My Living Room Is Hiding A Secret

My living room is hiding a secret. It’s just a little secret, nothing earth shattering.

Family Room With Judges Paneling


See that area behind the seating group, the one with the built-in cabinetry and bookshelves? The secret is underneath the tall lamp I have there. Can you guess what it is?

Living Room With Judges Paneling and Jewel Tone Fabrics 2_wm


It’s this! Did you guess you would find a sink under there? The sink still works, I ran a little water in it again today just to make sure. Apparently when my home was built in 1983, this was the way some home bar areas were being designed. A few of my neighbors have this same bar setup, but some have actual small rooms you can step into that face out into their family room.

Sink Built Into Cabinets for a Home Bar


I never use the bar and just keep the lid closed down since I prefer to use the shelf space for family photos and such. If the next owner of my home does want to use it as a bar, they could store bottles inside the cabinet underneath the sink, bottle openers and corks inside the drawers and glasses on the shelves above.

Living Room With Judges Paneling and Jewel Tone Fabrics 2_wm


Last year, for a New Year’s Day party, I did use this area as a bar for the first time ever. I served wine and a champagne punch I made for the occasion. I had just finished dipping the rims of the champagne glasses into the Gran Marnier and nonpareils when I took this picture. That’s what’s in the little bowls.

Champagne Glasses with Nonpareils 1


I love the festive look of the nonpareils for a New Year’s party or birthday celebration.

Champagne Glasses with Nonpareils


I served the champagne punch from a tall beverage server that normally lives here on the sideboard in the dining room. (Tablescape can be viewed here: Christmas Table Setting: Sparkle With a Touch of Whimsy)

Holiday Table Setting Tablescape in Silver and Green


That’s it on the right in the picture below. This was my sneaky attempt to draw my guests into the living room and out of the kitchen where we always seem to gather for cold-weather parties. (Recipe for Champagne Punch can be found here: Champagne Punch, Perfect for a Christmas or New Year’s Party)

Champagne Glasses with Nonpareils 1


For spring, summer and fall parties, I don’t usually have that problem. Folks willingly head for the porch during those times.

Screened Porch with Sheer Curtains and White Wicker Furniture


When it comes to home bars arrangements, I love how creative folks can get. Actor, decorator and author, Bryan Batt, turned this beautiful antique armoire into a bar, complete with a sink. If you don’t care for alcoholic drinks, this bar and the others shared in this post would work great for serving beverages of any type, either when entertaining or year around.

I love how he included a sink, very clever if you can place your armoire where it can be connected into your plumbing.

Armoire Turned Into Home Bar for Entertaining


Since so many folks are using flat screen TVs mounted on the wall, armoires can be found for bargains at flea markets and thrift stores.

Armoire Make Great Home Bar for Entertaining

Found at The Visual Vamp Blog

You may remember when we toured this darling French Cottage here: French Cottage With A Dream Kitchen. I really liked the built-in bar they created. I may be wrong, but I bet that was a coat closet in another life.

Looks like they took an old china hutch and added a sink for this bar. It’s located just inside the front door where you can greet your guests with a hug and a cold, refreshing drink. You would need it right now after coming inside from our 95 degree weather!

Closet Becomes Home Bar


Eddie Ross is always on the look out for vintage brass pieces. He lucked out and found a fabulous old bar cart while antiquing.



You don’t have to spend a ton to set up a little bar. Any cart found while thrifting can be made over with paint.

Hot Pink Bar Cart

Found on Burlap and Crystal dot com


If you have a tray, you can create an impromptu bar just about anywhere as they did in this outdoor space at the Southern Living Idea House last year in Bluffton, South Carolina. (Take a tour of the home in this post: Tour the Beautiful 2014 Southern Living Idea House)

Bar Car in Southern Living Idea House


Mary Carol moved from a large home into a wonderful and much smaller lake cottage. When she did, she created a handy little bar area in her newly renovated kitchen. If you have an area in your kitchen similar to this, this may work for you either while entertaining or year around if you can spare the lower cabinet shelf and countertop space. (Tour Mary Carol’s darling lake cottage in this post: Designer Mary Carol Garrity Has a New Cottage Home!)

Mary Carol Garrity's Home Bar for Entertaining


I saved one of the most creative bar ideas for last. Even those old vintage TV cabinets can be put to new use!

Old TV Cabinet Made Into Home Bar

Source: Unknown


These bar design ideas could be used for serving beverages while entertaining or for every day use. You’ll find additional ideas for creative bar designs on this Pinterest board I created a while back: Bar Carts & Set Ups For Entertaining

What do you think about the repurposing of the armoires? I still love having my living room TV inside an armoire so I can make it disappear when I wish, but I do love the idea of turning them into a cleverly hidden bar.

