Today at STYLEanthropy, I’m sharing with you the many ways you can style a bar cart. Recently, we’ve seen a tremendous surge of bar carts on fabulous and stylish homes. Perhaps your favorite design and style bloggers have featured a bar cart at some point. And perhaps you’ve already joined the bandwagon! It’s a great piece to incorporate in one’s home. Not only is it a stylish piece of decorative furniture, it’s also a very functional piece that’s so useful for entertaining. So below, let me help you how to style this hot home trend. But first, let me give you background on how I ended up with this cart for our home.
It’s a pretty long read. So if you want to skip to the tips on styling a bar cart, jump to the bottom of this post.
Choosing The One
Naturally, someone (ahem) who loves home decor, interiors, and entertaining, would jump at this bar cart trend. I almost got this Target version last year, what with the beautiful gold finish and friendly price tag in the hundred-dollar range (the designer ones are upwards of $300). It’s probably one of the most popular carts you’ll see on social media, especially on Instagram and popular blogs.
There was even a time when it went on sale online and in store for under $100. I saw one on clearance at my local Target in the $60 rage. I held off… I was on the fence on getting one, because I worry about adding more stuff to haul when we go back home to Texas. But seeing that we are extending our stay in the Steel City, and that it wasn’t bulky anyway, I was convinced I can get one for our apartment. Too bad it was gone at my local store by the time I decided. Let’s just say I couldn’t sleep after that. LOL. I was ready to order it online even at a regular price, but they don’t allow shipping for this one.
From Gold to Silver
It was probably fate. Late in December, I was sorta having a change of heart with gold. If you know me, I love everything gold – my flatware, decor, mirrors, basket storage, etc. I call myself a golden girl. Haha. But then suddenly, I’m loving the all white, light gray and silver theme for the living room.
I began taking out the black decor like throw pillows, rug, etc. and started reducing the gold decor. I was switching them up with whites and light grays. I still left some gold in there. But I made sure they were only accents. I wanted to keep the furniture white and silver. And since the coffee table that we were using was the gold DIY repurposed table with casters that I made to serve as a bar cart, it just had to go (just some place else not in the living area).
Ethan Bar Cart in Chrome Finish
I started looking for silver-finished coffee tables when I decided to check out bar carts too. Lo and behold, I saw this Ethan bar cart in chrome finish for under $100 and with free shipping. I. WAS. SOLD. And did you see the 3 levels or tiers of table top space? Having more space to put things without taking up more room? I knew it would be THE ONE. With a smaller space in our apartment, I knew this would be a perfect multipurpose cart – doubling up as a coffee table too.
TIP: Bar carts can double up as a coffee table for smaller spaces or apartment living.
The Ethan bar cart is currently in the $90 range. But when I got it a couple of weeks ago, it was on sale for about $80. It came in a box, unassembled. But it was easy to put together with the instructions included. I did it myself and took probably an hour or so. It’s well made. I love the finish. It looks stylish. And I really love the big wheels!
Choosing a Bar Cart for You
If you already have a bar cart at home, you can skip to the next portion of this post. Otherwise, here are some tips for you. When choosing a bar cart for your home, below are some factors to consider.
- Where are you placing it? Don’t forget to measure.
- Will it match your current decor or aesthetic? Glam, Rustic, Mid-Century, or Modern? Gold or silver finish? Matte or chrome? Or perhaps wood, copper, bronze or something painted in the room’s color theme?
- What’s your budget?
- Will it fit the items you plan on putting on it?
- Read the reviews to see how sturdy or flimsy the cart is.
So if you are looking at carts for your own place, below are some recommendations for you.
Let’s Get Styling (Finally!)
Now that you’ve chosen your cart (or if you already have one), it’s time to get to styling! The beauty of a bar cart is that you can decorate it each season (or holiday) to go with a theme of your choice. It’s one of those pieces in your home that you can easily style without having to spend much, but the theme carries throughout the whole room.
TIP: Bar Carts are easier and cheaper to decorate for various holidays and special occasions, instead of changing up the entire room.
For example, instead of changing up everything in, say, your living room for Valentine’s Day (or any other occasion for that matter), you can just switch your bar cart decor and accessories with some pinks or reds. For St. Paddy’s Day, switch it to green. For Spring or Easter, add pastel colors. For Fourth of July, mix red, white and blue. You get the idea.
Items or accessories you can easily switch or add to establish a theme
- Plastic cups or glasses
- Paper Coasters
- Dessert or appetizer plates
- Paper banners or garlands (hello ever popular tassels)
- Candies or Chocolates in the theme’s wrappers, placed in a glass/apothecary jar
- Small decorative dish towel to hang by the handle, perfect for wiping spills or drips
Below was my Valentine’s Day-themed bar cart. As you can see, I got pink flowers, a pink heart chocolate box, and some berry sparkling drinks (in pink cans). I forgot to add my pink napkins, but you get the idea.
