One surefire way to make your next holiday do feel special is to create a bar area. Whether you’re using a pretty cart, stealing space on a tabletop or clearing off the top of your sideboard, this is the perfect opportunity to up the glam factor — and to show off all the special barware you don’t get to use daily.
In small spaces, make the most of your existing furniture set-up — clear off the top of a side table and use it for a mini-bar, as in this eclectic living room where a single tray shares space with a cool table lamp and a small-scale floral arrangement.
Photographer: Monic Richard
Source: House & Home November 2012 issue
Designer: Nicola Marc
Don’t worry too much about matching; a selection of vintage decanters feels collected, while gorgeous glassware with a metallic pattern acts as a uniting force. A mixed metal motif picks up on the brass frame of the vintage bar cart, making for a glam vignette.
Photographer: Donna Griffith
Source: House & Home December 2013 issue
Designer: Margot Austin
If you have the space, set up a bar table behind your sofa so guests can help themselves without impeding flow. At this luxe party, a mod white Parsons table pops against the graphic wall treatment, turning the bar into a fun focal point.
Photographer: Michael Alberstat
Source: House & Home December 2012 issue
If you’re short on space, consider setting up a mini bar on a set of nesting tables. A single bottle of bubbly and some pretty glassware is a pared-back take on a fully stocked set-up, but you could spread a wider selection over all three tables.
Photographer: Alex Lukey
Source: House & Home December 2014 issue
Designer: Joel Bray
In open-concept spaces, a console table that separates zones is the perfect bar. Use vintage silver trays to keep things organized — wrangle liquor on a larger one, while a smaller version can hold glassware. Set out pitchers of juice and club soda, and maybe even a zester and lemons and limes for garnishes.
Photographer: Angus Fergusson
Source: House & Home December 2010 issue
Designer: Kate Thornley-Hall
In this neutral living room, visual interest comes from the contrast between a raw wood sideboard and an all-silver bar set-up. Placing the tray slightly off-centre leaves space for guests to set down their glasses when mixing drinks, minimizing the potential for spills.
Photographer: Janet Kimber
Source: House & Home November 2010 issue
Designer: Cameron MacNeil
Against this deep red wall, a super-simple console table with tripod legs feels modern despite its rustic wood top. A vintage ice bucket is the perfect spot to stash bubbly and white wine, while the reds are displayed on a small silver tray. Arrange glassware close by so guests can serve themselves.
Photographer: John Cullen
Source: House & Home December 2009
For a more rustic look, add small bites on mix-and-match serving plates and chill wine in an antique-look jug. Consider whipping up a punch bowl full of a signature drink, like a robust, ruby red sangria.
Photographer: John Cullen
Source: House & Home December 2011 issue
Designer: Morgan Michener and Sarah Hartill
A large-scale sideboard makes a great bar. The collection of glass decanters feels glam, and picks up on the pretty crystal knobs, while a spacious cabinet is the perfect place to store extra bottles, glassware and other accessories.
Get more holiday decorating ideas.
Photographer: Michael Graydon
Source: House and Home November 2010 issue