Designing the perfect home bar

While it's easy enough to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, there's no denying the draw of a home bar. Practical for entertaining, charming in its décor, a home bar is the flourish that a dining room or lounge might need to find its aesthetic and functional voice. So, whether you're anticipating a cold draught of beer after work or a Friday-night cocktail party with friends and neighbors, this checklist can help you design your own perfect home bar.

1. Theme. Maybe you're a tiki enthusiast, or maybe you have a warm place in your heart for the ale and Guinness-doling pubs of England and Ireland - or perhaps you and your spouse are wine collectors, devoted to a perfect recreation of a Parisian art-nouveau bistro. Your theme will influence more than your décor. For a draught system, you'll need space for a keg and refrigeration unit. For cocktails, you'll need plenty of shelving for ingredients, appliances and all the trappings.

2. Comfort.  This will be a matter of design as well. Leather chairs should do well in most environments, but those bars with a tropical theme may want something more evocative, like bamboo furniture or houseplants. Glass-topped tables or stools are also a good touch. To keep you and your guests comfortable on chilly summer nights and through the winter, consider installing radiant floor heating. It's an eco-friendly alternative to venting in hot air, perfect for a home bar.

3. Equipment. There are plenty of extensive checklists available to best equip your bar with everything from the right vintage Malbec to the ideal instruments necessary for a gin fizz, but essentially you're going to want a few staples, and of high quality. A variety of glassware, from highballs to snifters, will be great for cocktails, as well as an ice bucket, strainer and martini shaker.

4. A smaller option. If you're lacking in space, consider a dry bar without a sink. Sideboards or corner shelving can make for attractive bar space with some simple décor touches. Even a wine rack placed against a kitchen wall or in the pantry can serve a similar purpose. And, for those seeking out a retro feel, a wheeled beverage cart is an excellent option.