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  1. Someone I knew did convert a TV cabinet into an aquarium.

  2. When we bought the cabin, the previous owners left an upright piano. Neither one of us plays, and we tried to sell or even donate it without success. We finally turned it into a bar. Now it’s a great conversation piece. (It’s on my blog).

    I agree with you about armoires, but I guess that makes us old school because everyone has their tv’s front and center. When we moved and tried to donate our armoires, they didn’t even want them because they said no one uses them anymore. Too bad, because I think they tend to be beautiful pieces most of the time.

  3. I love that t.v. bar Susan, so cute. I would never have guessed you had a sink in your living room. You could pretend you are camping without leaving the house!! πŸ™‚
    You have reminded me, somewhere below the house in the crawl space, I have a metal and glass trolley, have never assembled it after the move seven years ago.

  4. Peggy Thal says

    I love your bar area. Really nice for parties. I have quite a few hidden bars and regular bars. One outside by the pool. One in livingroom in a Chinese chest. Of course Kitchen bar. Then we have a big bar in our game room. Another in the TV room. Lots of fridges and sinks to take care of. It is convenient though. Makes it so easy for parties. I have seen someone have a TV one. Very creative just such an ugly TV. I think there are many armoires turned into bars. I really hated those big heavy TV’s. – I plan to make your beautiful 4th of July drink. Thank you for the recipe.

    • Peggy, I LOVE the little freezers that make the small cubes. I bet you have one of those. Do you keep all the bars stocked with the same type drinks? Sounds like you have all the areas covered. Hope you like the Watermelon Mojitos. They are so easy to make and so perfect for summer!

      • Peggy Thal says

        Thanks for your reply! Each fridge has something different. The TV room is stocked for my grandson. He likes his own fridge and can help himself. 5 years old. We have a separate ice maker In the kitchen. It is great to always have so much ice. Especially now. It was 100 yesterday. Stay cool!

  5. I use an armoire to hold all my perfume!

    I’ve been eyeing a quarter bath we have right next to our kitchen for a little butler’s pantry/bar space; no one ever uses the bathroom ( who thought it was a good idea to have a bathroom next to the kitchen?) and we entertain a lot, and I can always use more storage!

    • Chloe, that sounds like a great idea, as long as you don’t need that bathroom. You already have a water source for a sink. πŸ™‚

  6. Great examples of bar ideas and so varied. I have to take a look around my place for ideas to set up one–an armoire, a nook, a cart, hidden in living room bookcase. Can’t decide but this will be fun.

  7. I had to come over to see what your living room was hiding! I would never have guessed that a sink was there! We used the armoire that’s in our bedroom as a bar in our other home. I put a mirror in the back and added glass shelves, although I did not have a sink in it. I am currently looking for another armoire to use for storage in our office.

    • So, that’s what it takes to get a visit from you! A juicy secret! lol πŸ˜‰
      Jane, was it hard to add the shelves? I love the armoires I’ve seen with a mirror hanging inside…they can be so pretty!
      Do you have a tutorial on your blog for that? Khaki just left a comment asking if I knew any place to find a tutorial or plans. That would make a great post…hint, hint! πŸ™‚

    • Jody Le Bouton says

      If you have a Restore It store (Habitat for Humanity) mine in Cleveland,Ohio has a ton of armoires. Prices are very good and you did your good deed for the day.

  8. I have an armoire not being used at present, so could you tell me where I could find plans to convert it into a bar. We have an outside screened porch with small sink in a ugly wooden cabinet. I think the armoire would be perfect for that space with the sink. Thanks for any information you could share.

    • Khaki, I wish I knew where to find plans, that would be great. I googled for that and I found this video that shows a little of how they turned one into a bar on the Rachel Ray show:
      Best thing to do is too Google the subject. There are a lot of websites with info about it, I’m just not sure if any of them include actual plans.
      If you do it, take pictures in good lighting (don’t use the flash) and if I can, I’ll share them here on the blog. I’m sure a lot of folks would love to know how to do it.

    • Also, check on Pinterest for ideas. There are a lot of pics on Pinterest showing armoires turned into bars.

  9. Regality (aka The Quing) says

    I love the TV bar! *L* So, how are you feeling? Are you drinking your way to health? πŸ˜‰

    • If you mean drinking tons of water, Yes! I’m also Amoxicillin-ing my way to health. πŸ™‚ I think your plan sounds like more fun, though! I feel better this evening than I have since I got sick, so I think I’m on the downhill side of this now. I slept 12 hours yesterday, got up for 2 hours and then slept another 6 hours…I think that really helped.

  10. Off topic!

    I am loving the deer with the little fur collars. They are super precious. Where did you find those little cuties?

    Your home is so beautiful.

