See how this savvy Instagrammer created a stunning garden bar for under £50

Keep the drinks flowing with this easy DIY project

If you're short on space or working with a small budget but keen to create your own garden bar, see how this DIY bar shelf was created for under £50.

Related: Garden bar ideas – create your own inspirational DIY outdoor bar to entertain from home

Upgrading your garden with your very own outdoor bar couldn't be simpler. It's somewhere to sit and enjoy your favourite drink or two in the sunshine and the best part is that you don't have far to go to get home afterwards! But what style would you go for?

We've seen pallet and tiki designs, Ibiza-inspired bars and drinks trolleys… but now it's time to meet the humble bar shelf. Ideal for anyone on a budget or with limited outdoor space, this idea was one that Instagrammer Charlie Hawley thought up for her own 1960s semi house. 

A small unused patio area in her back garden was the perfect spot to transform into a mini-bar station, and she did so for under £50– making it not only clever but pretty frugal, too.

DIY bar shelf

diy bar shelf

(Image credit: Future PLC/Charlie Hawley)

What was originally a bland red-brick area that no one used, made a great place for Charlie's bar shelf, being it has a small plastic roof overhead to provide some shelter should it rain.

Charlie started by painting the outside wall white to freshen it up and then set about measuring the area for a shelf. 'I bought a length of pre-cut MDF from B&Q  and attached it to the wall with three L-shaped brackets to make it stable,' she says.

Buy in store: Pre-cut MDF and L-shaped brackets, £24, B&Q

Stencilling the bar top

stencilling the bar top

(Image credit: Future PLC/Charlie Hawley)

Once the shelf was firmly fixed in place, Charlie painted it using Valspar's Barking Creek paint, which she had leftover from another project. 'I then painted and stencilled the leopard-print motif on top and finished with a layer of sealant,' she says.

Buy now: Rust-Oleum Clear Matt Multi-surface Sealer, £6, B&Q

bar with chair window

(Image credit: Future PLC/Charlie Hawley)

A colour-changing strip light was attached to the underside of the shelf to light it at night, and then the bar area was completed with two stools and some pretty accessories for a holiday vibe. Some faux foliage decorates the walls, while hanging plants add to the botanical feel.

'During lockdown, outside space was of even more importance,' says Charlie. 'Creating the outdoor bar gave us the opportunity to feel like we had somewhere “new” to go within the confines of our home.' See more of Charlie's home and DIY makes on Instagram here.

Related: Brilliant budget garden ideas – boost your outdoor space without breaking the bank

Would you like your own garden bar, and if so, what style would you go for?

Laurie Davidson

Laurie Davidson is a professional stylist, writer and content creator, who lives and breathes interiors. Having worked for some of the UK’s leading interior magazines, styled homes up and down the country and produced sets for TV shows, adverts and top brands, it’s safe to say Laurie has had a pretty exciting career. Find her on Instagram at @lifeofaninteriorstylist or over at