Creating a Café Aesthetic

How to design a kitchen beverage station for morning coffee and evening cocktails.

Written by:Angela Johnson
Creating a Café Aesthetic

Cambria design shown: Colton™

Hear us out, it’s time to consider designing with an at-home coffee-shop vibe. Kitchens have long been considered the heart of the home, even before the pervasive popularity of open-concept living. And now, as evolving home design trends highlight a heightened desire for even more multi-functional spaces, kitchens remain central for more than cooking—but also for socializing, entertaining, and even relaxing. So how do you personalize this dynamic space in a way that also elevates its function and versatility? One way is by adding a dedicated home coffee bar or beverage station.

Some may call it routine, but coffee is a ritual—one could even say a lifestyle for the sophisticated connoisseur. By incorporating a coffee station seamlessly into your kitchen design, not only can you streamline your morning routine, you can simultaneously create an overall aesthetically pleasing space that enhances the daily coffee-making/drinking experience.

Coffee machine with decor

How to Add a Coffee Bar to Your Kitchen Design Layout

Planning is key before embarking on any build or renovation project. That means you must first take time to evaluate available space in your kitchen design and determine a coffee station location that allows easy access but doesn’t impede traffic flow. As you work through this process, consider your broader lifestyle—not just how it will look, but how you live. Would you like a beverage station that accommodates more than coffee drinking? Because if your palate of appreciation extends to wine and spirits, you might want to consider creating a space that goes from morning to night and also includes storage solutions for liquor and wine bottles, glassware, and barware accessories.

Think about your beverage station location relative to available seating. Is there a nearby breakfast nook for sipping morning coffee? Or does the kitchen island layout make counter seating a convenient and comfortable option? A holistic approach to your overall kitchen design layout will help you envision not only a relaxing space for a solitary sip but also help you create an inviting social atmosphere for your guests to enjoy a cup or glass of whatever you’re serving.


Cambria design shown: Carrick™

Once Your Beverage Station Location Is Established

  • Plan for power with sufficient electrical outlets for appliances.
  • If you’re including a sink, factor in plumbing requirements and codes.
  • Determine storage needs from upper/lower cabinets to the number and depth of drawers, and whether open shelving suits your style.
  • Proper task and ambient lighting is important for functionality and aesthetics.
  • Consider in-station hidden refuge and recycling containers.
A wet bar topped with black quartz countertops, a bold backsplash, glossy see through cabinets, and crown modling.

Cambria design shown: Black Rock™
(Gensler product design consultant)

Choose the Right Materials and Appliances for Your Beverage Station

Style and function should be simpatico. Use consistent elements in your home bar to ensure a cohesive kitchen design. The cabinetry, fixtures, paint colors, and surface materials you select for your home coffee bar don’t necessarily need to match the rest of the kitchen but they should complement an overall interior design vision.

Beverage station appliances should integrate into the design and not seem like add-ons or afterthoughts. That means determining if you need under-counter refrigeration for various flavored waters and coffee creamers, or maybe a larger and more specialized temperature controlled wine cooler is in order. Plan to mix or serve cocktails from this space? Then maybe you need an added ice maker.

Turkish coffee on Linwood

Cambria design shown: Linwood™. Photo by Steve Henke

And when it comes to making that perfect cup of coffee or espresso with the aroma that morning dreams are made of, the centerpiece of your beverage station should be a high-quality machine that suits your preferences. Whether that’s a drip coffee maker, a French press, a pour-over setup, or an espresso machine, don’t skimp at this stage. Get the best your budget will allow. Otherwise, an appliance garage can keep any beloved, but maybe not countertop-worthy, items out of sight when not in use.

A stylish wet bar with Cambria Harlech quartz countertops

Cambria design shown: Harlech™

Your Coffee Bar Is Still a Prep Space—Plan Accordingly

Choosing decorative elements can be an exciting part of any design plan. And although you’ll want to think through all the fun details right down to artwork—styled storage bins, glassware, and apothecary-like canisters for keeping coffee beans fresh—keep in mind that any coffee station or wine bar is, by nature, a place where spills can be expected. By selecting easy-to-maintain materials and keeping an assortment of kitchen textiles at hand, you can keep your kitchen coffee bar looking stylish.

Don’t Forget These...

Coffee Station Essentials:

  • Espresso Machine
  • Coffee Machine
  • French Press
  • Airtight containers for keeping coffee beans fresh
  • Coffee bean grinder for freshly ground coffee
  • Coffee scale (for the zealots)
  • Mugs and cups 
  • Containers for milk, cream, sugar, and other flavorings
  • Coffee pod storage
  • Frother
  • Biscotti or other accompaniment

Wine/Cocktail Bar Essentials:

  • Glassware
  • Decanters
  • Bottle/can opener
  • Bottle stoppers
  • Cocktail picks
  • Ice bucket
  • Cocktail shaker
  • Jigger
  • Blender
  • Garnish caddy/tray/dish
  • Salt rimmer

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