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jlouise54

Decor for Awkward Bar

jlouise54
21 days ago

Help! We are snowbirds and the vacation home we purchased a few years ago had this “bar” in the living room. It totally doesn’t function as a bar as there is no fridge, icemaker, sink, or even a nearby electrical outlet. Because we are only here four months per year we don’t want to expense or hassle of ripping it out. We do like the storage. I have tried all sorts of things on the shelves and this is the best I have come up with. I welcome any suggestions. And yes, these are fake plants. I hate fake plants but since we aren’t here year round, it is the only option.

Comments (75)

  • jlouise54
    Original Author
    21 days ago

    The prior owners left the receipts for the custom bar and entertainment centers that they had built. IMO what a waste of money on the monstrosity of a bar! I like the idea of putting a wine rack on the counter and potentially a tray with ice bucket, etc and maybe wine glasses on the lowest shelf. At least then, it might look functional.

  • ptreckel
    21 days ago

    I would explore the price of having an electrical outlet installed. And, possibly, an outlet so that you could install a wine fridge, below. What is behind this dry bar? A room from which electricity might be drawn for outlets? Perhaps, even, a recessed light above the dry bar? I would explore this option…and then you will have all the options in front of you. As someone who lives in another property for a few months of the year…you do have to make choices about expending $$ on items that you won’t use that much. BUT…that means you have to really assess what MATTERS to you. What can you (and can’t you) live without??? What is your tipping point. This seems to be a problem area for you. You want change; your husband doesn’t care about the space. What does HE care about? Room for negotiation? Get your estimates in order…. 😉

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  • jlouise54
    Original Author
    21 days ago

    We thought we would use it somewhat as a bar as that is how the prior owners seemed to use it. But honestly, the kitchen is adjacent and it is really no big deal to go to kitchen for the ice, bottle of wine or whatever. We honestly don’t need to spend any money to make it into a real bar. We have friends that come over and compliment us on the tile. Maybe they are just being nice! At this point, I just want to do whatever I can to “soften” it. This picture was my latest attempt - plants and some white accents. Maybe that is at good as it gets without major work.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    21 days ago

    I don't like the glass shelves, or the triple offset.


    I'd do something like this,



    or how about this sexiness? redo w/a matte black elongated hex tile (and this is a simple DIY project) do some floating white oak shelves, style as seen here,


    you need a beverage bar? coffee center?



    I really like this idea. change it out to some zellige tiles (black or white)

    wood shelves, some nice lights,







    with either a dark wood like walnut, or maybe some black shelves



    and take them all the way across. or part way, but not offset like you have it



    maybe do a coffee bar or snack bar?


    I like the sconces above this one, you could always retile





    You say you don't want a bar? but if you did, I'd redo like this



  • jlouise54
    Original Author
    21 days ago

    Thanks Beth - awesome ideas and you have me thinking. First, and no real investment, since I already have two many shelves cluttered with decor items in this room, would I just be happier with this area if I just treated it like a bar……..glasses/bottles on the two reachable shelves, and nice wine rack on the counter. Then, if I want to make a minor investment, I could retile with a more neutral tile to my liking and have wood shelves made that could simply slide over the existing glass shelves. Something to chew on! THANKS!

  • Kendrah
    21 days ago

    You walk to the kitchen for wine and ice? Are you sure you live in the US?:)


    Kudos to you for not making unneeded beverage areas and keeping this spiff up simple. Yes, if you are only looking to style the shelves, you’ve nailed it.

  • jlouise54
    Original Author
    21 days ago

    Thank you, Kendrah. Yes, in spite of hating the tile and the excess of shelves in the room, I really don’t want to make this a big project and we really don’t need a bar. My main request is just, can I do something to make the most of this area, decor wise.

