Coffee break

The 9 elements of a perfect built-in coffee bar.
Photo by Alyssa Wagner

Built-in coffee bars are all the rage right now, and it makes sense why that is: aside from being gorgeous and adding significant value to a home, they are incredibly functional, especially when hosting those large holiday gatherings!

We recently added a built-in coffee bar to our piano room (or, “the plant room,” as my nieces like to call it), and here are my top recommendation for elements to include to maximize both functionality and design:

1. Tower Cabinets: Rather than using typical uppers and lowers, if you have the space for it, use tower cabinets. These feel more architecturally interest- ing than typical uppers, and they provide functional, easy-to-reach storage.

2. Glass Doors:
Glass doors on your upper cabinets are a great opportunity to display a collection of coffee mugs, crystal cocktail glasses, and beautiful liquor or wine bottles.However—if you don’t want to worry about keeping

the insides of your cabinets nicely arranged, this might not be the best option for you.

3. Quality Hardware: Hardware is one detail you shouldn’t skimp on! It’s a high-use element, and higher quality hardware will absolutely last longer. I’d suggest using brass hardware, which comes in all kinds of finishes.

4. Counter Space
for Serving: Determine ahead of time what small appliances and supplies you’ll want to live in the

coffee bar so you can plan for enough count- er space both to store and use these items.

5. Open Shelving: Open shelving is a great opportunity to display beautiful recipe books, plants, coffee supplies, and glass- ware, and they create a more open feel than traditional upper cabinets.

6. Library Lights: Focused lighting on your built-in coffee bar is both practical and functional, since it’s an area where you’ll be serving, and it also creates nice mood lighting in the evening when overhead lights are off.

7. Electrical Outlets:
If you’re planning to store and use small appliances like a coffee pot or espresso machine in your coffee bar, be sure you plan for an electrical outlet. You can place this on your back wall, or, like we did, run a chase through the side of the tower cabinets so the outlet is not visible.

8. Mirror Backsplash:
A mirror backsplash is a great option, especially in smaller rooms, because it will make your space appear larger. If you have windows in the room, it will also reflect the natural light, making your space feel brighter. If you want to get really creative, there are lots of interesting antique or distressed mirror options as well.

9. Storage Below: Below your counter- top, consider what type of storage will best meet your needs. Deep drawers? Doors? A combo of both? Here, we went with long narrow drawers on top, for smaller things like coffee beans and cloth napkins, and double door cabinets below for larger serving pieces.

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