Let me start by saying that I don’t claim to be an expert on wine or wine storage. But as an interior designer located in California’s wine country where everyone wants and needs wine storage incorporated into their home’s design in some way, shape, or form, I’ve become a bit of an expert at making wine storage beautiful.
Lately, I’ve noticed a rise in wine storage as a centerpiece of the home’s design. Rather than tucking it away in a basement wine cellar, wine-loving homeowners are looking to treat their collections like artwork, showcasing them in beautifully-designed displays.
And I am fully on board with that!
What we’re doing is simply taking a page from high-end restaurants and wine bars that have long been showing off their wares in their dining rooms in the form of show-stopping “wine walls.” When done right, it’s a great way to add a layer of personalization to your home’s design by featuring something you enjoy. We recently completed a wine wall design concept for one of our clients and I’m so excited about how much it’s going to enhance their enjoyment of their home!
Start with what’s good for the wine
Even though the options for custom wine wall designs (like any other custom element in your home) are just about endless, it’s crucial that the design is compatible with the storage conditions that are best for your collection. In working with my clients on wine walls in their homes, we first consult with a wine storage expert. They specify the technical equipment needed to provide the right temperature, lighting, etc. to keep our client’s collection safe.
Then we get to work incorporating that equipment into a design that looks like a natural extension of the rest of the home. It can take some work, but we love taking on these kinds of challenges. In fact, they often result in the best designs!
Making an impactful statement with any size collection
To me, one of the greatest benefits of wine walls is that you can create an impactful style statement in your home whether your wine collection is extensive or modest. With a large collection, you can go all out with a corner-to-corner, floor-to-ceiling wine wall as the focal point of your living or dining room. Or you may opt to dedicate an entire room to wine with multiple wall displays and comfortable seating for tasting and conversation.
If your collection is small, I suggest creating a statement-making display anywhere in your home by spreading them out across the wall in a pleasing configuration using individual wall-mounted fixtures. Even with some extra space between them, the bottles are sure to make for a dramatic design element simply because you’re showcasing them as if they were art.
Regardless of your collection’s size, I love the idea of incorporating a small display into built-ins, for example, or creating a cozy seating nook that includes a mini-wine wall display (for larger collections, you can display a portion of what you own while storing the rest out of sight)
Glassed-in vs. open displays
I’m loving the many wine wall designs I’ve been seeing lately with the wine contained behind glass in what are essentially beautifully designed coolers. Whether it’s a glass-fronted niche or a case with three or even four glass sides, I think these displays look luxurious and special. I like grid-style steel glass doors and walls in a more traditional home. When going for a more modern look, sleek, uninterrupted glass panels are perfection.
But as I’ve already said, open rack displays can make dramatic style statements, as well, and generally speaking, require less of an investment. If your collection (or part of your collection) can take being out in the open and you love the look, I say it’s well worth adding it to your home’s design.
Wine racks & fixtures
Whether the racks themselves are freestanding or wall-mounted, many current wine rack and fixture styles are designed to virtually disappear into the display, allowing the wine itself to take center stage. But if you prefer your wine wall’s racks to be more of a prominent feature in the overall display, I love diamond-shaped cubbies or grid shelving in stained, painted, or lacquered wood that fit the bill beautifully.
You’ll need to consider whether you want a display that shows the entire bottle or not. So many wine bottles boast unique, artful labels and I love having these as an added layer of visual interest in a wine wall. But depending on the storage requirements, your home’s design, and your own preferences, shelves or another more contained form of storage may be a better fit.
My goal when creating wine walls for my clients is to make an architectural statement that’s designed to look like a part of the home - not just a random wall of bottles put up as an afterthought. The material or finish we choose for the wall itself makes a major impact on that outcome. Of course, you can keep your wine wall consistent with the rest of the space by painting it the same color you have throughout but why not take the opportunity to bring in something truly special?!
An intentionally simple gallery-like white wall that allows the wine to visually ‘pop’ can make for a dramatic display. With the right lighting, on the other hand, dark, moody hues can look stunning while creating an intimate, luxe setting. Going beyond paint, I love adding a layer of textural interest here. Elements like exposed brick, rich wood paneling, honed or polished stone, or even metals like copper or stainless steel polished to a mirror-like finish can take the entire room to the next level.
How you light your wine wall can completely set the tone for not only the display itself but for the entire room, as well. Of course, once again, your options will depend largely on the needs of your collection. From there, barring any harmful effects on the wine, think about opting for a romantic feel with soft, subtle lighting or you can choose to amp up the mood with something brighter.
Remember that - as with all the other lighting in your home - using lighting with a more golden quality for your wine display will provide a warm, cozy feel while whiter light sets a more energetic, fun tone.
I simply can’t get enough of this beautiful way to store and display wine. For me, anything that brings more personalization and functionality into a home’s design while also adding style and beauty is a huge win, and wine walls check all those boxes. What do you think about this wine display idea? Do you love it as much as I do? If you’re in California’s wine country, too, and you want to incorporate a wine wall into your home’s design, reach out and let’s chat about your project!