Building your Own bar at home
You've put in the hard work to transform your dingy basement into a neighborhood drinking spot. But don't stop at just a counter and some bar stools. A few finishing touches will make your new cocktail shrine shine.
In addition to preventing spills from leaking to the floor and providing a nice arm rest for elbow benders, bar molding turns an ordinary countertop into a bar top. Bar molding in different wood varieties is available at most woodworking stores or on Amazon, and can be had for as little as $100 per 8 feet of material. Most designs come precut to fit a bar top, so installation simply requires a hammer, nails, some light sanding, and a final varnish to make the molding match the rest of the bar.
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Don't count on a worn-down minifridge for your DIY home bar. If you're going to be drinking mostly beer at the home bar, consider making your own kegerator. If you need to keep bottled beers, chilled wines, or mixers cold, an under-the-counter beverage center with temperature control is a good buy. A standard beverage center will run about $500 and is the most efficient way to give your drinks the right amount of chill.
Nothing screams basement bar like a few flickering fluorescent lights. And a DIY home bar doesn't have to be as dark and dusty as your favorite dive. The right lighting helps set a mood that makes drinking at your home bar different from just standing around the kitchen counter having a few beers.
LED-strip kits are an easy and affordable way to give a bar a sleek glow. Flexible light strips come in several colors and can be chopped into lengths as short as 2 inches or kept in strips tens of feet long, provided you have an adequate power supply. Many of the flexible strips come with an adhesive back, making it easy to curve and then stick the strips exactly where you need them. Fitting the lights underneath the bar's cabinets or bar top gives the area a simple, sophisticated ambience.
Another bonus from LED lights is their efficiency. The U.S. Department of Energy notes that Energy Star–qualified LED bulbs can last up to 25 times longer than a regular bulb.
Don't forget about the back bar when designing your DIY home bar. If you're stocking your bar with a wide variety of liquor, try open shelves that display the different bottles. If the booze in your home bar consists mostly of a keg for the buddies and maybe just a bottle or two of the hard stuff, then try another option: Large, framed mirrors or one large statement piece such as a vintage map give the back bar a sophisticated feel, as do open shelves that hold pint glasses or books.
Three-dimensional wall panels or tiles are another way to create a striking look for a back bar. Found at most home decor stores, the textured panels often come in different colors and patterns. Even a few square feet of the panels add another dimension to a DIY home bar.