These Chic Bar Shelf Ideas Are the Perfect Space-Saving Solution

a counter with bottles of alcohol on it
15 Bar Shelf Ideas to Get the Party StartedPaul Raeside

No matter the size of your home, a bar shelf is a simple way to add a sense of welcome and hospitality to any gathering. Whether it’s a small family event or cocktails for a group, a bar shelf allows you to store and display your finest barware and spirits, even if you don’t have space for a dedicated room for a home bar.

Bar shelves are easy to incorporate into most room designs. “This idea is trending because it allows for personalization and creativity in home decor, while also serving a practical purpose,” says Kerrie Kelly, CEO of Kerrie Kelly Studio. “With more people entertaining at home, a DIY bar shelf provides a stylish solution for showcasing favorite spirits and mixers.”

A bar shelf can be as simple as one or more wall-mounted shelves to an elaborate built-in display or cabinet. But no matter what the form, it serves the same purpose. “By curating a selection of beverages and accessories, a bar shelf transforms an ordinary corner to a designated entertaining area, encouraging social interaction and creating a focal point for gatherings,” says Kelly.

You can display a variety of items on a bar shelf, including bottles of liquor, decanters, glassware, cocktail tools, and decorative items such as artwork and plants. Arranging these elements thoughtfully allows you to create a visually appealing display that reflects your personal style, says Kelly.

Remember to strike a balance between functionality and aesthetics when curating your bar shelf. Avoid overcrowding the space by selecting a few key pieces and editing out the clutter. Highlight the prettiest bottles and glassware, and incorporate decorative accents such as trays or artwork to add visual interest. “Remember, less is often more when it comes to styling a chic and inviting bar shelf,” says Kelly. Ahead, we’ve selected our favorite bar shelf ideas to get your next happy hour started.

Whimsical and Glamorous Bar Shelf

Designer Colette van den Thillart’s playful approach to this Toronto home glows with brilliant color. The clients’ own glamorous gold bar cabinet shines against the whimsical backdrop of Le Paradis aux Mille Fleur wallcovering by Pierre Frey. A fun and funky chair offers a delightful place to sit and sip, while bottles are curated carefully to reflect the room’s color palette.

a chair in front of a counter with bottles of alcohol
Alex Lukey

Salvaged Bar Shelf

This London townhouse, with renovations by the English design and architectural salvage firm Retrouvius, features a cinema room, set off by a salvaged teak bar and onyx sink. A vintage shelf was discovered at an antiques fair and repurposed as a bar. The moody teal paint is a stunning backdrop for the collection of bottles and barware, illustrating that sometimes more is more.

a counter with bottles of alcohol on it
Paul Raeside

Petite and Practical Bar Shelf

Rebecca Gardner’s Greenwich Village apartment may be petite, but it’s packed with personality and practicality. The entry closet was converted to a bar, with a slipcover in a Brunschwig & Fils fabric. The glassware is from her own firm, while the antique snake prints add an unexpected but charming pop of color to this pared-down—but still functional—bar space.

a table with a vase of fruit and a lamp
Annie Schlechter

Custom Cabinetry Bar Shelf

Designer Tatyana Miron Ahlers loves entertaining, as evidenced here by this custom cabinet, painted in Railings by Farrow & Ball, in her New York City loft. Three gorgeous glass shelves show off a collection of colorful glassware, which echoes the hues of Max Lamb’s Marmoreal countertop.

a kitchen with many glass shelves
Stephen Kent Johnson

Elegant Bar Shelf

An inset niche shelving unit with Gucci Tian print wallcovering serves as a bar shelf in this elegant coastal Malibu, California, home. The pared-down display offers a restrained elegance to the space and allows the beauty of the wallcovering to shine through.

a table with a vase and glasses on it
Shade Degges

All-White Bar Shelf

This chic home in Ibiza boasts an understated all-white bar that welcomes visitors at the ground-level entry. Carefully curated bottles of spirits add pops of color, while clear glassware fades into the shelving, which allows the eye to be drawn to the artwork by Caroline Rennequin.

a white shelf with many bottles and glasses on it
Matthieu Salvaing

Understated Bar Shelf

A former boat shed in Amsterdam becomes a soothing respite for Studio Piet Boon’s creative director. The understated built-in bar and Gaggenau wine cooler in the living room offer a convenient entertaining center, while the striking sculptures punctuate the space.

a room with a shelf and a bookcase with objects on it
Richard Powers

Modern Bar Shelf

Stainless steel paneling and a custom sculpture dominate a striking concrete bar in this Southern California home. Long bar shelves hold an array of perfectly arranged bottles, while (if you look closely) you’ll see the top shelf shows off a fascinating collection of miniature furniture.

a large metal object with a fan on top of it
Joe Fletcher

Elegant Bar Shelf

A Victorian townhouse, renovated by American architect Timothy Haynes and designer Kevin Roberts, boasts a custom bar lined with a striking, glittering metallic mosaic by Gregory Muller. The bottles of neutral spirits keep the shimmering mural center stage.

a room with a black chair and a black table
Simon Upton

Old-School Hollywood Bar Shelf

Martin Lawrence Bullard’s Hollywood home is a tribute to his inimitable style, punctuated by this lush bar room that boasts vintage Jean Royère stools and a stunning mercury-glass pendant. The leafy wallcovering is by Bullard for Cole & Son.

a room with a table and chairs
Douglas Friedman

Mirrored Bar Shelf

Designer Ariel Okin, known for her “traditional with a twist” style aesthetic, added punches of color to this striking New York City apartment. Here, mirrored bar shelves are the ideal backdrop to show off the beauty of Murano glassware.

a shelf with various objects on it
Donna Dotan

Marble-Backed Bar Shelf

This Upper East Side home, designed by Michelle Gerson, uses its neutral palette to create a space that’s bold but soothing. The custom bar in the dining room includes bronze cabinetry with striking Belvedere marble.

a glass cabinet with many glass jars
Marco Ricca

Vintage Bar Shelf

This Victorian-era Australian home, decorated by designer Simone Haag, combines traditional details with pops of color. The vintage wall shelf was repurposed as a way to display a selection of curated vintage collectibles as well as a few favorite pieces of barware.

a room with a shelf and bookshelves
Timothy Kaye

Moody and Rustic Bar Shelf

This upstate New York home has the feel of a rustic Adirondack lodge but with all the amenities of a luxury resort. Designer Vicky Charles included a warm and welcoming custom cocktail bar by Cider Press Woodworks, alongside the vintage games table and chairs.

a table and chairs in a room
Stephen Kent Johnson

Cleverly Concealed Bar Shelf

ELLE DECOR’s executive editor Ingrid Abramovitch commissioned designer Jennifer Hanlin for a full-scale renovation of her family’s well-loved Brooklyn home. Thoughtful details include a pair of custom armoires in a cheerful hue, which flank a salvaged antique mantel. One of the armoires holds a pop-out bar. The clever hideaway style allows bar accoutrements to be tucked away when not in use.

a counter with bottles and glasses on it
Annie Schlecter

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