Features to include in an indoor/outdoor bar

Phantom Screens / August 3, 2016

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Outdoor living spaces provide you with room to spread out your life. Your patio, deck or veranda can easily be used to accommodate multiple functions, whether your dream space is perfect for hosting parties or lounging outside. For example, your next home remodeling project could be to build an indoor/outdoor bar. Enjoy your garden while sipping on a cocktail or chat with your guests while you cook. Use the right features to cater to your ideas.

The structure

An indoor/outdoor bar connects your kitchen with your covered outdoor spaces and therefore your patio, deck or veranda should be located directly off of the kitchen. You’ll end up replacing a standard window with a more versatile design so that you can open up the kitchen to the outdoors. Choose a window that is directly over a countertop so that you have a surface from which to serve drinks.

The patio side of the bar will also need a countertop. You can renovate from the kitchen side by replacing the current counter with a larger one that will hang out of the window space. This will give the bar a seamless look.

The right window

You have choices for the type of window opening you’d like to install. A bi- or tri-fold window is a common choice, though you can also install a garage door style window that slides down from the ceiling. No matter which you prefer, be sure that you add sweeps to the bottom in order to better insulate the home when the windows are closed. You will also need a locking mechanism that secures your window.

Retractable screens can be outfitted to the opening you have created for your indoor/outdoor bar. They will allow you to maintain an open airy feeling in the kitchen without letting bugs inside. Retract the screens when you want to serve an appetizer platter during a party or hand drinks to friends. You may also choose to leave food on the kitchen side of the screen so that bugs won’t land on your treats when you aren’t eating.

Match your home’s design

Make your indoor/outdoor bar look natural by matching it to your home’s original architectural features. For example, if your roof is supported by decorative eaves, the patio side of the bar can be held up by brackets of the same design. Using the same material for your indoor countertops and outdoor bar area also ties everything together.

Choose bar stools that complement the colors of the rest of your outdoor furniture. You can turn the bar area into its own space. Arrange other outdoor features – fire pit, seating, etc. – so that the space flows. Traffic between spaces shouldn’t be congested, especially if you plan on entertaining outdoors.

Install lighting

The mood of your favorite bar or restaurant is usually set by the lighting. Your home indoor/outdoor bar will also benefit from some well-chosen lighting fixtures. Install recessed lights in the ceiling of your covered outdoor spaces for nice down-lighting. Have a switch that controls the fixture both inside the kitchen and outdoors so that you can control the lights no matter which side of the bar you’re on.

If you want your bar to be more ornate, find a lovely hanging chandelier. It can be classical or modern in design. A hanging lamp is best for patios with a high ceiling. A low-hanging light might get in the way of the food and drink that is sitting on the bar.

Place a few ground lights along the perimeter of your patio to define the dining space. This creates a clear border between the patio and the rest of your yard without having a feature like a railing.