2023 is all about entertaining at home

WOW!house 2023 home bar by Tala Fustok (James McDonald)

WOW!house 2023 home bar by Tala Fustok (James McDonald)

Home bars were a breakout trend during lockdown when going out wasn’t an option,” says Jen Nash, the senior design lead at Magnet, a British kitchen company. “But now,” she continues, “as people look to adjust spending habits and lifestyle behaviours in response to the cost of living crisis, we’re seeing the home bar trend return.”

For many, the home is increasingly functioning as a place for socialising, and the design community is responding to this trend. So, cue the new phrase being bandied around by interior designers: 2023 is all about “insperience” as opposed to “experiences” outside the home at bars and restaurants.

But how to begin creating an at-home bar experience that can rival the real thing? For Tala Fustok, the founder of the eponymous interior design studio, it’s all about escapism.

Magnet home bar enhances the socialising ‘insperience’ (Magnet)

Magnet home bar enhances the socialising ‘insperience’ (Magnet)

Fustok is responsible for the striking home bar at this year’s WOW!house at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, a 500-square-metre showhouse complete with 18 rooms designed by some of the biggest names in interior design, open to the public until 6 July 2023.

Fustok describes the style of her home bar as “a 1930s breakfast on the moon,” furnished with Vessel Gallery glassware, decadent cake stands and vintage English silverware. There is the backlit fabric for a luxurious feel, and a celestial Vaughan pendant around which the interiors seem to orbit. A home bar can take a hefty helping of novelty, so whether you go for a 1970s cocktail lounge atmosphere, a sophisticated members’ club vibe or even Fustok’s intergalactic look, make sure you play with ideas and create a place you can truly escape to.

Louise Bradley, a British interior designer, believes that no matter the space you’re working with, there’s a way to bring in the refinement and elegance of a home bar. She says, “You don’t need to have huge amounts of space to create a beautiful home bar. In one of our projects at Regent’s Park, we specified some pared-back, sleek open shelving and combined it with a marble-topped credenza to allow a client’s dining room to function as a home bar. The bar furniture is incredibly slimline, making it a space-saving, practical and most importantly, elegant addition to the space.”

One of Louise Bradley’s projects, a bar and dining space in a grade I-listed home in Regents Park (Lousie Bradley)

One of Louise Bradley’s projects, a bar and dining space in a grade I-listed home in Regents Park (Lousie Bradley)

Amy and Hewie Dalrymple, who founded the interior design firm, Dalrymple Studio, in 2018, believe that it’s all about styling. In a project of theirs in Fulham, the home bar furniture is minimal – a sleek, simple bar cart – but denoted by a striking piece of contemporary art on the wall above. The “station” also nestles within an alcove next to the chimney breast, which serves to create a distinct “zone”.

Fulham home, interiors by Dalrymple Studio (Alexander James)

Fulham home, interiors by Dalrymple Studio (Alexander James)

A final tip comes from Nash, who suggests positioning your home bar near any access to the outdoors. She says, “To enhance your summer soirées, creating a multifunctional bar that can be enjoyed all year round is important and will ensure you can make maximum use of it. If possible, pick a space near your outdoor area for your home bar. This way, you and your guests can transition between the two spaces and embrace both the outdoors and indoors. If you particularly enjoy outdoor entertaining, a garden bar may be a great investment to level up your hosting for the warmer months.”

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