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Creative and Affordable Dry Bar Ideas for the Home

Dry bars; otherwise known as a designated space for a coffee bar or drink bar. They are a popular addition to many homes and can be a fairly easy DIY project if you don’t have one.  Designed to be compact and efficient, dry bars can be incorporated into a variety of spaces, from kitchens and dining rooms to living areas and home theaters. Let me show you a handful of dry bar ideas for your home!

Let’s first discuss the difference between a dry bar vs. a wet bar.

dry bar with ice maker

Wet Bar vs. Dry Bar

A dry bar is a type of bar that does not have a sink or running water, and is primarily used for serving alcoholic beverages. It may have a small refrigerator, shelves for storing glasses and bottles, and a countertop for mixing drinks. A wet bar, on the other hand, has a sink and running water, and is designed for mixing drinks and cleaning up afterwards. It may also have a dishwasher, ice maker, and other appliances for making cocktails. Wet bars are typically found in homes and other residential settings, while dry bars are more commonly found in restaurants, hotels, and other commercial establishments.

In this post, we will be talking solely about dry bars.

Choosing the Right Location

There are a few things to think about when choosing the location for your dry bar:

  • Accessibility: You want your dry bar to be easily accessible to both you and your guests. Consider placing it in a central location in your home, such as the living room or dining room.
  • Functionality: Your dry bar should be located in an area that is functional for its intended purpose. Make sure there is enough space for all the necessary equipment and supplies, as well as enough counter space for mixing drinks.
  • Aesthetics: Your dry bar should blend in seamlessly with the rest of your home decor. Consider choosing a location that complements the style and color scheme of the surrounding area.
  • Traffic flow: You want to avoid placing your dry bar in an area with heavy foot traffic. This can disrupt the flow of your home and make it difficult for guests to move around freely.

I knew before we moved into our rustic beach cottage that I wanted to create a DIY dry bar on the bare wall across from the kitchen for three reasons;

  1. I wanted to create more counter space
  2. I wanted to create a dedicated area for drinks including a drink fridge
  3. I wanted to move the existing fridge over to the wall across from the kitchen to make more storage space in the kitchen

Below is a picture of the space before the DIY dry bar.

rustic beach cottage kitchen before dry bar

Here it is after the DIY beverage bar was installed. It’s been such an awesome functional addition in our home!

DIY beverage bar

Disclosure; this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This does not affect the price you pay. This disclosure statement refers to the rest of the Amazon links in this post.

I was given the ice maker below in exchange for a mention in this post.

Essential Dry Bar Equipment

To create the perfect home bar design, there are a few essential pieces of equipment that you’ll need. These items will not only make your bar look professional, but they’ll also make your life easier when it comes to preparing and serving drinks.

Countertop Ice Maker

This is a great option for avid drink makers. This particular countertop ice maker is affordable yet high quality and doesn’t take up much space. After all, what is a good drink without cold ice right? Make sure to include an ice maker in your plan of dry bar equipment. The company for this particular ice maker is providing me with a 25% off code for my readers for a limited time: KSRAU.


One of the most important aspects of any dry bar is having the right glassware. Make sure you have a variety of glasses on hand, including highball glasses, rocks glasses, martini glasses, and wine glasses. Consider investing in high-quality glassware that will last for years to come.

Shakers and Strainers

Shakers and strainers are essential tools for any home bartender. A good cocktail shaker will allow you to mix drinks quickly and efficiently, while a strainer will ensure that your drinks are free of any unwanted ice or pulp.

Jiggers and Pourers

Jiggers and pourers are essential for accurate measurements when making cocktails. Jiggers are small measuring cups that come in a variety of sizes, while pourers fit onto the top of liquor bottles and allow for easy pouring.

Cutting Board and Knife

A cutting board and knife are essential for preparing garnishes and fruits for your cocktails. Make sure you have a sturdy cutting board and a sharp knife on hand.

Bar Spoon and Muddler

A bar spoon and muddler are essential tools for making cocktails that require stirring or muddling. A good bar spoon will allow you to stir drinks quickly and efficiently, while a muddler is perfect for crushing herbs and fruits.

Beverage fridge

No drink space is complete without a cool place to keep drinks. Make sure to add a space for a drink fridge when planning your dry bar space.

