There are really two kinds of home bars out there: ones modeled after old school pubs, hardwood and dartboards, and those you’d more likely pair with a cocktail dress and a skyline view. Now, unless you’ve got a whole room to spare, chances are that building your own in home pub might not be feasible, but creating your own compact cocktail lounge is a lot easier – and less expensive – to pull off, especially if your home already errs a little on the side of modern design. If you’ve got the balcony (and a bottle or two), pulling off modern home bars can mean as little as procuring a few pieces of bar furniture.
I love this Clyde Bar Table from EuroStyles, especially pared with the matching Agnes Bar Stools. It’s simple, it’s sleek, and it’s small – just enough space for two (or four, if you’re only serving drinks!). Where traditional bars are big, modern home bars, like cocktail bars, emphasize intimacy, giving you a little more room for face time. This is especially good for a home setting, because how many tables or chairs you buy are easily flexible to how much space you have and how many guests you’re going to be entertaining. If you just happen to have a view you love to share for two, one bar table near or on a balcony might be all the home bar you need, where a larger space allows you to mix and match groupings of your friends for a more social experience.
Traditional bars and larger pub style home bars focus on hefty furniture: a big bar with stools and large restaurant style booths, both of which can take a big chunk out of your living space and your budget at the same time. That’s two ways that a minimal modern design shines when it comes to modern home bars. Not only does the furniture tend to be much more compact, it’s also made out of less expensive materials like aluminum or steel, glass, or even plastic, with a little leather thrown in for style. Take these Crescent Bar Chairs and Lemon Drop table – you can get this simple, stylish, utterly modern setup for just a few hundred, much less than if you were aiming for an elaborately carved piece made of expensive solid wood.
But simple materials and minimal design don’t necessarily mean plain. Take this Chardonnay bar table and Butcher Bar Stools – the intricate lines of the table stand make an excellent, criss-crossed pattern (especially when seen at an angle or through the tempered glass tabletop!) that’s nicely counterbalanced by the simple, comfortable square cushions of the bar stools. Be aware, though, that too many intricate patterns can overwhelm a modern design, so choose a few accent pieces and keep the rest simple to make them stand out.
If you do have a full sized bar, you want to go for cushy, comfortable chairs with a little swivel to them. While a standard bar stool is fine, adding a little plush to home bars creates a more inviting atmosphere. And, since you’re probably less likely to shuffle them around once they’re there there, you want to find stools that are going to be comfortable enough for long term use. These Fly Barstools (get it, barfly?) are nice and cushy with just the right amount of lower back support. Plus, the bright colors and little chrome curves are all style – a perfect accent as well as a comfy seat.
If you don’t already have (or have space for) a genuine full-sized bar, but you want a little more functionality than some tiny tables, you might want to opt for an island bar or console style bar like Delfina Bar Buffet from Nuevo. These work exceptionally well in a loft-style setting where you may not have a whole lot of room to work with, because the highly adjustable shelf design allows for plenty of storage without a permanent installation. And since it’s just a single, slightly large-sized table, it’s easy to move around or out of the way when you aren’t using it.
Don’t want a full sized bar, or need something that’s supremely compact and easy to clear out if you need to? This Christabel table and these stackable polycarbonate Anime chairs from Zuo are a great, stylish solution. The table top folds perfectly flat, and the base is set on smooth-glide castors for easy movement, so it’s easy to stash a couple in a closet or garage if you need to. Combine that with stacking chairs and you’ve got a simple way to flesh out or pare down an entertaining space depending on how large your guest list is, and keep home bars uncluttered when not in use. A nice bonus? Since the chairs are made of hard, clear plastic, they’re slightly see-through, which can trick the eye into thinking even a relatively small or crowded room looks bigger than it is.
What size modern home bars do you like, and what kind of furniture are you looking for to fill one? Do you prefer a really simple, stark look, or are you in the market for something with a little more flash? Let me know in the comments!