Expert Guide to Planning Out Cabinets for a Wet Bar

wet bar cabinets with sink
cabinets for a wet bar
wet bar cabinets


A custom wet bar can elevate your entertaining experiences and add a touch of sophistication to your everyday lifestyle. Wet bars are not just for a seasoned cocktail connoisseur. If you simply enjoy hosting casual gatherings, well-designed wet bar cabinets seamlessly integrate into your home’s decor, providing a dedicated area for crafting and enjoying beverages.


Imagine the ease of preparing drinks for guests without having to crowd the kitchen, allowing you to mingle and engage with your company. A custom wet bar provides a dedicated workspace with ample storage for your favorite spirits, mixers, and bar accessories, ensuring everything is within reach when you’re ready to shake or stir. Moreover, a built-in sink eliminates the need for frequent trips to the kitchen or main sink, keeping the conversation flowing and the party atmosphere lively.

Planning Your Custom Wet Bar

Embarking on a custom wet bar project requires careful planning and consideration to ensure a seamless experience. Before diving into design specifics, be sure to define your vision and goals. What type of atmosphere do you want to create? Is it a formal space for entertaining guests or a cozy nook for personal enjoyment? Envisioning the bar’s purpose will guide your design decisions and ensure it aligns with your lifestyle and preferences. 


Next, assess the available space where you intend to install the wet bar. Measure the dimensions carefully and consider the layout of the surrounding area. Sketch out potential configurations to visualize how the bar will fit within the existing space. Remember to account for the opening and closing of cabinets, drawers, and appliances to avoid any obstructions. Your Dean Cabinetry designer is a great resource for how to incorporate the wet bar into the rest of your kitchen cabinetry or in a secondary space.


Establishing a realistic budget is essential for any home improvement project. Research the cost of materials, appliances, and installation services to get an accurate estimate. Professional advice from contractors or designers will help ensure you’re on the right track financially. The Dean Cabinetry budget team will provide you with stock, semi-custom, and custom cabinetry options. The cabinetry cost calculator can give you a general idea of cabinetry cost for your wet bar and kitchen cabinetry.

kitchen wet bar
Kitchen Wet Bar
dining room bar area
Dining Room Bar Area

Choosing the Right Location for Wet Bar Cabinets

The ideal location for your custom wet bar depends on your lifestyle, available space, and desired atmosphere. Here’s a breakdown of some of the common bar placements and their pros and cons:

Kitchen Wet Bar

Integrating a wet bar into your kitchen expands your entertaining area and provides easy access to refreshments while preparing meals. It’s a great option for homeowners who like to invite guests into their kitchen during the cooking process. However, it might disrupt the kitchen’s primary function and require careful space planning to avoid congestion.

Living Room

A wet bar in the living room adds sophistication and creates a focal point for gatherings. It’s convenient for entertaining guests without disrupting other living spaces. However, if you have young children or pets, a wet bar in the living room might raise concerns about accessibility and safety. Consider implementing child safety measures, such as cabinet locks or secure storage, to mitigate these concerns.

Dining Room

A wet bar in the dining room elevates the dining experience, allowing you to serve drinks without leaving the table area. However, ensure the bar’s size and design complement the dining room’s overall aesthetic.


A basement wet bar provides a more secluded and casual setting for entertaining. It’s also a great option if you have limited space on the main level. However, consider ventilation and lighting to ensure the basement area feels comfortable and inviting.

Remember, the ideal location for your wet bar should align with your lifestyle, available space, and overall home decor.

Designing the Layout of Your Wet Bar

Creating a stylish and functional wet bar requires careful consideration of layout, design elements, and space constraints.

Shape and Size

The shape and size of your wet bar should be determined by the available space, your desired functionality, and the overall flow of your home’s layout. First, measure the available space accurately and consider the clearance needed for doors, drawers, and appliances. Then, what functionality will you want? Cabinetry storage for bar accessories, a wine fridge, an ice maker, and counter space for mixing cocktails? Finally, envision how the bar will fit within the existing space. Sketch out potential configurations to visualize the bar’s placement and flow.


