Raising the bar

Raising the bar

The style of your home bar must take into account personal tastes as well as aesthetics of the immediate surroundings so as to get the right blend. You may use wooden or metallic furniture, depending on your needs, suggests Natasha Menezes.

A bar is a specific area in your home that is designated to serve drinks. It also serves as a nook to gather around with friends and family over a certain celebration or for pure entertainment and leisure.

Incorporating a home bar can also help you organise a room more efficiently and can make good use of an empty space in a room. Ready-made home bars are available for multiple purposes, including wine storage, glass storage as well as stocking mixers, alcohol and bar accessories. They also come in varied shapes, sizes and styles to suit one’s need.

Also, a bar can be customised in different ways to suit different purposes or functions. “Building a home bar to suit one’s needs and space is not difficult at all”, explains Poonaam Amla and daughter Parul Amla, founders of a New Delhi-based interior designing firm.

“There are two key elements to a home bar set-up — bar counter and bar stools”, says Parul. “But, you first need to consider the amount of space you have in your home. Depending on the available space and number of guests, you will be able to decipher an appropriate bar size and number of stools required”, she adds.


Before you get your bar ready, you need to consider the following:

*Each stool requires a 21 to 24 inch counter space.

*Stools that are 16 to 18 inches wide require 21 to 22 inches of counter space.

*Stools that are 19 to 22 inches wide require 24 to 25 inches of counter space.

*Your bar must ideally accommodate bottles, glasses, mixers, beer taps, wine displays, kegs, a mini refrigerator or an ice chest. Bar accessories like shakers, bar spoons, blenders, stirrers, knives and boards must also be accounted for within this space.

The persons sitting at the bar, the bartender and those who pass by the bar area need to move freely without getting trapped. Hence allow for enough space on all sides of the counter.


The style of the bar must take into account personal tastes as well as aesthetics of the surrounding area so as to get the right blend. You may use wooden or metallic furniture, depending on your needs. If you have an entire room, designing becomes easy. However if you must use your room for multiple purposes like living, dining, cooking etc you must make sure that the bar furniture will fit well with the rest of the furniture in the room.


Your bar layout, whether rectangular or circular, will determine your bar furniture. A simple counter style bar requires a long rectangular top, whereas for easy access, you may opt for a circular top, open from one or more sides.

Bar counters

Poonaam Amla suggests counter materials like stainless steel, corian, ceramic and granite counters in that order. She adds, “Stainless steel gives a modern look, is durable, heat and scratch resistant, which makes it the most preferred bar counter option”.

Corian, on the other hand, is smooth and rich, comes in various colours and styles but is slightly expensive. According to Parul, “Corian is more suited for restaurants due to its appeal and long lasting nature”.

Ceramic counters are inexpensive, provide extreme customisation and are attractive but they are not suitable for heavy duty use.

Granite bars come in intricate deigns, colours and patters but tend to be expensive — a single square foot costing between Rs 100-750.

The most common bar tops are 42 inches in height, which is both ergonomic and optimum for a sitting or standing person. It is a comfortable height to lean against and is well within the reach of a standing person so that he can keep his plates and glasses comfortably on the platform. In other words, this height is good for the bartender who is standing as well as the persons who are sitting down to drink across the counter.

Bar stools

Bar stools add comfort and luxury along with being practical. Also, they are space savers. They are especially handy for smaller spaces and are available in ranges from country to classic. A swivel bar stool is the most popular stool that emphasises both decor comfort and 360 degree rotation.

Backless bar stool offers comfort as well as serves as a great investment for a small room since it can be easily stacked up. Stationary bar stools offer sophistication and stability and can also be stored underneath the bar counter.

Leather bar stools add style, comfort and luxury to the room. College bar stools are best suited for bachelors as they come in varied themes and colours. Wicker bar stools are decorative and can be made of wood, aluminium, brass or bamboo. They are also all weather-proof.

Cushioning is usually provided by polyurethane foam, although other materials can also be used.

Bar stools are of two main sizes, 18 inches high for low seating and 26 to 31 inches high for standard seating.

Adjustable bar stools add convenience, especially if a room has space constraints. When the height and back is adjustable, it becomes a great value on investment. The purpose is to draw maximum utility out of the stool to suit different situations and gatherings of people.

Last but not the least, follow the general thumb rule that bar stools must be 9 to 12 inches lower than the bar top.