Ask an Architect: Design Your Home Bar Like a Pro

With people spending more leisure time a

t home, adding or upgrading bars has become an increasingly popular renovation project. Based on Loveless Porter Architect’s years of experience designing breweries, distilleries, and bars throughout Northern Virginia, we’ve crafted a recipe to help design your home bar like a pro.

  1. Plan a Recipe for Success: Envision how you’ll use the space, considering guest count and your favorite activities. Do you need space to shoot pool? Will the big game be the main attraction? Take all of this into account, and remember to leave enough space behind the bar for mixing drinks and accessing the fridge as you measure the room. As you sketch a layout, include any plans for plumbing, electrical, and ventilation. If you will be altering or adding utilities or other structural elements, be sure to check local building codes and consider engaging a licensed architect and/or engineer.  
  2. Craft Coziness: Think of how you feel at your favorite pub. Capture that essence. Create social spaces through cozy seating, gaming options (billiards, darts, board games, etc), acoustics, media entertainment, and adjustable lighting. The right atmosphere will welcome family and friends to linger and build memories.
  3. Mix Materials: Like a complex craft cocktail, the best home bar areas layer textures, colors, and materials for depth and flavor. Think exposed brick and butcher block, bright colors and chrome, velvet and marble.
  4. Add Garnishes: Finish your home bar project with thoughtful design elements. Add a foot rail for comfort and beverage stations with built-in bottle openers for convenience. Choose swiveling stools to connect the bar to the rest of the room. Hang thematic art and signage. Showcase your style with personal touches, and use backlighting to spotlight the beauty of your bottles and glassware.
  5. Serve an Ounce of Prevention: “Saving” money by not pulling permits or by using unlicensed contractors can be an expensive mistake. Building codes exist to ensure that your renovation project meets safety standards: permitting inspectors provide oversight to ensure electrical, plumbing, ventilation, and structural work is performed correctly. Additionally, licensed and insured contractors (Virginia license lookup) are likely to adhere to these safety standards, and if something goes wrong, you will have financial and legal protection. For more involved home bar builds, having an architect manage the construction process can add more peace of mind, putting a knowledgeable liaison between you, the contractor, and local building officials. 

This recipe should yield one personalized, highly functional space where you can recharge and reconnect in the comfort of your own home. Cheers!