    • Thanks so much, Pamela! I found those in Marshalls, (think I’m remembering that correctly) a couple of years back. Check when it gets closer to Christmas, occasionally I’ve seen things show up again there.

  11. Elizabeth Roderick says

    I have my great grandparents tall skinny armoire that may have come from one of their parents plantation. It’s like a carved closet with a mirror on the front. I have never had the heart to poke holes in it or paint it but it is a very handy place for my wrapping paper, games and sheet music in the drawer below. My oldest son reminds me he wants it but I’m not ready to give it up yet. He can take the grandfather clock when ever he wants it, after hurricane season. I hope you get better soon!

    • Elizabeth, I know what you mean, I’m not sure I could bring myself to drill holes into an antique. Thanks, each day feeling a little better. πŸ™‚

  12. Susan, I love your bar area in your den, as well as all these you shared with us. We have an actual wet bar in our den behind 2 closed doors. Several friends said they had taken theirs out, but not me! It has a small sink like yours and a countertop with 4 rows of glass shelves about it that hold tons of my wine glasses. I keep my big drink dispenser in there. I have to say I love it, even though it needs a facelift. Like it’s owner! =)
    I am glad to hear you are feeling better today.

    • Martha, you are so smart to not tear it out. An area like that is exactly what I treasure when I house hunt online in the area where mys on lives. I may eventually move there one day. I love it when I find a home that hasn’t been changed and still has those unique features that you can’t find anymore. I really love that you haven’t let “trends” sway you but have stuck with what you love and enjoy. I feel sad sometimes when I think of selling my home and the next owner coming in and possibly painting over the judges paneling in the family room. So often you see folks cherishing and missing the way things used to be done/built…like the way everyone now wants hardwood flooring throughout.

  13. Sherry Stuifbergen says

    I noticed the Staffordshire dogs you have on your mantel…this not the first time I noticed them, but I am going to ask where you got them?…are they old?…could show them in detail sometime. I collect Staffordshire dogs. It is hard to find a nice, old, “pair”…usually you can find ONE. Just thought I would ask. Sherry

    • I wish I could say that they were old but they are reproductions. I can’t remember where I bought them now because it was so long ago. They were the best reproductions I had ever come across. They didn’t look so fake like so many reproductions do.
      There used to be an antique store down in Atlanta that carried tons of antique Staffordshire…can’t remember the name of it now. I think it was on Bennett Street. This was many years ago, probably 15-17 years ago. One day it was just gone. I’m not sure if they moved or went out of business. I used to go in and gingerly walk around, trying to not touch anything because every thing in there was very old, very authentic and very expensive. It was fun to look but it was all way out of my budget. They definitely had Staffordshire dogs, they had more Staffordshire pieces than I’d ever seen anywhere.
      You can see the ones on my mantel a lot better in this really old post:

  14. Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says

    Hello Susan, Your living room is lovely & I want to tell you that I have the exact same fireplace* cover up that I use in front of it* during the warm months πŸ™‚ We still have our TV in our lovely ARMOIRE because I did not want the tv on the wall to be the focal point of our living room πŸ™ I believe that our fireplace should be the main event πŸ™‚ I’m not one to follow the Jones’s! I put in MY HOME what I LOVE.

    • I still love that fireplace screen, after all these years. I have one I use in the fall sometimes, you can see it here:
      I’m with you Rose, I so agree! πŸ™‚

      • Rose Giallombardo says

        Thank you Susan for showing me your fall fireplace screen w/ the pretty Cardinal couple πŸ™‚ I haven’t seen that post before. Cardinals are beautiful birds, we have many male & females (couples) that visit our secret garden. We also have a couple of doves that have made a nest in our blue spruce tree this year. Even through their babies have left the nest, the mommy & daddy still come by to sit & coo every day!

  15. WOW! I would have never known this had you not shown it to us. Love the concept of it. Thanks for sharing. As always…I am a huge fan of your tablescapes…so off to look. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  16. So cute! I love the classic look of old liquor cabinets like these. They add a fun character to spaces!

  17. Wow…what a surprise…and I love that it is hidden away…such a clever idea…and loved the bar inspiration. I am leaning towards the look of a freestanding type bar rather than a built use a beautiful hutch is a great idea..have to save that for the “new house folder”…one day!

  18. This post is stunning, what can I say! I love each piece for entertaining, but the old TV turn into a small bar is totally awesome!!! I’m smitten with it. Who new!
    Pinning for sure.

  19. That bar in the old T.V. is adorable. Those sets are hard to find.

  20. Denise Davis says

    Hi Susan! With vacations I am just now reading this — love all the cool ideas for different bar areas. Our previous home in Texas had a bar area and sink behind a built in cabinet in the family room. The realtors called these a “priest’s cabinet” Lol
    Love the cut glass drink dispenser, have you had it for a while. Would love to purchase one like it.

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