Wine cellar design ideas, inspiration & pictures

If you're a collector of wines and enjoy having immediate access to your favourite blends, then having a wine cellar is a necessity, not just a luxury. Thankfully, thanks to modern technology,  you don't have to live on a wine warm or own a grand estate to achieve this. It is now possible to have a wine cellar, which was previously restricted to only being in cellars or basements, located in any part of your home. 

Some modern options like walk-in wine rooms, silo-shaped cellars and customized climate controlled wine storage units are available for those wanting to build a collection of wines for enjoyment or investment.

What makes the perfect wine cellar?

Naturally, the function of a wine cellar is to store wines but a good wine cellar should provide the optimum conditions for this storage. Therefore eliminating direct sunlight, regulating the temperature and controlling humidity are crucial functions for any cellar. This is primarily why sommeliers of old chose to use the cellars and basements of homes to store their wines. However, since the culture of drinking wine has evolved over time, more and more people prefer to have their wines readily available and not have to trudge through a dark dingy wine cellars to retrieve a bottle every time they have guests. Also, since not all housing options include a basement or cellar, especially in South Africa,  wine cellars have had to evolve along with the needs of connoisseurs to create spaces where wine can be stored optimally and enjoyed at the same time.  

How do I build wine cellar?

You have a few options when it comes to building a wine cellar to suit your home, budget and lifestyle. The first is to convert your basement if you have one. Install dim lighting and storage racks to arrange the wines and even create a section to sit and enjoy the wines. The basement temperature is usually cooler than the rest of the house so it's a great place to build a wine cellar although you can also install a thermostat to regulate the temperature which should be between 13 - 17 degrees Celsius. If you have trapdoor that leads to an unused space under your home, you could build a trendy spiral staircase that gives way to the popular silo-style cellar. Basement cellar installation in South Africa usually take about 10 days.Though you might need to allocate more time for the city council to approve your building plans.

But if you're looking for a more affordable option, it's possible to convert a section of your house into a walk in wine room. Whether in a kitchen, the space under the stairs or a corner of your dining room. This gives you free access to your wines but needs more monitoring as you'll need to continuously check that the temperature and light sources are regulated.

Another option is to create a grand display cabinet in your living room to act as storage and decor in your home. You could even include a bar area to complete the look. Whichever you end up choosing, it's advisable to consult with a specialist designer before you start building your wine cellar to make sure that the end result will preserve your valuable vintage in the best way possible.

What walls should I choose for my wine cellar?

If you've opted to go with a traditional underground wine cellar, then rough,  unfinished stone walls are a great choice as they not only provide a dramatic, rustic look, but also offer will offer an authentic old-world look when combined with arched ceilings and doorways. Alternatively you could use exposed brick for the same effect. The rough, hard texture is not only visually appealing but also helps regulate the temperature of the space. If your wine cellar is located above ground,  then glass walls work just as well offering the dual function of design and storage as it encloses you collection without breaking up the flow of your home. 

What are the best floors to use for a wine cellar?

This depends on the look and feel you are going for. If keeping with the old French/Italian aesthetic, then the rustic feeling that stone, oak or cement floors can bring a sense of authenticity to the room. You could also choose marble or hardwood for a more chic, high end look that will work for above ground wine rooms. Be sure to stay clear of any flooring that retains heat or odors like carpeting &  hemp rugs as these can affect the perception of flavours during tasting sessions. Also bear in mind the importance of ensuring that the subfloor of the wine cellar is moisture resistant and impermeable to prevent any mold or mildew from creeping in.

What are the top tips for decorating a wine cellar?

When designing a wine cellar, it's important to remember that the wines are the decoration and focal point. The bottles are the ornaments,  so displaying them in a stylish and organized manner is the best way to decorate your wine room. In South Africa, you have the option to choose from steel, aluminum, glass and different kinds of wood for your storage racks or a combination of all of these materials depending on your style and needs. It's also beneficial to consider including a tasting area if you have the space. 

If building above ground as an extension of an existing room,  you have the option of going traditional with a variety of wooden wine racks, or something more contemporary with glass shelving and steel beams. Also give thought to your lighting options. While wine cellars no longer need to be dark and dingy spaces, you want to make sure you use LED lights rather than regular light bulbs that give off a lot of heat, as they can affect the development of the wines. 

How do I style and accessorize my wine cellar? 

Accessorizing your wine cellar depends on the style you're going for. The options are endless - from traditionally rustic, sleek and luxurious to eclectic and modern. 

A classic rustic style wine cellar might incorporate reclaimed barrels, wooden racks, heavy wooden or steel arched doors,  unfinished plastered walls and cement floors as a nod to the tuscan wine makers of old. This style is suitable for large or small spaces, and can be adapted to most homes that have a designated room, particularly a basement or cellar.

If you are seek a more modern look that could fit well with a wine room and the decor of a modern home, then explore the the Scandinavian style wine cellar. You can create a cosy nook for relaxing and enjoying wine. Decor materials might include light wooden tones, soft linens and glass, mid century modern furniture and muted blues, greys and neutrals. Some typical features might include a comfy armchair, tasting table,  and lime washed wooden wine cabinets to house your collection.

If you are going for a more luxurious look, think about using leather upholstery in your tasting area, simple, elegant finishes, and additional lighting around the bar area are also an option. 

The eclectic style wine cellar or room combines quirky, unique and conversational decor and design to a space and is ideal for someone who wants an alternative to the traditional style of storing wines. Incorporating bright wall colours, LED lights around a bar area and an unusually shaped wine storage rack could help achieve this look. 

If your home leans more towards the industrial design style, then the same wine cellar style will fit perfectly and create a seamless addition to your home. Using elements such as exposed brick, metal doors, sleek iron and leather tasting tables and stools, reclaimed wood, vintage barrels and decor on display will create a modern industrial look that is very trendy and timeless.

Whichever style you decide on, you'll need the basics such as a variety of wine glasses, corkscrews, decanters, polish cloths for lint-free glassware, a wine preserver to stop the wine from oxidising and a champagne stopper to save the bubbles. Your wine cellar is also a good place to display wine related books or collectibles making your cellar a unique and interesting space ideal for conversation and communing.  

Where can I find wine cellar storage ideas? is a great place to browse wine cellar or wine room ideas. Along with giving you a place to save all your inspiration pictures, you can also browse the directory for a list of professional wine cellar contractors and designers.