You don’t have to give up the bar life just because you’re not going out. Home bars are an incredibly popular way to entertain in the privacy of your own house and lower the risk of drunk driving, along with being a classy way to turn your basement into a happening spot for social gatherings. Here’s an insider secret if that sounds like a daunting renovation: you have access to a lot of the same furniture your local pub or brewery does, thanks to the internet. You can’t replicate the feel of your favorite seat or the strangers you used to drink with, but you can re-create the ambiance of a good time through bar lighting.
Lighting creates the mood of a room and is a valuable tool, so it shouldn’t be an afterthought when designing your home bar. Plan ahead for your existing outlets and hookups and see if you need to add any, which will be a much more costly renovation if you design your lighting setup last. Once you’ve allotted the necessary amount of space for your bar lights, decide what kind of bar you want to convey to your guests. You could be aspiring to make an upscale hotel bar, your favorite hole in the wall, or somewhere in-between, and those all require different lights to make that look work.
As for types of bar lighting to choose from, there is really no wrong way to go. From pendants to recessed lights, exposed bulbs or funky lamps, you can make it fit your bar’s theme with a little creative thinking. Don’t get hung up on what type of lighting to use, but rather focus on what it’ll bring to your home bar look. Just like with any other room in the house, you want less obtrusive lighting structures for small spaces to open them up more, and more eye-grabbing ones for large spaces to make them less empty.
Color and Saturation
Bars care a lot about creating a specific mood, so you can experiment with color more so than you can with the rest of the house. Try invoking deep oranges and reds for a cozy, warm and welcome feeling, or blues and purples for a cool, artistic and modern one. My favorite way to make a home bar feel more natural and personalize the space is with neon lights. Find a neon sign of one of your favorite beer brands or a customized one of your home bar’s name, and have it double as both wall art and lighting.
Brightness and Layering
Layer your lights to avoid any one spot being too dim or too bright. Different types of bulbs emit different amounts of light, and that should factor in your choice as much as the lighting structure itself. A very bright bulb, while effective for retail environments, is the greatest way to make your home bar both uncomfortable and give you a headache unless you blunt it with an effective lampshade. While you don’t want it too bright, make sure that your bar is still visually functional and that all areas you want people to sit are bright enough to read in.
Highlighting the Details
Once you’ve taken care of the necessities, use the rest of your bar lighting to highlight your favorite parts of the bar, usually the glassy liquor selection or the well-crafted and glossy bar table. Back lighting or frame lighting works well here to add allure to your bar shelves, or you can run a strip of LED tube lights underneath the bar counter to provide a little extra kick to your design.
Through careful consideration and catalog browsing, you can bring your favorite bar home with you and make it better with your own flair through the use of smart lighting.