Inspired by the cozy feel of coffee shops, we designed and built our own large DIY coffee bar to bring the coffee shop vibe to our breakfast nook. Check out how we built our DIY coffee bar base. *This post contains a few affiliate links. You can read our disclosure policy here.
I had this goal, or maybe it was more of a dream, to transform our unused breakfast nook into our own personal little Gray House Studio coffee shop. You might as well dream big, right? The room needed a statement piece and we knew that piece had to be a large coffee bar that spanned the entire wall of the space to store and display all of our coffee related items.
Once Brent agreed we should go for it, we jumped into the project and didn’t look back. We designed, planned, built and decorated our very own DIY coffee bar and framed chalkboard in a matter of six nights and two days. It was intense. We are talking 3AM building sessions, closing down hardware stores, power shopping trips and a lot of fighting with concrete err.. concrete mixing.
We are very excited to share our latest project because we worked so incredibly hard on it and are so proud of how it turned out. Brent’s DIY coffee bar design really did exceed my expectations. It filled up our long empty wall perfectly and completely transformed the boring space into a fun, eclectic and inviting area.
We wanted to design our DIY coffee bar to look like it should belong in an actual coffee shop so we searched through hundreds and hundreds of photos of coffee shops from all over the world and narrowed it down to the three above. We really liked their vibe and felt like they matched the aesthetic we are going for in our home.
Then we designed our own hybrid home version coffee bar based on our favorite aspects of each coffee shop. We liked the light gray countertop in the first image, the open shelf in the middle of the counter in the second image and the reclaimed wood and steel legs in the third image. After we nailed down all the design elements we wanted to incorporate, we started to build.
To fill up the space on the wall above the DIY coffee bar, we made our own large framed chalkboard the same width as the coffee bar. Large chalkboards are staple in coffee shops so it brought that fun and cozy feeling and it allowed us to create a unique piece specific to our “coffee shop”. The chalkboard works well because we can change it along with the seasons or just when we want to give it a refresh.
Since our kitchen, breakfast nook, and living room are all in one large open space, we chose to use the same weathered wood planks on our DIY coffee bar as we did on the back wall of our reading nook to tie the spaces together.
We felt like if the entire piece was wood it would be a bit much so we designed the coffee bar to have metal legs and a concrete countertop and shelf so it would have more of an industrial feel and less of a rustic look.
We built the shelf in the middle to create an asymmetrical design and add interest to the piece. The bottles are from IKEA and when I saw them on a shopping trip I knew they would be perfect for holding coffee beans.
At the last minute Brent came up with the idea to add lights under the top of the counter to light up the bottles and plants on the shelf. I think it creates a strong visual and adds an extra special touch. We purchased the plants and pots from IKEA also.
On the other side of the shelf is a storage area with a door that pulls down to store extra coffee supplies and mugs.
Target sells packs of “to-go” coffee cups, lids and sleeves. It was a total score to find these all packaged together in a small quantity and not to have to buy 2,000 of them at one time since we only plan on using these when we have guests. For a fun touch we stamped our logo on the sleeves to bring Gray House Studio Coffee to life.
I found these oil and vinegar bottles on the clearance rack at Pier 1 and thought they would be ideal as a creative way to store our syrups. Plus, they already have chalkboard labels on them. We were pumped when we found the smaller glass jars with cork tops at Target because they look like mini versions of the bottles with the coffee beans. I love the cute little wooden spoons. We added chalkboard labels so they would match all the other bottles and jars.
No coffee shop would be complete without muffins! I wish this was a magic muffin stand where muffins just instantly appeared her in the mornings. Since I am pretty sure that does not exist, muffins probably won’t frequently be on our coffee bar unless we are having guests.
Brent is the best barista at the Gray House Studio coffee shop. He will whip you a delicious cappuccino. However, he is still in training for latte art. He has mastered the “cirrus cloud” (which basically is a bunch of wispy lines and not really any shape at all) and is now working on more recognizable things like a heart.
Who needs Starbucks when you can make your own cup of coffee at Gray House! Now that we have built the reading nook, industrial shelves and our DIY coffee bar (which is a merger of the styles of the two previous projects) I am starting to think it is my goal to live in a coffee shop.
Every morning when we wake up and walk out of our bedroom we are greeted by this fun piece. I love everything about this project from the construction of the base to the memories of creating the countertop, the late night shopping trips, gathering all the little detail pieces and even drawing on the chalkboard for six hours straight until I couldn’t feel my arm anymore.
Just to give you a refresher, this is what the blank room looked like when we moved into our house.
Here is how the room looks now with the new coffee bar and a few decor items to spruce up the table. We still plan on switching out the light fixture above the table as well as replacing the tile. We will also eventually build a new table.
Interested in building your own DIY coffee bar? Below we outline how we built our coffee bar base.
