Designing a Bar Interior

BradYoung04 By BradYoung04, 18th Apr 2016 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Business>Starting A Business

Some tips on designing and decorating a bar interior


Bars are a really big draw here in the US. We’ve been described as a nation of social drinkers, ranking 49th in world consumption ahead of Brazil, Mexico, and even Thailand. Over recent years, the hospitality industry has seen new types of drinking establishment emerge, embracing new design trends aimed at younger people looking to spend money on food, drink, and entertainment all in one place.

Creating such a bar is a wise move if you’re planning on entering the market, but in order to succeed, having a suitable interior is also a big part of the draw. Bars these days have a large amount of resources designated to designing a fabulous environment, and this will be a large part of the appeal for your target demographic. Here I’ll be exploring some fun bar design trends that could help your establishment stick out.


Bar patrons always need more places to sit. People quickly get incredibly frustrated faced with no free tables or places to sit, so it’s important to stock up on a variety of chairs, benches, stools and anything else inventive where people can park their behinds. You’ll want taller chairs or stools for people to sit at the bar, and lower chairs for most other paces. Benches are typically affixed to long walls or larger areas, and you can even make room for a set of comfy chairs which have the added advantage of tempting your customers to stay longer.

The trend of upcycling continues to be popular in modern bars, but such items can often be just as expensive as regular furnishings. Only go down this route if you’re following a relevant theme, or you happen to have access to a large collection of old furniture, otherwise it’s unlikely you’ll save any money.

The Bar

Naturally your guests will be frequently visiting the bar area, so designing something functional will be important to ensuring smooth service. You’ll want an attractive space for your customers to enjoy, but avoid going overboard with extravagant design aesthetics or you’ll risk damaging the practicality of your bar. There's an interesting tale of the H.R. Giger bar in Switzerland, which although beautifully designed, had issues with protruding edges which made service difficult.

You might be able to get away with this in a highly conceptualized bar such as the Giger, but for a potentially new and unknown establishment, it risks frustrating and alienating customers. Keep the design simple, and focus your attention on creating a beautifully stocked bar with a good variety of drinks for your patrons.


Fitting into a niche is always a good idea when you’re looking to sustain a business long term, and this is no different for bars. Use your interior to support a design theme, which will help make your bar more memorable and offer a true alternative to what's already available elsewhere. Let your design theme permeate other aspects of your establishment; for example, if you’re opening a Mexican themed bar, you'd best make sure you’re well stocked on tequila!

Use unique decorations and furnishings to further reinforce your design theme. Your customers will seek an atmosphere that is different from whatever else is on offer locally, so make sure you do your research on nearby competition and find a niche which hasn’t yet been filled. Your brand, interior design elements and target audience should all stem from this.

Be wary though, because if you throw yourself too deep into a certain niche, you may find it hard to escape. This creates an aura of exclusivity that can often make attracting new customers much more difficult. Keep your offerings varied and show that you are a welcoming establishment; even if your customers don’t fit into a certain demographic let them know they will be welcome regardless.


Eye-catching decorative elements should work in tandem with your theme. These can create a feeling of sophistication, silliness, sultriness, or whatever else you may wish to communicate to your customers. The important thing is to have fun with decorations, and use your imagination; think about what will capture the attention of your clientele.

Why not buy light up letters and spell out the name of your bar on the wall? Or opt for wall-mounted crystal skulls for added mysticism? Perhaps even a 9ft statue of Godzilla could sit in the corner and look menacing? The point is to stick in your customer's mind so they return in the future, but it’s also important to make sure any decorations you use are thematically appropriate.

Thanks for Reading

As a startup consultant I'm always offering advice to new businesses on achieving growth and sustained success. If you'd like to know more please follow me on Twitter and be sure to check out some of my other Wikinut articles such as 7 Essential Software Tools for Startupsand Effectively Managing Your Budget as a Startup


Bar, Bar Design, Interior Design

Meet the author

author avatar BradYoung04
I am a MBA grad who can transform your business. Follow me for straight talking insights into running successful businesses in a fast paced world. I am always working or surfing in the Californian sun

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