4 (And a Half!) Ways To Create The Perfect Coffee Bar at Home — A Caffeine and Design Expert Speaks

Any java lover deserves an at-home coffee haven for their tools, machines, and more. Follow these expert-approved steps to build your dream set-up

a collage of coffee tools and accessories on a colorful background
(Image credit: Amazon, H&M, Burke Decor, Revolve, Anthropologie)

If you're like me, coffee is ... well ... it's the elixir of the gods. It's not only necessary for workplace survival (if I'm not at my desk, you can find me by the coffee machine), but it's also a strong social currency (I go on three java dates a week), a gym-time must (whatever it takes to get me through the workout), an art form in and of itself (have you tried a French press?), and an all-around cozy and grounding beverage to sip at the start of your day.

Given its ... holy status (stay with me and these parentheticals here) ... it only makes sense that your coffee set-up looks as nice as a good cup of joe feels. I'm sure you've seen images of at-home coffee bars and best coffee makers around social media and in Livingetc over the years, and you might be wondering how you can replicate such a gorgeous espresso station in your own abode. Well, dear reader (or coffee lover, in this case), using decor items and coffee accessories from some of the best home decor brands, plus some sage advice from coffee experts and baristas, I've compiled what I believe to be the definitive guide to coffee bar building.

So bookmark this page and return to it as you do your shopping — but know that everything you need is right here. Let's get building!

1. Buy the right machine

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The first thing you need when building a coffee bar? A machine, of course. And a good one at that. If you're a coffee novice and looking for something simple, quick, and easy, Johny Morrisson, former barista and founder of coffeeabout.com, likes the Keurig Supreme Plus.

But for something a bit more intricate and high-end, he recommends the Breville Barista Express. 'I love this versatile espresso machine for several reasons,' he told me. 'Firstly, it has a built-in conical burr grinder, so I can go straight from whole coffee beans to freshly ground espresso.' Second, the manual milk steam wand lets him 'finesse latte art and create the silliest, creamy foam.' And lastly, 'the machine has programmable shot options for convenience, yet still gives me the control of a professional barista.'

2. Invest in proper coffee storage

Whether you're leaving them on the counter or tucking them away in a cabinet, make sure you 'store beans, coffee pods, and grounds in an air-tight container,' Johny told me. Proper storage helps ensure that the flavor stays strong and that the beans don't become stale; air, heat, and moisture will do that. 

3. Accessorize

Here comes the fun part: it's time to accessorize. It might not be the decorating you're used to (I don't foresee something like wallpaper finding its way into this equation), but it is nonetheless an exercise in personalization. And if you're intimidated on where to start, Johny has a few ideas.

'Display your favorite mugs on shelves or hooks for a personalized touch,' he suggested. Or, 'consider adding artisanal ceramic wares to elevate the experience.' Another thought? Add in some lighting, like a pendant or an under-cabinet LED strip, to give the whole station its own ambiance. 

4. Organize

An expert coffee bar is useless if you can't easily access what you need. When you go to design the station, 'think about convenience and a clean look,' Johny suggests. 'Group tools by usage - brewing in one area, grinding in another. And hooks on the wall or below cabinets keep everything visible but out of the way.'

But wait — that's not all. 

As a bonus deal and recommendation, Johny also suggested any serious coffee-lover invest in an Ember temperature-controlled mug, an electric cup that keeps your coffee hot for hours at a time. 'I've been using [the] Ember Smart Mug for over a year, Johny said, 'and it has been a game changer for me as a coffee lover and remote worker.'

Brigid Kennedy
Style Editor

Brigid Kennedy is a style editor at Livingetc.com, where she is responsible for obsessively combing the internet for the best and most stylish deals on home decor and more. She was previously a story editor at TheWeek.com, where she covered both U.S. politics and culture. She describes her design style as colorful and clean, and in her free time enjoys reading, watching movies, and curating impossibly niche playlists on Spotify. She lives in New York.