Hines Building Supply

So you want a built-in bar?

Mar 15, 2017

So you want a built-in bar?

Are you a trendsetter? Do you like to spot trends early and infuse them into your home long before your neighbors and friends?

Trends can be almost anything. If you’re the one who stands in line waiting for the release of the new iPhone, you’re a trendsetter. If you wait anxiously for the color of the year, you’re a trendsetter.

If you’re ready to remodel your home, paying close attention to trends can not only update your rooms; it can also give you an edge if you decide to sell. Many homebuyers search out fresh new ideas when looking for their dream home, and if you provide the “wow” they’ll lay down their money.

As a homeowner, you can probably guess some of the biggest requests buyers have. A gourmet kitchen is a must. Granite or marble surfaces is high on the list. But there might be something that comes as a surprise; something that’s topping the trend lists this year. It’s a built-in bar.

These aren’t quickly thrown together with spare lumber you have lying around. Nope, these are carefully planned and well thought out. These built-in bars aren’t just shoved into the corner and forgotten after a few months. These are carefully crafted out of high-end lumber, rich details, and enough space that it’s clear they are meant to be it’s a focal point, not an afterthought.

Where do you begin?

Location, Location, Location

A built-in bar can be placed in any living space of your choosing. Think of a built-in bar as a playtime and relaxing kind of area. Built-in bars belong where you like to hang out: in the family room, the game room, the renovated basement, or even the man cave.

Built-in bars are meant to blend in with the way you live. Whether you choose exotic lumber and design it with sophistication in mind, go casual and make it blend in with your surroundings, the key is to create an environment that’s comfortable for you in a place where you’ll use it the most. Note that if you are looking to add a sink, adding plumbing will most likely be a necessity and the closer you can place your bar to existing plumbing and drain lines, the easier the process will be.

Don’t Forget The Details

There are a lot of decisions to be made when you begin planning your bar.. Will you be including a refrigerator and in need of electrical and water lines? How about a sink or an ice maker? Wet bars are more functional and more in demand, but do require more work. The details make your built-in bar more unique, more usable, and will require different considerations when selecting your resources - your lumber, your molding, your tile, your appliances, your fixtures, etc.

It’s also best to determine the size before you finalize your plans. A mini fridge is a perfect addition to a smaller bar area, giving you just enough room for small gatherings without overwhelming your area. However, a full-size refrigerator can be helpful if you regularly have larger groups, a large family, or build your bar a long distance from your kitchen and the rest of your home.

A sink is almost always beneficial not only to help you prepare for your party, but also for the cleanup. Sure, you can run to the bathroom to empty a can or clean out a rag. But having water and a drain near party central will ensure your home remains party central - without the mess that goes along with it.

Flooring Options

If you are renovating your basement and including a built-in bar, a key advantage is building from the ground up. Flooring is often neglected until the last minute purchase. Yet it should be one of the very first things to consider. How busy will your bar be? Is it to entertain family as they watch movies? Is it for Friday night poker games? Kids can be messy; and, well, sometimes the guys in the man cave can be messy too.

Selecting carpet as an affordable option. Tile gives you an attractive appearance and combines it with easy maintenance. And nothing beats the look of real wood - hardwood or laminate is always a good choice.


What makes a great bar? Many would argue it all comes down to the bar top. Maybe that’s because way back in time the first bars rarely had bar stools. You’ve heard the phrase “belly up to the bar.” While it probably comes more from folklore and old western movies, there is some truth to the words. When you entered an old saloon, you would walk up to the bar, stand and lean on it as you ordered and drank. And if you wanted to buy a round for the house, “belly up to the bar” would gather everyone in the place up to the bar to get their drinks. Yes, a lot of action took place at those old style saloons.

And some of that nostalgia has carried through to the way we design bars today. Sure, you can build it out of tile, or get fancy with marble or granite. How about glass - ultra modern does the trick for some.

Still, nothing can beat good ol’ wood. And luckily you have many choices when deciding the best wood to install.

Mahogany is a popular choice as it’s super easy to work with and has great grain direction once it’s nailed into place and sealed for use. Homeowners often select mahogany because of its deep, rich, glossy shine once it’s stained and polished.

Cherry is another excellent choice. Cherry is a popular wood used in home furniture because of its rich, warm, beautiful look and feel. Cherry is not only known to be one of the best woods to retain its look over time, but it’s also one that will improve too. We’re fans of cherry wood because it’s very durable and is known for its high quality aesthetics.

Cedar is another favorite choice, especially if you are considering an unfinished, more rustic looking bar in an inside/outside entertainment area. Cedar is a great choice because of its resistance to bug damage. It’s durable, easy to maintain, and is very easy to work with.

Is this the year you add a built-in bar to your home?