Even with all the amazing restaurants and coffee shops out there, there is something extra special about being invited into a friend’s home…or inviting them into yours! If you, like us, enjoy hosting on a regular basis, then it may well be time to consider dedicating a space in your house or cottage for entertaining. We’re grateful to have worked on a wide range of entertaining spaces over the last 28 years, the most popular being home bars and home theatres. We recently met with our Manager of Business Development, Jon, to discuss this unique type of cabinetry. Here are his insights on what options and factors you should keep in mind as you dream and design:

 

What are the first questions I should ask myself when I’m planning a new entertaining space in my home?

family-friendly home entertainment space

  • What’s my budget?
  • Is this space going to be designed primarily for me (den/man cave), small groups/family, or large groups?
  • Will this space be used by kids or adults or both? (A home bar can also serve as a great family-friendly game space with a few tweaks made like lower countertops, kid-friendly seating, and a beverage bar stocked with pop, juice, and flavoured water, as opposed to alcohol. Throw in a popcorn or ice cream machine for some real fun!

What layout is usually best for a home bar?

  • In larger spaces, a galley layout with an island works well (with a full-height beverage fridge and floating shelves or glass display upper cabinets on the back wall). In that scenario, you could build a dishwasher, cutlery drawer, and ice maker right into the island.
  • In a smaller area, a straight wall of cabinets and appliances (without an island or peninsula) is very typical, possibly with a small sink and/or a bar fridge, if those are needed for your lifestyle.

Rustic home bar with display cabinets

What style of design is best for a home bar?

  • I’ve seen every kind of style used, but modern rustic tends to be very popular, typically with warm or dark finishes contrasted by mirrors and metallic backsplashes. I recently worked on one that featured high gloss finishes, and a 1940’s jeep grill that served as a light fixture on the back wall!
  • Remember to put good thought into the practical design choices, too – incorporating wood dividers for glassware and stemware into your drawers, a multi-tier cutlery drawer, or even a multi-bin pull-out recycling centre, can be excellent choices in an entertaining space.

Rustic traditional home bar with island and glass cabinets

What’s the most important thing for me to consider when designing the cabinetry for my entertaining space?

  • In your home theatre, there will be only minimal cabinetry needed, but you will want some in order to effectively and attractively hide the subwoofer speakers.
  • In your home bar, you’ll want to estimate how much eating (as opposed to drinking or simply hanging out) will happen in the space – that will have a big impact on how much storage space you need for food, and which appliances will be most useful (for example, an apartment-sized oven or cooktop. Either way, you’ll definitely want a mini dishwasher!
Pull-out refrigerator drawer in home bar
Home theatre cabinetry to conceal speakers and tech

 

I only have a small space – can I still have a nice home bar?

  • The bar area itself can actually be quite compact and serve a lot of people providing there is an adjacent room that is large enough to handle the larger crowds. Pool cabanas are a great example – they can be quite small with bar sized appliances and minimal cabinets but are a great addition to a pool area.
  • There are extra factors that can contribute to making a space feel cramped or awkward to work in – pay attention not only to square footage, but bulkheads, ceiling heights, and room depth (work closely with your designer to ensure swinging doors and pull-out drawers will work well together in your space). Strategically source apartment-sized appliances, or mini appliance drawers, wherever possible to help conserve space.
  • If you really don’t have room for a home bar, consider setting up your pantry to double as a bar space, and if you don’t have room for a home theatre, consider a custom wall unit in your living or family room that can obscure your entertainment system when not needed, while keeping it accessible.
Wine fridge in butler's pantry
Mini bar area in modern kitchen

 

What are some unique design ideas you’ve seen that I could try in my own space?

  • Build an ice tray for beverages right into the countertop.
  • Build a vintage wine cellar right next to the bar with a real wine barrel set-up as a table.
  • Get creative with your lighting! Lighting tends to be where I see the personality of my clients come out the most, especially over peninsulas and under cabinets or counters. It’s also a practical place to invest since most entertaining spaces are in the basement, where light is a more rare commodity.

Transitional, majestic home bar with built-in ice box

Industrial chandelier in boathouse hosting area
Modern industrial lighting in transitional kitchen

 

Are there any specific suppliers that you would recommend for the tech side of my home bar or theatre?

 

Meet Jon - Business Development

Contact us to set up a consultation with one of our designers and unpack the hosting possibilities in your own home!