The Very Best Outdoor Bars & Dining DIY Projects for Small Spaces

updated May 3, 2019
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Think you don’t have room for a bar, dining nook, or food prep station in your small outdoor space? Think again. These DIY tables, bars, and carts fold flush to the wall, wheel inside, and make use of plain ole’ efficient design—turning the dream of al fresco dining into a reality for small space dwellers.

When open, this Murphy bar offers plenty of shelf space for cutting boards, bottles, and glasses, plus, a dining table for two. When folded, everything fits into a slim wall-mounted box, with two stools tucked underneath. This project is for DIYers who feel comfortable working with wood and basic power tools, but the tutorial from eHow is detailed and has helpful illustrations for every step.

This tricked-out portable grill station not only stores everything from tongs to charcoal, but it even has a built-in bottle opener and a paper towel holder. Constructed from brightly painted metal, repurposed butcher block, and a set of casters, the entire surface serves as a dual cutting board and serving station. Wheel it outdoors during the summer, and use it as a kitchen island when the season’s over. Follow the how-to on The House of Wood, adjusting the dimensions of the piece to fit your space.

Turn the FORHOJA kitchen island from IKEA into a double-duty island for stocking cocktail essentials and storing potting supplies. Slatted shelves on the lower levels let soil and water drain through, while drawers at the top keep napkins and silverware out of the rain. To make the wooden surface rainproof, Alyssa Ponticello of Runway Chef brushed the piece with multiple coats of waterproof stain.

Apartment dwellers, prepare to feel some major small-home envy. Homeowners, if your indoor kitchen is positioned next to an outdoor area, install push-out French windows and a shallow shelf bar underneath. Food and drinks can be prepped in the kitchen and passed to the party outside, so there’s no need for a separate outdoor station.

The brilliance beyond this versatile bar is the punchy patterned top that brightens up your backyard, even when it’s not in use. Get the Moroccan tile-inspired look above by tracing around the edge of a can lid with two different colors of paint—no special stencils necessary. Secure the shelf to a sturdy outdoor wall using long metal piano hinges, following the instructions on HGTV. Add some stools underneath, and voila, you have the best brunch spot in town.