  • tozmo1
    21 days ago
    last modified: 21 days ago

    IMO, you can calm the tile down by using fewer but larger, less busy accessories. I'm completely ignoring one shelf and hoping it will blend into the tile if nothing is on it and the eye is drawn to the black vase on the counter (empty it it looks like sculpture) and the face sculpture. Let's add a black Eames House Bird to keep the white bird company while you're away. If that doesn't work, get out your Dremel and use a cutting wheel to cut the glass shelves off flush with the tile.



    Or maybe even more simple. The birds haven't met yet. "Hey, just got into town. My RV's parked on that lot off Scottsdale Rd. We all flock together around 5. Hope to see you!"



  • Kate
    21 days ago

    Smash out the shelves and tile over the tile if it’s sound.

  • jlouise54
    Original Author
    21 days ago

    Tozmo - Worth trying out!!!!! One thing I hate about this place is that It is full of cheap decor, rather than decor I love collected over the last half century. (Because we moved in with literally nothing and sought budget items). Your idea suggests spending some time shopping for one or two great larger pieces. Perhaps I won’t mind the tile if there are some pieces I love displayed there.

  • RedRyder
    21 days ago

    I think @tozmo gave you the best first idea. Changing what is on the shelves can be just what you needed.

    But if it doesn’t do the trick, you need to show these ideas to the other house owner who doesn’t want a project.

    jlouise54 thanked RedRyder
  • tozmo1
    21 days ago

    If you are anywhere near Scottsdale/Mesa, check the thrift stores. There are so many wonderful thrift stores in that area where people donate the best stuff. My guess is it's people who move out there with their stuff and find it doesn't fit their new living space, downsizing or estate stuff the kids don't want to deal with. There's also a lot of interestingly shaped inexpensive items, new or used, that have southwestern colored themes or are in colors you don't want but that if you go with a black matte palette, you could spray paint all black and no one would be the wiser. Look for shapes, not colors in that case.

  • jlouise54
    Original Author
    21 days ago

    Red Ryder - I always love your thinking! Yes, the other home owner just cares about functionality and comfort. Hence you will see a recliner in the photos I am about to upload! I did just come on here for decor ideas and Tozmo gave me a good one.


    Meanwhile, for those that asked, here are additional views. You can see another questionable (IMO) design choice made by prior owner.......slate blue backsplash with gray granite, Really?


    By the way, the glass top bar table is not my design style, but purchased from prior owners on the insistance of daughter in law who was sure it would be handy when the kids are all here. She was absolutely right. It usually has a lively backgammon game in progress on it.




  • Maureen
    20 days ago
    last modified: 20 days ago

    It’s so big, overwhelms the room and the glass shelves are not helping. Can you break the shelves and if needed, use a metal sander to make protrusions flush. Since you have lots of shelving already, I’d paint the tiles the same color as wall so it‘s not broken up and add large art - it will change your room dramatically.


  • jlouise54
    Original Author
    20 days ago

    @Maureen - perfect art! I think I will wait until next year and then try to get hubby on board with eliminating glass shelves and painting out the tile. (This year my big project was getting him on board with re-doing the landscaping. One battle a year!). But I remembered one thing. There are LED lights embedded in the shelves. What does this mean when taking the shelves off? Yes, LED LIGHTS! Not my taste at all!

  • jlouise54
    Original Author
    20 days ago

    &Maureen - that art is so perfect it is almost exactly like my artistic sister volunteered to paint for me for over sofa. I am still waiting!

  • Alex Turney
    20 days ago

    If you hate the idea of cheap decor I think even just investing in a little nice hardware would go a really long way here. It’s a super easy way to just make the most out of the existing space based on your previous comments. Check out this collection I used with a recent client. https://hapnyhome.com/collections/gold-cabinet-hardware

  • jlouise54
    Original Author
    20 days ago

    Would agree for my kitchen. It needs new hardware. But the hardware of the two pieces in the living room doesn’t bother me at all and is actually pretty nice IMO.

