Home and Garden

A DIY Built-In Bar Makes an Empty Corner Stylish and functional.


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Moving to a new home can leave you with a lot of rooms that just don’t have much function, such as awkward corners, tight niches, and empty nooks. When April Shen and her husband bought their house, they were stuck in the latter: a fairly spacious but otherwise wasted alcove to the right of their fireplace. It had a lot of potential, April thought, and she wanted to create something stylish and functional that maximized that small area.

April and her husband agreed to a built-in bar that would fit the spot perfectly. However, listings for custom cabinets ranged from $ 3,000 to $ 5,000, and none matched the design she envisioned.

“We felt so defeated because we thought it would cost anywhere from $ 1,000 to $ 2,000 at most,” says April. She considered buying a bar cart or large, empty closet to fill the space on a budget, but she knew that wasn’t really what she wanted. So April made a new plan.

After being inspired by DIY blogger Jenna Sue, April researched the tools and supplies needed for a built-in DIY bar project and got her husband on board. After deciding on a design, they hit IKEA for the cabinet frames, doors and the wood countertop.

While the bulk of the built-in bar was from IKEA, April made it look really individual with a few special details. First, she combined full-fronted and glass-fronted cabinet doors (one of which hides a wine cooler); second, she added her own hardware that she found on Amazon; and third, she combined both white and wood cabinets, which makes this setup look a lot better.

The whole process of designing and building the bar took a month. The total cost was around $ 1,500 – still less than what a pro reported in April, and she got exactly what she wanted.

The built-in bar brings a lot of personality to the couple’s home, and DIY has saved them hundreds of dollars. “We love how it turned out,” says April. “If we could do something differently, it would be to have more confidence in ourselves and to have started earlier.”

Savannah West

Home Assistant Editor

Savannah is a master of binge watchers and home cooking. When she’s not testing new recipes or watching Gossip Girl again, you can find her on Facetime with her grandma. Savannah is a news producer turned lifestyle blogger and professional homebody. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Clark Atlanta University, a certification in digital storytelling, and a master’s degree from Harvard University. Savannah believes that every day is a good day and there is nothing that good food cannot fix.



Robert Dunfee