How We Built Our DIY Coffee Bar Base
- Rust-Oleum Spray Paint, Gray Primer
- Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover 2X Spray Paint, Oil Rubbed Bronze
- (2) 4″x4″x96″ Pine Board
- (8) 2″x4″x96″ Pine Board
- (1) 4’x8′ Masonite Harboard
- (5) 1″x3″x96″ Pine Furring Strip
- (6) 1″x4″x96″ Pine Furring Strip
- (3) 1″x6″x96″ Pine Board
- 30″x30″ Piece of Sheet Metal
- 2-1/2″ Pocket Screws
- 2″ Wood Screws
- 1/2″ Pan Head Screws
- 1″ Finishing Nails
- 2″ Finishing Nails
- Titebond-3 Ultimate Wood Glue
- Construction Adhesive
- Rust-Oleum Ultimate Wood Stain, Kona
- Table Saw
- Nail Gun
- Kreg R3 Jig Pocket Hole Kit With Clamp
- Miter Saw
*This post contains a few affiliate links. You can read our disclosure policy here.
Want to Make This? Buy Our Coffee Bar Plans
1. Fun Fact: the legs of the coffee bar are actually made of wood! Did we fool you? This trick saved us a lot of money. To make each leg we combined two 2x4s by screwing them together. After we got them all assembled, we realized we could have just bought 4x4s. Oops. After we combined the boards together, we ran the boards through the table saw to square them up.
2. To make the legs appear as if they are steel we wrapped each wooden post in sheet metal. We didn’t have access to the actual tool to bend sheet metal so it was pretty difficult to get it formed into the right shape to cover the wooden post.
Brent improvised and made his own version of a sheet metal brake out of some scrap wood and a piece of angle iron. By clamping the sheet metal in between the wood and the angle iron, Brent could bend it around the edge of the angle iron creating the shape we needed. After we wrapped each leg, we secured it to the wood with screws.
3. Next we prepped the legs for paint and then spray painted a primer on them. Yes, they are hanging from the reject hooks from our metal hook towel rack on our garage door track. We are so official. The next day we spray painted them an oil rubbed bronze.
The legs are held together by two pieces of 2×4 lumber and they are secured together with pocket screws.
4. The support structure for the coffee bar base is made of up 2x4s. Most furniture does not use 2x4s because they would make the piece super heavy.
But for this project it helped us save money. Plus, I’m not sure if in any capacity you could make a 7 foot bar with a concrete countertop light, so the extra weight wasn’t a concern of ours. This thing is not going anywhere.
5. We though ahead and knew this thing was going to be massive and impossible to move very far so we built the entire thing (concrete top and all) right in place in the breakfast nook.
After we got the main structure put together, we added vertical supports to add strength for the braces that would support the concrete countertop and to frame out the recessed opening and shelf that would go in the front of the coffee bar.
6. Next up was my favorite part, staining! We used our favorite stain, Rust-Oleum Ultimate Wood Stain, Kona. We wanted to tie the breakfast nook area into the living room area since it is one big open space so we thought bringing in the weathered wood planks from the wall in the reading nook would be the perfect solution.
7. We ran through our whole process of creating weathered wood by varying the degree we would rough up the pieces to alternate shades and patterns. But this time we did it rapid speed.
We cut, roughed up and stained all the boards for the entire bar in a matter of maybe two hours. It was a whirlwind of staining and in the process I managed to get stain all over myself, including on my face and in my hair. I don’t know how that happens. We laid out all the boards on the ground this time so we could easily create a nice pattern of varying colors and lengths.
8. By the time we finished staining all the boards and they dried, it was already getting late. But we were so passionate about this project that we were in the zone!
We pushed on and started attaching the wood planks to the coffee bar structure. To do this we screwed through the 2x4s into the wood slats.
9. We added the planks to the bottom, the back of the recessed area and even the sides between the legs to give the allusion that it was wrapping around the entire bar. I love how the sides turned out.
10. Finally Brent built the front of the hidden storage area that opens on a hinge to a shelf where we can store extra coffee supplies and mugs. We then covered that piece with the weathered wood planks as well.
11. To finish the coffee bar base we added more wood planks to the sides of the recessed area to complete the look. Then we attached our concrete shelf (which we will cover in our next post). Brent installed lights below the countertop and I decorated with these cute bottles I found at Ikea that I then filled with coffee beans.
The plants are also from Ikea and add a bit of color to a very neutral and industrial design. I think the shelf is my favorite part of the coffee bar. It adds so much depth and interest and we think it really makes the piece look unique.
Some of our projects we prepare for months in advance. We draw up plans ahead of time, we set budgets and save to put money aside for the project, we make a list of the supplies we need and then depending on the scope of the project we spend several weekends working on it since we both work during the day.
And then there are some projects, like this one, where we throw all that out the window and just jump in head first with the intention of finishing it in a week. We were so passionate and into this project that we just threw ourselves completely into it which led to some really late nights. But in the end it turned out perfectly, it is very solid and beautiful and is definitely one of our home’s statement pieces that is always a head turner.
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