  • jlouise54
    Original Author
    20 days ago

    @tozmo1. You are so right about the thrift and consignment shops in this area. I try to shop them but it is tough to find exactly what you are looking for. I love your spray paint idea. I have tried multiple things in front of that tile. Colors don’t seem to work well. White seems the best, but I think a large black piece as suggested might be good.

  • PRO
    HALLETT & Co.
    20 days ago

    You are going to fight against this ‘feature’ forever spending money buying decor and will never get it right. Rip off the bandaid and rip it out. Smooth drywall and paint. I know you are on board but what happened to happy wife happy life? This isn’t even very hard- demo and drywall that a mildly skilled handyman could do.

  • jlouise54
    Original Author
    20 days ago

    My husband is a highly skilled handyman. But he sees nothing wrong with the tile. Married almost 50 years. I have learned which battles are worth fighting!

  • cebehatz
    20 days ago

    The tiled back wall is throwing everything off. Nothing goes with it and looks chaotic. Will be easy to decorate without it.

  • bichonbabe
    20 days ago

    I agree it’s overwhelming. But I really don’t think it is possible to break the glass and grind it down . To get it smooth I think you would end up grinding the tile also . Additionally, I had ugly tile in my vacation home and painted over it . It’s an improvement but doesn’t look great imho . I’m living with it for now , but will tear it down as soon as I get my hubby on board. I think using yours as an actual bar would be a temporary fix .

  • tozmo1
    20 days ago
    last modified: 20 days ago

    @jlouise54 Now I'm shopping your house. This piece looks like a bird house. I love a bit of humor in design so here's an idea. There may be one of those cheap decor items you don't like that a little black or white spray paint can completely transform.



    I totally understand pick your battles and after 50 years you know the ones worth fighting. And at a certain point in life what seemed like an easy project ten years ago is just one more hassle of strangers in your home creating dust and dirt and turning what seemed simple into a hassle that you have to pay someone for. I'll take shopping over that anytime! I hear you.

  • jlouise54
    Original Author
    20 days ago

    Thank you tozmo1. You get it. I have second guessed “why we bought this home” several times the past few days. Because I hate this wall. But almost everything else about it was right for us. I could easily say my husband has no design sense. But perhaps I should say his design aesthetic is different than mine. None of you nice people weighing in on this discussion have said the wall is lovely, and I’m not surprised! But I plan to leave the wall and make it the best I can and hope at least some guests find us as attractive as the last owners who paid to put it in. I like the ideas you offered! I will look for one large item for the counter, which might need a little spray paint to get the look I want. Then try to simplify the rest.

  • enajasereht
    20 days ago

    I was going to suggest you move your TV over there and keep the top shelf and its items. That would hide much of it but you say you have no outlet nearby.

  • Otter Play
    20 days ago

    IF you get to point that you want to remove the glass shelves, check with a local glass company or a stained glass studio. They may be able to cut and snap off the pieces without leaving jagged edges.

  • Cara Fidler
    20 days ago

    Hi....How awful for you. I would get even more plants on those shelves. I would put a lot of framed photographs on the counter to cover as much of that up as you can. Maybe add a nice vase of flowers too.

  • jlouise54
    Original Author
    20 days ago

    @enajasereht - I really like our current TV place. The tv fits exactly in the space that was designed for it. So not changing. But if I didn’t have a lovely spot for the tv yours would be a good idea!

  • tozmo1
    19 days ago

    BTW, since no one has given you props for NOT having the TV over the fireplace but instead having a very attractive SW inspired painting (they can go ugly real fast out there) over the FP, I say kudos to you @jlouise54! Happy hunting.

  • jlouise54
    Original Author
    19 days ago

    Thank you, tozmo1. The “painting” over the FP is actually a quilt I made!

  • EMILY Walley
    17 days ago

    You can make it a coffee bar.mugs,pot.a pretty french press. Etc. Can move it when need electricity.but that outlet would be worth the 100 an hr to.pay electrician.

