A Guide To Building A Home Bar On A Budget

Going out for drinks is a thrilling and fun way to unwind after a long week at work. However, between juggling those expensive drink prices, and the cost of a taxi ride home, these expenses can add up — which is bad news for your wallet.

However, there is another way you can enjoy your favourite drinks at a fraction of the price. You can build your own home bar on a budget. To learn more about how to create your own bar area, read on!

Building Your Home Bar On A Budget

A portable outdoor bar is a solid choice if you’re looking to set up your bar fast. However, if you’re looking to build a better one on a budget, implement this timeline and create one from scratch.

You won’t have to hire contractors, so you can reap the savings.

If you wish to tackle this project, first, come up with a bar counter design. Consider how large you want your bar to be. Also, think about where you’re going to place it. Will it be outdoors? In the kitchen? Perhaps in the basement? You’ll be creating a real and stunning piece of furniture. The design will also include trimmed panels, sturdy oak bar-rail moulding, and a stainless-steel foot rail to boot. Prepare yourself for an intermediate-level project!

The Basic Parts of the Bar to Consider When Building the Bar Counter Design

  1. Notched piece
  2. Bar rail moulding
  3. Oak bar top
  4. Plywood base
  5. Foot rail
  6. Panel moulding
  7. Corner stiles
  8. ½ inch plywood
  9. 1 x 4 framing board
  10. 1 x 2 end cap
  11. 1×2 oak trim
  12. 1×4 rail
  13. Lauan
  14. 1×8 bottom rail

Don’t forget accessories like home bar stools! Trim your boards down using a miter or round saw. Use glue and one inch nails to secure the boards to the wall. Sand down the wood, and finally stain or paint the bar. Choose a deep cherry red colour if you want the bar to appear classic. Paint the bar white if you want to create a space with a modern flair.

Alternatives to Building Your Home Bar From Scratch

However, if you don’t consider yourself all that handy, you can create a portable outdoor bar using dry bar furniture and a sliding table! But there are actually several and unique ways you can easily set up a beautiful and well stocked bar in your home on a budget.

Globe Bar

For something small and compact, place all of your specialty drinks into a globe that can open up and close. This is a great way to get a dual usage out of your dry bar furniture. It also makes you look well-traveled and interesting!

The Bar Cart

The bar cart is another inexpensive way to create a bar at home. It requires no tools or knowledge of how to build a bar. For this idea, purchase a rolling cart and decorate it how you please. Rolling bar carts come in various shapes, sizes, and colours, so you can find the perfect option to mesh well with the decor in your home.

Try Getting a Bookcase Bar

Here’s a fun and creative way to make your drinks stand out! Repurpose any old bookcase. You can find these at most thrifting stores or furniture consignment stores. This can look rustic or classic, depending on how you decorate it. Set your home bar stools around the area for a completed look.

Get a Console Table

If you don’t want to build your own bar — you have no time, or you’re intimidated by the process — get a console table instead! Line this up against the wall and set up all the drinks on the top part of the table.

Install a Liquor Cabinet

Let’s say you have minimal home improvement skills, but feel building your bar will be too intimidating. Install a liquor cabinet to the wall instead.

Stocking Your Home Bar On A Budget

It’s time to put the tools away — now you get to focus on the fun part. It’s finally time to stock your new bar with the essentials!

Pick Your Favourite Hard Liquor

Pick your poison. Do you find tequila tantalising, or is whiskey a major win in your book? Whatever your favourite liquor may be, make sure to buy this first. Don’t just pick spirits that you think will impress your guests. You might eynd up forking over all of your money on drinks you don’t even like — and you’ll never touch them.

You’ll also get to share your favourite spirits with your guests, revealing a fun and new aspect of your personality.

Start Your Bar’s Collection Off Small

Don’t think that you have to purchase the entire liquor store overnight. Allow yourself to build up an impressive collection over time. Also, keep in mind that you can also ask for various wines and spirits as gifts for your birthday or Christmas gifts. Therefore, save your money and grow your collection gradually!

Know Your Spirits

If you want to have a wide variety in your bar, brush up on the most popular spirits. Try to get one bottle of each.


Gin is actually quite good for you, so make sure to invest in this spirit when creating your at-home bar. Even Julia Child accredited her long lifespan to this alcoholic drink. You can make various mixed drinks with it, allowing you to get more bang for your buck too. Gin is low in calories and sugar, making it a diet-friendly spirit for the healthier folk in your circle.


