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Creating a Bar Area in Your Home

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For many of us, the dream has always been to enjoy the camaraderie of the neighbourhood watering hole without having to change out of our slippers. Whether it’s entertaining your dinner guests and chatting over a glass of wine, or hosting the whole crew for a playoff game, creating a bar space in your home has gone through a renaissance of sorts - it’s no longer a tacky add-on to the man-cave ethos.

Adding a bar space in your home can elevate a room from a simple living space to a purpose-built entertainment district perfect for enjoying conversation, company, and the odd beverage. How should you tackle this project? We’ve got a few ideas.

Do It Yourself (DOI)

The Do-It-Yourself mentality is a staple resource is creating a bar area in your home. Customization and creative freedom is key to building a space that’s perfect your you, your household and the type of experience you’re trying to create. Consider where in the house your bar is going to go. If it’s in the basement, a pub-style bar is a popular choice for a DIY aesthetic. If you’ve chosen an open concept living room for a corner bar, a sleek and lean bar top with a simple mini-fridge may do just the trick.

Whatever you choose to do, doing it yourself is a great way to explore your inner barkeep. Go online and find examples of rooms that are reminiscent of your own space, and cross compare their complexities and the things that make them successful spaces. The best part? Your abilities as a carpenter and/or handyman don’t have to be of an elite nature - you can build yourself a classy bar top accompanied by a refurbished refrigerator with a draft-tap that creates a simple bar aesthetic to satisfy the designer in you - or you can go all out and build the set of Cheers in your man-cave - up to you!

What You Need

Materials

Different materials dictate the aesthetic and feel of your bar space. Depending on the existing interior design of your space, you may choose to compliment the appeal of your updated room, or go back in time with a classic brass-tap type joint.

Wood is popular material in home bar construction because of its affordability, adaptability and warmth. A live-edge bar top adds a feeling of authenticity and rustic charm on top of a wooden bar, but just the same - a beautiful live-edge piece of maple, birch or oak can add a tasteful dab of juxtaposition in a crisp postmodern space.

And don’t forget everyone’s favourite source of inexpensive wood - pallets. Pallet bars are simple to build and offer a simple solution to a potentially endless bar build.

Stone and other natural materials can make for beautiful and durable countertops, even industrial materials like pipe fixtures and reclaimed tin roofing can make for interesting and inventive vibe.

Layout

Classic bar design constitutes a straight bar top, equipped with a space for patrons to saddle up to a stool - but this is 2017 - you don’t have to stick to that at all. While the symmetrical appeal of a traditional straight bar may bode well in some rooms, a more complex layout may suit for tastes.

Consider a corner bar , built to curve around a pre-existing wall in your basement. A bar is also a good use of leftover space when redesigning an addition or renovation. When a new furnace is put in, or a wall is removed from a room, you may be left with an awkward space that doesn’t seem to accommodate any of your existing furniture or ideas. Adding a bar in these spaces can add purpose to poorly planned rooms.

They don’t have to be stationary , either. Equipping your bar with durable, lockable wheels can translate into an impromptu patio party-pleaser for warm summer nights, and be stored away in a garage or tucked away in the corner of your basement when not in use.

Lighting

This is where you can get creative without blowing your budget. There are so many options for inexpensive lighting solutions these days, a budget bar build can quickly transform into a chic or smoky bar space with serious appeal and attitude. Consider outfitting the underside of your br top with efficient LED lights or tubes of coloured lights to illuminate the seating area. Backlighting for the liquor rail is another great spot for inexpensive lighting solutions that can be replaced or removed if they’re damaged by liquids.

Choosing a great overhead light for your bar space is not easy feat - this light will likely be at eye level and quickly becomes a focal point of any bar space, so it’s important that it’s both appealing to the eye and in a functional space that its’nt going to interfere with your enjoyment of the bar - you don’t want to be ducking underneath the light just to make eye contact with your guests. A Tiffany style billiard light fixture is a popular choice for traditional in-home bars, while stained glass and industrial fixtures are applicable choices for spaces that demand some updated style.

Accessories

While your bar may just be a nice new countertop behind the couch to increase counter space for guests - it could also wind up being a fully-functional watering hole complete with taps, spillage reservoirs, a keg set-up, a few mini fridges and a flat-screen TV.

It’s up to you what kind of bar you create, but having the foresight to know what you want will help to alleviate any potential de-railing changes to your plan mid-build. For example, adding epoxy to your new bar top won’t seem like a great idea when you decide to add a second tap down the line, potentially damaging the appeal of a seamless counter. Or, adding another stool may cause the bar area to become cramped - be sure you’re building what you want right out of the gate, rather than opting to change and update the space later.

Investigate examples online to gauge what kind of wall-art or mirrors you can add to open up a cramped space, and consider colour theory as an addition to your choice of bold accessories - will a bright space compliment your 18th century pub? Maybe a large mirror will help to open up a cramped space?

Energy & Aesthetic

Are you creating a piano and jazz bar, or a sports pub? Will you have art nouveau behind the rail, or a hockey jersey?

Alongside materials and lighting, the energy of your space will largely be dictated by the design choices you make . Remember to undertake a project that complements your space, rather than becomes a bulging distraction for guests who may wonder why you put an Irish pub in your open concept industrial kitchen.

Keep in mind that your home needs to flow, and a bar can disrupt the eye’s ability to continue moving throughout the room. Build to fit your space, and don’t overshoot your goals. 



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