Home Bar Plans

These home bar plans are designed to hold a small refrigerator on the left and glass shelves on the right. This particular buffet style of bar designs stands next to a wall and has front access to the refrigerator and shelves.

Home Bar Plans

The dimensions of the refrigerator space for these home bar plans were designed specifically for the Sanyo SR-4912M 4.9 Cu. Ft. counter height refrigerator. I wanted this particular refrigerator because it does not have a freezer unit and is capable of holding a 5 gallon Cornelius keg and a small CO2 tank. See below.

Sanyo Refrigerator with Keg and CO2 Tank

If you are not a home brewer, you might consider using a refrigerator that includes a freezer. It all depends on your needs. If you don't already have a refrigerator, I recommend purchasing the one you are planning to use before you build this bar - this way, you can get the exact dimensions of your new refrigerator before you design the size of the opening.

The width of the shelf opening was determined by the size of some glass shelves that I had stored in my garage for over 10 years. I was finally able to put them to good use.

The wood used in these home bar plans is mostly Western Red cedar and oak plywood. I used 2x3 pine, that is not seen when the bar is finished, to frame the base of the bar, and some aluminum strapping (also not seen) to tie in the top of the refrigerator opening. I did this to keep the height of the bar near 42" (+/-), and to provide additional structure to the bar frame.

Home Bar Plans
Front Dimensions

Home Bar Plans - Side View
Side Dimensions

Purchasing the Wood

If you choose to use Western Red cedar for your home bar furniture, as I did, you might find that there are a few challenges out there. I think Western Red cedar is beautiful wood, but it was difficult to find nice straight pieces that didn't have too much character.

This wood is typically used for fencing or deck building, but it can be sanded down to a smooth finish, and used to build just about anything. I visited two or three different lumber yards before I found one with a sufficient quantity of Western Red cedar to pick through and find the best looking pieces for my home bar.

Home Bar Plans - Assembly

Materials List:

Material Size Quantity
Western Red cedar 4" x 4" x 8' 3
Western Red cedar 2" x 4" x 8' 3
Oak plywood 4' x 8' 1
Hex screws and washers 4" x 1/4" 6
Hex screws and washers 1.5" x 1/4" 60
Corner braces 5" x 5" 10

Preparing the materials:

Cut the 4x4 posts to the length specified in the drawing(s). Sand the 4x4 posts and 2x4 trim until they are smooth. Apply one coat of polyurethane to all of the cedar framing members and let them dry for at least 24 hours. Lightly sand the parts again with fine sandpaper. Apply another coat of polyurethane to all of the surfaces and let them dry for another 24 hours.

Paint the 10 corner braces black, using a high-gloss oil-based spray paint. Allow them to dry thoroughly before attaching them to the bar frame.

Assembling the frame:

The easiest way to build this home bar plan is to assemble the front and back sections first, then tie the two sections together starting with the oak plywood base, then the 2x4 cedar framing and corner braces.

Starting with the back section of the bar, on a flat surface, lay out three of the 38.25 inch 4x4 posts as shown in diagram A. Cut two pieces of 2x4 cedar 28.25 (for the glass shelf space) inches long and one piece of 2x4 cedar 24.5 inches long (for the refrigerator space).

Square all of the corners and attach the 2x4 cedar framing elements using a combination of glue and 6d finish nails (or any other method you might prefer). The overall width of the back section should be about 63.5 inches, but will vary slightly, depending on the finished dimensions of the 4x4 posts.

Whatever the actual size it is, subtract 3.5 inches from that number and cut the 1.5" x 3" pine framing that length. It should be approximately 60" long. The important part is that, once assembled, there is 1.75" of space at each end (see Diagrams). This space is for the lower side sections of 2x4 (1.75" x 3.75") cedar framing.

With a 1.75" gap at each end, attach the pine framing member using one .25" x 4" hex screw and washer per post.

Ensure that the corners of the assembled back section are still square, and attach the 5" corner braces with .25" x 1.5" hex screws and washers.

Using the steps above, cut and assemble the parts for the front section. Keep in mind that the front section is the mirror image of the back section - the dimensions are flipped.

Home Bar Plans Back Section
(A) - Home Bar Plans - Back Section

Cut two pieces of metal approximately 30 inches long. (I used a piece of aluminum that I bought from the hardware store - 1/8 inch thick and 1 inch wide). Drill a hole 1/4" in each end of the metal strips and secure them to the top of each post using flush-style low-profile wood screws. When attaching the metal strips to the posts, position them such that the metal strips leave at least 1.75" space on the outer edges. (see diagram below)

Metal Strap Detail
(B) - Home Bar Plans - Assembled Frame

Cut the plywood base as indicated in diagram C. To be absolutely precise with the notch cuts, you can cut the plywood to its base dimensions (20.5" x 60"(it should be the same length as the pine 2x3)), then hold it up to the front and back sections of the bar and mark the exact location and width of the posts. The depth of all of the notches is 1.5 inches.

Home Bar Plans - Plywood Base
(C) Home Bar Plans - Plywood Base

The exploded view of these home bar plans (below) shows how the back section and front section of the bar tie together.

Home Bar Plans
(D) Home Bar Plans - Framing Plan

The diagram below shows the frame completely assembled, with a cutaway of the base to provide further clarity on how the base plywood is supported and trimmed. Diagram F shows the detailed view of the bottom base framing, plywood, and trim.

Home Bar Plans - Assembled Framing
(E) Home Bar Plans - Framing Plan - (completed)

Home Bar Plans - Base Trim Detail
(F) - Base Trim Detail

The actual dimensions of the bar top plywood section with 2x3 cedar support is 64.5" x 25.5". When the outer 1x2 trim is added, the dimensions become 66" x 27". You can use any method you prefer to attach the perimeter cedar support and outer trim to the plywood top, but I preferred to glue. I clamped all of the pieces together until the glue dried, thus eliminating nail holes.

Once the top is assembled, sand it smooth with fine sandpaper, apply a coat of polyurethane, let dry 24 hours (or longer), sand again with a very fine sandpaper, then apply the final coat of polyurethane.

Home Bar Plans - Top Trim Detail
(G) Home Bar Plans - Bar Top

Home Bar Plans - Top Trim Detail

Final notes:

This home bar furniture was relatively easy to build. I put a lot of thought into the structure and sizes of the openings, to ensure that they accommodated my refrigerator and glass shelves.

The Sanyo SR-4912M 4.9 Cu. Ft refrigerator can be converted to a kegerator, though this is not manufacturer's recommendation, there are several websites that provide the details.

I didn't attach the bar top to the bar frame. The weight of the bar top holds it firmly enough on the frame. I also left the bar top unattached in case I wanted to add a tap to it, at a later date.

Please verify all of the measurements before cutting any wood.

Home Bar Plans - Base Framing
Home Bar Plans - Base Trim View
Home Bar Plans - Base Framing
Home Bar Plans - Corner Brace
home bar plans center post detail
home bar plans corner post detail

I hope you enjoy building these home bar plans. If you have any questions or suggestions about bar designs, I would love to hear them. Please send me a note. Cheers!

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