Wine Rack

A wine rack is a great idea for those who love to drink wine. You can buy a wine rack that sits on the counter or if you don’t have counter space, consider a wall mounted wine rack. 

Bottle Openers

What drink space is complete without a bottle opener? Make sure to remember the little details that your guests will need to open their favorite beverage. 

Storage Ideas for Your Dry Bar

When it comes to designing a dry bar, storage is a crucial element. Here are some storage ideas to consider for your home bar:

Built-In Cabinet

Built-in cabinets are a popular choice for dry bars. They offer ample storage space and can be customized to fit your specific needs. Dry bar cabinets (example; a set of lower cabinets) can also create a space for a bar top, which adds more countertop space to make drinks. 

Think out of the box and even consider transforming an unused closet into a dry bar area! Check out this closet turned into dry bar below.

Source: Home Beautiful

Open Shelving

Open shelving is another popular option for dry bar storage. It allows you to display your liquor bottles, glassware, and other accessories in a stylish way. Consider using different sized shelves to create visual interest and adding decorative items to enhance the overall look.

You can see below where I added a floating shelf for our dry bar. I was even able to sneak in some hanging screws for coffee mugs as well!

DIY bar shelf idea

Hidden Storage

For those who prefer a more minimalistic look, hidden storage may be the way to go. Consider incorporating hidden cabinets or drawers into your dry bar design. This allows you to keep your supplies out of sight while still maintaining a sleek and stylish appearance.

You can see below how this homeowner made a lovely dry bar in a closet. The neat thing about this is they can close the door and tuck it away when it’s not in use.

source: Hammerschmidt Construction

Bar carts

If you don’t have the space in your home to add a permanent dry bar, consider a simple bar cart. These are moveable which allows you to add or remove the bar cart when you decide to entertain. 

You can see a handful of bar carts on Amazon, bar carts from Home Depot, bar carts from Target, bar carts from Walmart.

Decorating Your Dry Bar

When it comes to decorating your dry bar, there are a few key areas to focus on to really make it stand out.

Lighting Options

Lighting can make a huge difference in the overall ambiance of your dry bar. Consider adding a pendant light or two above the bar area to provide ample lighting for mixing drinks and entertaining guests. Alternatively, you could install recessed lighting in the ceiling to provide a more subtle, understated look.

Bar Stools Selection

Choosing the right bar stools is important for both comfort and style. Look for stools that are the right height for your bar and feature comfortable padding or backrests. Consider the overall style of your dry bar when selecting stools – for a more modern look, opt for sleek, minimalist designs, while a more traditional bar may benefit from ornate, upholstered stools.

If you are looking for budget friendly bar stools, I’ve got a post dedicated for that.

Dry Bar Ideas

Dry Bar Ideas for your Home

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I create a dry bar at home?

To create a dry bar at home, you can start by selecting a designated area for the bar. This area can be a nook, a corner, or a space in your living room. Next, decide on the style and theme of your dry bar and choose a suitable countertop material. You can then add shelves, cabinets, and a backsplash to the area. Finally, accessorize your dry bar with glassware, a cocktail shaker, and other bar tools.

What are some ideas for a modern dry bar?

For a modern dry bar, consider using clean lines and minimalist design. Use a neutral color palette with pops of color to add interest. You can also incorporate materials like glass, metal, and concrete for a sleek look. To keep it functional, add plenty of storage and lighting.

What are some built-in dry bar ideas?

Built-in dry bars can be a great addition to any home and are great for a small space. Some ideas for built-in dry bars include using a closet or pantry as the base, adding a wine fridge, and incorporating open shelving or glass-front cabinets.

What should be included in a home dry bar?

A home dry bar should have the essentials for making cocktails, including a shaker, jigger, strainer, and mixing spoon. Glassware, such as martini glasses and tumblers, is also important. Also don’t forget a wine opener, bottle opener, and ice bucket are necessary.

Does a dry bar add value to a home?

A dry bar can add value to a home, especially if it is well-designed and functional. It can be a desirable feature for homebuyers who enjoy entertaining or hosting guests.

What is the best countertop material for a dry bar?

The best countertop material for a dry bar depends on personal preference and budget. Some popular options include granite, marble, quartz, and butcher block. Since most dry bar countertops are small, consider asking a local countertop store for a remnant, as these are always much cheaper options.

Have I given you some dry bar ideas for your home? I hope so. Thanks for stopping by.

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