Do you dream of enjoying a cocktail night or serving pre-dinner drinks around your own home bar, but worry about it taking up too much space? These 5 artistic ideas will inspire you to fit the perfect mini bar into a small space at home.
The following ideas include working with existing architecture and features, installing expertly designed cabinets, repurposing or upcycling, and using classic equipment with a bit of DIY. You’re sure to find something that will work in your home.
Under The Stairs
If you have shelves, storage space, or wasted space under the stairs, consider turning into a mini bar. You don’t need to use the whole area if you’d still like to use some of that space for bookshelves, a storage closet, or something else.
Make a shelf bar using stackable box shelves, or, if you have regular shelving there already, simply clear a space to display your bottles, glasses, and other bar paraphernalia. If the space happens to be on bookshelves, consider defining it with decorative book nooks, bookends, or another sturdy separator. For a more eclectic look, designer Leanne Ford recommends letting the bottles mix in with the books and trinkets on the shelves.
If you have the entire space under the stairs at your disposal and the budget for it, you can create a more impressive mini bar. A wall cabinet with built-in wine rack and glass racks/hangers, a counter with cupboards and drawers, and a space for a small bar fridge or electronic wine cellar will completely transform the room as well as your social life.
If you’d rather not have the bar on display all the time, take note of architect Alex Heyko-Porebski’s solution, which was to close off an under-the-stairs bar with bi-folding joinery panels that match the staircase. Glam up the bar by installing mirrored panels and timber veneered cabinets.
Nooks And Recesses
If you have a nook in your lounge, between your lounge and kitchen, in the dining room, or even on the way to the patio or balcony, you can use a little creativity to convert it into a mini bar. Alternatively, if you have wooden walls, consider creating a small recess for your mini bar in one of the walls.
If you create a recess in a wall, use pocket doors or a luxurious velvet curtain to conceal it when it’s not in use. Fit a counter at a suitable height and place a wine rack, or cupboards or shelving for glasses, utensils, and other equipment below it. Above the counter, you can install shelves for bottles of spirits or decorative elements. Use integrated lighting to brighten up your recessed mini bar. Check out this home bar designed by James Wagman for inspiration.
Cabinets And Closets
Wall cabinets, closets, free standing cabinets, and kitchen dressers all make fantastic mini bars. You can have them custom-designed, repurpose one yourself with a few basic DIY skills, or purchase an antique or vintage drinks cabinet.
Hallway closets and dining room cabinets usually ended up stuffed with various odds and ends, so why not clear out the clutter and turn yours into a home bar that will be the envy of your friends?
If there’s a closet that you can use, remove the coat rack, and if there’s existing shelving, check if you can incorporate it into the design for your mini bar. Alternatively, rip out the shelving and create something from scratch. The essential elements can include a counter, a wine rack, and storage elements for bottles of spirits, glasses, and utensils. Integrated lighting, a small beer fridge and/or a cigar humidor could add the finishing touches.
One or more wall cabinets can make wonderfully discrete mini bars. One of the best examples was designed by architect Michael K. Chen for a New York City apartment. When not in use, the ‘party wall’ appears to be nothing but unobtrusive lacquered cabinets and drawers. Before the party starts, the owner can flip or open panels to create a counter surface and to reveal bottles, glasses, bar equipment, and integrated refrigeration, a tap, and lighting.
If you’ve got a dining room cabinet to work with, a few extra shelves, a coat of glossy black paint, and some integrated lighting might be all you need to transform it into a stylish, modern mini bar. Freestanding cabinets and kitchen dressers also don’t require too much adaptation. Mirrored panels attached to the inner back wall of a cabinet will reflect light to brighten the space, which is a boon if integrated lighting isn’t an option.
Repurposing And Upcycling
You can create a showstopper of a mini bar by repurposing or upcycling a piece of furniture, an appliance, or even a musical instrument. The shuttered compartment of an antique writing desk makes a fantastic liquor cabinet, while the drawers can hold glasses, cocktail equipment, and serving bowls, and pre-packaged snacks such as peanuts or mini crackers.
Vintage televisions from the 1950’s through to the 1970’s are large enough to convert into mini bars. Do this by removing the screen and all internal components and then installing a small section of shelving for glasses or bar equipment. Leave the rest of the space for bottles of spirits and wine decanters. If you place the TV on tall enough legs, you can use the space below for a rack that holds a few premium bottles of wine.
Convert an old upright piano into a mini bar by removing the frame and/or strings, the keys, the pedal mechanism, and the top front and bottom panels. Install a flat sturdy counter surface where the keys were and install shelves above and below the former keyboard for storing glasses and bottles of wine.
Carts, Trays, And Shelves
You can’t go wrong with a retro drinks cart or a butler’s tray, and a few floating shelves for a home mini bar that’s simple yet oh-so-stylish.
Give the cart or tray a designated spot in the living room and indicate that by painting or wallpaper a section of the wall to indicate the bar area. Install floating shelves for glasses, ornaments, and bar equipment, and store bottles of spirits, glasses, and an ice bucket on the cart or tray. The beauty of this bar is that the cart and tray are portable, and either one can double up as a side table if need be.
As you can see, a mini bar is in easy reach. All you need is a little creativity and you’ll be serving drinks in style. You don’t need much space to create a bar that’ll be the envy of your guests.