A straight-run bar is a classic and versatile option that works well in various spaces. It provides ample countertop space and can be customized with different cabinets and shelving configurations. An L-shaped bar maximizes corner space and creates a more intimate setting. It’s ideal for smaller rooms or open-concept living areas. A U-shaped bar provides maximum storage and workspace, making it ideal for larger rooms or home bars. It creates a central gathering spot and can accommodate multiple bartenders.

Design Elements

Once you’ve determined the shape and size of your wet bar, it’s time to think about the other design elements. Choose durable, stain-resistant countertops that can handle the wear and tear from the wet bar use, and that complement your overall decor. Popular counter options include granite, marble, quartz, or stainless steel.


Design cabinets and shelving to accommodate your barware, spirits, and glassware. Consider incorporating glass doors or open shelving to display elegant glassware. Cabinetry inserts like pull-outs can help keep your bar accessories organized and easy to find.


Select a sink that fits your bar’s size and style. Bar sinks tend to be smaller than kitchen sinks. Undermount sinks are also popular for their ease of clean-up as well as their sleek look. Add appliances like a wine or beer refrigerator or beverage cooler to enhance your bar’s functionality. Install ambient and task lighting to create a warm and inviting atmosphere like under-cabinet lighting.

Selecting Materials and Finishes for Your Wet Bar Cabinets


Granite, quartz, and marble are popular choices for wet bar countertops due to their durability, aesthetics, and heat resistance. Granite offers a classic and sophisticated look, while quartz is known for its scratch resistance and non-porous nature. Marble is an elegant choice with its unique veining patterns, but it requires more maintenance due to its susceptibility to staining and etching.

Cabinet Finishes

Cabinet finishes play a significant role in defining the overall style of your wet bar. Consider matching or contrasting your kitchen cabinetry to create a unified aesthetic or a focal point. Choose finishes that complement your countertop material and the ambiance you want to create. Glossy finishes reflect light and add a bit of glamour, while matte finishes provide a more subdued and contemporary look. Wood finishes like oak, maple, or mahogany lend a warm and natural touch. Painted finishes offer a wider range of color options from neutral white cabinets, modern back cabinets, or a fun color statement like blue, green, or red.

Flooring Options

Consider flooring materials that are durable, water-resistant, and aesthetically compatible with your wet bar design. Tile, laminate, and engineered hardwood are popular choices, offering a variety of colors, patterns, and textures. If you prefer a more traditional look, consider incorporating stone or slate flooring.


Backsplashes protect your walls from spills and add a decorative element to your wet bar. Choose a material that complements your countertop and cabinet finishes. Tile, glass, and stainless steel are common options, offering a wide range of colors, patterns, and textures.

Other Materials

Sink faucets, hardware, and lighting fixtures can further enhance the style and functionality of your wet bar. Choose fixtures that complement your overall design aesthetic.

wet bar cabinetry

Lighting and Atmosphere

Lighting plays an important role in establishing the desired ambiance for a custom wet bar. It can transform the space into an inviting and stylish area, enhancing both its functionality and aesthetic appeal.


Ambient lighting provides overall illumination, setting the mood and creating a welcoming atmosphere. Consider using recessed lighting, chandeliers, or pendant lights to achieve a warm and inviting glow. Task lighting focuses on specific areas of the bar, such as the countertop or sink, to facilitate the preparation and serving of drinks. Under-cabinet lighting, pendant lights, or spotlights can effectively illuminate these areas.


Accent lighting highlights specific features or decor elements, adding visual interest and creating a sense of depth. Accent lights can be used to showcase bottles, artwork, or architectural details. Smart lighting solutions offer added convenience and flexibility. You can control the lighting from your smartphone or voice commands, adjusting brightness, and color temperature, and even creating custom lighting scenes to suit different occasions.


By incorporating a combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting, you can create a layered and inviting ambiance for your custom wet bar. Smart lighting solutions further enhance convenience and personalization, allowing you to tailor the lighting to your mood and preferences.

