More Living Ideas

Our editors share their inspirations every day

Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

House Call: Bar Makeover

Posted by

I am happy to announce that we are starting a brand new series today called House Call.

Since our decorating team can't physically come to everyone's home and help out with a decorating dilemma, we are lending a hand here at Home Design.

Our first house call is to one of our own, home and garden editor for marthastewart.com, Kerstin.

Here's her issue...

"I inherited this built-in when I moved into my apartment. While I had always loved the idea of a bar, this was a bit bigger and deeper than I had envisioned. I use it now as as a hybrid bar/storage area. Being that it is in the dining room, it's a focal point in the space. I am wondering whether to close it off with doors or fabric or go the other way and showcase it a more polished, styled way…help!"

Back
1 of 4
Kerstin:

1 Kerstin: "This is the bar area. As you can see, it's a mishmosh of vases, candles, glasses, bar essentials, and favorite cookbooks."

2 "I would really like it to look as pretty as possible as my guests and I walk by it."

3 "I am also unsure about the shelves. Currently they are safety glass."

A close-up of the glass shelves.

4 A close-up of the glass shelves.

Our decorating team gathered to survey the scene and came up with some stylish solutions for this built-in bar.

Top 5 Tips for a Chic Bar Area

1. Find an image you love and work off the elements to create your unique bar.

2. Call out the space by wallpapering, painting, or even adding a mirrored backing with mirror tiles, to the built-in.

3. Add an overhead light and some votives to brighten things up.

4. A mix of old and new pieces is great. Focus on displaying things that are truly beautiful and reflect your personality.

5. Make an investment in a few key pieces. They can be a basic like a traditional cocktail shaker or a showstopping set of glassware.

Back
1 of 20
This is the inspiration for Kerstin's finished bar.

1 This is the inspiration for Kerstin's finished bar.

The first step is getting the basics, Martha makes a really great set that's perfect to get started. (macys.com)

2 The first step is getting the basics, Martha makes a really great set that's perfect to get started. (macys.com)

A  metallic shagreen wallpaper would really open the bar area up with its reflective and lustrous quality. (koroseal.com)

3 A metallic shagreen wallpaper would really open the bar area up with its reflective and lustrous quality. (koroseal.com)

I'd love to see Kerstin put these mirror tiles in the back of each level of her bar. (ikea.com)

4 I'd love to see Kerstin put these mirror tiles in the back of each level of her bar. (ikea.com)

One spotlight above the bar area will allow the glass and metallics to really shine. Sylvania Golden Dragon Under Cabinet Light (theenergyconscious.com)

5 One spotlight above the bar area will allow the glass and metallics to really shine. Sylvania Golden Dragon Under Cabinet Light (theenergyconscious.com)

Every bar needs one of these. (anthropologie.com)

6 Every bar needs one of these. (anthropologie.com)

Take a cue from your local wine shop and display multiple bottles of your favorite wine, the prettier the label the better. (pasanellaandson.com)

7 Take a cue from your local wine shop and display multiple bottles of your favorite wine, the prettier the label the better. (pasanellaandson.com)

A large pitcher is great to have on hand for water, a mixed drink, or even a floral arrangement. (westelm.com)

8 A large pitcher is great to have on hand for water, a mixed drink, or even a floral arrangement. (westelm.com)

It's always nice to have nuts and olives out when the bar is in use. (designhousestockholmusa.com)

9 It's always nice to have nuts and olives out when the bar is in use. (designhousestockholmusa.com)

Both of these are so lovely, i don't know which one would be better for her. (ochre.net)

10 Both of these are so lovely, i don't know which one would be better for her. (ochre.net)

She could keep pretty drink stirrers in this decorative bowl. (jaysonhomeandgarden.com)

11 She could keep pretty drink stirrers in this decorative bowl. (jaysonhomeandgarden.com)

The mix of rope and silver is so clever. (hausinterior.com)

12 The mix of rope and silver is so clever. (hausinterior.com)

Votives are a must for any bar. (jaysonhomeandgarden.com)

13 Votives are a must for any bar. (jaysonhomeandgarden.com)

A beautiful matchbox is a great way to add a little personality to any bar. (iammoi.com)

14 A beautiful matchbox is a great way to add a little personality to any bar. (iammoi.com)

What a chic bottle opener in brass! (lekkerhome.com)

15 What a chic bottle opener in brass! (lekkerhome.com)

Some cocktails call for sugar, wouldn't this be perfect? (merchant4.com)

16 Some cocktails call for sugar, wouldn't this be perfect? (merchant4.com)

This pretty decorative plate will add some romance to Kerstin's bar. (gretelhome.com)

17 This pretty decorative plate will add some romance to Kerstin's bar. (gretelhome.com)

The mix of old and new is always good.  These absinthe spoons add a touch of eclecticism. (jaysonhomeandgarden.com)

18 The mix of old and new is always good. These absinthe spoons add a touch of eclecticism. (jaysonhomeandgarden.com)

Paper cocktail napkins are always good to have on hand, especially if they look like these. (celebrationsensations.net)

19 Paper cocktail napkins are always good to have on hand, especially if they look like these. (celebrationsensations.net)

It's always nice to sprinkle in a few showstoppers, these glasses do the trick. (michaeljschunke.com)

20 It's always nice to sprinkle in a few showstoppers, these glasses do the trick. (michaeljschunke.com)

Do you have a specific decorating challenge? Send it to us at Home Design. We may be "dropping by" for a house call. Email your dilemma to homedesign2@marthastewart.com.

You May Also Like:

You May Also Like:

Comments (4)

  • That's a pretty small bar area - where will she store her cookbooks if she uses all of the above suggestions? That's the problem I have - I move things around and then have no place for the things I take out. I would just display one or two nice things on each shelf and get a portable bar. I don't think small shelves look good if too crowded. I would love to see how she redoes it.

  • I agree with you in the solutions for this built-in bar. Love the accessories you posted.

  • Kevin, Can we see the finished bar or did she change her mind? I have a similar situation, my china cabinet needs help. I have so much nice stuff I hate to put any of it away. It is crowded. Need some ideas.
    Sultana Deanna

  • Author Comment:

    Hi,

    We will be posting the redone bar very soon. So stay tuned.

    Cheers!

    Home Design

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.