You love to entertain, and you’ve been down a YouTube rabbit hole, honing your mixology skills. All that is missing is a dedicated wet bar where your friends and family all gather when you invite them over.
We love helping clients find just the right spot for this crucial element of hosting a party. More and more, this is becoming an expectation not just for entertaining but for enjoying a relaxing evening at home in general. Going out to places like the Walrus Room or Common Good is fun, but the tab runs up quickly. Why not unwind in your home with a drink, act as your bartender, and skip paying $20 for a cocktail plus an Uber ride?
So, where is the best spot for your home bar, and how can you make it a design focal point?
Ask yourself where you would most frequently use this space or where you have the space to add one to your home. A wet bar is often placed somewhere between the kitchen and the main living area. But the search for the best spot for your bar area doesn’t have to end there.
Most homes have a lot of underutilized space. Look for unused areas adjacent to areas where family and friends naturally tend to congregate. Working with an experienced design-build general contractor will help you find space you might not otherwise have thought of.
Adding to the basement is a great solution because, often, there isn’t enough room on the first floor. Some people want their wet bar to feel luxurious with a bold design. This may not fit with the rest of the main floor’s design aesthetic, so a basement wet bar is a great second option.
If you are having trouble finding a location that will easily accommodate water lines, a good option is to create a dry bar–a countertop, beverage fridge, open upper shelves, and or closed upper and lower cabinets. Dry bars are also great for tighter areas where space is limited because adding a sink will take up at least a foot of space.
The next step is to determine how you want to use this space. Along with a sink and essentials like ample room for liquor bottles and cabinets or shelves for glassware, what will your ideal bar setup include?
Here are a few home bar ideas:
You’ve gone to the trouble of designing a wet bar - it should definitely include some type of refrigeration for easy access to wine, mixes, citrus juices, etc. Some will add a full fridge, but most will add a mini fridge, wine cooler, or a dedicated ‘beverage station.’
Place those wine glasses, pint cups, martini stemware, margarita glasses, and every other kind of glassware right into the dishwasher integrated into your wet bar setup.
Many cocktails and mocktails require a lot of ice. Instead of overtaxing the ice maker in your refrigerator freezer, many homeowners prefer to install one right where you will need it the most.
Items like dishwashers, sinks, ice makers, and refrigerators will require finding the closest plumbing feed and drain lines. If they’re not nearby, your builder needs to find the most efficient route to connect the lines.
Here is where the skills of an experienced interior designer will be invaluable to hone in on your best ideas, build in the most functionality, and bring them to life. Your wet bar is your chance to have fun with design and express yourself.
This is your chance to add unique cabinets and eye-catching features. You might want upper and lower closed cabinets for maximum storage space. Or use cabinets with glass-front cabinet doors. Glass doors come in various textures and colors, like clear, smokey, or a wavy textured finish. Alternatively, you may opt for open shelving for the uppers. Open, floating shelves are great for displaying unique items, dishware, and glassware. Create a “statement cabinet” using a fun paint color or stain that wouldn’t be used anywhere else in the house.
For a space with high ceilings, you might even install a rolling ladder for upper cabinets to give your wet bar even more ambiance and utility.
Enhance the wow factor of your wet bar with unique backsplash materials. Use that tile backsplash pattern that was too busy to use in your kitchen design, a single slab of stone, or maybe incorporate a mirrored backsplash for a moody look. These materials are the perfect way to highlight a smaller space uniquely.
Because the home bar space is smaller than a kitchen, clients often opt to splurge on unique creative hardware and plumbing fixtures for this space.
This is a great opportunity to display your wine collection along with shelving or cabinets. A wine rack can come in a V-shape, X-shape, or herringbone pattern, or have a local woodworker craft something absolutely unique and custom to your home and this space.
This counter space is an area where you can also choose unique materials. Material ideas include:
Are you looking for simple sophistication or even a “speakeasy” vibe? For example, design an art-deco/art nouveau space by leaning into soft edges and organic shapes: use trim and cabinetry to create an arch over the wet bar to create visual interest, opt for a circular bar sink, choose an arched faucet and hardware with rounded edges. To really lean into this theme and make this space feel truly unique, install a “secret” entrance behind a built-in bookcase/door.
Another popular theme is mid-century modern: choose retro-style color pallets, walnut cabinetry, geometric patterned backsplash tile, angular brass hardware, or ‘atomic’ inspired hardware.
You have so many options to create a stylish and unique wet bar for your home. It’s important for you to decide how the space will be used. Do you want it to be a design focal point for your home or a more functional space that’s hidden away or blends in seamlessly with the rest of the home’s design aesthetic?
These decisions are made easier by working with an experienced design-build firm who will walk you through the process of creating a wet bar that efficiently and uniquely utilizes the space available and caters to your needs and vision.
Download the eBook "The Ultimate Step-by-Step Home Renovation Transformation Guide" to learn how to renovate your home and turn it into the ultimate entertainment space using a design-build company that will bring your vision to reality.