These little things help establish your theme, and most of them can be bought at the dollar store or your local grocery. You won’t have to spend a lot compared to changing pillows, rugs, curtains, wall decor, etc. Plus, a lot of these items – like your napkins, straws, disposable cups or plates, candies, flowers, chocolates – are things that get used up, withered/perished, or consumed. These are things that you usually re-buy in your grocery. So might as well get something in a color that would fit your current theme perfectly.
Now aside from these bar accessories or decorations that you can change per season or theme, there are the bar essentials that are permanent to your cart.
- Barware – wine opener, bottle opener, bottle stoppers, tongs, double jigger, fruit knife (for lemons, limes), etc.
- Your favorite drink mixes and spirits: vodka, club soda, sparkling drinks/water, martini, rum, champagne, wine, etc.. There should be NO RULES on what drinks you stock it with. Just put whatever you and your family and friends drink most of the time!
- Ice Bucket
- Various glasses/mugs for different types of drinks
- Decanter or Pitcher
- Coasters (or use disposable paper coasters if you like)
You may choose to display all of these items in your cart, if you have the space. I prefer not to cramp them all and hide others in a kitchen cabinet or elsewhere. This allows me to have enough room to use the top tier as a serving area to put drinks and snacks when guests come over, or when we’re watching TV. And when it’s not being used, I put flowers, candles, or jars with candies, etc..
How I Organize the Bar Essentials
- My barware is hidden safely in the Laduree macaron box (next to my gold dinosaur in the bottom tier). I forgot to take a close up photo of them (my bad). You can do the same by putting your barware/tools in a small decorative box. That way, the sharp objects are out of sight. Putting them in a box, perhaps along with coasters, is also a great way of hiding them in case they don’t match your bar cart’s theme.
- My drinks are organized in this lacquer tray. If you don’t want to put it in a tray, that’s fine too. I just find that a tray keeps all the bottles looking organized rather than looking like a mess on the glass top.
- I keep the fragile ones like glasses, bucket, shaker, pitcher or decanters hidden in the cabinets. They will only collect dust in an open cart. Plus, you don’t want to stumble on them on a day to day basis. Take out only what you need when you have friends over.
The Infamous Pineapple
Speaking of glasses collecting dust, the solution is having beautiful serving glasses that have covers or lids. I can put them on display, looking like decor when they’re really drinking cups too! This leads me to this cute pineapple cup that I’ve been lusting for months. I finally have her!
Last year (or was it late 2014?), this pineapple cup rose to fame! A handful of bars started using it to serve cocktails and photos of the cocktails spread like wildfire. People wanted to get their hands on this cup. At first, it was exclusive. Then, it started to pop up in a few online stores but was always sold out. I’ve been checking! By end of the year last year, there were more sellers selling this cup.
I was ready to get my own. I just wasn’t sure if I’d get the silver, copper or gold. I wanted to get two of each. But hey, it ain’t exactly cheap at 30 bucks a cup. Actually, there’s a bigger pineapple cup – jug – with a straw that I like, but it’s $99. No way, Jose. I’m happy with my two gold pineapple cups!
Fun and Quirky Decorative Elements
You can always add little decorative elements to your cart to give it personality. Table top initials are pretty common to find at home stores like Home Goods. Marquee decor, metal sculpture, or animal figurines are also fun and personal. Small dishes and trinkets are perfect for putting lemons and limes.
I DIY’d mine with some dollar plastic dinosaurs from the Target dollar section. You can read the steps to my DIY Gold Dinosaurs here. I spray painted them gold, and voila… they double up as jewelry holders and decor. Even my T-Rex got my dog Louis’ attention!
Now that we’ve covered the bar accessories, decor, essentials and extras, let’s talk about placement.
For the top tier, keep it clean and clutter-free. The less items, the better, in case you will need it to put finger foods too. Mine has three tiers, giving me a separate tier for that – more on that below. For the top level, I suggest putting flowers or a candle. Having a small tray to hold everything on top is ideal. That way, if you have to use the top for food, etc., you can just take out the tray rather than removing all the items one by one.
The bottom tier is where I place the heaviest items. So put your bottled or canned drinks in here. You can stock it up with common alcohol mixes and spirits. Or just place whatever drink you’re serving at your party to keep things clean.
Keeping a Section Clear or Ready for Entertaining
Like I mentioned earlier, I like to keep a section or tier clear for entertaining. It doesn’t have to be completely empty. You can put a glass jar with chocolates or a small dish with some candies. These are easily removable or something you can squeeze in other tiers or in the corner to make room for table top space for entertaining. I love that this Ethan Bar Cart has three tiers, giving me a separate tier exactly just for finger foods. In the photo below, that would be where the chocolate box is.
Love the tips I just shared with you? Then don’t forget to pin this photo below to save it in your interests. That way, you’ll have easy access to these tips when you’re ready to style your bar cart or need inspo for freshening up your bar cart!
STYLEanthropists, hope you enjoyed these tips and make sure to come back for more home inspo. Xo!