Bar Styling Inspiration

March 30, 2018

Centered by Design worked on quite a few home bars in the last year. I wanted to update this old post on home bar styling and show you some of the examples from our latest projects:

dry bar home bar styling

This space was originally a hall closet. It is adjacent to the dining room and the home owner had the fabulous idea to turn it into a bar. I loved her thought and we decided to use smoked mirror, glass shelving, a beverage fridge and custom storage cabinet to complete this gorgeous little home bar! Image part of our VINTAGE LAKESHORE PROJECT

home bar styling

If you don’t have niche to build out a bar, here in our WARWICK HOUSE PROJECT we sourced a vintage curio shelf and placed it above the buffet in the dining room to create a home bar. You could also doing something similar with modern or reclaimed wood open shelving depending on your decor style. At the ASHLAND PROJECT we added one simple white shelf and filled it with colored glassware for a fun statement and pop of color.

built-in home bar


bar styling for home bar

  • Use an existing shelving unit or bookcase and create a bar.
  • 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.
  • A desk and three floating shelves serve as a bar area.
  • An antique chest and simple tray create an area to serve drinks from.
  • Accessories and a plant or flowers do wonders!
  • If you’ve got a buffet in your dining room or kitchen you can use the top as a bar for the evening.


brass bar cart

  • 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 was my main source of inspiration.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
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!

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


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Meet Claire

Claire’s creative energy comes from her unique perspective on the world as both a trained interior designer and a passionate yoga teacher. Her affinity for kitchen design, timeless style and eclectic decorating are shared here, along with lots of interior design education and tips. Thanks for being here, please enjoy!

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