How to Build a Home Bar on a Budget

Buying a brand new home bar will cost an average of $2000-$5000. Not cheap. And once you have invested in your bar, you still have to buy furniture, accessories, and most importantly, to stock it! For those of us who want the luxuries of a bar without the huge price tag, there is still hope!

We also have tips on building a man cave on a budget.

Before rushing out to start building your home bar, it’s important to select the right location. Some spaces in your house (like the basement), require special consideration.

Building your own home bar can be extremely cheap! In this article, we’ll be tackling the challenge of building your very own bar.

 What you will learn in this article:

  • Setting a budget for your home bar
  • Choosing a bar design / getting inspired
  • Essential accessories
  • Learning to mix drinks

Setting a Budget

Setting a budget is a crucial step that so many people sadly skip. If you take time to set up a budget properly, you’ll be able to save money in the long run by not overspending.

There are two different factors to look at when setting up your budget: The initial setup cost and your monthly replenishment budget.

Initial Setup Cost

The initial setup cost is what you initially pay to setup your bar (excluding the alcohol). This will include the materials, the tools, bar furniture, and bar accessories.

Monthly Replenishment Budget

The monthly replenishment budget is how much you spend on booze monthly. Assigning yourself a booze-budget will help not over-spend on alcohol.

Choosing a Home Bar Design / Getting Inspired

The sky is the limit when designing your home bar. If you aren’t a skilled handyman that can turn small ideas into beautiful creations, then it might be a smart idea for you to model off someone else’s bar plans.

There are many ways you can go about cheaply building a home bar. It’s even possible to do it for free by repurposing antique furniture(cabinets work great!).

Here are a few epic home bar builds:

The Basic Home Bar

In this awesome build, you will learn how to build a basic home bar using 2x4s and some medium density fiberboard.

This build is great for getting the gist of how bars are constructed. The design of this basic home bar will accommodate for any sized room, big or small.

The Bowling Alley Bar

Have a spare bowling alley laying around? Build a home bar!

This home bar enthusiast used the power of Craigslist to find old bowling alley boards. With those bowling alley boards he built the home bar of his dreams!

Looking at the picture, you can’t even tell that this bar wasn’t store-bought. The top of the bar looks nice and shiny due to its urethane gloss. Adding urethane to your bar gives it a rock-hard finish as well as a little extra protection from frequent use.

Old House Home Bar

If a $400 bar is in your budget, you might want to consider This Old House’s home bar plan.

Just because the price is relatively high, doesn’t mean that this isn’t a budget home bar. This bar looks just like a $2000 bar you would buy in a store. If you decide to make this bar, you can potentially save over $1500!

This Old House has provided great quality diagrams, pictures, and steps to help you along your way. I won’t call this build easy by any means, but if you know your way around the workshop, this bar is very doable.

You Have a Bar!! Now What?

Great job!

You have just built the home bar of your dreams and it looks great! The only problem is that a bar isn’t a bar without booze, glasses, and other drinking accessories.

In this section of the article, I’ll be going over some essential glasses and accessories you should purchase for your newly built bar.


  • Shot glasses
  • Rocks glasses
  • Snifters
  • Wine glasses
  • Pint glasses


  • Shakers & strainers (Buy a couple so you don’t have to constantly wash out your shakers after each drink you mix)
  • Jigger
  • Ice Machine
  • Corkscrew
  • Bottle opener
  • Pourers (Pourers are a simple little nozzle that fits on your bottles. It makes pouring drinks a breeze and works great for parties when you’d be required to pour many drinks quickly)
  • Muddler (If you are interested in advancing your mixology skills, a muddler is a tool that comes in handy for making more complex drinks)
  • Long spoon/stirrer (you can pickup a stainless steel bartending spoon for around 3 bucks)
  • Coasters

 Now you just need to stock it up!

Learn To Mix Drinks

Your bar is built, you have bought a ton of knick-knacks and accessories, and you have stocked your shelves with many bottles of booze.

Now you need to acquire some mixology skills. In this section of the article, I’ll be giving you two helpful resources to better your drink-mixing talent.

It’s time to put your home bar to the test!

Bartending 101 (free Udemy Course!)

The first resource I’ll be talking about is 100% free! I have not tried Udemy until just recently. Basically, Udemy is a marketplace packed with both free and paid courses on skills ranging from computer programming to weight lifting.

Bartending 101 is amazing! It is a free course that will teach you how to mix a good selection of fancy drinks. You’ll appreciate how the videos are filmed professionally in HD.

Since this is a free course, you don’t get a ton of lessons. There are still a lot of classic drinks that are left out. For the free price, you can’t complain. It’s worth checking out at the least.

The Essential Bar Book for Home Mixologists

The Essential Bar Book for Home Mixologists: Tools, Techniques, and Spirits to Master Cocktails
  • Traynor, Amy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 188 Pages - 09/22/2020 (Publication Date) - Rockridge Press (Publisher)

The Essential Bar Book is a must-have. I’d recommend getting it in spiral bound rather than kindle edition. There’s nothing like having a physical book that you can mark-up to your pleasing.

I loved The Essential Bar Book because it has a load of classic, as well as newer, more modern drink recipes. You’ll see standard recipes such as the Bloody Mary, but you’ll also get lesser-known variations such as the Virgin Mary.

Along with the drink recipes, you’ll also get some useful basic information on barware, tools, and mixing tips.

Some categories of drinks that you’ll learn about are: Equipment, ingredients, recipes and plenty of tips.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! I hope you have learned some valuable knowledge on setting up a killer home bar on a budget. There are some things you want to get right… like the bar height. You don’t need to spend a fortune… you just need some time and a little knowhow.