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How to Build a DIY Home Bar: Step-by-Step Guide

Having a bar at home is every alcohol lover’s dream. It offers the convenience of having a watering hole right next to your living room or in the basement. Building a DIY bar can be...

Having a bar at home is every alcohol lover’s dream. It offers the convenience of having a watering hole right next to your living room or in the basement. Building a DIY bar can be expensive, but it will save you money in the long run. Plus, with the current global health crisis changing the way we spend time in bars, now is the perfect time to learn how to build one.

Building on a budget: How much will it cost to build a bar?

The cost of a home bar depends on the kind of bar you want and the route you choose. There are three options to consider:

Option 1: Hire a professional contractor

Hiring a professional contractor can cost around $6,000 for a small-scale bar and $12,000 or more for a full-scale one. The cost will depend on the scope of your project, materials, finishes, and the contractor you choose.

Option 2: Purchase a manufactured bar unit

Buying a pre-made bar can save you a few thousand dollars if you're willing to do some of the work yourself. However, the cost can range from over $2,000 for a simple bar unit to up to $10,000 for high-end models.

Option 3: Start a DIY home bar project

This option allows you to customize your bar and is the most cost-effective, ranging from $500 to $750. With this guide, we'll focus on Option 3, as it gives you more control over the look and functionality of your bar.

Anatomy of a bar

Before getting started, it's important to understand the different parts of a bar. Here's a breakdown:

  • Bar Height: The ideal bar height from the floor to the top of the bar top (excluding the bar rail) should be 42 inches. This allows for comfortable seating with standard 30-inch high bar stools.

  • Bar Top Overhang: The bar top should have a minimum overhang of 8.5 inches, but it can be as much as 10 inches to ensure guests' knees do not hit the bar front.

  • Bar Length: The safe measurement for the length of your bar is about 2 feet wide per person or bar stool.

Tools required for this tutorial

To successfully build your DIY home bar, you'll need the following tools:

  • 1/4-Inch Impact Driver
  • 3-inch Outdoor Screws
  • Small 1-inch Finish Nails
  • 2 ft. Level
  • Table Saw
  • Miter Saw
  • 25' Tape Measure
  • Carpenter Pencil

Building a home bar: Step-by-step

Now let's dive into the step-by-step process of building your DIY home bar.

1. Planning your home bar

Start by deciding where you want to construct your bar and how you want it to look. Gather inspiration from sources like Pinterest and home renovation websites to get ideas for your bar's design.

2. Building the bar's frames

Measure the distance you want your bar to come off the wall and cut two 2x4 pieces at that length. These will serve as the bottom and top plates of your frame. Mark the plates every sixteen inches and screw the vertical framing studs between them.

3. Erecting and securing the framework

Make sure your frame forms a 90-degree angle and fasten it to the wall using screws. Add support structures using 10-inch 2x4s for stability.

4. Building and installing the bar top

Cut the bar top to the desired dimensions and secure it to the frame using screws. You can also add rounded finishing pieces or a Chicago Bar Rail for a polished look.

5. Installing the front panel and making the shelves

Measure and cut the material for the front panel and attach it to the studs. Create interior shelves using oak or pine strips as support. Use a jigsaw to create U-shaped openings for the shelves to fit around the central dividers. Finish the visible sides of the support with oak veneer slats, and add facing boards on the outside.

6. Adding color and shine to your bar

Sand the entire structure, apply a stain, and add an epoxy finish to the bar top for protection. Finally, brush on polyurethane for a glossy look.

Does a wet bar add value to your home?

A wet bar, which includes a sink, can significantly increase the resale value of your home. It creates an entertaining space where drinks are easily accessible, allowing you to play host and join in the fun.

How to Build a DIY tiki bar

If you're looking for a unique and exotic touch, consider building a DIY tiki bar. Decorate it with Polynesian-inspired elements and ensure it has all the necessary essentials to serve exotic cocktails. A tiki bar can transform your backyard or a room in your house into your very own private paradise.


Building a bar at home is an exciting project that can provide endless opportunities for intimate gatherings and enjoyment. While it requires time, effort, and some woodworking skills, the satisfaction and value it adds to your home are well worth it. So why not embark on this DIY journey and start creating your very own home bar? We'd love to hear about your experience and answer any questions you may have. Cheers!

Image Image: Building a DIY home bar