Home Bar Design Guide & Ideas For Any Lifestyle

By Toll Brothers 4 minute read

Last updated on August 24th, 2022

The home bar is a popular feature that has taken on an expanded presence and role in today’s home design. While primarily used for entertaining, the home bar has also become a place to make coffee, store juice boxes, and otherwise gather as a family. As such, it can be found in a central location or in multiple locations of the home. If you are thinking about adding one or more bars to your living spaces, we’ve got some tips on locations, themes, and stocking essentials that will help you create bar areas that fit your lifestyle and the décor of your home.


What is the Difference Between a Dry Bar and a Wet Bar? 

The main difference is that a wet bar includes a sink, whereas a dry bar does not. Instead, it’s a dedicated area for your glassware, accessories, spirits and potentially even a small refrigerator. While wet bars can certainly provide an element of convenience, dry bars still allow you to have a dedicated space for mixing drinks without the necessary plumbing. 


Where is the Best Place for a Bar in My Home?

Home bars are popping up in all areas of the home, including outside living spaces. To help determine the best location, consider what the primary use of your bar will be and where those who use it gather most. 


Basement Bar Ideas

Today’s basements are made for entertaining. A wet bar paired with gaming tables, lounge chairs, and a flat-screen TV is a perfect combination for many gatherings. Chalkboard-painted walls create a fun way to post your wine and beer lists, along with any creative mixed drinks you may be featuring.


Living Room Bar Ideas

A living room is also ideal for entertaining guests; however, it is more formal than the basement. It is a great place to gather with friends over a drink or to sit down and converse after a long day. Incorporating a bar into the décor of a living room should feel seamless. Coordinating colors and accessories throughout the bar and sitting area make the room feel more intimate and comfortable. Use of complementary lighting also works to unify the space.


Off-Kitchen Bar Ideas

As the heart of the home, kitchens are where family members spend the most time. A bar in this area of the home can double as a station for coffee and kid-friendly drinks. To keep the bar nearby, it can be built into a butler’s pantry, adjacent hallway, or nestled into a corner of a large kitchen.


Outdoor Bar Ideas 

Outdoor living spaces, which are growing in popularity, are ideal places to entertain, cook, and dine, making full bars a welcome addition.  Since people tend to gather around outdoor kitchens and covered patios, these areas are ideal for a bar. Pools are also popular spots to set up a bar, with swim-up versions offering a resort-like experience that everyone enjoys. 

Caleda by Toll Brothers in Queen Creek, AZ


Home Bar Themes

The next step in designing a bar is to choose a style or theme that fits the space. In many areas of the home, a style that complements the surrounding décor is best. Casual locations like a basement or outdoor pool area are more appropriate for themed bars. There is no limit to the themes that can be used. Often, people create themes around their favorite hobbies, teams, or activities, like sports bars. Wine bars are also popular, especially since many basements contain wine cellars. Outside bars, especially those around a pool, often feature tropical themes. The sky is the limit when it comes to themes, so fire up your creativity to design a bar that expresses what you enjoy most.


Home Bar Accessories 

There is a seemingly endless amount of stocking items available for bars. A good place to start is to write down all the drinks you want to serve and purchase the alcohol, mixers, and garnishes needed to make them. Although there are a lot of different bar tools that can be used to mix drinks, some basic essentials include a cocktail strainer, lemon zester, juice strainer, sharp knife, jigger measure, corkscrew, shaker, stirrers, bottle opener, and blender. There are also numerous options for glassware, but wine, martini, pilsner, shot, and drink glasses are must-haves. These items create a good foundation for entertaining and can be built on to create the bar of your dreams. 


The popularity of home bars is a trend that is likely to become a standard in home design. The increased functionality of these areas for use beyond entertaining has made the home bar part of a family’s daily life. No longer are they reserved for adult entertaining only; instead, they do double duty as self-serve stations complete with single-serve coffee makers and refrigerators stocked with kid-friendly beverages. From neighborhood gatherings and viewing parties to kids’ birthday celebrations, the home bar has become a favorite area for the whole family. 

For more design inspiration and ideas, visit our Pinterest.

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Embracing an unwavering commitment to quality and customer service, Toll Brothers currently builds in over 60 markets in 24 states nationwide, and is a publicly owned company with its common stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: TOL). In 2024, Toll Brothers marked 10 years in a row being named to the Fortune World's Most Admired Companies™ list.* Toll Brothers has also been named Builder of the Year by Builder magazine and is the first two-time recipient of Builder of the Year from Professional Builder magazine. For more information, visit TollBrothers.com. From Fortune, ©2024 Fortune Media IP Limited. All rights reserved. Used under license.


    1. Harry Clarke says:

      I was looking something like this. It is really helpful and I got so many ideas from your blog. Thanks for sharing.

    2. Victoria Addington says:

      Since my friends love to go to the bar and have some fun and have a few drinks, I’m thinking of having a custom outdoor bar set at home. I had no idea that people tend to gather around outdoor kitchens and covered patios. I like what you said about outdoor living spaces as an ideal place to cook and dine, which is why adding a bar is good.


      • Toll Brothers says:

        That’s awesome to hear, Victoria! We’re sure your outdoor bar is going to be THE place to be for you and your friends when grabbing drinks together.

    3. Britney says:

      I love an exclusive corner. I am planning to change the decoration of my house and I will opt for a bar area bar-area and I will be inspired by this site.

      • Toll Brothers says:

        We’re thrilled to hear that you’ll be using some of our advice in your very own home design, Britney! We know whatever you decide to do it will look amazing!

    4. Brion Oxendine says:

      Would like to speak with a representative regarding your plans and cost projections. Looking at building new home construction in the Pinehurst area in the next 9 months.

      • Toll Brothers says:

        Hi Brion, can you please share which state you are interested in? We can provide you with more information once we know which location you are looking to build in. Thanks!

    5. George William says:

      Thanks for sharing very informative content on home bar accessories.Great job!

      • Toll Brothers says:

        Hi George, we appreciate the kind words and look forward to providing you with more insightful home design tips and ideas!

    6. avi duvdevani says:

      we have a Suburban NJ Toll Brothers new construction with the Binghamton layout. A large open concept floor plan for expanded great room, formal dining room, informal dining area and expanded kitchen . We decided to rely our exclusively on our informal dining area and converted the formal dining room into a piano lounge with wet bar. Photos available

    7. Kate Robinson says:


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