomplete, so why not fill it with modern cabinetry, stylish shelves, and neatly organized liquors? You can make this previously-ignored space pop with some new lighting features, some vintage-inspired decor, or a little wine fridge. It’s all up to you!
  • Integrated Bar & Kitchen. The best host is one who’s happy to supply plenty of food and drinks for their guests! This setup makes it easy to go from socializing to pouring drinks to whipping up some delicious appetizers. Simply designate one of your kitchen pantries and/or a section of counter space for your collection of barware and spirits. 

Stocking Your New Bar

Once your home bar starts to come together, the final thing left to consider is decorating and personalizing the space. Whether you like the sleek modern look, a masculine industrial design, or a cozy rustic feel, you can’t go wrong with showing off some shiny copper barware. The natural material seamlessly blends in with any kind of design while still adding an air of elegance to your bar. 

As you start collecting bar necessities, consider picking up these beautifully-crafted tools to jumpstart your mixology hobby:

For more ideas and inspiration, be sure to check out all of our high-quality barware here!

Absolutely beautiful product--everything I wanted and more!! - Tracy