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How to Build a Basement Bar: 6 Tips and Considerations

Thinking of DIYing your own basement bar? Make sure you do some research before you start planning. A project like that can impact your home’s value in ways you might not realize. The assistance of a professional agent could make a difference of thousands of dollars in the value of your house.
Thinking of DIYing your own basement bar? Make sure you do some research before you start planning. A project like that can impact your home’s value in ways you might not realize. The assistance of a professional agent could make a difference of thousands of dollars in the value of your house.

Putting a bar in your home’s basement can take your home’s value to the next level. But when you are thinking about fixing up your pad, it’s best to look at the big picture.

A major DIY project can either increase or decrease the value of your home depending upon how it’s done. There are more factors to consider than merely how to source the best materials for less when you are building a basement bar.

Building a Basement Bar: The Groundwork

Take a serious look at the area in your basement you are working with. You will want to know exactly what type of plumbing, drainage, and electrical outlets you have access to.

A wet bar means a running sink — perhaps a kegerator. You’ll need to lay the groundwork before you build. Ultimately, your final design will depend on the infrastructure you have to work with. But don’t be tempted to do any hack jobs. The effort and expense you put into the foundation will pay off later.

Design

Once you know where your plumbing and electrical outlets are, you can start to design. Design is as important as function when you are considering how a new feature can change home value.

Think about the vibe of your house— Do you have Southwestern stucco or New York exposed brick? Even though the bar’s in the basement, the rest of the house’s design makes a difference.

You don’t want to sink $20,000 into a feature that turns out being an eyesore. Stay close to the theme that your house represents. Again, look at the big picture.

 

Materials

Your materials cost will depend on your accessibility to water pipes and electrical outlets, the bar’s dimensions, the design you’ve chosen, and other considerations. You’ll have an advantage at researching cost if you’ve mapped out your outlets, plumbing well and dimensions well.

Other Considerations

When DIYing, we sometimes have to improvise. Maybe you find out that the dimensions of the marble bar top you custom ordered are 3 cm off, and you have to buy a different refrigerator or ice unit to fit in the remaining space. It happens.

There may be additional costs that you can’t foresee. Try to be as thorough as possible. Remember that skimping now just to get the job done can adversely affect the overall value of your home in the long run.

Building a Basement Bar: The Details

You’ve measured the dimensions and mapped all of your plumbing and outlets. You have an idea of your general design and what you are capable of building. You know your general budget range. Now it’s time to look at particular features of your basement bar.

Lighting

Before rushing to install your Kegorator, consider the atmosphere. Ask yourself, “What is it that makes a good bar?” Lighting is usually a top factor. No one wants to try and relax with a fluorescent bulb blasting down on them.

Think LED. You can source your lighting for cheap online if you do your research. LED comes in so many options that you can pretty much design whatever you want. It’s flexible and easily customized.

Back Bar Wall

You may start out just thinking a keg in the basement would be nice. But later, as your friends start coming around, you might decide you want to stock some good whiskey and display it as well. You will need shelving.

Be realistic about how much liquor you want in your bar. If it becomes a hobby, you may need more shelves later. This aspect has to do with design and functionality. So, it’s best to consider it early. Are you going to do a full bar? Just have select liquors? Where will you store them?

Beyond storage, your back bar wall is what your buddies will be staring at when hanging out. Think about features in bars that you like. Mirrors are favorites. Or a piece of art that can also be a good conversation piece is a good choice. Some people like maps or they display photos of all of their friends, family, and travels. Have fun and be creative.

The Bar

Most bars are straight or L-shaped. You can also do a rounded one out of nice wood. If you are going to sink money into the project, shoot for a wet bar from the beginning. A sink and proper drainage will make the difference between “a cooler in the basement” and a proper bar.

Without a sink, refrigerator, and access to ice, it’s not really a bar at all. The bar itself is the centerpiece that people see. To increase your home’s value, you are going to want to put some thought into this.

Building a basement bar can be expensive. To make sure it’s a lucrative investment, it’s always a good idea to get as much information as you can by consulting a professional real estate agent.

Clever Partner Agents can help both buyers and sellers understand what type of bars increase the value of their home. They can also help you learn what to avoid when tackling a big project that changes your home's value. Before investing, make sure you know what you are doing.

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Andrew Schmeerbauch

Andrew Schmeerbauch is the Director of Marketing at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you top agents to save on commission. His focus is educating home buyers and sellers on navigating the complex world of real estate with confidence and ease. Andrew has worked on projects for the United Nations and USC and has a particular passion for investing and finance. Andrew's writing has been featured in Mashvisor, L&T, Ideal REI, and Rentometer.

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