Home Bar Do’s and Don’ts

If entertaining at home is high on your list of priorities, a home bar is a must. Here are some do’s and don’t for creating an attractive and functional home bar.

DO include plenty of storage. Home bars can easily get cluttered due to all the bottles, drinkware and accessories, so having a place to put everything is a must.

DON’T forget to use clever storage like pullout shelves. These can be used to hold bottles that don’t require refrigeration, among other things.

DO opt for custom cabinetry if the budget allows for it. In my house I used custom cabinetry for both the bar area and the connecting wine room. The entire system was designed to maximize space while still allowing for some display areas to show off attractive glassware and special vintages.

Scott McGillivray Home Bar Cabinetry

DON’T be afraid to get creative with storage and cabinetry. If custom cabinets aren’t in the budget use prefab cabinets or furniture such as dressers, armoires or bar carts. Use your imagination!

DO include full-size appliances if space allows. While this certainly won’t be possible for everyone, if you have space it can add a ton of convenience to have a refrigerator, dishwasher, and even a stove.

DON’T let a small space stop you from including appliances. Wine coolers come in a variety of sizes and can hold a number of bottles. In this small home bar, the wine cooler holds up to 38 bottles and has two separate temperature zones. It fits comfortably into the base of the cabinetry while still leaving room for a pull-out pantry shelf next to it.

Gallery Living_1670x880_5r1

DO choose a durable counter material that won’t scratch or stain. Quartz is currently the most popular material on the market because it’s nonporous and doesn’t hold on to bacteria. It also doesn’t scratch.

DON’T forget about lighting. Both task and accent can be important components of a home bar. Just like in a kitchen, make sure any areas where you’re cutting or measuring are particularly well-lit.

Scott McGillivray Home Bar Counter

DO include seating in dedicated bar areas. Bar stools are the obvious choice if you have an actual bar, but conversation areas in the general vicinity are also an easy solution.

DON’T forget to make sure there’s easy access to electrical outlets. You never know when you’ll want to use a blender, coffeemaker, or other small appliance.

DO design home bars so that they blend in with the rest of the decor. In this space the bar was contained within a larger built-in media wall so that the doors could be closed and it could be hidden away when not in use.

R2R Open Bar

Scott McGillivray home bar photos courtesy of HGTV.ca’s Moving the McGillivrays. Andrew’s basement bar photos courtesy of McGillivray Group.

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