Welcome to the next installment in our Remodeling 101 Series: The Home Bar!
Turning your home’s basement into a dedicated space to host those holiday gatherings, birthday parties, graduation celebrations, and football games would be great, wouldn’t it? Adding a wet bar would make it even better! According to Home Advisor, depending on the size of the bar, the appliances and the countertop material, you should budget between $2,000 and $12,000 on your wet bar installation.
The good news is that homeowners can recoup about 70% of that cost. Unlike most other rooms in your home, an unfinished basement is a blank canvas – allowing you to start from scratch and design the space of your dreams. We covered the basics of a basement remodel in this blog post. Here we’ll focus on a basement remodel specifically designed for a home bar.
When designing your home bar, be sure to plan for enough space. Standard bar height is 42”. Sticking with this standard will make it easier to find bar stools. The bar itself should be 16-20” wide and the overhand on your bar top should be at least eight inches. This allows for leg and knee room, so if you can’t get exactly 8”, it’s better to go over than under. Consider incorporating molding – or a drip lip – to keep spills from dripping off the bar and onto the floor, or your guests. A foot rail is a comfortable addition; yours should be 7 – 9” off the floor. A brass railing is a great add that will give your bar a professional look, but these can get expensive. For comfort, a simple wood ledge will do.
The Back Bar
Behind the bar is where all the refreshments and snacks will be stored, mixed, stirred and served. A refrigerator with an ice maker is a must! If you’re a wine enthusiast, consider a separate wine cooler to keep your bottles at the perfect temperature. Along with the requisite sink, consider adding convenient touches such as a small microwave and dishwasher. This is also a space for getting creative with your design. Tile, reclaimed wood and stainless steel are all great backsplash options. Remember to have a professional plumber install your sink, water line and garbage disposal.
Most bar stools are 30 in. tall, which is ideal for standard bar height. Be sure to check the height of the stools you intend to buy – some run taller or shorter than this. Plan to buy enough stools to line the exterior of the bar but remember to allow for a little space between each. Two feet is the average spacing of each barstool, but that can feel crowded to grown men; the ideal spacing is 30” between each.
If there’s one thing you can plan on your guests needing when they hang out at your home bar, it’s a bathroom. If you’ve got the space and the budget, considering adding a half-bath. Before you begin, find out if your home was built above the sewer lines. Digging into the foundation of your home creates a significantly higher chance of leaks, so you’ll want to hire a professional plumber. Maplewood Plumbing and Sewer has more than 30 years of experience plumbing basements.
Overhead, task and ambient lighting are all great ideas for your home bar. Don’t forget to work plenty of outlets into your blueprint. Some newer outlets include USB outlets that make charging smart phones convenient. It’s critical that you hire a licensed, pro to handle electrical work. Angie’s Listis a great resource for finding the right contractors (Maplewood Plumbing is proud to be an Angie’s List Super Service Awardwinner since 2009!)
The Finishing Touches
Adding some homey touches to your home bar can make the new space feel extra welcoming. Some ideas:
- A big screen TV for watching the big games or binge-watching the latest Netflix shows
- A comfortable couch for napping or hanging out with friends and family
- Wall art! Frame sports jerseys, movie posters, old vinyl albums… anything that speaks to your family’s favorite hobbies.
For more tips, tricks, and insider-info on home bars, visit our website. Maplewood Plumbing & Sewer has been taking care of St. Louis’ basement plumbing needs since 1985.We have extensive experience digging out new bathrooms, installing sump pumps and water heaters, and many other basement remodeling tasks. To speak with a plumbing professional about your remodeling project or request a bid, contact us today. Have you read the other articles in our Remodeling 101 Series? Get pro tips and insights on remodeling your kitchen, master bathroom, basement, laundry room and home exterior.
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