These Bar Cart Ideas Will Make You Wish It Were Five O'Clock

small bar cart against wall
Courtesy of Tara McCauley / MJ Kroeger

If you are a cocktail enthusiast, you likely have a bar cart in your home. These often-mobile stations are more than just a place to fix yourself—or your party guests—a drink: They also double as a focal point of the room, which means styling them appropriately is key. Luckily, there are so many interior designer-approved bar cart ideas to try, and you will find several stand-out options ahead.

To help you style your own bar cart, we tapped several designers and asked them for their very best decorating tips. As it turns out, there are endless ways to arrange these pieces. According to Vani Sayeed of Vani Sayeed Studios, your bar cart should be, first and foremost, easy to use: "Style yours so it is attractive, yet accessible," she says. "Don't fill every inch of the space with liquor bottles." Round your tiers out, instead, "with pretty glassware, a mix of silver and glass, and a few unexpected surprises that you will want to look at every day," notes Elizabeth Gill of Elizabeth Gill Interiors. According to Shoshin's Alexis Smith, the cups and decanters you do use should have "interesting shapes and varying heights." She also suggests searching eBay for "cool glasses that can live permanently on shelves—and add a pop of color."

Ensuring all of these items—liquor bottles, decanters, barware, and elevated add-ons, like flowers or a houseplant—fit neatly onto your station is also key, notes Jill Croka; you should have "everything you need in one place to create the perfect cocktail," she affirms. Keep reading for even more bar cart ideas and learn how to place, group, and style them to perfection.

01 of 09

Vintage Touches

detailed bar cart with flowers
Lauren Andresen, SEN Creative

If your bar cart lives inside a traditional dining room, it should complement the entertaining space's style and offer some visual intrigue. To create this setup, Alexis Smith of Shoshin styled this gold Soane Britain trolley with vintage glassware and tea tins; both nodded to the formality of the room. In addition to a few practical elements to "make hosting friends for coffee or brunch a breeze," the designer included freshly-cut flowers for a touch of elegance and punctuated the nook with a lamp. "It provides extra lighting over the bar cart should the room need to transition to support evening entertaining duties," she says.

02 of 09

Grounding Metallics

metallic bar cart with cool curtains
Courtesy of Jill Croka Designs

Looking for a way to establish some grounding warmth into an already-dynamic room? Consider a subtle metallic cart that will act as an anchor. Interior designer Jill Croka of Jill Croka Designs selected this piece for its brass tone, noting that it tempered the colorful drapery to the left. "We then chose functional bar items that also blended into the aesthetic of the room," she shares. "Smaller elements, such as stone bottle stoppers, add to the overall look—and also draw from colors within the drapes."

03 of 09

Pattern Play

white painted bar cart
Ashley Poskin

Let's say you already have a designated bar cart, but it feels tired and outdated when compared to the rest of the room's décor. To punch things up a bit, take matters into your own hands: Give it a coat of fresh white paint and decoupage a sunny-hued Chinoiserie wallpaper onto its tiers. A few coordinating details—note the blue-and-white vessels used for plants and bar tools—ensures the final product is cohesive.

04 of 09

Engaging Backdrop

white arrow home tour bar cart
Courtesy of Thomas Richter / White Arrow

This mid-century piece may be tucked into the corner of the room, but the vibrant artwork hanging above it ensures that it doesn't get lost. Recreate White Arrow's efforts by taking a similar approach—hang a favorite frame, tapestry, or sconce above your station for a little extra oomph.

05 of 09

Color Pop

blue dining room with bar cart
Marco Ricca

We love how the walnut wood of this trolley, styled by Elizabeth Gill of Elizabeth Gill Interiors, speaks to the leather chairs surrounding the dining table. As for the approach the designer took when fillings its two shelves? "We used glass, good vintage wines, and a pop of color on both the top and bottom to add a bit of life to the wood-and-steel bar cart," she shares, noting that the abstract art hanging just above the trolley (and the orange boxes on the second tier) speak to the room's bold blue paint. "This bar cart is a focal point between the dining and living space, so we wanted to make it elegant enough for entertaining, but also functional enough for the wine lovers who live there."

06 of 09

All About the Details

living room with metallic bar cart and abstract art
Thomas Kuoh Interiors Photography

Cluster groups of like items together—like barware, Pellegrino bottles, or flowers—to create a series of miniature vignettes across your barscape, says Kriste Michelini of Kriste Michelini Interiors. Another detail-oriented tip? "Be cognizant of the labels on the bottles—they should complement and pair well together," she explains. "Also, add items that are unexpected, such as interesting coasters, brass, and straws."

07 of 09

Beach Bar Cart

mounted taxidermy fish and antique bar cart
Pieter Estersohn

While a bar cart should reference the room, it can also illustrate your home's locale. In the butler's pantry of Martha's former house in the Hamptons, taxidermy fish—a nod to the scenic beach just beyond her four walls—were placed above this vintage piece, which was filled with bottles that matched the colorful creatures just above.

08 of 09

Bathroom Storage

Joseph De Leo

Who says a bar cart has to be used for booze and bubbly? If you're looking for a playful storage solution in your bathroom, consider wheeling in a sturdy, two-tier trolley; use the top for displaying beauty essentials, like perfume bottles and creams, and the bottom to neatly tuck away other water closet items, like toilet paper and towels.

09 of 09

Bar Cabinet

Bar opener

The only downside to bar carts is their open nature—ensuring they are meticulously styled is key to achieving an elevated look. If you'd rather tuck away your libations, and the glassware and serveware that accompany them, consider a bar cabinet, instead. Here, our team upgraded a traditional armoire by outfitting it with a smoky mirror backsplash, shelves for goblets and cocktail tools, and beautiful decanters. Its doors were fitted with racks for towels—and, when closed, hid the entertaining station from view.

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