How to Turn Your Living Room Into a Bar

For some people, the living room often sits dormant, with the family spending time in their individual bedrooms, kitchens or rec rooms. If that’s the case, then why not turn that unused space into something a bit more useful, such as a bar or lounge? Because of it’s location in most homes, it’s the living room that can create the perfect home bar. Living rooms often come with large picture windows, have a good amount of square footage allotted to them, and are often the room chosen to entertain guests. The purpose of this article is to stimulate your senses to the point that you’re not just taking a room and turning it into a dining room with some bar stools. No, we want to entice you to dig a bit deeper into your creative treasure chest, and come up with something totally unique, totally you.

First Things First – Get a Design Plan

Now that you’ve decided to take that living area of yours, and turn it into something fun for you and yours, it’s time to get serious when considering your layout. For instance, do you have a certain era in mind, or perhaps you’re more into creating a lounge than a bar? Perhaps you took a trip to the United Kingdom and fell in love with old English pubs, or you’re eager to re-create a bar from the Old West. What if a certain bar scene from a film, such as The Shining, is your cup of tea? If that’s the case, there’s nothing stopping you from creating that very same thing in your home. In short, just by doing a quick search for “famous bars in history” you can come up with more than enough imagery for instant inspiration. Once you get that settled, then it’s time to grab a cup of coffee, sit down with a pad of paper and begin putting together your living room bar.

Create a Vision Board

If you’re still grasping for inspiration, remember it doesn’t hurt to make yourself a vision board for your living room bar. Here, you’ll take imagery from your favorite bar designs, and lay them out on a vision board. Place the board near the area where you’ll be designing your new bar. It may sound silly to some, but vision boards are widely used for inspiration in a variety of fields, and with great success.

A Room or an Entire Rebuild?

Before we get started on the basics, If the thought of having an authentic bar right in your home entices you, but you’re still sitting on the fence, searching for inspiration, then have we got something to show you. The previous owner of a Maryland estate decided to build an entire town in his basement, which included cobblestone streets and 15 storefronts, some with fleshed out interiors. While this is obviously a bit excessive for your living room bar, it does raise the question as to whether you simply wish to redecorate your living room with bar furnishings and accessories, or go for a complete renovation, creating an actual ‘bar’ inside the home.

Interior Design Programs

If you really want to make your new in-house bar rock, then perhaps a professional interior designer is in order. However, what if you can’t afford one, what do you do? Well, that’s easy, simply download a good interior design program! By downloading one of these programs, you’ll find that it’s an easy way to be your very own, interior designer. To give you an idea, take a peek at Architizer, a program designed to take that image of the perfect bar from your head and bring it into the real world, where you are free to make alterations, additions, and deletions all with a click of the mouse.

Choose Your Furnishings

If you’re looking to create a living room bar or lounge area that has a unique and personal feel, you need to look for furnishings that help to create that certain ‘aura’ or vibe. If you don’t, then you risk creating nothing more than a dining room with beer bottles. To achieve a unique atmosphere, begin by forgoing the standard department store furnishings, and instead head for places like Fort Pitt. Fort Pitt sells high quality, used hotel furniture and for a very cheap price. Chances are, you may find pieces that suit your decor that actually look as if they were made for a bar, instead of a dining room. Establishments like Food Truck Empire are also great places to find authentic, used bar stools and booths.

Gather Together the Perfect Accessories

Now comes the fun part, where you spend some time gathering the perfect accessories that suit your bar design. For instance, if you’re set on recreating an old English pub, then the walls will be covered with framed pictures, along with an authentic, English dart board. If you’re looking to recreate a pool hall bar from the 1950’s, then you’ll need a pool table and juke box. For the younger set, don’t forget to add a soda vending machine or two. Whatever the flavor you wish to create, we guarantee you’ll find plenty of accessories online. If you don’t find exactly what you need, you can find artisans on sites like Etsy, who will build it for you.

Stock Your Bar

Once you’ve got a handle on the remodel, it’s time to think of what beverages to include. Of course you’ll be stocking it with your favorites, but what about your guests? Consider a wide variety of spirits in order to keep people happy. If you’re solely into creating your own craft beer, then perhaps consider a refrigerated case where you can show off your brews. Another thing to consider is an old fashioned soda fountain for the younger guests.

Where’s the Music?

As previously mentioned, a juke box is a fabulous addition to any bar design, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. What if you’re into re-imagining a disco bar from the 1980’s? Well, if that’s the case you’ll definitely need a disco ball and some lighting effects that meet the beat of the music, and if you’ve the space think about adding a stylish, portable dance floor. Depending on the size of your living room bar, you could also consider adding a piano, or a small stage area for a small music group to perform, especially if any friends or relations are into music and have their own bands.


When it comes to creating the perfect atmosphere for your living room bar, it’s the lighting that can make or break the deal. Improper lighting can take the perfect design, and basically rip it to shreds the moment the lights turn on. Take a look at some images of your favorite bars. Notice how the lighting brings it all together, how it’s used to create an atmosphere as well as guide the guests eyes to certain areas of the bar. Lighting suggestions include track lighting, pendant lights, wall sconces, chandeliers, string lights, stained glass pool table lights, and ambient lighting.

Neon Signs

You’re done! You did it, you created a fabulous bar using your living room space. But, don’t stop now, because you’re not finished yet. To christen your new bar, one must add at least one neon sign. You could have more, and we encourage it, but for now, one’s enough to get you started. You can purchase a neon sign already made, or you can have an artist create one for you.

Final Thoughts

Creating a unique, home living room bar is a creative way to use up space that doesn’t see much day to day use. Living room bars offer the home owner a way to show off their creativity, and are especially useful for anyone who enjoys entertaining. When designing your living room bar, you can go from minimal, adding just a liquor cabinet, basic bar and a few stools, to a complete renovation, where you actually transform your living room into an actual bar. We hope our article on how to create a living room bar helped you, and set you on the path of creating your very own in-home bar.

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