Bar Styling Inspiration

Hey, hey, hey!

Just in time for New Year’s Eve I’ve got a little inspiration for your home bar. The 20-something me would have been all over hitting the town and dancing the night away on NYE, but the 30-something me loves staying in with friends. And that’s just what we are doing tonight. I’m not hosting this time around, but I still wanted to share some easy steps for styling your bar (or lack thereof).

Side Note: You DO NOT need to own a bar to style a bar in your home. See below for case and point!


bar styling for home bar

Six fabulous ways to create a bar in your space!

  1. Use an existing shelving unit or bookcase and create a bar.
  2. If you’re lucky enough to have a built-in somewhere in your home, it can be easily renovated into a bar with a little elbow grease.
  3. A desk and three floating shelves serve as a bar area.
  4. An antique chest and simple tray create an area to serve drinks from.
  5. This is actually our bar (full picture below) on one hand it’s great because it’s huge and houses a ton of glassware and alcohol. On the other hand, it’s large and clunky so if you’re in a similar situation – a tray, some decanters, and a plant do wonders!
  6. If you’ve got a buffet in your dining room or kitchen you can use the top as a bar for the evening.

Now that you’ve got some ideas for where your bar can live in your home or apartment, it’s time for some general styling rules.

bar styling 101

A few guidelines, a little thrifting, some of grandma’s old glassware, a decent bar, throw in some alcohol, and you are SET!

This lovely bar is owned by a good friend of mine (actually a few of our friends bought it as a wedding gift for the stylish couple!). She graciously┬álet me style it up for this little photo shoot. So, here’s what I suggest you keep in mind:

  1. Start with artwork you already have, or buy/find some you like. Mirrors work too, but your backdrop is an important starting point for the other elements in the bar. My girlfriend’s gorgeous painting with the yellow background, and pops of red and purple was my main source of inspiration.
  2. Source some vintage glassware. This is when it’s time to ask your favorite grandma for her old crystal! Or hit up a vintage store, etsy, garage sale, the Salvation Army – just look for interesting shapes and facets in the glass.
  3. An ice bucket is key, and there are so many stylish ones at retail stores right now. You might get lucky and find a great vintage one as well! Also, don’t forget to actually stock the bar. For styling purposes, I love bottles with colored glass or colored liquor. I’m not an expert when it comes what actual alcohol you should buy, but here’s what Martha Stewart recommends.
  4. Add citrus! Add champagne! Playing off the main colors in the painting, I used lemons, oranges, and Veuve Clicquot champagne for it’s orange label. The same principle applies no matter what your backdrop looks like. Use complementary or contrasting colors with fruit and bottles to create color and interest.
  5. Flowers…adding fresh flowers is always THE BEST way to make a setting look fresh and inviting. Experiment with different vases and flowers with differing heights. I used taller arrangement here, but a low/fuller arrangement is usually nice on a bar too.
  6. Add in a little cocktail book – spend some time arranging your barware and accessories – and you’ll have a lovely home bar to impress the masses!

Image sources for the first collage include:,,,,

Hope these bar styling tips at least inspire you to have a cocktail tonight! Happy New Year!!

xo – Claire