Barrels make the perfect medium for creating outdoor patio furniture because they can be very minimalistic and rustic at the same time. Creating an outdoor bar with barrels is easy, inexpensive and an amazing conversation piece to an Al-fresco dinner party.
When I lived in Italy, there were wine barrels everywhere. I bought one to bring home and now use it as a prep table next to the grill. Last weekend, I was at the Stone Brewery in Escondido, CA and saw the best use of barrels as furniture: two barrels, spaced apart about 4 feet with a random slab of marble placed on top. Instant patio bar. Instant chic.
Buying a Barrel at a Discount
Buying a barrel direct is very inexpensive. Call a winery directly to get a quote on their barrels. I called Bernardo Winery and a few others around the states to see how much their barrels go for. All had the same fixed price of $100, just what I paid for my barrel in Italy. I then went online to do a search for wine barrel retailers. To my surprise, some were going upwards of $300-$500 for the same barrels! Since we are using these as furniture and not fermentation it does not matter what kind you get.
Tips for Finding Used Barrels
- Check on Craigslist first
- Check at flea markets or antique markets
- Do not pay more than $100! Wineries will sell them direct for $100 or less.
Picking a Barrel Table Top for Less
This is where you add your own personality! You have so many options for choosing a top to create a barrel patio bar or table. Go to a local home improvement store and ask if they have any returns or broken counter tops. You can get these at a deep discount because they are not “perfect.” You can also choose a long piece of glass from an old table, or knock off the legs of a wooden table from a yard sale. Just make sure that whatever is set on top of the barrels is heavy and sturdy and secure the top with silicone glue.
Table Top Ideas
- Stone slab such as marble, granite, onyx, etc.
- Old wooden table top
- An old door!
In Italy, I bought a lava rock table top without a base. I then placed it inside the top of my barrel. This is the barrel table I created and use as a prep table next to the grill.
Choose the seats
Bar stools go best with barrel tables because of the height. Scour around at thrift shops and Craigslist first. If you cannot find any, head to Wal Mart or Target and you will be assured to get the ones you want. I like the bar stools with back support best for long conversations outside.
Other Unique Outdoor Patio Barrel Furniture Ideas
- Wine opening table station. I have seen people place wine corks in the barrel top, then cover it with a round piece of glass and place a wine opener on top.
- Accent table.
- Bistro Table with two bar stools.
- Barrel benches – Cut barrel in half vertically, nail a flat board over rounded part, sand and stain!
- Barrel flower pots – Cut barrel horizontally, pour in soil and fill with beautiful plants or herbs.