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How To Design A Stylish Home Bar On A Budget

NOVEMBER 4, 2021
Photo credit: Decor Report

Whether you enjoy stirring up cocktails for a crowd or winding down with a drink after a long day, a well-prepped home bar is essential for an easy pour. While building out a dedicated speakeasy-style bar area might be a stretch for most of us, there are still many other ways to turn out a stylish drinks station without breaking the bank. 

First, consider what your home bar needs are. Do you love hosting lavish cocktail gatherings and need a spacious bar table that’s always ready to serve? Or are you more of a casual entertainer who’s looking for a versatile bar cart that you can use on the daily and deck out for special occasions? Honing in on the purpose of your home bar will help you tailor it for your lifestyle and space. 

Keeping all that in mind, you can narrow down your home bar setup to affordable design options. Here, we’ve rounded up a few simple tips to help you create a perfect home bar on a budget. 

Designing a full bar and need some expert advice for finding the right pieces for your space? Our Decorist designers have you covered and are always ready to lend you a hand. 


1. Serve Up Style With A Bar Cart 

Image source: Architectural Digest

While an elegant bar cabinet always makes for a standout focal point in a living room, it often comes at a higher price point. 

For a budget-friendly alternative, bring in a versatile and always-chic bar cart, which is an equally sophisticated showpiece all on its own. Not only do most bar carts come with casters that allow it to be moved around, they also have tiered shelving that provide plenty of storage. In the same vein, we also especially love multi-tiered bar carts for their endless styling possibilities: Think a full arrangement of spirits and decanters on top, along with tumblers and stemware on the lower shelves. A bar cart can also be seamlessly worked into living and dining spaces, either stylishly tucked away in a corner or prominently showcased along a wall. 

When not in use, you can easily repurpose a bar cart as a display for accessories and objects or even use it as a plant stand. 


2. Set Up A Drinks Station With A Bar Tray

Image source: Elle Decor

If you’re working with a small space that can’t accommodate a drinks cart, try keeping to a minimal setup by topping a console table with a bar tray for glasses and bottles, which is a stylish solution that’s also compact, functional, and affordable. 

Additionally, you can also use this bar tray approach to designate a serving station on a kitchen counter or a bookshelf to maximize an existing surface for entertaining. It becomes an instant home bar that you can style up and set out for any party occasion you need. 

The best part? There are countless fabulous tray options, so you’re guaranteed to find one that matches your style and your space. We love a silver bar tray for a simple and elegant look, or go with a more glamorous design in lacquer, horn, leather, shagreen or any other luxe material if you want something more polished with a touch of shine.  


3. Fewer, Better Bar Tools

Image soure: Lonny

One you have your home bar setup established, take the time to equip it with all the cocktail bar tools and accessories you need for the beverages you regularly enjoy. While you don’t need a professional spread of bar tools with the fancy shakers and stirs, having basic ones along with essentials such as an ice bucket, bottle openers, and cocktail picks will help round out your bar cart or tray with a fully stocked look. Bonus: Line up a few cocktail recipe books to give your home bar a personal touch. 


4. Opt For Affordable Glassware

Image source: Elle Decor

When it comes to cocktail glasses, tumblers, and glassware, we’re of the thinking that you can never have too many. Nonetheless, a stylish edit is key when it comes to stocking your bar with the right glasses. 

Start by looking for your main bar set, which means glasses that you’ll likely use most for your favorite regular beverage of choice. If you like your whiskey on the rocks, make sure to have a nice set of tumblers that feel firm and good in your hand; for wine aficionados, a bar set that includes stemware for both red and white wines will be key; and if you love nothing more than a martini at the end of a long day or week, a group of tall glasses or pretty coupes are chic and delightful to drink from. 

Also, remember you don’t have to spend a fortune on glassware if you’re on a budget. There is a wide range of affordable glassware designs that are stylish without being pricey, whether it’s crystal-clear martini glasses or colorful tumblers, so take all the time you need to find a bar set that suits your taste and matches your drink of choice.  


5. Stock Your Bar According To Cocktails You Love 

Image source: Clever

Decide on what you want to keep always at the ready in your home bar. The easiest way is to consider what you enjoy serving guests and yourself on the regular. If you’re known for a signature cocktail, like a martini or a negroni, stock up on those bottles of those spirits and skip the rest. There’s no reason to fill your bar with bottles you don’t serve or drink in your home. 

Prefer wine over cocktails and spirits? Arrange a mini wine bar with stemware and bottles along with a few vintage labels that you can bring out for special guests or in a pinch, just in case.  


6. Add To Your Bar Over Time

Image source: Architectural Digest

Finally, don’t feel the need to deck out your home bar in one fell swoop. Like your taste for trying new cocktails and wines, your bar should grow and evolve according to the drinks you’re exploring and loving at any given moment. 

Part of what’s exciting about having a home bar is watching it change over time and being able to constantly curate it as you discover new cocktails and recipes you want to try. 


Ready to shake up your home bar game? Let our Decorist designers help you bring your vision to life. 

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