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25 Unique Built-in Bar Ideas: Materials, Finishes & Designs

Built-in bars can be a stylish and practical addition to any home, especially if you love entertaining guests. With easy access to your favorite spirits, you'll spend less time searching for drinks and more time...

Built-in bars can be a stylish and practical addition to any home, especially if you love entertaining guests. With easy access to your favorite spirits, you'll spend less time searching for drinks and more time enjoying the company of your friends and family. From the rustic charm of brick-walled backdrops and dark wood to chic travertine counters with neon backlighting, there are endless built-in bar ideas to incorporate into your home and lifestyle.

Basement bar with counter, stools, faucet and shelves

Integrating a bar into your home, regardless of style or size, can make a stunning impression, especially when it complements the overall theme of the room. It shouldn't be an afterthought but rather a well-integrated part of your home decor.

Types of Built-in Bars

Room with sectional, cushion, pillows, and window

Investing in a built-in home bar is a great choice if you want a permanent gathering spot for you and your guests. To spark inspiration for your own designs, here are several types of built-in home bar ideas:

Built-in Home Bar

Black bar with counter, wine shelves and bar stools

A built-in home bar typically includes a service counter, wine shelves or racks, stools, glassware, an icemaker, storage, and an enclosed trash bin. These features enable you to have a functional home bar in almost any room in your house. For larger spaces, it is highly recommended to add a sink, refrigerator, dishwasher, recycling bin, back counter, and linen storage. Design considerations such as task lighting and stain-resistant countertop materials should also be prioritized.

Wet Bar

Kitchen with wet built-in bar, wood stools and brick backsplash

A built-in wet bar is equipped with a sink and running water, making it convenient when you want a fully functional serving area independent from your kitchen. In addition to a sink, it is common to install an ice maker and wine shelves in a wet bar.

Dry Bar

Kitchen with built-in dry bar, cabinets made of wood and wine holders

A dry bar is essentially a bar without plumbing, offering a basic counter for drink preparation and service.

Coffee Bar

Built-in coffee bar, porcelain floor, and different kitchenware

A built-in coffee bar is a dedicated space for preparing and serving coffee. It can also be used to prep light refreshments, candies, and desserts.

Where to Place a Custom Home Bar?

The first consideration when deciding where to place your built-in bar is the room in your home where you entertain guests the most. If it's the living room, basement, or any area away from the kitchen, it is recommended to build a wet bar. This will accommodate the lack of a sink and running water when preparing cocktails. On the other hand, a dry bar works well when you have a limited budget and need to consider plumbing requirements. The best location for your built-in bar should be easily accessible and not obstruct other activities in your home.

Built-in Bar Design Considerations

When designing your built-in bar, there are several factors to consider:

  • Budget: Set a budget and stick to it as you plan the design and materials.
  • Circulation and Layout: Ensure that there is enough space for people to move comfortably around the bar area.
  • Seating Space: Determine how many seats you want to accommodate and choose comfortable high-top chairs or stools.
  • Plumbing Works: If you opt for a wet bar, plan for the necessary plumbing connections.
  • Electrical Access: Consider the electrical requirements for appliances and lighting fixtures.

Dining Room

Adding a stylish built-in cocktail nook to your dining room can elevate its look and functionality. Consider repurposing an existing closet or removing shelves and drawers to create open shelving for your mixology corner.

Living Room

The living room is a perfect area to set up your built-in cocktail nook as it is easily accessible for guests. Ensure there is enough space to accommodate the number of seats you desire. Showcase your wine collection as a wall feature for added visual appeal.


The kitchen is both the heart of the home and a convenient place to have a built-in cocktail nook. You can incorporate a sink or integrate it into your kitchen counter to minimize plumbing requirements. Consider adding a kegerator, icemaker, and wine shelves to create a functional wine station.

Outdoor Deck

If you love entertaining outdoors, consider adding a built-in bar to your outdoor deck. Use repurposed materials such as corrugated galvanized iron sheets, pallets, or barrels to create a unique outdoor cocktail nook. Connect your interior kitchen with your outdoor deck using a pass-through window.

Mancave & Garage

For the ultimate man cave, consider adding a built-in cocktail nook to your garage. Ensure it has running water, a sink, and other amenities such as a comfort room and wash area for added convenience.

Bar Design Ideas

Kitchen with peninsula chairs, bar with sink, and pull out shelves

Now let's explore some unique built-in mixology corner ideas:

Types of Cabinets for Bars

Kitchen bar, dark wood cabinets and marble countertops

Having ample and easily accessible storage space is essential for a functional built-in bar. Consider using open shelves for stemware, making it convenient to grab a wine glass whenever you want. Showcase your wine collection on floating shelves or get creative with other display options.

Wine Display Bottle Ideas

Bar area with wine holders, glass cabinets and butcher

Here are some ideas for displaying your wine bottles:

  • Flat wine racks: Display wines horizontally for proper storage.
  • Invisible acrylic wine holder: Achieve a seamless, trendy glass and chrome floating shelves look at a more affordable cost.
  • Salon-style wine racks: Use industrial pipe framing and repurposed wood shelves for an old west vibe.
  • Built-in wine closet: Create a small room with built-in storage for your wine bottles. Glass doors and under cabinet mood lighting can enhance the ambiance.

When designing your liquor cabinet, don't forget to include drawers for utensils such as knives, jiggers, shaker sets, or muddlers. Customization allows you to conceal your wine rack or hide other parts of the bar, such as the dishwasher or recycling bin.

Bar Countertops

Quartz countertop, yellow cabinets, pendant lights and blue curtains

Choosing the right material for your mixology corner countertop is crucial. Opt for sealed granite or quartz counters that are resistant to stains and easy to work on. Consider the materials that match the overall style of your bar counter and ensure they can handle chopping and spills without damage.

