5 Foolproof Ways to Create a Chic at-Home Bar

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As a New Yorker with seriously limited square footage, the idea of having a bar in my apartment is like having a washer and dryer: a life-improving luxury, but not a necessity. (There are other ways to get clean clothes and great cocktails.)

However, creating an at-home bar is definitely on my life bucket list, and I intend to tackle the project in steps—a cocktail shaker here, a bar tray there. To find out how to do it right, I checked in with Jeffrey Beers of the interior design and architecture firm Jeffrey Beers International, who’s designed bars for celebs like Jean-Georges, Daniel Boulud, Jay Z, and more. 

MORE: 15 Simple Hacks to Elevate Your Home

Whether you’re a homeowner who wants to build a custom bar from scratch (lucky!), or an urban renter looking to pick out a cool bar cart, Beers’s tips will help guide you on a practical and aesthetic level. Plus, we found bar furniture and accessories that align with Beers’s suggestions—but are also relatively affordable.

MORE: The 30 Best Home Websites for Girls on a Budget

Worst case scenario, you click through these smart ideas and save them to your “dream house” Pinterest board for the day when you’re ready to upgrade from a liquor cabinet to a dedicated space to serve drinks. Cheers!

Originally published September 2016. Updated September 2017.

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"To make a bar last, I'm a believer in concrete and steel," says Beers. "If you’re using wood, I personally like teak and a Brazilian wood called ipe. In the stone family, granite is the most common and safest because it is dense and resistant to stains like spilled red wine. Yet, personally I find it boring and prefer to work with quartzite that looks more like marble. Marble as well as zinc are beautiful, but keep in mind they give a very traditional, European aesthetic, and requires a fair amount of upkeep.

Photo: Contemporist

Marlow Felix Bar Cart with forged iron, stone, marble and mirror, $394; at Houzz

"I'm a fan of stainless steel for its resilience, crisp, nautical feel, and its low maintenance quality: it never rusts," says Beers. "If you pair stainless steel hardware with wood, you have a very yacht club feel; otherwise it looks cool and modern against concrete and polished steel."

Photo: Vanillawood

Easton Stainless Steel Serving Tray, $49;95; at Crate & Barrel

"Brass is the iconic metal for bars and I love it, but it does demand a lot of upkeep and polishing as it easily discolors," says Beers. "It can be worth it if you like the look."

Photo: Bliss at Home

Oscarine Lucite Bar Cart with cast brass, $698; at Anthropologie

"I'm firm believer that the alcohol needs to be displayed at the back of the bar," says Beers. "You can install wood shelves or organize a grid of cubbies that are internally lit to give a fresh take on bottle storage."

Photo: House of Rumours

Mid Century Shelving System, $79.99; at West Elm

"Mirrors are fantastic, and a key component to the design of any bar," says Beers. "They're normally placed with the back bar display; the mirror goes on the back wall first and the shelves are installed onto it. I'll often take a strip of mirror and angle it 15 to 20 degrees in order to reflect the whole bar scene."

Photo: Lauren Haskett

Rosette Wall Mirror, $527; at Ethan Allen

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