The first and most important step when considering building a DIY bar is carefully measuring the available space in the room in which the bar will be built. This will dictate how large of a bar can be built, as well as what features can be included in the DIY bar. It is important to remember to measure the working space as well, so the distance between the wall and the front of the bar will be the most accurate measurement of the usable space. If stools will be placed on the outside of the bar so guests can sit, this will add onto the overall measurements as well.
Think carefully about what features you will want or need for the DIY bar. If the bar will be a full working bar with sinks, you will need to think about plumbing access, which can affect the orientation of the bar as well as the cost of the project. Coolers for drinks will also be more expensive, and they will require electrical outlets. Keep these things in mind when figuring where the DIY bar will be located within the home, since running new electrical outlets and plumbing will raise the cost and effort of the project overall.
Think about what kind of look you want for the DIY bar. Different wood tones will create a different aesthetic and mood in the room; darker woods will create a moodier atmosphere, while lighter woods can allow for a brighter feel. Remember that some woods will cost more than others, and some woods will need more finishing than others. Plan for extra time for finishing the wood and adding accents.
Consider how many people will regularly use the bar. This will help dictate the size of the bar and the features that will need to be included with the bar. Some bars should be quite small and hold only a few glasses; bars meant for entertaining larger groups will require more glasses and consequently more storage space for the glasses when not in use. A shelf for the bottles of alcohol will also be necessary, and the size of the shelves will depend on how much alcohol will regularly be stocked in the bar.
Lighting is a very important consideration for a DIY bar project. Different types of lighting can affect the mood of the area as well as the cost of the project. Consider how much light is necessary and how much is preferred, and research different lighting options that will create a comfortable atmosphere.