Who doesn’t love meeting friends at your favorite local bar? Why not bring that experience to your own space by creating a home bar that infuses your style and good taste, while showcasing your premium wine and spirits? The best parts: the bar is always open and there’s no need to leave a tip! Creating one, however, takes a little thoughtful planning.

As our lives become busier and our days more hectic, many are embracing the entertain-at-home trend over heading out for expensive nights out on the town. A cozy home bar can become your favorite spot for a drink after a long day or a great alternative to the kitchen as a gathering point when you entertain.

There are some important things to consider when planning and designing this space. Start with assessing your entertaining habits to ensure you choose a bar location and design that will meet your needs. Space availability is usually the biggest factor in bar location. Does everyone naturally gather in the finished basement for game day or is there an underutilized space near the family room that can be reimagined? Would a simple wet bar off the kitchen work or do you need a full bar with seating? If you are short on space for a fully displayed at-home bar take a look at underutilized closet space. Perhaps those winter coats can live somewhere else and that space can be repurposed?

And don’t forget about the logistics! Will you need more electrical outlets for an ice machine, wine or beverage fridge? Additional plumbing for a proper bar sink or for a compact dishwasher? What are your storage needs? You’ll need places for barware and glassware. No one wants to run back to the kitchen for a doubles glass or paring knife just to make a proper Manhattan!

When it comes to design, you can have a lot of fun in this space. It can reflect the style of your home, or, if it’s part of the game room, be more reflective of your favorite sports bar. Don’t get to kitschy here, because it’s still your home–but if it’s in the man cave, feel free to go wild with sports memorabilia that represents the home team. If your home is more modern, maintain a more minimalist approach.

Decide on basic finishes like classic wood countertops, easy to maintain quartz or something that will patina with time, like a copper bar top. If you’re doing open shelving, use sturdy wood, quartz or stone. Glass is an often-used staple here, but you’ll have to dust it regularly to keep it looking clean. Use washable paints on any wood cabinetry in case of spills…the less fuss in this new space, the better.

“Traditional” wooden bar stools—with cushions please!—can work well in this space or you can coordinate your bar seating with the dining or living room furniture. Backless barstools keep sight lines clean, but may not be comfortable to sit at for an extended amount of time. Swivel barstools are highly functional, but oftentimes leave much to be desired when it comes to their design.

Lighting will also be key here. Whether it’s a combination of island, pendant or recessed lighting, everything should be on a dimmer. Even better, add a voice assistant like Alexa or Google Home to automate the space, “Alexa, it’s game night” and have the lights automatically adjust without moving an inch. Remember, an over lit bar is only good for last call—not for creating a mood!

If your lifestyle is all about entertaining, make it a point to create a dedicated spot for creating your—and everyone else’s—favorite libations.

For other ideas check out our Home Bar Pinterest board! Click on MarqetGroup below.