How To Choose Bars & Bar Sets

Bars & bar sets create excellent entertainment areas and they add to a home’s comfortable atmosphere. Here are the steps on how to choose the best piece based on your needs and requirements.

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How to select the right size bar set?

Before you take a close look at various bar sets available and making a choice on what to purchase, you first need to think about the space or ‘footprint’ that your bar furniture will take up. That includes the table and chairs.

  • Measure carefully the outdoor space, then use tape to mark the size of the bar furniture that is ideal for your space.

  • Make similar templates for your chairs, so you’ll see how the furniture set will interact with your space.

  • You would want space between and around the chairs that will allow people to move around easily.

  • For outdoor bars, make sure you have enough space for the storage of the bar set if you won’t be keeping it outdoors all year-round.

What is the best material for the construction of a bar set?

Bars and bar sets are currently available in various materials – hardwoods like teak and oak, softwoods like pine, HDPE lumber, aluminum, and wicker are all available.

Take into account the following factors if you want to choose the right material(s): maintenance, durability, appearance, comfort, surfaces (how well the surfaces can resist foods and drinks), weight, comfort, and price.

  • Softwood

Softwoods are inexpensive as they're abundant in supply, but they don't weather well. They also don't resist spills.

Pine Solid Manufactured Wood Bar Cabinet
Antique Pine Solid Wood Wine Cabinet
Fir Brown Bar With Wine Storage
Solid Manufactured Wood Natural Pine Bar Cabinet
Rustic Brown Pine Bar With Wine Storage
Solid Manufactured Wood Pine Brown Gray Bar Cabinet
  • Hardwood

As for hardwood, it’s durable and resilient, but requires protection and varnishing to stay outside.

Black Vintage Walnut Bar With Wine Storage
Dark Walnut Bar With Wine Storage
Black Solid Wood Poplar Bar Cabinet
Manufactured Wood Distressed Walnut Bar With Wine Storage
Manufactured Wood Birch Brown Dark Bar Cabinet
Solid Manufactured Wood Brown Oak Poplar Bar Cabinet
  • Wicker

Wicker is light and beautiful with its texture, but it is not durable for outdoor use.

Curved Wicker Rattan Home Bar
Brown Metal Wicker Rattan Bar Set
Multi Brown Aluminum And Resin Wicker Bar Cart
Plastic Acrylic Wicker Rattan Counter Stool
Metal Wicker Floor Wine Bottle Rack
Beige Red Wicker Rattan Counter Stool
  • Aluminum

Aluminum, on the other hand, is easy to maintain, resilient, and tough. Its only downside is its vulnerability to wind from its lightweight construction.

Black Manufactured Wood Aluminum Mini Bar
Round Aluminum Metal Counter Stool
Silver Metal Aluminum Tabletop Wine Bottle Rack
Low Back Square Counter Stool
Silver Chrome Floor Wine Rack
Silver China Pedestal Pub Table
  • HDPE Lumber

Consider HDPE lumber if you want a material that only needs water and dish soap for its maintenance. It also comes in various colors.

HDPE lumber is a favorite among homeowners as it makes home bars comfortable, luxurious, and stylish with a strong, high quality, and sturdy construction. The material is also manufactured to last an entire lifetime.

White HDPE Plastic Acrylic Portable Bar
Red Low Back Counter Stool
Black Round Folding Counter Height Bistro Set
White Laminate Foldable Home Bar
Black Easy To Clean Bar Set

What is the right style of bar for your home?

The style of bar you choose for your home should blend naturally with the décor of the room. Whether you build a bar extension in your kitchen or create a full bar in your den, man cave, or basement, the bar should follow lines of the room and be kept to scale so as not to overwhelm the space. There are four broad styles of bar to choose from:

The Back Bar

The back bar is what typically comes to mind when you imagine a traditional style bar. It is basically divided into three sections. The first is the bar surface with refrigeration and storage underneath, the next is an open area, and the final section is typically a tall storage area for bottles.

Back style bars are best suited to homes with a dedicated area or room for entertainment. Opt for dark wood finishes for the bar surface and stained-glass storage doors for a traditional look. You can also keep the bar modern and sleek with a marble bar top and stainless-steel storage.

