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What Makes a Great Bar Cabinet?

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Would you be surprised to learn that more than half of all Americans would rather spend an evening at home? It’s true! Research conducted by Mintel and published by Refinery29 revealed that 55 percent would rather savor a drink at home than in a bar or nightclub, with 28 percent of younger Millennials admitting it’s just too much trouble to go out. Whether you love cozy evenings at home sharing a bottle of wine with a special someone or elegant parties with classic cocktails, it’s easy to understand why more people than ever are interested in setting up a home bar. If you’d like to create your own bar at home, learn more about what makes a great bar cabinet with tips on choosing the right furnishings for your needs.

Bar Cabinet Must-Have #1: Dedicated Wine Bottle Storage

While some wine, especially whites, should be chilled, many reds are best enjoyed at room temperature. You might dream of a dedicated wine cellar where all your favorite vintages age to perfection, but a bar cabinet with dedicated bottle storage offers the next best thing. Even better, you can keep it wherever proves most convenient, whether that’s tucked into the living room or near your dining room table.

To see what we mean, check out the Geralynn Bar Cabinet. The open-front storage area on one side offers X-shaped storage for up to 12 bottles, with racks for hanging stemware above it making your wine and glasses part of the décor itself. The other side features a cabinet with a textured glass door for a touch of style. The two adjustable shelves inside offer customizable storage that lets you stow away bar tools and wine essentials for easy access. Thanks to its industrial styling, the Geralynn cabinet brings a trendy, downtown loft-inspired look to your décor, and the top offers plenty of space for decorative accents when you’re not ready to open up a few bottles.

An industrial chic bar cabinet with textured glass, metal accents, nail head details and hanging stemware storage.
A bar cabinet with textured glass and nailhead details is functional and fashionable.

Bar Cabinet Must-Have #2: A Stemware Rack

When enjoying a glass of wine by the fire, why run back and forth to the kitchen for supplies? Built-in stemware racks provide convenient storage for glassware without crowding the top of your bar cabinet and letting dust settle. They also help avoid breakage, since glasses are held securely inside where they are less likely to get knocked over.

The Geralynn cabinet above offers built-in stemware storage, but for a solution with a more summery style, try the Whitmore Bar Cabinet with Wine Storage. Gleaming mirrored doors conceal a stemware rack that lets you easily slide glasses into place. Plus, there’s space for wine bottles and cubbies to keep other necessities organized as well. Thanks to a sleek tempered-glass top, cleanup is quick and easy, and there’s no need to worry about damage caused by water rings and condensation from bottles.

A bar cabinet with mirrored doors with geometric wood-tone mullions and a glass top.
Functional storage and glam style come together in this bar cabinet with glass top.

Bar Cabinet Must-Have #3: A Water-Resistant Work Surface

Spills happen – it’s a fact of life. With wine and spirits, however, those dark liquids can permeate many surfaces, creating tough stains that may never come out. And while function might be the primary goal for your bar cabinet, it should look great too, no matter how many little accidents happen along the way. One way to avoid mess and stress is to choose a water-resistant worksurface that won’t soak up stains. And one that can be cleaned with just a pass of a damp cloth.

The Jahn Accent Cabinet fits the bill and then some while offering more than meets the eye. Grab the sleek brass handle, and you’ll find a concealed workspace with a water-resistant finish for quick and easy cleaning. The Jahn also comes with an optional X-style bottle holder for up to 12 bottles. Plus, it has two spacious shelves to keep all your servingware and wine supplies neatly organized and close at hand. Fans of mid-century modern design will also love this cabinet’s distinctive wood-finish legs, sophisticated hardware, and classic shape.

A black mid-century style bar cabinet with tapered legs and a table lamp on top.
This mid-century style bar cabinet offers storage, a water-resistant workspace, and loads of style.

What Else Should I Know?

Like all accent furniture, bar cabinets are meant to complement your décor. With so many stylish designs available, it’s simple to find one that blends well with existing furnishings. It’s also easy to find one that takes center stage with a bright, vibrant hue or distinctive styling. A few other things to keep in mind as you browse options include:

  • Remember that multi-functional furniture can serve as more than just a bar cabinet. A larger piece like a sideboard with wine storage could make a great buffet for family and holiday dinners. But it can also work as a bar station where guests can make drinks at cocktail parties.
A white modern farmhouse style sideboard with sliding doors and wine storage in a room with weathered paneling and an oversized clock.
A sideboard with wine bottle storage can serve more than one purpose in your home.
  • A bar cabinet should make hosting at home simpler. Place yours out of the natural flow of traffic if you’ll be using it primarily for parties and get-togethers. Or put it near your favorite sitting area if you’re more interested in casual nights at home.

Columbia, South Carolina-based interior designer, Christy Davis, emphasizes the need to consider how your home furnishings will have an impact on entertaining.

“When I’m designing a space for entertaining, I always like to have a designated space for food and for drinks, as well as a space to gather, making sure that there’s a good flow for the people to walk around and also sit and have a conversation,” Davis says.

  • You don’t necessarily need to keep all your wine or spirits in the bar cabinet. Consider your cabinet supplementary storage. Rather than looking for one that will accommodate your full collection, choose a size that is just right for keeping a few choice bottles within easy reach.

Find Yours Today

If you’re among the 55 percent who would rather stay at home, a bar cabinet makes a great upgrade for your living room, dining room or entertaining area. To learn more about bar cabinets and decorating with accent furniture, visit our blog, Ideas and Inspiration, today. You can even sign up for our newsletter to get regular doses of style inspiration.