Design Tips: Styling Your Bar Cart

Social Society Organzied Bar cart

Get Organized

Just like when you're designing a space in your home, a well-styled bar cart begins with a plan. Roxy Owens, founder of Society Social, advises to use trays to help you divide the bar cart into zones and dedicate each zone to a specific essential, whether it's glassware, bottles or your own brass menagerie. You'll be simultaneously stylish and organized.

Look For Pretty Packaging

Color, pattern and texture all come into play when styling your bar cart. "Custom coasters add style and function," Owens says. "Cloth cocktail napkins are a small touch that can go a long way, and researching a small or local distillery can yield pretty packaging as well as equally delicious spirits."

Show Off Bar Cart By Naomi Stein of Design Manifest

Show Off

Your bar cart can be the perfect display space. Use it to present some of your favorite glassware and dishes. "My bar cart was super easy to style. It's vintage and has just the perfect patina, so just about anything looks good on it," says designer Naomi Stein of Design Manifest. "It's the place where I stock my favorite mixers and showcase my vintage glasses and fancy plates. Fresh flowers are a must to add beautiful aroma and color. The finishing touch for me is the painting above. It's like the cherry to my bar-cart cocktail."

Antique Treasure Bar Cart by Catherine Sheppard of The Life Styled

Make It Work

Turn an antique bar cart into a modern treasure with a little elbow grease and a clear vision. Catherine Sheppard of The Life Styled transformed this flea market find into an antique focal point. "I scoured flea markets looking for something that had the look I wanted until I finally scored the perfect antique at a junkyard. It was tarnished beyond recognition ... and the handle was broken off. After a couple rounds of polishing, a trip to a brass solderer and a glassmaker, it came back looking like new."

Play Dress Up

"The best part was dressing it up with all my favorite treasures: unique bar tools, cocktail recipe books, glasses from various flea markets and only the prettiest liquor bottles," says Sheppard. "I love that it's the first thing you see when you walk into our home. It immediately invites our guests to enjoy themselves while they are with us."

Add Wit And Whimsy Bar Cart Design

Add Wit and Whimsy

Another way to make your bar cart super stylish: Add personality to the wall behind it. Here, a chalkboard-painted wall adds a bit of humor to an otherwise traditional setup.

The Essentials

When stocking your bar cart, Beth Dotolo of Pulp Design Studiosadvises, "Much like your home design, your bar should be built for your needs and the beverages you like to drink and serve. I think it's important to not run out and break the bank to fill your bar cart with what you think you should have, but rather carefully think about what you will be serving."
Here are some basic tools and glassware to have on hand: 

Ice Bucket
Bottle Opener


Champagne Flute
White Wine Glass
Red Wine Glass
Cordial Glasses
Shot Glasses
Martini Glass

Stocking the Bar

Now that your bar is beautiful, what should you serve your guests? Christian May of Maison 21 suggests mixing the practical with the unexpected. "Have a selection of basic liquors: vodka, gin, bourbon or whiskey and vermouth," May says. "Round these out with a few funky liquors in bottles with different shapes for visual appeal."

Less Is More

A stylish bar cart needs to be functional and beautiful, so be sure to add items in moderation. "Keep soda and tonic in multiples. Several of the same bottles will keep the bar looking welcoming and not overly cluttered," May says. "Part of the appeal of serving cocktails is visual, so keep you bar cart pretty, rather than overburdened with bottles."

Double duty bar cart

Double Duty

When the party's over, you can utilize your bar cart in a whole new way. "Your dining room is not the only place you can use a stylish bar cart," says Manja Swanson, chief creative officer of Lamps Plus. "Try dressing up your office with a chic, metallic framed bar cart. It's a great way to free up your desk space while adding a pretty element to the room. Place your office accessories, like a notepad and picture frame up top with your favorite books on the bottom shelf."

Coastal design tips from thew pros on styling the perfect bar cart. Get all the design ideas to style your bar cart.


Organized Bar cart by Society Social

Antique Treasure Bar Cart by Catherine Sheppard of The Life Styled

Show Off Bar Cart By Naomi Stein of Design Manifest

Add Wit And Whimsy Bar Cart Design bySociety Social

Double Duty Bar Cart By Society Social


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