Kickstart Your Wine Cellar Design Ideas!

Sometimes the best wine cellar design is just out of reach...

In your minds-eye at least. You might need some visuals to really get some ideas flowing. Trying to decide on "the look" you want while standing there in an empty room is darn near impossible.

Grab a pen and get ready to jot some things down that you like -- as you take a peek at some of the designs that already exist.

Image showing hand-written notes of a wine -cellar-to-be.Wine cellar notes lead the way to your dream cellar!

Houzz has thousands of already built wine cellars that are free to view.

As you look through some of the cellar designs, make notes of:

  • what style of racks you like
  • contrasting materials and shapes
  • lighting sources
  • flooring
  • ceiling materials
  • wall treatments

and anything you like enough to include in your soon-to-be cellar.

Remember that you need to tie it all in together at some point! So keep good notes along the way of what materials look good with others.

Can You Design Your Own Cellar?


1. There is a free 3D software program called SketchUp that can be used to make your own wine cellar design.

Image showing a wine cellar designed using software.Designed by Peter H. using SketchUp!

Like any software though, it takes plenty of time to learn how to use it. So it's not for everyone.

They have some video tutorials on their site, as does YouTube of course. Once you learn the basics, check out their 3D     Warehouse for some awesome already-built wine racks and components etc. You can use Sketchup for house or landscape  design too, and many other things as well.

2. Some wine cellar sites online have their own basic design program that let's you do a quick mock-up of your cellar-to-be. These can be helpful, but some are a bit clunky to use.

3. An easy way to design your own wine cellar that I've used in the past, is to:

  • draw your cellar perimeter on a piece of graph paper
  • find a cellar wall image or a particular wine rack that you like online
  • make a note of it's contents directly onto the graph paper beside the wall that you'd like it to be on 

The old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" definitely applies here. Of course, you can change a thing or two along the wall, to better suit your own style. My page on building a wine cellar will get you fired up with plenty of ideas on materials and treatments. Get creative and see where it takes you!

This should really help you visualize what your cellar would look like, wall by wall. When you're done the sketch, see below.

Have a Professional Design Your Cellar - For Free!

You Install the Components Yourself

Wine Racks America will render you a complete 3D CAD drawing for free. For residential or commercial settings. They build high quality racks but you have to install them yourself or contract it out.

In all honesty... it's super simple to assemble these racks. They come with all the hardware and instructions. All you need is a screwdriver and some wood glue. To make the assembly much quicker though, I suggest using a:

  • drill
  • hammer
  • nail set
  • wood putty

All you have to do is tell them what you want it to look like. You can fill out their "provide detailed info" section or send them a sketch. It doesn't matter how big or small your cellar is.

Just make sure that the image or sketch is saved on your computer or device and click the "Choose File" button halfway down this page to find and upload it to them.

They have a gallery to view for inspiration too, which can be helpful when you're first getting started.

To go along with your cellar they also have:

  • cooling units
  • cellar doors
  • LED lighting kits
  • cellar accessories
  • wine barrel flooring
  • wine refrigerators etc

Let Them Build You a Complete Cellar

Wine Enthusiast has offered custom wine cellar building services for over 35 years. After building 50,000+ cellars of every size and shape, they're very knowledgeable and trustworthy to deal with. Complete turnkey installs are crafted with pride.

They also have a huge online presence for everything wine related. From:

  • cooling units/refrigerators
  • racking
  • glassware
  • furniture
  • wine accessories etc

As a side note, a popular way to purchase wine from them is through their portal. They have set up virtual wine tastings of their wines so you can watch the video to help you make up your mind on a particular wine. So cool. Of course, others leave comments as well, to further guide you along the road to wine bliss!

Commercial Designs

Commercial wine cellar designs serve different needs than what a residential design would.

You might have:

  • a stunning entryway
  • a vineyard - for very personal and exquisite wine tastings
  • integrated wine racks and lockers into the actual dining area of a restaurant
  • a practical grab & go for the back of a restaurant
  • or designed and completely customized for a commercial store setting, resort or country club   

Each wine cellar design obviously reflects the intended use for the space. Questions should be wrote down and answered one by one as the design evolves:

  • how visual the wine cellar needs to be -- bold and upfront or soft and in the background
  • what textures should be employed to set the right ambience and "tone" of the space
  • the look and feel within certain lighting and seating arrangements
  • which materials will coordinate and compliment each other in order to accomplish the aesthetics you want

Make sure not to overlook the method of temperature and humidity control within your specific setting. That's the key after all, to keeping fine wines stable for your customers. Your company name and image is directly affected by the experience your patrons have.

