Whether you’re finishing your basement or looking to renovate it, adding a bar is a great way to make the most of your space—especially for entertaining during the holidays, parties or the big game.
Here are seven ideas to consider before tackling your own basement bar project.
Probably the most crucial but also most subjective step in the process will be deciding on the style or theme of your home’s bar. Are you looking to create a contemporary space for cocktails and more upscale entertaining, or are you looking for a more the “classic pub” look? Nailing down a style before beginning construction will help keep you on track when it comes to picking out fixtures and décor down the line.
Lighting will set the entire mood of your basement bar. The gold standard of home bar lighting seems to be pendant lighting; however, there are a few other options that’ll also work well depending on your preference.
Track lighting can be ideal for bars with shelving or open cabinetry behind. Track lighting can also take the place of pendant lighting in cases where the basement ceiling is a bit lower.
Recessed lighting should also be considered along with pendant or track fixtures. These lights can be tied to their own switch and gives the option for different lighting combinations depending on the mood. Dimmable bulbs can help give your bar a pub-like atmosphere. LED strip lighting is a great accent touch for cabinetry and the underside of the bar ledge.
Sure, you could stand at the bar, but isn’t it a bit more comfortable to belly up to the bar with a stool, especially to watch a game?
A traditional bar top sits roughly 41 to 43 inches from the floor. So, if we use this as our measurement, then the bar stool should sit between 29 to 32 inches from floor to seat. Obviously, this is just an estimate, but gives a great starting point and should accommodate most people.
It may also be worth considering a stool or chair with lower back support for more comfortable seating if it fits your style.
Shelving & Storage
What bar is complete without a place for glass and bottle storage?
Depending on the theme you’re going for, full cabinetry may make sense. Many basement bars are moving towards open cabinets or even minimal shelving with storage under the bar instead of traditional cabinets. This can be especially helpful when space is at a premium.
Open shelves are also a great way to showcase wines, spirits, and mugs. Pair this with an interesting backsplash and lighting to create a focal point of your bar area.
This may be the most visible portion of your entire bar project. Luckily there is a large amount of materials that can work great for a bar top. Granite and marble are obviously going to be the most durable but come with a higher price tag than other options out there. Sealed wood is also a great choice that give a nice traditional look. For a more modern or minimalist style, consider a stainless, glass or butcherblock bar top.
Faucet & Fridge
A bar faucet and fridge is a guaranteed way to take your basement bar to the next level. Planning a basement wet bar comes with many conveniences, such as taking the hassle out of basic bar clean up. Though wet bars are usually a bit more intensive because of the extra plumbing, we think it’s worth it!
A bar isn’t much good if you need to keep running upstairs for cold drinks, so plan space for a fridge. It’s an excellent addition not only for keeping beers and wine chilled, but a fridge gives you a convenient spot to store drink garnishes like cherries, olives, and limes. Plus, most full-size fridges come with ice makers, making drinks on the rocks a breeze.
If a full fridge isn’t in the plan, many mini fridges fit nicely under a bar, while small ice makers are quite affordable and easily stored away when not in use.
Is your basement bar going to be centered around watching sports? A TV or two will be essential in creating a space you and your guests will enjoy. Think about where your guests will be watching from so you can place the TV in a spot that can easily be seen. And, it might seem like overkill, but having a second TV to keep up on all the action during multiple games is a great idea.
Surround sound is another good idea and can add to the overall design and experience, though these systems can add significant costs and extra planning to your project.
Soundbars have come a long way in the past five years and are a simpler, less expensive alternative to a full surround sound system around your bar and offer great sound quality and added bass you may not receive from standard TV audio.
With a little planning, you can turn unused basement space into a fantastic entertaining space that is sure to impress guests.
Do you have a basement bar you want to show off? Additional tips for completing a basement bar build? Let us know!