Bar Lighting Design Tips and Trends

Bar Design and Lighting Tips

Having a bar in your home, is a great way to entertain your guests, unwind after a long day, and has to be one of the sweetest personal treasures.

Ever notice when you have dinner parties, your guests like to socialize in one area? A bar in your home allows guests to congregate in a specific area, while you finalize the finishing touches for dinner. It is also an area that allows you to have a night cap or cocktail after a long day.

We would like to provide tips and useful information about the general style and shape of bar designs. But, more importantly, make suggestions to you about the types of lighting that will help complete your bar design. Bar Lighting should be tailored to fit your style and light setting in that area. Finalizing your bar lighting should be just as important as the bar design itself.

» Indoor Bar Design

» Ideal Bar Lighting

» Complimentary Lighting

For more information call our knowledgeable customer service team toll free at 1-866-203-5392.

Indoor Bar Design

Bar Designs vary from shapes to features, however most plans derive from basic concepts of what is needed to accommodate a bar. The list below contains the basic bar designs and features that are in most homes.

Straight Bar

As its name implies, this bar design is the simplest of all and also known as a Wet Bar. The features include: a wet bar sink on top, a foot rest on the stool side, a gutter area where you mix the drinks, an arm rail, space for the cooler or refrigerator and storage for barware/glassware. The Straight Bar style should have seating for 4-5 guests or more depending on the width of the bar. For this type of bar the width is typically 6 feet and up.

L-Shaped Bar

This is a bar design that is shaped like the letter L. Its functional features are the same as the standard straight bar. Simply put, its shape is different and there is a larger work area for the bartender. Again the measurements vary depending on the size of your space, but usually the lengths are symmetrical.

Kegger Bar

Also known as a Corner Bar is a design that is shaped like two L-shaped bars joint with the straight type in the middle. That joint creates a 45 degree angle and the long side is usually against the wall. This bar design accommodates a perfect space for a beer keg, hence its name. And most of its features are very similar to that of the Straight Bar and L-Shaped Bar design.

U Shaped Bar

This is a very huge bar that can accommodate plenty of seating, has a big space for the drinking area, equipped with a beer keg, beer gutter and will have all other basic bar features like that of the Straight Bar design. Keep in mind that this type of bar design would need a really large space to accommodate such shape and size.

Ideal Bar Lighting Design

The most general type of lighting application used for a bar, are lights that are over the bar counter. Below are some lighting solutions and tips to help you choose the right kind of lighting for your bar design needs.

Pendant Lighting

Pendants are the most commonly used lighting fixtures for over a bar counter. This type of fixture is available in a variety of shade shapes, cord options, canopy shapes and sizes, and bulb types. Ideally, pendant lighting is seen as a single unit fixture, but keep in mind that there are also multi-pendant lighting available as well. However for the bar designs listed above the ideal pendant lighting application to use over your bar should be a mono-point pendant which is a single unit fixture. Pendants allow you to have more freedom of placement over your bar; it also provides flexibility to create your desired lengths, illuminates to that of an ambient light setting and can be great conversational pieces.

Application Tips:

  • Pendants with opaque shades will illuminate the surface of the bar, offering users more of a task light and intimate setting. Shades that are not opaque and permit more light are ideal for uses that need to help illuminate the space and bar.
  • See pendant lighting for how high from the surface should your pendant hang, how many pendants are appropriate to light the width of your bar and how far apart you should install your pendants.
  • Cord hung pendants provide more flexibility to field cut to desired lengths.
  • Stem hung pendants provide a little bit of restriction, but are more sturdy to hold in place, look into pendants that provide stem kits or adjustable stems/rods.
  • Canopy selection is also important, if you don't have enough space above the bar or want a clean look, slim line or flat canopies are ideal.
  • A great way to switch out pendants and change the look of your lighting design is to use the Quick Jack Pendant system. We have this type of pendant lighting available with Tech Lighting and Besa Lighting. Please free to contact one of our lighting specialists if you have any questions about Quick Jack Pendants.
  • Below are the different types of pendant lighting ideal to light up your bar!

Mini Pendants

Mini pendants are ideal to use for centralized lighting and usually has a shade width of 6 inches or less. The light output is a more intimate and gentle luminance on the surface of your bar.

Large Pendants

Large pendants provide more light on the surface of your bar and have a typical shade width of 6 inches or more. Try not to use a shade width bigger than 12 inches so that you can still create an ambient light setting over your bar.

Multi-Light Pendants

Multi-light pendants are ideal if you want multiple lights connected to 1 source. Keep in mind that there are different shapes and sizes of canopies. The pendants are also stationary to the canopy so you would have to place the fixture accordingly so that it illuminates the surface of your bar. These types of lights are really ideal for small bar designs, however you can still have fun hanging the pendants at desired lengths.

Complimentary Lighting

To complete your bar lighting design we cannot over look other details that are in addition to lighting over the bar. You need to consider additional lighting for the overall space, your liquor displays, under the bar, on the bar, and on your walls. Now keep in mind not every space would need all of these types of complementary lighting applications, however the tips below might help generate other ideas to complete your bar lighting design.



  • RECESSED LIGHTING: This option is a great way to add additional ambient lighting to your bar design in addition to your other lighting. The benefits of recessed lighting in your bar area is that they are dimmable, which is a great way to create an intimate or functional lighting source. Keep in mind that all recessed lighting fixtures will vary in size and will have different projections of light. If you need large recessed lights that are 6 inches or wider in diameter, try to stay away from trims that are baffle in style. You would want to go with a trim that will project more light smoothly and will not be harsh. Trims are now available in interesting colors, but keep in mind if your main focus is the lighting over the bar, try to stick with neutral colored trims.


  • MINI-RECESSED LIGHTING: This type of lighting will illuminate down and create a dramatic centralized light source from the ceiling onto your liquor displays. These fixtures should be place right above your displays so that the light does not illuminate down into your eyes.
  • LINEAR LIGHTING AND LED STRIP LIGHTING: LED strip and linear lighting are useful for under or over shelves and cabinets. Its unique design hides the view of the light source, but beams out light evenly across your displays.
  • PUCK LIGHTS AND LED DISCS: These light sources project a more centralized source of light and can be useful for lighting up specific areas on your liquor display.


  • A great way to light up task areas under the bar is to use the same applications as you would for your liquor displays with the exception of mini-recessed lights. Keep in mind that you can also use these types of lighting techniques to accent your bar’s qualities as well. For example, if you have a clear or opaque counter top, using LED strip lighting is a great solution to highlight your bar in a unique way!


  • If you have extra wall space and need to fill it, try using wall lighting applications. Lighted signs are a great touch for you sport fans! A wall sconce is a nice way to add additional ambient lighting to your bar area and is quite suitable to accent columns that might be in your bar area as well.

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