How to Plan a Recreational Bar for your Home

How to Plan a Recreational Bar for your Home

Wouldn’t you love an area in your home to relax with friends and family, share in beverages and conversation?  Then a recreational or home bar is exactly what your home needs.  Planning a home bar can be exciting and rewarding once done.  Determining what your entertaining lifestyle is will dictate how much you will use the bar, and what amenities you would like it to include. Here are tips to help you plan your home bar that may make you entertain more!

  • Entertaining lifestyle: Do you like having a group of people over for the big game every weekend and invite coworkers over during the week? For you the need for a home bar may include a larger seating area with the ability to wash glasses and refrigerate beverages behind the bar, this is called a wet bar. While if you only use the bar area at the holidays for 2-3 people a movable bar may be for you that isn’t connected to water supply for a sink nor electricity.
  • Assess your space: Once you’ve decided how much entertaining your household does, determine how much space you have for a home bar.  For larger spaces, a back wall is essential for storage of beverages, and supplies as well as display for a television and/or artwork.  The physical counter behind the bar can include ample counter space, sink, refrigerator and preparation area. For smaller spaces, a portable bar may only include an area to serve drinks but preparation will occur in the kitchen or other remote space.
  • Get inspiration: If you need ideas for how you want your bar to look, grab inspiration online, magazines or go visit real sports, or recreational bars in your area. Although these bars will be of larger scale, you can get an idea for lighting, functionality and amenities. For your home you can scale back on the quantity and space but implement the same ideas for your perfect home bar.
  • Serving requirements: If you plan on only having canned and bottled beverages, make sure you plan on a storage area.  This can include a display area for bottles, but can also include upper and lower cabinetry in addition to shelving. If you plan on having a full beer draft system, research how to have one installed as well as the space requirements. Planning out these functions will leave you satisfied with your home bar when finished.
  • Materials and finishes: For the seating area consider if you want comfortable high back stools, or a sports bar type seating such as a no-back stool.  This decision can be made from the style of your décor to how formal/casual your entertaining needs are. Countertop materials can range from plastic laminate to granite. For mobile bars, the finishes will come already pre-made and you will have a catalog of choices to choose from. If you consider using a mobile bar look online for recreational designers that specialize in home bars, and billiards rooms.

Planning a home bar is exciting when you think of all of the fun entertaining that lies ahead.  Once you assess your entertaining style do your research on amenities that are necessities and luxury items. If you are trying to save money, leave room to expand in the future for the luxury items.  Building a home bar doesn’t have to be expensive, but should be planned carefully to avoid disappointment in the future. Your home can have a great home bar that your friends and family will enjoy for years to come.

Freshome readers what amenities would you include in your ideal home bar? Do you own a bar? Let us know how you like it and what are some must-have features!


  • becky October 20, 2010 at 10:48 AMLogin to Reply →

    point one; entertaining lifestyle that was great inspiration ideas, it never occurred to me before.

  • Barina Craft October 20, 2010 at 12:43 PMLogin to Reply →

    Lots of great tips. Love the corner bar designed pictured on top. This layout is probably the most efficient functionally as well as being space saving.

    The home bartender has plenty of room to turn around and access all areas of the back bar shelves as well as all the guests. Incorporating a curved or angled bar top allows many friends to gather around and facilitates talking without the constant leaning back and forth that a long straight pub surface requires.

    Planning ahead is absolutely the key and also allows expanding in phases if desired. Home bars have experienced a resurgence in popularity because of the convenience and the extra entertaining possibilities they offer. You may also potentially increase your home’s resale value. Hard to believe bars in your home ever fell out of favor.

  • Antony Ross October 20, 2010 at 15:14 PMLogin to Reply →

    Nice article …thanks.

  • RoniqueGibson October 22, 2010 at 10:24 AMLogin to Reply →

    Thank you for the great comment! Yes, I remember in the 70’s they were the “IN’ thing to have in home design. Now.. its hard to find a home that has one, unless it’s custom built or requested when your home is being built! Thanks again my friend! :)

  • RoniqueGibson October 22, 2010 at 10:26 AMLogin to Reply →

    Hi Becky! I think in any part of your home you design, figuring out how YOU and your family live, entertain, play, sleep, etc.. is so important. In this day and age of ‘bigger is better’ the reality is, if you only have people over at Christmas, do you need a bar that holds 8 people taking up valuable space? Probably not! :)

    Thanks for your comments.

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