Vodka is a safe choice. It’s easy to mix with nearly any type of juice or soda. It’s also quite inexpensive and strong at 40% ABV. Make a Bloody Mary, Moscow Mule, a Cosmo, or a Vodka Tonic!


For all of those yummy and fruity tropical drinks, use rum as a base. Its roots are from the Caribbean, and it may even improve your heart health.

Bourbon Whisky

Bourbon whiskey is distilled from corn and makes for a mean bourbon whiskey sour.

Scotch Whisky

Scotch is made from malted barley and hails from the Scottish highlands. It’s a must have in your collection for the serious drinkers.


You don’t want to forget to add a bottle of tequila. Tequila is made in only five parts of Mexico and is distilled using pure agave. Make killer margaritas with this hard liquor. They are typically a crowd favourite — just don’t forget the salt on the rim.

Wines & Champagne

When stocking your bar, don’t forget to add something for the wine drinkers. You want three bottles on hand, at the very least. Consider buying one bottle of red and one bottle of white. Have at least one bottle of champagne stocked in case you ever need to celebrate a special occasion too.


Beer should be your fail safe, and not to mention, it’s also pretty cheap. Buy a few party packs to get more beer for your buck. No one can go wrong with beer!

Lighter Drinks

If you’re worried beer won’t be a fan favourite, stash a few wine coolers or spiked sparkling drinks.


  • Club soda
  • Tomato juice
  • Tonic water
  • Coke
  • Root beer
  • Sprite or off brand lemon lime soda
  • Ginger ale
  • Orange juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Agave
  • Pineapple juice
  • Simple syrup
  • Vermouth
  • Garnishes and Glassware

What You Don’t Need In Your Home Bar

Now that you have a decent and solid idea of what you need to stock your bar, here are a few things you don’t need.

Specialty liquors are expensive, and not as versatile. These specialty additions can include Irish cream, Campari, and amaretto. Avoid these at first.

You’re not done yet! Finally, stock your bar with the best garnishes and glassware. Starting with garnishes, you’ll need cocktail olives and onions, horseradish, limes, salt and pepper, lemons, tabasco sauce, ice, sugar, and bitters.

For glasses, you can find some of these used at the thrift store. Your local liquor store may also carry most of these. Glasses and garnishes add an extra special touch to all of your drinks. Using special glasses also makes your drinks way more photogenic!

Throw those red solo cups out and purchase:

  • Martini glasses
  • Champagne flutes
  • Wine glasses
  • Rocks glasses
  • Tall glasses or highball glasses
  • Napkins
  • A martini mixer and strainer
  • Decorated liquor bottles
  • Toothpicks for the olives

You’ll also need a good mixologist book! There are a ton on the market and they can teach you how to make new and exciting drinks for all of your guests!

Learn to Make Incredible Drinks

What is the last step when you want to make your inexpensive bar the talk of the town? The actual drinks can make or break your bar. Thankfully, this is a free skill that you can learn by watching videos, reading articles and blog posts, and asking your friends for tips.

Measure Your Drinks

If you are following a recipe you found online, don’t just throw everything in a martini mixer without measuring everything exactly first! Not measuring properly can affect how your drink will come out. It may come out too strong or too bitter.

Accommodate Non-Alcoholic Drinkers With Cheap But Tasty Drinks

You’re bound to have guests that don’t care for alcohol. Make sure you have something for everyone’s unique tastes. Ensure you have a few tasty drinks that can be made virgin. Soda, water, and seltzer are all pretty cost effective too.

Save Even More With These Tips

This can be a ton of information to process, and you’re probably left wondering how on Earth you can afford all of these drinks, glasses, and garnishes. Here are a few ways you can save even more.

  • Look for sales at your local liquor store or gas station. They may have a BOGO free deal around the holidays. This period is the perfect time to stock up.
  • Use coupons when you can. Email the manufacturer and ask if they have any deals for customers who love their products.
  • Ask for unique bottles of liquor for the holidays.
  • Build your own 6-pack when buying specialty beer.
  • Visit Costco for your wine needs and buy in bulk! Costco is known for their huge savings.

In conclusion, you don’t have to keep paying the other guys your hard earned money. Take on this exciting project to create a useful space where you can entertain and enjoy drinks whenever you please. Simply follow this outline, and you’ll create a bar that friends and family will never get enough of. Use decorated liquor bottles, build your bar in a fun atmosphere, and stock it with the best spirits.