  • Cynthia
    17 days ago

    Sorry, I haven't read all the comments so I'm not sure if any of this has been said. It feels like whoever put that bar in had some left over tile and materials or found a good deal and went with something that just doesn't work with anything else. It is so busy and clashes with the floor.

    I wonder if the tile could be painted over to make it all one tone but still have some texture.

  • jlouise54
    Original Author
    17 days ago

    I think the prior owner just had design taste radically different than mine! As for the coffee bar. Don’t need it and won’t use it. With a large kitchen just a few steps away, it seems pointless. So will go with the decor suggestions I got here and make the most of an ugly (IMO) wall.

  • tozmo1
    17 days ago

    @jlouise54 A quilt! Beautiful! Now that I know you sew, you could always make a fabric wall with slits cut out (finished raw edges of course) to slide over the glass shelves. Sounds like work though, shopping for decor is more fun.

  • jlouise54
    Original Author
    17 days ago

    Haha, tozmo!!!!

  • enajasereht
    17 days ago

    Has anyone suggested painting the frame the same color as the wall or taking off the frame? I think it's calling attention to it.

  • enajasereht
    17 days ago

    You've got a sunny window there. Could you pull off a live wall? Or even a faux live wall? Some artificials look real.

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  • Silvia Punta
    17 days ago

    Why not just use it as a bar area and put pretty glasses on the shelves and a few bottles like cognac , whiskey and an ice bucket that can hold a bottle of champagne on it or use black tile paint and paint the back tiles black if you don’t like the tiles … these are simple solutions for your 4 month stay a year or you add a bar table in front , lights and a refrigerator…or rip it out and start fresh making it your own BAR area or coffee bar ..or bookshelves from top to toe ….think of your needs ..than have fun changing it to YOUR needs. Ps I have a bar area without a refrigerator and sink and it’s great looking and serves to display beautiful champagne and cocktail glasses and a few bottles and candlelight.

  • tozmo1
    17 days ago

    @enajasereht Painting that trim would definitely calm it down, good idea.

  • RedRyder
    16 days ago

    I vote for calling a glass company to see if the glass shelves can be removed and leave you with a plain wall of tile. Then you can paint it.

    I agree the trim should be some other color. The color of the wall, perhaps?

  • jlouise54
    Original Author
    14 days ago

    Painting the trim would be an excellent idea as a start! The idea of a live wall is interesting. But not sure I want a full wall of fake plants.

  • njmomma
    14 days ago

    If you can get a glass company to come in and cutout the glass shelves, then add art. The bigger, the better.

  • enajasereht
    14 days ago

    I hear you but you could try live air plants. They only require a misting now and then. You'd need alot of them along with some moss. There's online videos on how to do it. Never having done it myself I'm not sure how easy or difficult it is to make.

  • Morgan Pergolini
    14 days ago

    Can you paint it? Making it a solid color could help.. a little.

  • Morgan Pergolini
    14 days ago

    Maybe make it a mini library?

  • kodiac23
    14 days ago

    I don’t know the style of your house but I would knockoutthe glass shelves and place oak panels to the ceiling over the tile.like this

  • Francine Hughes
    14 days ago

    Removing the shelves would leave holes, so you might be stuck with them. Get rid of the greenery and keep it simple on each shelf. Maybe one vase or art piece. There is just so much going on.

  • jlouise54
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    Had a couple over for dinner this week. They have been in our home several times. As the wife walked by the wall she said, “Have these shelves always been here? I really like the things you have on them”. They were like they were in my original photo less the piece of framed art that I had removed for simplicity. I think I need to just get over my hate and realize that many of our guests won’t find the wall as hideous as I do.

  • Olychick
    8 days ago

    I haven’t read all the responses but what Beth shows looks much better, however thise shelves would not look as good backed by your tile. Tile is easy to paint and I would paint it the color of the wall or solid dark as in some of Beth’s pics. You could also look at paintable peel and stick wallpaper with a heavy texture so it masks the tile grids.