How to Choose the Right Wet Bar for Your Basement


A wet bar is often the centerpiece of a basement. It can establish your space as a cozy corner bar or a luxurious hotel. But before you turn your basement into the set from Cheers, there are several factors, both practical and aesthetic, to consider.

What do you plan to use it for?
This seems like an obvious question, but a lot of homeowners don’t have an answer. Are you looking for a place to host parties, a playroom for your kids, a second living room? If you’re the cool person at work, and you want to host big get-togethers, you might want to go all out with a big island wet bar with a big fridge and wine storage. If you just want a downstairs area to watch movies with the kids, a small dry bar against the wall may be enough. In that case, you probably just need a place to store food and prepare snacks and drinks. 

If you’re into wine, a wet bar can be a good place store and show off your collection. Wine storage can be an opportunity to add a design element and make your wet bar feel more substantial.

Wet bar vs. Dry Bar
The difference between a wet bar and a dry bar is exactly what it sounds like. A wet bar has a sink with running water, a feature that’s handy if you host parties, make food, or stock a full cocktail bar. If you don’t see the need to do dishes or use water from a tap, you might as well save the money and time spent on plumbing.

It’s a matter of space
Beyond the use of your basement, you have to think about space. Many people want long, restaurant-style bars. They look great, but they’re going to take up a lot of room. It’s also, more surface area to clean and maintain. Maybe that’s fine with you and your situation, but it’s a factor that’s often overlooked. Even if your basement is large, there’s no need to take away from your living space if you don’t need to.

Above the bar, we often install floating cabinets. This is a great place to store small appliances, liquor bottles, and stuff you don’t want your kids getting into.

A space to show off
This article is about thinking practically, but feel free to go all out. For some homeowners, a basement wet bar is a statement as much as it is a place to hang out and have drinks. We can do high-end marble countertops or gorgeous dark wood. We can install full farm sinks, ample wine storage, modern fixtures, and large cabinets for storage.

Materials set the tone
Regardless of whether you want something small or a statement piece, materials establish the tone of the room. The aforementioned dark wood will can give off a country club or mancave vibe, while light-colored marble can give the impression of a high-end resort. Faucets and fixtures can be a fairly inexpensive way to show off your design tastes. Brass (brushed, not shiny ’90s style) can be a fun way to make a statement. 

And of course, there’s cabinets. It’s often the first thing people think about. Light or dark? Painted or stained? Glass doors or all wood? Of course the look is important, but don’t forget about usage. Below the bar itself, you’re probably going to want space for a small fridge, drawers for silverware, etc. This is also a chance to install floating cabinets with your needs in mind, not something made by the previous homeowner.

When you’re ready to remodel your basement and you live in the Kansas City area, download our design guide and schedule your free estimate. We’ll help you make the perfect basement (and wet bar) for you and your family.

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