11 Home Bar Ideas That Will Transform Your Space Into the Ultimate Entertaining Spot

white painted bar cart
Photo: Ashley Poskin

Raise a toast to one of these these beautiful cocktail stations.

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modern bar cabinet
Bryan Gardner

It doesn't matter if you prefer a glass of wine, a bottle of beer, or an upscale mocktail: A home bar is an integral part of a beautiful entertaining space. Not only is it a surefire way to stay hydrated—even if you just fill up on fizzy water—but it'll also come in handy during dinner parties and laid-back soirées with your inner circle. Remember that just because a home bar highlights your libations doesn't mean it has to sacrifice on style. In fact, it's possible to create a space that looks as good as the delicious beverages you shake, stir, and pour there.

"A home bar is the perfect opportunity to create a little gem that's inviting for cocktail hour," shares Zuni Madera, design director at a New York-based firm called foley&cox. "From lacquered millwork to decorative furnishing, a home bar brings character and personality with layers of beautifully mixed decorative accessories such as accent art, fresh florals, decorative objects, and lighting."

Before you create the perfect setup, you'll want to consider a few factors. First up? Size. While some homes may be able to accommodate a larger piece, small space dwellers might need to downsize with a bar cart or some double-duty storage. You'll also want to think about your home bar's contents: elegant glassware might be proudly displayed on open shelves or glass-fronted cabinets, while bottles of liquor can be stowed away in a cabinet. And, of course, your home's aesthetic will play a major role in the final product. To help spark inspiration, check out these stunning home bar ideas—and how to recreate them in your space. From bold pops of color to discreet designs, these setups are dressed to impress. Cheers!

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Make Your Bar Blend In

blended in home bar
Courtesy of Foley & Cox

If you want to incorporate a bar into your home—but don't want to take up precious square footage—take a cue from foley&cox. The design firm took a minimalist approach in this scene by placing a tray of well-appointed barware on top of the console. (Another thing to love? The cabinets below are the perfect place to stow unsightly bottles.) Consider this streamlined setup great for anyone who lives in a small space or keeps their hosting schedule to a minimum.

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Design Discreet Storage

discrete built in home bar
Courtesy of Linda Hayslett / Lauren Pressey

Speaking of pared-back bars: Why not hide yours in plain sight? "Home bars are fun to create in a space because they don't have to take up too much room, but can add to the ambience and give nice storage to the collection a person may have," shares Linda Hayslett of LH.Designs. "Look for a nook area or a cool spot that's hidden in cabinetry to use for a bar in a living, dining, or library room." For the ultimate wow factor, close your bar when guests arrive and reveal it when it's time to pour out a first round.

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Create a Counter

large counter home bar
Courtesy of Kendall Wilkinson / Paul Dyer

Want to create a home bar that's the life of the party? If you have a generous footprint, go big with a spacious island, just as Kendall Wilkinson did here. "One of our favorite clients had asked us to transform their lower level into a music lounge and entertaining space," the San Francisco-based designer explains. "Immediately, we knew we wanted to create a spectacular bar, which couldn't be more perfect for home entertainment. In the age of COVID-19, you would never need to leave your home with this type of dedicated party space." With an L-shaped bar and ample stools, this option even rivaled their local hot spot.

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Opt for Organization

organized home bar marble counter
Courtesy of Christina Kim / Raquel Langworthy

There's a fine line between a well-stocked bar and one that's over-stuffed. Keep your inventory organized and orderly by placing your favorite accoutrements on trays. That way, you'll never overstock your setup. "The best home bars are all about easy access," designer Christina Kim affirms. "Put out some great looking bar tools and shakers and don't be afraid to display your prettiest bottles. Corral them onto trays to keep things orderly. I like to keep small glass bottles of Pelligrino and some fresh limes handy. Not only do they look great—it makes it so easy to fix a quick drink."

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Mix and Match Materials

mixed materials home bar, marble and light wood
Courtesy of Phillip Thomas / Eric Piasecki

For a home bar idea that's dynamic and downright luxurious, pay close attention to the materials you're using. "In this custom home bar I created for a New York client, we kept the design simple, with shelves for glasses, drawers for bottles, and plenty of counter space for mixing drinks," designer Phillip Thomas explains. "We brought it up a notch by choosing gorgeous materials." The designer mastered the balance between practical and well-appointed with a semi-precious quartz slab, African olivewood millwork, and bronze touches.

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Bring Out the Bar Cart

small bar cart against wall
Courtesy of Tara McCauley / MJ Kroeger

You can never go wrong with a bar cart—just ask Tara McCauley. "A two-tier bar cart is a great piece to have in a small space," the New York-based designer explains. "The top tier can act as a side table for a lamp and is the perfect surface to place glasses and cocktail snacks on when guests come over." As for the lower level? McCauley recommends storing an ice bucket and your bottles in height order.

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Build a Bedroom Bar

white shelf built in home bar
Courtesy of Bohlert Massey / Carley Summers

Contrary to popular belief, a home bar doesn't have to be near the kitchen or dining room. "Many of our clients have enjoyed the addition of a 'midnight kitchen' adjacent to their primary bedroom that can be used as a convenient home bar," shares Bohlert Massey's Bo Massey. "It's a great place to keep the ingredients for a nightcap or cold beverages, like wine and Champagne." Here, a mix of decorative shells and barware gave this function-first setup a dreamy quality.

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Show Off Your Stash

home bar with whiskey wall display
Courtesy of Jeff Andrews / Grey Crawford

Have an impressive collection of whiskey or wines? Use your home bar to put your inventory on full display. Designer Jeff Andrews made the most of his clients' collection with floating shelves and a transparent wine storage underneath. The marble and brass backsplash gave the arrangement a touch of glamour.

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Make a Mirrored Marvel Moment

home bar with mirror wall
Courtesy of Betsy Berry Interiors / Josie Derrick

Pack on the drama with a shiny reflective surface. Here, for example, Charleston-based designer Betsy Berry traded in the typical backsplash for a paneling of antique mirrors. Of course, this tip has a lot more to offer than good looks. Not only do the mirrors reflect the gorgeous river and sunset outside, but they also makes the home bar appear larger. (Translation? You'll have the illusion of a spacious setup, regardless of your home's footprint.)

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Hide Your Appliances

hidden appliances home bar
Courtesy of Atellier Davis / Heidi Harris

Though having a wine fridge or ice machine might make home bartending easier, it doesn't do your setup's vibe any favors. Prevent your station from looking clunky by getting a little creative with your storage. "Having a drinks fridge and ice maker concealed underneath in millwork is a great way to have everything at hand, but still hidden," shares Jessica Davis of Atelier Davis. "I love [to have] plenty of under cabinet lighting and space to display fun bottles and glassware."

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Go Bold with a Pop of Color

home bar orange and blue colors
Courtesy of Swati Goorha / Mike Van Tassel

Calling all maximalists: A home bar is a great opportunity to put your more-is-more aesthetic front and center. Here, designer Swati Goorha turned a potentially awkward corner into a moment with jewel-toned accents, offering an eye-catching pop of color in a predominately neutral space.

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