Essential Bar Equipment and Appliances

Having installed many wet and dry bar cabinets over the years, we’ve noticed some handy items. Here’s a list of must-have equipment and appliances to consider for a functional wet bar:

Bar Sink

A bar sink is an essential component of any wet bar, providing a dedicated space for washing hands, preparing cocktails, and cleaning up spills. Choose a sink that is appropriately sized for your bar and complements your overall design aesthetic. Undermount sinks offer a sleek and modern look, while top-mount sinks are easier to install and maintain. Consider a bar sink with a high spout for easily filling pitchers or cleaning tall glasses.

Bar Faucet

The bar faucet complements the sink and adds a touch of style to your wet bar. Choose a faucet that is easy to operate with one hand and has a pull-down or pull-out spray for rinsing and cleaning. Consider a faucet with a built-in water filter for cleaner, tastier drinks. Select a faucet material that complements the material of your cabinetry knobs and pulls.

Under-Counter Refrigerator

An under-counter refrigerator is a space-saving and convenient option for storing beverages, mixers, and bar snacks. It keeps your drinks chilled and readily accessible, ensuring your guests are always well-served. There are fridges designed for the specific temperature of wine varieties versus beer and other beverages. Choose one with a suitable capacity for your needs and consider features like adjustable shelves and temperature zones.

Ice Machine

An ice machine is a must-have for any wet bar that serves cocktails. It provides a continuous supply of fresh ice, ensuring your drinks are always perfectly chilled and without the need to access the freezer in your main refrigerator. Consider an ice machine with a capacity that matches your bar’s usage and choose a model that is quiet and compact enough for your space.

Glassware Storage

Dedicated glassware storage keeps your barware organized and prevents it from getting chipped or damaged. Consider cabinets with built-in racks or shelving specifically designed for storing glasses, stemware, and other barware. Some clients choose cabinet shelving to hold specific wine or other special or preferred alcohol bottles.

Bar Tools

A set of essential bar tools is a must for crafting cocktails and preparing drinks. Include a cocktail jigger for measuring spirits, a shaker and stirrer for mixing, a muddler for muddling herbs and fruits, a corkscrew for opening wine bottles, and a bottle opener for beer or mead.

Additional Appliances

Consider adding additional appliances to enhance your wet bar’s functionality, such as a blender for making blended drinks, a wine cooler for keeping your white and red wines at the perfect temperature, or a countertop dishwasher for easy cleanup.

modern style wet bar
Contemporary Style
Clean and Classic

Custom Wet Bar Styles and Themes

Similar to your overall kitchen design style, you can choose a style or theme for your wet bar to make it a cohesive element or focal point in your home. Read on for some popular design styles.

Classic and Timeless

Elegant traditional design embraces ornate details, rich woods, and luxurious finishes like marble countertops, brass fixtures, and intricate cabinetry. Think of a sophisticated space reminiscent of classic cocktail lounges. Similarly, Victorian-Inspired style incorporates intricate woodwork, stained glass, and vintage elements for a bar with old-world charm. Dark woods, elaborate carvings, and detailed molding can be key features.

Modern and Contemporary

With a modern minimalist style, opt for clean lines, simple design, and monochromatic color schemes. Consider using materials like glass, stainless steel, and polished concrete for a sophisticated, understated look. For a high-tech modern aesthetic and functionality, integrate smart technology and LED lighting. Install touch-panel controls, ambient lighting, and sleek, high-gloss surfaces for a modern feel.

Rustic and Cozy

A farmhouse style wet bar can be achieved by utilizing reclaimed wood, distressed finishes, and farmhouse-style fixtures. Incorporate open shelving, vintage accessories, and warm, earthy tones to create a rustic atmosphere.


Utilize raw materials such as exposed brick, concrete countertops, and metal accents. Incorporate elements like reclaimed wood, factory-style lighting, and open shelving for an industrial, edgy look.

