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Running a bar can be a lot of fun but getting set up is an expensive business. Luckily, modern trends for reclamation and reuse mean that you can now create an awesome bar relatively cheaply.

The industrial look works brilliantly because you can use simple floor solutions like polished concrete. Though concrete isn’t the most environmentally friendly solution, it is long lasting, easy to clean and will act as a thermal mass which should reduce your heating bills. Industrial design also makes use of bare bricks and you don’t need to worry about perfect plastering.

As for everything else, you just need to know where to look.


When you look at modern bar designs, you will notices that they all create a range of different ‘zones’ within the bar. There might be a lower seating area over here, a few tables and chairs over there and several high bar stools around the bar itself.

While mixing and matching is the easiest way to save, you should consider how you are going to bring your collection together. A small palette of materials is ideal. So, if you are picking chairs, you might like to look for the same kind of wood. However, it is possible to cheat and a quick paint job or a few cushions made from the same material can make all the difference.


Glassware is a really important part of any bar but that doesn’t mean that every drink should have it’s own receptacle. At least while you are starting up, you need to be a bit more realistic about what you can afford. And it’s much easier to buy in bulk than it is to buy 10 here and 10 there.  

When you choose your glassware, you should definitely try before you buy. Even in the glassware industry, it’s possible to achieve style over substance and no-one looks good slopping a cocktail down their favorite dress!


You can completely change the mood of any room by turning on a light. Get the lighting right and you can make a cheaply done bar feel like it cost a fortune to fit. The key is deciding what you want to highlight and what you want to cast into shadow. Don’t forget that millennials are all about social sharing so make sure that you have enough lighting to create a selfie!

Low-level lighting can provide a guide along the floor and separate areas. On the other hand, using low hanging ceiling lights can cast a pool of light over a table creating a very intimate environment. Having a few different fixtures is a good way to create a balance so don’t be afraid to mix and match as before.

Kitting out a bar is always going to cost but there are a few ways to reduce the amount you have to spend. A bit of paint and smart lighting can do a great deal and if you are willing to go second hand, you will be surprised by what you find.

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