And seasoned wine drinkers know their wines.

If you're just getting getting your business off the ground and your budget is light, consider adding some different sizes of commercial wine racks that you can install yourself.

For larger settings or tricky installs, you can't beat speaking directly with some wine cellar design companies who specialize in commercial cellars. Wine Enthusiast can help you there as well.

What Style of Wine Cellar Design Suits You?

First you need to decide on whether your cellar will be a passive or active wine cellar. For information on the difference between them, have a look at my building a wine cellar page.

Then you can move ahead with the design...


The spiral wine cellar design is just crazy-good! Though it's not for everyone, it sure makes a statement...

Right in your kitchen floor if you want. They can be installed in some very tight spaces, though you need to have neutral space in the room below. These cellars can also be cleverly concealed too. Imagine the big surprise when you lift up the trap "door"!

Most spiral cellars will require the installation of a wine cellar cooling unit. This can be a tricky install though, which is best left to the professionals.

Their bottle capacity will blow you away. For a spiral cellar diameter and depth of @7ft. - it will hold 1250 bottles! The deeper and wider you go from there, the more bottles you can store.

There are plenty of door, lighting and accessories options which means that you can customize and make it unique to your setting.

Glass Enclosed

Glass enclosed or partial glass enclosed cellars are as modern as you can get.

The bottles can be seen to "float" in mid-air with certain racks. They are very clean, graceful and showy.

The glass and the wine bottles are the focus here. Some tinted glass with refined LED lighting can really make for some nice eye candy. Keep in mind that the "open" glass effect can make the cellar and the adjoining room seem larger than what it is.

The downside is that it can be more of a challenge to maintain temperature and humidity levels. Glass walls have smaller insulation values compared to an insulated wall.


A modern wine cellar design could include components from many different eras and styles.

It's really about how you use certain building materials. In general "hard" building components are the rule here for a modern look. In particular:

  • marble
  • glossy or satin tile
  • stainless steel
  • glass
  • acrylic
  • mirrors
  • aluminum
  • iron and even some stone

And you can accent with a smaller piece or two of a "soft" building component like:

  • wood
  • soft lighting
  • cork
  • a leather chair or two
  • rustic table


The rustic cellar design could take us back to Europe and the underground "vaults" or caves for some ideas. Stone of course, works well here.

Overhead arches or arches built against the wall look awesome - like a frame of strength. Buttressing of walls can give a castle-like effect, though it would use up more real estate in the room. But if that's not a problem... this look can be stunning. 

Lots of materials with a "rough" look and feel to it would work great like:

  • stone
  • grainy wood
  • soft tiles (travertine)
  • wrought iron
  • clay
  • earth-tone colored textures
  • slate 

You can accent a rustic design nicely with a bold colored piece of art, sculpture or chair.


Adding curvy, round or circular racks and components within your wine cellar is a huge eye relief.

There is something refreshing and appealing with curves.

Maybe it harkens back to the wooden long boats of old. Or the tall ships with their curved bilges, billowing sails and prominent prows. Whatever it is...

I really like these cellar designs as long as it's not overdone. Otherwise the "hobbit" effect takes over.

Curving right through the far corners of a cellar always look nice. Or include gently curving wine racks from top to bottom. This has an almost exotic look I really like.

Also, for any wine racks that protrude into the cellar space - like waterfall or cascade racks - use a circular end-piece for continuity. It looks more natural and is great for showpiecing a certain favorite wine or two.


Many wine cellar designs use at least some modular wine rack systems.

They are made to fit together and stacked on top of one another which makes it easy for the do-it-yourselfer too! You can even install them double-depth to really increase the bottle capacity.

What do you do for different size bottles? You can mix and match the different wine racks like:

  • column wine rack
  • diamond or cube rack
  • curved corner rack
  • bin racks or case racks
  • champagne racks etc

That way your wine cellar will take on more of a custom and professional appearance. Adding a break in the rack here or there for an arch or an accent can really take it up a notch!

Really Cool Cellar Designs!

A few wooden pallets re-purposed for wine racks is a great way to build a cellar.

You'll have to cut them to the proper depth and apply some stain, but what a creative and quick way to build some wine racks!

A little bit of brickwork or stone above or between the pallet fits right in with the rustic tone. The top of the pallet is a natural shelf that can be used as a table or to place some cases, bins or cubes onto.

Because the pallets are rough, make sure that they are level before adding to their height. You may also have to tie them into the wall depending on the height of the racks.

Another idea shown below, is bored holes in vertical beams. These are called ladder racks and are all you need to support each wine bottle.

