When I shared my tips on how to style a bookshelf, I had an overwhelming amount of requests for more home decor tips! Since we live in an apartment, styling these little spaces is so important to making your home functional. After a year of living in Chicago, I finally put together our bar cart. Here’s the final product!
Since entertaining company often involves a beverage or two, you want to make sure that you have a well stocked (and cute) bar cart. If you don’t have the luxury of an actual bar or even wine cellar, bar carts are a great option. They’re always a conversation starter and they are generally really affordable.
Step 1: Find the perfect bar cart.
I searched for months to find our gold bar cart. I knew it needed to be on the smaller side (apartment life) but I also wanted it to have 3 levels for more storage. After decorating this one, I realized I had made the right decision. We had even more alcohol than I could fit on the cart thanks to a recent Binny’s run Matt made where he bought all the tequila! This bar cart is really affordable and is great for small corners. You could even repurpose for makeup or other household decor items if you didn’t want to use it to store alcohol. The design makes it versatile and not obviously made to store all your alcoholic beverages. Here are a few more designs in the same price range.
Note: if you see one with only two shelves but love it, try adding a wine rack to the bottom or some kind of shelving!
Step 2: Stock up on beverages.
Whether you’re a rosé or a vodka on the rocks girl, I like to have a variety of items to offer our guests. I went to Trader Joe’s to grab a few bottles of champagne and wine before I started styling (see the top shelf). As I mentioned, we’ve got a surprisingly good selection of alcohol otherwise because we always seem to collect more when people come over. We also like to have a few mixers too like Pellegrino and La Croix (grapefruit flavor), straws, and my favorite Luxardo Cherries. Little garnishes like these along with limes and lemons take your drinks to the next level.
Step 3: Glassware.
Having cute cups is almost as important as the bar cart. There’s something so fun about stylish glassware and it makes a great gift if you’re looking for an idea to buy one of your hostess friends. If y’all have seen my wedding posts, you know I love the gold details so we opted for decorative glasses. There are so many cute options out there though – here are a few more favorites!
Step 4: Cocktail inspo.
Unless you’re trying to entertain your guests by throwing it back to college frat parties, the basic alcohol + mixer combo isn’t going to cut it. As we age, our palettes get more refined. Therefore you’re going to want to have (and study) a few cocktail recipes. While Pinterest is a great resource, I like the option of a recipe book because it also doubles as cute decor for the bar cart. Here are the two (here and here) we have that are sure to make you the host with the most.
Step 5: Barware.
After reading through these recipes, you’ll find that some call for tools that you might not have. Martini shakers, ice buckets, coasters, and cocktail stirrers can all come in handy when you’re trying to craft the perfect, Pinterest-worthy beverage. Here are some of the tools we have sitting on our bar cart in addition to this bottle opener made from a real baseball bat used in the MLB. That’s also a great gift idea for the guy who loves baseball and beer FYI! It’s one of Matt’s favorite items he’s received from my sister!
Step 6: Add flowers
I think it’s safe to say I add flowers to almost every home decor project I take on. They make everything look so pretty. I went a little crazy with them on this bar cart but these lilies were too gorgeous to pass up. If you wanted to save more space, swap out the vase on the bottom shelf to make room for your other beverage related products.
Step 7: Bring it all together.
Start putting all your items on the bar cart. