BAR DESIGN & DECOR
Perfectly curated vignettes are my favorite part about being a designer. I enjoy creating small scenes made up of pretty things that don’t usually need to be super practical. Unfortunately, I don’t get to do it very often for clients. Unless I’m going to photograph the space for my portfolio, I rarely get to fully style a room. At home I rearrange tabletops everyday, but my clients are usually looking for the bigger picture. This is limiting to me, because I don’t get to try out new styles or trends. Therefore, I’m exploring them on my blog and today’s recipe calls for styling a home bar.
Why do you need a bar in your home? WHY NOT! Basically, the tools, bottles, and glassware are usually good looking so why not display them. Use your cabinets for the unattractive functional pieces, and pull your barware out of the cupboards. Some kitchens come with a built-in bar area, but not everyone has this luxury. Luckily, setting up a bar doesn't have to take up much space. If you have an empty corner or nook you can squeeze one into your home. Personally, I like to avoid built-ins whenever possible. A freestanding piece of furniture gives more freedom, and is usually less expensive then commissioning custom cabinetry.
Selecting your storage furniture piece is usually the first step in setting up your bar. You can find pieces specially made to house glasses and bottles, but they can be pricey. All you really need is a shelf, bookshelf, cabinet, or cart. This opens up many more possibilities. Look outside your normal shopping sphere for interesting pieces. The shelf above is from a children's home line that I source from frequently. Don’t have much space? I’ve seen existing bookshelves with one shelf devoted to a decanter and glasses. Also the bar cart has been really popular lately, and I credit it’s resurgence to the Mad Men set designers. They were pros at styling a bar cart. If you like that mid-century look, you can find vintage options on sites like Chairish and Etsy.
The second step is to find a decorative piece to place above your storage. If your bar is floating in the room this wouldn’t be necessary, but most people will find that their cart or shelf finds a home against an empty wall. To avoid a low shelf with the wall above being completely empty, look for an interesting piece to balance out your storage. You can choose artwork, floating shelves, a mirror, wall hanging, or place your bar below a window. Choose whatever makes you happy. If you are in need of extra storage, shelves are a nice option to hold glasses and bottles. This shelf and bracket set from CB2 is a favorite of mine.
Now it’s time to fill your shelves with all of your goodies. Stock it with your favorite alcohol, mixers, and pull out your glassware. If you like to entertain, have an assortment of alcohol types to offer to your guests. Adding bar tools, decanters, and cocktail shakers is another way to bring personality to your shelves. Look for pieces that fit in with the overall look you are trying to achieve. Use a contrasting tray to tie together a few elements.
Lastly, fill in your blank spaces with accessories. Add a recipe book, vase, planter, or candle to the shelves. Use these elements to accentuate a color or add a missing finish, like wood or brass. Plants or flowers always help to soften and bring life to a vignette. Use a small bowl to place lemons and limes when guests are coming over, and add an empty glass to hold stirrers or colorful straws. Depending on the size of the bar, I also like to put a lamp to bring in another vertical element and layer. Once your bar is complete, invite a few people over, pour a glass, and enjoy the benefits of a perfectly styled home bar!