Sunday, 12 October 2014

DIY Home Bar built from IKEA Stuff


It had been an aim of mine for some years now to build myself a bar at home for entertaining friends regularly, but somehow time and inspiration just simply did not allow for it. However several weeks ago I decided to stop procrastinating and just get down to it. The bar in the photo above is the final result and below I will explain how I got there.

Being the sort of person I am I wanted to plan it down 100% before I started so that I would know exactly what to buy, how much and what the entire procedure would be to build it myself. Call me picky but I like stuff to be done right... ;-)

I started by researching the price of wood and other materials and quickly realised that this would be quite a pricey and challenging enterprise. After a few days of searching, making sums and searching again I decided to check what a bar from IKEA would cost. I discovered that Ikea do not actually make a bar for home use for some reason, possibly not politically correct? Whatever their reason, big mistake!

But while browsing their website I realised that they make furniture a lot cheaper than I could when paying retail prices for materials, and then I got a brainwave! What if I purchased as much of the structure from IKEA as I could and then simply finish the bar off with some nominal purchases at the local hardware store? After doing some more sums, looking at more bits and pieces, doing some more sums and more looking and measuring, I came to the conclusion that it would not only be within budget but it would be much faster to construct and would probably look a whole lot better than the results my own meager carpentry skills would deliver.

This is the corner in our apartment that the wife and I had earmarked for the bar.

It was a dull and uninspiring corner that always seemed underutilized no matter what we did with it... but that was about to change. Big time!

First step was to order everything from IKEA online, and I then also opted for their home delivery to spare myself the trouble. A couple of weeks later everything arrived and the next day, a Saturday, I started the build.

First I assembled the "Billy" bookshelves:

Ikea have made this super easy and only moderate skills are needed to get them up in no time. I used different components of the Billy bookshelves to fit the space perfectly and to get the shelves looking how I imagined a bar should look, this includes the glass shelves for the top half of the units while retaining the wooden shelves at the bottom. I securely screwed the individual units together to each other and also fixed them securely to the back wall with a bracket that was supplied in the box. Better safe than sorry!

In the pic below you can see a shorter variety of the Billy bookshelves that form the basic frame beneath the walnut kitchen counter that I also ordered from IKEA. Of course this is not very sturdy so it was time to move on to the more challenging part of the build.

I then purchased some 45mm x 75mm wooden beams at the local hardware store, which happened to be a branch of Jem & Fix. I also had to get some screws because I was almost out. Then I measured, cut and fixed the beams directly to the bookshelves and also included a built in foot rest.

Next I started cladding the entire structure in some beautiful floorboards also from jem & Fix. This went quite speedily and just required some sawing and nailing. The boards clip together very neatly and look beautiful once joined.

As you can see I couldn't wait and had already started stocking the shelves. Big mistake as everything ended up covered in dust and had to be washed... oh well, we live and learn. The pic below shows the bar with the floorboard cladding completed.

Next I attached an aluminium stair rail to the footrest to ensure longer wear and give the bar a better finish.

The last major step was to suspend the large bamboo lampshades I had also purchased from IKEA from the ceiling directly above the bar counter. This proved to be the most challenging to do as the ceiling is very (very) hard concrete and drilling a straight hole was next to impossible... but after much sweat and cussing it finally got done.

Getting it this far took two weekends working about 6 hours per day, now the only thing left to do are finishings to corners and some other small bits and pieces which I will get to next weekend. B^) (...and then get some bar stools from IKEA)

All in all I am very happy with the final result and look forward to many evenings of pub fun at home with my buddies while listening to some quality music! Below are a few more views of the bar so you can get a better idea of the "feel".

I hope this inspires you to try it out yourself and get yourself your very own ultimate home entertainment set up! If you do, please send me a pic or two so I can share them here for others to gain some inspiration.

List of links to the IKEA products used:
(please "right click" on each link and "open as new tab" or else you will navigate away from this page)


  1. This looks great! What a fantastic idea.

  2. Wow, my kind of project. Really nicely done!

  3. I love the lamps too! You did it?

  4. That looks like a top class bar, how much did the full project cost you exactly?

    1. It came to about 9500 Swedish Krona. A similar quality bar directly from a company that builds bars professionally would be several times that so I am a very happy chappy!

  5. Very cool bar! We are thinking of copying it if we ever finish the inside of the house and start working on the outside. We have a pool in back that needs work but a bar like this in a sunroom or cabana off the back would be off the hook!

  6. Now that you've had the bar for about a year and a half, how is it holding up? I know Billy bookcases aren't the strongest things in the world and am wondering the bar has started to wobble a bit. I hope not just curious.

    1. I am pleased to say it is still absolutely 100%!

  7. Hi, great work, planning to copy your bar, is the table width 186cm.?

    1. Thanks, and yes it is 186cm. Would love to see your final result so please post a link to some pics!

    2. Thanks, and yes it is 186cm. Would love to see your final result so please post a link to some pics!

  8. Will do, expect to start building it next month once I have received the items from Ikea.

  9. Hi there,

    Beautiful project !

    I was looking into ideas myself to create a countertop/bar in my kitchen since i desperatly need more space to cook.
    I don't have the space for a wide bar that's why i was going for the billy bookcase since it's not very wide.
    Do you think if i assemble 3 billy bookcase with on top a kitchen counter ( which would need to be around 240cm long and pretty much 38/40cm large) with some beadboard planks to cover the back - would it be stirdy enough or will it fall right off?
    Any tips are welcome !

    Thanks in advance,

    1. Sturdiness largely depends on how stuff is affixed. In your case, because of the narrowness, it would probably need to be bolted down to the floor or possibly to another fixed unit to the side or possibly a wall. Every project has it's challenges but there are always solutions if you start thinking laterally. Good luck and I hope it works out!

    2. thanks for the advice !