Bar Seating

Stools, glass shelves and wine glasses on a black countertop

Choose comfortable and sturdy high chairs or stools for your built-in bar. Opt for adjustable or floor-mounted options to prevent them from moving away from the bar area. Consider the height and back support when selecting seating options.

Fabrics and materials to consider for bar seating:

  • Breathable Cotton and Linen: Soft and skin-friendly while allowing the skin to breathe.
  • Luxurious Velvet: Provides a luxurious and inviting look with a velvety texture.
  • Exquisite Leather: Natural leather offers comfortable seating and durability.

Ensure your high chairs have return springs to keep them in place and invest in metal or durable plastic kickbacks for footrests to prevent chipping.

Bar Appliances

White cabinets, small console table and countertop with sink

Consider adding these appliances to your built-in bar:

  • Dishwasher: A built-in dishwasher saves time and eliminates the need to carry wine glasses.
  • Wine fridge: Maintain the ideal humidity level for your wines.
  • Kegerator: Enjoy fresh beer on demand by storing beer and other beverages in a stainless-steel keg.

Mixology Accessories

White high chairs, wood countertop and hanging lights

Enhance your mixology corner with these accessories:

  • Rimmers: Add salt, cocoa, lime juice, or sugar to your glass rims for a perfect display of cocktails.
  • Garnish Stations: Keep your mixology station organized with garnish stations for condiments and finger foods.
  • Liquor Dispensers: Pour drinks quickly and efficiently with a rotating liquor dispenser.

Total Bar Installation Costs

Dark wood bar with stone accent wall, bar chairs and picture windows

The cost of building a built-in mixology corner varies depending on size and design. Here is a breakdown of the costs:

  • Customized Built-in Mixology Corner: $5,000 to $20,000. Hiring a craftsman for on-site construction allows for maximum customization.
  • Premade or Readymade Built-in Spirits Station: $800 to $6,000. Premade units offer faster installation but may have limited customization options.

Additional costs to consider include utilities such as electrical connections, lighting fixtures, and flooring. High chairs and built-in appliances like wine coolers or kegerators are also additional expenses. Renovations such as wine cellars can significantly increase the total cost.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Dry Bar?

Brass counter chairs, granite countertop with blue base

The average cost to build a dry bar ranges from $500 to $22,500. Customized dry bars are more expensive, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000. Premade wet bars, on the other hand, cost $800 to $6,000, excluding lighting or outlets.

How Much Does A Custom Wet Bar Cost?

Kitchen bar with white countertop and open shelves

For a custom wet bar, costs range from $2,000 for a simple layout to $4,000 for a more elaborate design. Larger wet bars with additional features like marble countertops can cost $6,000 to $12,000. The cost will vary depending on the materials and accessories used. Granite countertops range from $35 to $75 per square foot, while Formica countertops are more affordable at $9 to $13 per square foot. Stainless steel under-mount wet bars with a granite finish can cost as much as $19,500.

Bar Corner Sizes

Modern kitchen with gray granite bar, tile floor and glass holders

Recommended dimensions for built-in home bars are as follows:

  • Bar Height: 40" to 42"
  • Stool Height: 28" to 30"
  • Bar Depth: 18" to 24"
  • Step or Foot Rail Height: 7" to 9"
  • Bar Seating Area: 18" to 24"
  • Circulation Area Between Serving Counter and Back Counter: 42" (single user), 48" (two users)

What Is the Standard Size of a Bar?

Floating shelves, a bar stool and bar made of light wood material

The standard height of a bar from the finished floor to the top surface of the counter is 40" to 42". The total depth of the countertop should be 18" to 24" for comfortable serving.

Bar Cabinet Design Inspiration

Gray bar, panel cabinets with chrome oven and windows

Here are some design ideas for built-in bar cabinets that can inspire your project:


All white minimalist bar with sink and two stools

Create a modern and minimalist design with clean lines and light wood textures. This Scandinavian-inspired mixology corner showcases natural wood's beauty while incorporating a sleek cabinet silhouette. Add white shelving and pieces in wood or chrome to layer textures. Timber wood beams or stilts on the counter facade can add dimension to the overall look.

Rustic Barn Style

Rustic bar with wooden counters, wood walls and backlit shelves

For a welcoming and rustic vibe, opt for a wood slab counter and cabinetry. Use reclaimed-look wood for walls and create backlit shelving for added visual appeal. Vintage wire lighting and old-school high chairs complement the exposed brick and concrete walls, giving an industrial feel to the space.

Modern Geometric Design

Marble-like backsplash finish, under shelf lighting and solid counter

Add dimension and interest with under-shelf light fixtures to showcase your glassware, cocktails, and spirits. Solid quartz countertops paired with varying shades of gray and white create a modern vibe in your built-in mixology corner. This design is simple yet eye-catching.

The Full Display Style

Living room with full bar near a neutral couch

Create a lounge area by incorporating a full built-in spirits nook into your living room. This design takes up an entire wall and is within steps of a large sectional sofa—perfect for relaxing and entertaining. Consider using a wall divider that doubles as a wine display to maintain an open layout.

Industrial-inspired Corner

Wood backsplash, brick accent wall and two-toned wood island

Achieve a mysterious and masculine vibe by incorporating two-tone cabinets, a wood backsplash, and a brick accent wall. Use matte black upper cabinets with white base cabinets for a striking contrast. Add metal pendant lights and exposed concrete or brick walls to enhance the industrial feel of the space.

These design ideas should inspire you to create a unique and personalized built-in bar that suits your style and meets your entertaining needs. Let your creativity flow and transform your home into a welcoming space for unforgettable gatherings.