Homemade bar designs

Updated July 20, 2017

A homemade bar requires at least some basic carpentry skills and a design. You can get designs online or elsewhere, or you can make your own. Making your own gives you the advantage of creating a bar to custom fit your space and tastes. Whether you draw up or buy your design there are some basic elements to consider before you get started

Design Basics

Consider your space and the function of your bar. If you don't plan on using the bar much, or you have a small space, adjust your bar design to fit the room. If you entertain regularly and have a big space, you can adjust the room to fit the bar, making it the room's centrepiece.

Either way, you'll need to harmonise your bar with the room. You do this by considering colour, size, shape, materials and texture. A wood bar, for example, may look odd if there is no other wood in the room. If you have contemporary furniture, consider a sleek design with metal and glass.

Consider the principles of feng shui. For example, make sure there's a clear path to the bar and, if there are stools, room for them to breathe. Empty space is not unused space


Imagine you're "at the bar." Where you're sitting is the "counter." Behind the bartender, where the drinks are stored, is the "back bar."


A cabinet bar is a stand-alone cabinet with drinks, glasses, etc. inside.

A standard bar, with a back bar and stand-alone counter, can be straight or an L-bar where the counter, as the name suggests, bends at a 90-degree angle.

A "wet bar" refers to a back bar with a sink and often a refrigerator.

Bar Design Pieces

Plans: Whether you buy plans or make your own, measure your room and mark the dimensions, including location of windows and doors and size of furniture.

Frame: You'll need a frame for the back bar and counter. If you don't have great carpentry skills, consider repurposed furniture. Dressers and shelves make great frames.

Counter: Your counter can have just a top or a fully enclosed frame. For a wood bar it's best to have one solid piece.

Back bar: If you're not storing everything under the counter you'll need a back bar.

Finish or Paint: You'll want to not only match this to the style of your bar, but the room. So, for example, use a deep mahogany stain for a traditional standard bar or closet bar in the living room, or a sports logo painted on your basement recreation room bar.

Extras: Lighting and mirrors finish your bar. But give thought to whether you want to display your liquor and glasses or store them out of sight

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About the Author

Dan Hajdo has a Ph.D. in political science and has taught college course on the subject for over 10 years. He's written academic papers on a variety of topics and presented at national and local professional conferences. His non-academic writing includes reviews of restaurants, bars and other businesses, and is published online at Not For Tourists.