Basics-Bar Room Design

One of the things to remember about a bar is that it is the one space that is always unique and customised (unless you bought a portable one). Rarely will you find two that are similar. While images can serve as an inspiration, the best way to decide on your perfect bar is to list out all the elements of functionality and space and then find the solution. There are some basic elements you need to consider before starting on your bar design project.


Take a call on the basic visual. There should be some integration with the overall décor of the common spaces, unless your bar is a separate room altogether. A separate room would then allow for a theme or all kinds of eclectic possibilties.


This is essential and it varies according to three factors—size of the bar, your style of entertaining and profile of people you entertain. If you haven’t given due thought to all three elements then it won’t come out right.


A good bar is one that fits perfectly with your entertaining style. The details are the design. If everything is taken care of— in terms of storage, accessibility and design— then you can open a bottle of champagne and celebrate.


A false ceiling with both recessed lights and cove lighting adds a lot of drama. Perhaps even a textured finish on the ceiling for added oomph. Reflective ceilings not only bring glamour but also make a space much larger. No matter how heavy the décor a reflective surface will keep the light-play at optimum levels.


Floating wall shelves with lighting can really add a lot of interest in addition to serving as a display. Use just a few to make the wall more interesting. Mosaic tiles used as a backsplash can truly jazz up a bar. Worth the invest.

Mirror is all about glamour, luxury and creating a sense of depth. Use it on the wall, on the counter etc. The bigger the mirror, the more grand the space becomes.


If you like brightly lit bars then use reflective surfaces for ceiling, counter top and flooring. Let the light bounce off everything. All wall panels should have inbuilt lighting for workspace and display. Metallic surfaces bring in a lot of glamour. Copper tones work well with red an orange. Silver tones complement blues and whites.The counter lighting highlights floor.


Pendant lamps are a great value-add in modern décor. A high gloss counter top just makes the lighting effect all the more interesting.


Too many bottles can make even a big space seem small, so choose wisely. You need a very grand space to work this in or a classical setting. In contemporary design, ideally all bottles and glasses are stored away in cabinetry letting the minimalist décor do all the talking.


Bring in some interest in an open plan setting by introducing gradation of flooring from marble to hardwood—subtle but effective.


Traditional: Even though there is a lot of cabinetry and wood, this has an old world elegance. Lighting is still essential but fixtures are more classical. If you are a collector then this is perhaps for you. Add a great wine rack to show off your collection. This is suited to a villa or classical style. Works well if all other décor in the house complements this space, especially if those areas are contiguous.

Rustic and old world: Stone walls, rugged floor tiles and a décor which is more like an Irish pub. Works well in a setting that is similar.

Simple, functional and eclectic: Not much to the design but it suits a small home where a proper bar is needed. Glass, mirror and reflective surfaces can be used to advantage.

Contemporary: This is for a modern home where there is serious entertaining. Monochromatic palette with a splash of colour for drama. High gloss surfaces and lots of openness.


The bar should make a statement but should also be in sync with the overall décor of the room. The first, second, and third rule of good bar design is getting the lighting right.


Choose a colour palette—cool or warm—they don’t work well together unless you have a very large space.


Ideally, a bar should be designed by a professional who has some expertise in bar design. Even if you are buying one from a store, go with a brand that has a range of bars.

In a custom designed bar, professional expertise is mandatory or it will just be a storage cabinet with no sense of space allocation and requirement. Essentially, if you have allocated an entire room for a bar, it goes without saying that you love to entertain. So half-measures don’t make sense.

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