Ever fancied designing your very own wine cellar?

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Residential conversion in Kew, PAD ARCHITECTS PAD ARCHITECTS Classic style wine cellar
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Whether you consider yourself an oenophile (a connoisseur of fine wines) or you simply enjoy the occasional Merlot to relax, having a love for wines usually leads to building up a grand collection – which, no doubt, could lead to desiring your own wine cellar. How else are your guests going to know about your knowledge and appreciation for a fine wine?

Well then, have you ever considered constructing your own wine cellar at home? Just imagine the fulfilment and satisfaction of creating it with your own hands, which will unquestionably enhance your collection and, thus, your overall appreciation for this miracle beverage that much more. 

In addition, building your own wine cellar gives you the opportunity to customise and individualise your creation to your heart’s content – after all, a personal touch makes it that much more special. 

Even if you’re not a regular home improvement enthusiast, our DIY guide provides simple tips to create the perfect holding place for your growing collection. And feel free to mull over our guidelines while sipping on your favourite wine – for inspiration, of course.

Step 1: Location

Wine cellar beneath contemporary staircase Space Alchemy Ltd Modern wine cellar
Space Alchemy Ltd

Wine cellar beneath contemporary staircase

Space Alchemy Ltd

The perfect place to store wine is in a cool, dark, and damp place – and usually these characteristics are presented in the basement (hence the term wine ‘cellar’). However, not all of us were blessed with basements under our houses, so opt for plan B – the space underneath your staircase, for example, could work equally well. 

homify hint: One ancient civilisation that apparently did not share in the love for wine was Egypt. The old kings believed that the red alcoholic beverage was, in actual fact, the blood of men who tried to fight the gods and failed. According to Egyptians, this is what causes people to act irrationally while drinking it!

Step 2: Temperature

The perfect temperature for a wine cellar is between 12.7°C and 14.4°C, with a humidity level of 55 – 75%. It is possible to build a wine cellar in any room of the house, but that would lead to you spending more on a cooling unit to keep the temperature and humidity levels at a constant. 

We advise to stick with tradition and construct your wine paradise in an area that will require the smallest cooling unit necessary to maintain that perfect temperature. 

To monitor that precise temperature reading, invest in a high-quality thermometer for your wine cellar. While wine tends to age quite rapidly when it exceeds 21°C, it does not mature effectively below 10°C. 

Therefore, rather keep that temperature reading consistent for optimum wine satisfaction.

Step 3: Humidity

As wine requires an ideal humidity level, we would advise that you use a hygrometer to measure this in your wine cellar. If necessary, you can use a humidifier or dehumidifier to alter the humidity of the room. 

But why the preciseness of the humidity? Simple: if the air in the room is too dry and not humid enough, the bottles’ corks may dry out. This could lead to oxygen creeping into your valuable wine collection, eventually spoiling that good quality. 

Take a look at some wine cellar designers and professionals to gather inspiration for your cellar.

Step 4: Electricity

Cooling units generally use up a lot of electricity, yet it is this addition that will make or break your wine cellar (as well as your budget). However, a properly insulated wine cellar will require only a small cooling unit to keep the temperature low enough to preserve all those superb tastes. 

There are two types of cooling units available: the self-contained system, and the split cooling system (that will allow you to place the noisy element outside your wine cellar). To install the cooling unit, cut a hole into the wall of an appropriate size to fit the unit while also ensuring that there is an electrical socket nearby, as well as a drain line for condensation (if needed). 

Good insulation can help you save on electricity costs. Therefore, seal your floor with a good, water-based sealant and opt for a door that is either insulated or has a solid core. Rather avoid using glass doors and windows, or if they match your vision of wine heaven, at least ensure that they are of dual pane insulated glass. 

Should there still be too much light in the room, hang some drapes or shades to shelter the wine from sunlight. We on homify love natural light and all its benefits, but this is not the place to bask in it.  

If there’s a will, homify has the way! See: The painless way to lower electricity bills.

Step 5: Lighting

A beautiful place to store your bottles! PAD ARCHITECTS Classic style wine cellar

A beautiful place to store your bottles!


Your wine cellar will require lighting that is bright enough for you to distinguish your Shiraz 1998 from your Cabernet 1999. However, it should be dark enough not to cause a harsh glare. Fortunately, most types of lighting are suitable for a wine cellar, but careful consideration is also needed here. 

Incandescent and halogen light bulbs radiate far too much heat to be used close to wine. Heat can easily damage your valued collection, so we advise that you stick to the light sources that stay relatively cooler, like LEDs. 

homify hint: If your wine cellar has the space, you might opt for a chandelier or pendant light for a fantastic finishing touch. A traditional chandelier may help to set the mood of the entire room and make your cellar feel regal. For a unique touch, try repurposing favourite empty wine bottles into pendant lights.

Step 6: Design and storing

Traditionally, wine bottles are stored on their sides (horizontally) in order to keep the liquid up against the cork, which helps to keep the cork from drying out. If you’re planning on drinking these bottles in the very near future, or if the bottles have alternative closures (screw caps, glass or plastic corks), this is not necessary. 

However, horizontal racking is a space-efficient way to store your bottles, and it definitely can’t harm your wines. 


Did our guide inspire you to design your own wine cellar?

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