These unique racks can work within many decors. You do need to know what you are doing here because the heavy beams will need to be properly fastened top and bottom to support the weight, which can be all on one side in some cases.

With a little thought and a teaspoon or two of creativity, it's amazing what you can come up with! Wine cellars don't have to be expensive.

Racking Considerations

Racks are kind of important... in fact, they can have a huge visual impact on the overall design! After all, your wine needs to be accessible right? And the bottles and cases need to lay down on something.

So what you're really looking at, is your wine bottles laying in the wine rack. Doesn't sound too inspiring does it?

The trick here is to make the more functional elements of the rack look like so much more than just a rack. You can do this by using multiple types of racks, along with supporting or contrasting materials that really stand out.

A good example would be to incorporate a dark redwood rack with a type of cultured stone. Your eye would pick up how the rich color of the wood contrasts with the rough stone. The stone gives an impression of strength while in contrast the wood seems almost "dainty".

Breaking it Up!

As far as racks go there's nothing worse than predictability. Just picture what the exact same rack would look like if it wound around all four walls of your cellar... boooorrring! Similar to "modular" above, the answer is to split it up.

Here's a few ideas of how to do that:

  • use different styles of racks - switch to diamond/cube or pins
  • create a break in the rack and use a different material (stone, marble, glass, mirror etc)
  • create a "wine theme" break in the rack - this is a good spot for (stemware, barrel, unique lighted decanter, small tasting bar etc)
  • build shelves specifically for cases
  • incorporate an enclosed cabinet with glass or tinted glass
  • incorporate a few wine lockers that hint at what's hidden behind the door
  • be creative!

Storing the Same Wines Together?

Keep in mind all the different wine types that will be taking up residence in your cellar.

For instance, if you want all of your:

  • reds together
  • whites together
  • specialty wines
  • ports and dessert wines
  • champagnes together etc.

Then your design needs to reflect this.

There's more in-depth information about racks on my wine storage racks page.

More Than Just a Wine Cellar?

Image showing a box of cigars with a bottle of whisky beside it.Wine cellars can also be used for storage of other "stuff"!

Your wine cellar design could also merge other pleasurable goodies as well. Consider:

  • cigar humidors
  • fur storage
  • cheese storage
  • whiskey or whisky
  • fine liquor
  • craft beer etc.

Now is the time to integrate these pastimes into your design as well. Thinking ahead is smart. And while you're at it...

Will Your Cellar Design Include Entertaining Spaces?

Lots of people are now including an entertainment niche within their custom wine cellar. Ideas like:

  • seating
  • serving
  • wet bar
  • tasting table and chairs
  • dancing nook
  • built-in tasting bar

And here's a couple of often overlooked items when designing a cellar that require at least some space:

  • a wine label inventory desk
  • a security center

Think on each one of these for a minute and you'll see that you can really go crazy here. One idea leads to another... and another!

Pre-planning is the key. That pen you grabbed at the start of this article should be getting a workout.

Climate Control

Your wine cellar design should always address climate control right from the get-go. Proper temperature and humidity is the most important thing, if your wine is going to develop properly.

Wine cellar cooling units come in a few configurations and many different sizes. You'll need one that is sized according to the total cubic feet of your cellar. To find out what that is for your cellar - simply enter the Height, Width and Length of your room into the calculator below and hit calculate.

 Cubic Feet Calculator 
Total:cubic feet

That will give you the proper size in cubic feet when you're ready to purchase a cooling unit.

If your cellar isn't square or rectangle, simply divide each section up and calculate the cubic feet separately. Then add the two figures together. See the example below:

Image of a wine cellar sketch.Calculating the cubic feet of an irregular shaped wine cellar.

For your wine to develop properly and your cellar to function seamlessly, these cooling units are a must. Exquisite wine doesn't happen overnight, but with a little help... you'll love the results!


It's not too early to talk about the construction phase either. There are a lot of components to think about:

  • cellar doors
  • windows
  • rolling ladders
  • lighting
  • switches
  • flooring
  • ceilings
  • wall treatments, etc

These need to be given careful consideration in the wine cellar design. Check out building a wine cellar and home wine storage for a more in-depth look at doing this properly.

What the Heck is It Really All About?

Your custom wine cellar should be a quiet snip of solitude. Especially if you have a tasting bar within it. And let's face it, we all need some down time every now and then, with the hectic pace of the world we live in.

Image of a blush wine to relax with.Succulent wine... the end result of a well thought-out cellar design.

When you pour yourself a glass of exquisite but lively wine, and put your feet up for the day, well... everything seems like it just gets so much better doesn't it? All of life's wee problems get a little further away.

Contentment by design.

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