Almost NYE & You Can’t Figure Out Where to Set Up the Bar?

The clock is ticking on 2015, your home wasn’t blessed with a built-in bar, and you need a place to set up a drink station in time to usher in 2016: What to do?

Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose. Setting up a chic home bar is as simple as using existing furniture (or objects) in a new way. See what I mean…

Take over furniture you use every day

Via Desire to Inspire

Objects that might have been on top of this sideboard have been moved either inside it or onto the adjacent chair. The behind-the-glass arrangement of books and blue-and-white chinoiserie pottery is quite fetching, and the necklaces strung on the lamps are a great party touch. If you like the look, keep it around for a while or take it back down to earth come New Year’s Day.

Via The Finishing Touch 

A console table doesn’t take up much space depthwise but with an additional shelf holds lots of drink fixings as well as some beautiful flowers to welcome guests. As with the sideboard, you can make “happy hour” your new look or take it back to its before-party state after the guests depart.

Lauren Liess

What I like about this is that the liquor takes the smaller top shelf, leaving the deeper serving area below for food. And that nifty little light makes sure guests know where to go to quench their thirst. Follow the link to see more projects by designer Lauren Liess, who’s also the author of Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating.

Desks are a study in versatility, as seen here, especially secretary-types with folding fronts: Down when the bar is open and up when it’s closed. What could be simpler?

Society Social via Confetti Style

And what self-respecting end table isn’t always ready for double duty? This one is strictly decorative on top and functional below, but the top shelf could be easily cleared for times when you need more bar space. Now you know why they’re called cocktail tables.

Raid your garage

Urban Picnic SF

Hubby doesn’t really need that rolling tool chest, does he? At least not on party night. Show him how it will dress up his man cave and I’m betting he’ll help with the conversion. I’m groovin’ on the glass globe filled with bottle caps myself!

Belle Maison

And if you’re lucky enough to have a joiner’s workbench sitting idle, it makes a sturdy and comely bar cart. Just no mixing alcohol with power tools, mind you.

Morgan Schemel


Yes, even that old bicycle hanging from your garage ceiling could be put to work as a drink station. Find a decorative box to attach over the back wheel, replace the seat with an inexpensive, adjustable-arm task light, and paint the whole thing a fun metallic.

You can even keep the hooks in your garage ceiling and store the repurposed bike away when not in use. Just don’t try to ride it again. Ouch! That seat would be sorely missed. See/read more about the Netherlands home of photographer Morgan Schemel on Design Sponge.

Don’t forget to scour the attic

Domino via SF Girl by Bay

Surely we all have one of these rolling TV carts around we mothballed because they made the flatscreen too tipsy? This one makes a great bar car with a bit of a midcentury vibe.

Rocket Century

And if midcentury is what hits your high note, why not refurbish that wood stereo cabinet you inherited from mom and dad (or grandma and grandpa)? In the 1960s, just about every middle class household had one, and sans speakers and turntable you’ll find lots of room for bottles and glasses.

Ours was a trendy “blondewood,” and I still remember the Christmas Eve before I turned five when my dad and a neighbor carried it into our house with a big red bow stuck on top. My mother was in seventh heaven; I guess it meant we had “arrived.”

And speaking of the 1960s, this old TV cabinet really rocks it as a bar, don’t you think? Make way for Mad Men! The neat thing about these TVs and stereo consoles was they were well constructed with quality materials and furniture-grade woods—something hard to find even at higher price points these days. Seems a shame to send them to a landfill.

Left to right: Houzz, Upcycle That, Even of Reduction, Craftgawker

Just about anything you might have socked away could be repurposed as a mini-bar. Left to right are a chest with drawers removed, a trunk with shelf inserts, a sewing cabinet sans sewing machine, and an old pasteboard suitcase on what else but a folding luggage stand.

If you already decluttered or downsized and got rid of pieces like these years ago, check out your area’s secondhand furniture shops and fleamarkets for suitable replacements. Or troll your neighborhood on heavy trash pickup day.

In a pinch?

One Kings Lane

Sometimes a generous-sized tray is all you need. Always make sure you have a few serviceable trays as part of your decorating stash to corral tchotchkes and pull into service as mini-bars when entertaining requires. This one is from the home of designer Bunny Williams.

Tie one on with panache

A little humor is always good, especially before the drinks are poured when everyone can recognize it. I’m loving this reproduction bust dressed in hat, glasses and scarf–a winky-wink invite to “tie one on” in style.

Me? I’ll be staying in. Not complaining; that’s my preference. Chris and I usually open a special bottle of wine and make with the nibbles and dips. This year, though, my taste buds are so burned out on cough drops it would be a waste of good food and drink. And I’ve lost so much sleep coughing these last few weeks that I doubt I’ll be awake come midnight Thursday unless that’s when my breathing treatment falls.

So have a drink on me, watch the ball drop at Times Square on the tube and give your sweetie (or someone) a midnight kiss. Just be sure to drink responsibly and DON’T drink and drive.

Here’s to a sparkling and inventive 2016!

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