The Straight Bar

A straight bar consists of a bar surface with storage underneath for beverages, snacks, and a refrigerator. The bar top extends out for a wide drinking surface and to allow for adequate legroom for guests.

A straight bar is ideally suited to kitchen and outdoor entertainment areas, as it can be easily incorporated into the layout, and can provide a valuable food prep surface and dining area.

The L-Shape

The L-shape bar has a curved or angled bar top in the shape of the letter L. The shorter side is usually a wet area for washing, with the elongated side used for storage. The protruding bar top extends along the sides to accommodate a large number of guests.

An L-shape bar is a flexible option that can be incorporated into a wide variety of rooms. Despite the seemingly large footprint, L-shaped bars can be a compact option for a room corner that allows for maximum seating in minimal space.

The Corner Bar

When you have limited space, the corner bar is the perfect option for storing and serving your favorite drinks. The design often consists of a narrow cabinet down the bottom for a mini-fridge and open surface for drink preparation and a tall series of shelves for bottle storage.

Look for a corner bar that compliments the other storage units in the room or matches the accent pieces. If you have a mid-century modern living area, choose a corner bar with a rosewood finish and tapered legs. Country style entertainment areas benefit from bars made with distressed wood and with ornately turned wood legs.

Solid Manufactured Wood Gray Bar Set
Wood Oak Brown Home Bar
Brown Solid Wood Home Bar
Bronze Faux Marble Bar Set
Gray Solid Manufactured Wood Home Bar
Black Solid Manufactured Wood Bar Set
Glass Poplar Solid Manufactured Wood Corner Bar With Wine Storage
Antique Walnut Solid Wood L Shape Home Bar
Marble Solid Manufactured Wood Straight Home Bar With Wine Storage
Brown Glass Metal Wood Curved Home Bar

What is the right type of bar storage?

The best storage for your bar depends on the size of the bar and a variety of beverages you plan to serve.

Closed cabinets offer protection for valuable, high-end spirits and liqueurs. However, some bottles and bar equipment are beautiful accent pieces and deserve to be displayed, in which case open shelving with mirror backing will show them in their best light.

For chilled beverages such as beers and mixers, you need a fridge. Mini fridges and under-counter fridges are a great option as they can be easily hidden from view to avoid spoiling the aesthetic of your bar.

For wine storage, consider a temperature-controlled display case that keeps red and white wines at the perfect temperature for serving. Remember that wine bottles should be stored sideways so that wine can touch the cork.

Ebony Laminate Wood Bar With Wine Storage
Black Glass Metal Home Liquor Bar
Metal Chrome Glass Mini Cabinet Bar
Wood Stained And Lacquered Bar With Foot Rail
Espresso Solid Manufactured Wood Home Bar Table With Wine Storage
Natural Solid Wood Metal Glass Top Wine Barrel Bar Set

What type of bar stools should you select for your bar?

The real challenge when buying a bar set is deciding on one that comes with the right type and height of bar stools. In addition to form, function, and style, the main thing that you would want to explore is the height.

Here is how you can determine the correct one:

  • The height of bar stools is typically around 28 to 33” high. The chairs work best paired with a bar height table, which is between 40 to 42”.

  • A set of counter height stools has chairs that are 24 to 27 inches tall. The chairs work best with a counter height table – generally 34 to 36” high.

  • You're going to need at least 9 inches and a maximum of 13 inches from a stool’s seat to a table’s underside.

  • If you have chairs with arms, make sure that they fit with your table.

  • Choose bar stools with footrests, so the legs of the users don’t get tired.

  • Leave at least two feet in between the chairs for people to be able to move easily.

You probably do not want your counter chairs combined with bar tables. That won’t just look a bit odd, but the disparity in terms of size also means that the furniture won’t be comfortable to use. That is why most homeowners choose bar sets compared to buying the bar and chairs separately.

Metal Low Back Patio Bar Stool
Full Back Metal Patio Bar Stool With Cushions
Square Silver Metal Counter Stool
Metal Aluminum Patio Bar Stool With Cushion