Customizing Your Bar Accessories for your Home Wet Bar

Bar Stools

If your wet bar includes bar stools, choosing the ones is crucial for completing the look and feel of your space. Consider the overall style of your bar and select stools that complement the decor. For a classic or timeless look, opt for upholstered stools with tufted accents or traditional wood-carved designs. For a modern and contemporary aesthetic, choose sleek stools with metal frames and clean lines. Rustic or industrial-inspired bars pair well with stools made from reclaimed wood or distressed leather.

Glassware and Drinkware

Elevate your drinking experience by selecting the appropriate glassware and drinkware for different types of beverages. For cocktails, consider martini glasses, coupe glasses, and highball glasses. For wine, choose stemmed or stemless glasses for red wine and white wine. For beer, opt for pint glasses or pilsner glasses. Additionally, stock up on shot glasses for liquor shots and cordial glasses for after-dinner drinks.


Add some personality to your wt bar with unique decor and accessories. You might display vintage liquor bottles, antique barware, or quirky neon signs to reflect your interests. Incorporate decorative trays, coasters, and stirrers to enhance the visual appeal. Add a touch of greenery with plants or herbs for a fresh and inviting ambiance.

Plumbing and Electrical Considerations for Wet Bar Cabinets


A wet bar requires a dedicated water supply line to provide cold running water for washing hands, preparing drinks, and cleaning utensils. The water supply line should be connected to the main water supply and run to the sink faucet. Additionally, a drain line is necessary to dispose of wastewater. The drain line should be connected to the main drainage system and properly trapped to prevent sewer odors.


Electrical outlets are essential for powering appliances and lighting in your wet bar. Plan for a sufficient number of outlets to accommodate appliances like a blender, ice machine, or under-counter refrigerator. Consider incorporating outlets with GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) protection to enhance safety. Additionally, plan for adequate lighting to illuminate the bar area and provide task lighting for specific areas like the sink and countertop.

Professional Installation

For complex plumbing and electrical installations, it’s advisable to hire experienced professionals to ensure proper installation and adherence to safety codes. Professionals possess the expertise and tools to handle water lines, drain systems, and electrical wiring with precision.

Your Dean Cabinetry installers will coordinate with your contractors to ensure seamless installation of your wet bar’s components.

wet bar installation

DIY vs. Hiring Professionals

A custom wet bar project presents an opportunity to personalize your home and elevate your entertaining experiences. Whether you choose to tackle the project yourself or hire professionals, carefully consider your skills, available time, and budget to make an informed decision.


DIY projects offer the appeal of cost savings and the satisfaction of hands-on accomplishment. However, they also require a significant investment of time, effort, and expertise. If you possess carpentry skills, plumbing knowledge, and electrical proficiency, DIY might be a viable option. However, if these areas are unfamiliar, hiring professionals can save you time, frustration, and potential costly mistakes.


Dean Cabinetry brings experience and expertise to any custom wet bar installations. Our team of skilled designers will work closely with you to understand your vision, create a personalized design, and ensure seamless execution of the project whether you choose custom, semi-custom, or stock cabinetry for your wet bar. Our custom cabinetry is crafted with high-quality materials to fit your exact space and vision. Our expert installers will ensure your wet bar cabinetry is installed flawlessly.


Additionally, working with the Dean Cabinetry team, allows us to guide you seamlessly through the process from discovering your vision, establishing a budget and design, crafted or ordering your cabinets, and delivering and installing your bar area.

Bringing Your Dream Bar to Life

Creating a custom wet bar requires careful planning, attention to detail, and a balance between functionality and aesthetics. Start by considering your lifestyle, entertaining habits, and available space. Sketch out your vision and define the bar’s purpose. Research materials, appliances, and decor options to create a cohesive and functional design. Ensure proper plumbing and electrical installations. Consider lighting, flooring, and backsplashes to create a harmonious and inviting atmosphere.


A well-designed wet bar strikes a balance between functionality and aesthetics. Prioritize functionality by ensuring adequate countertop space, proper storage, and easy access to appliances. Complement functionality with stylish cabinetry, elegant finishes, and personalized decor. Dean Cabinetry’s experienced designers will guide you through the design process, provide expert recommendations, and create a personalized wet bar that exceeds your expectations!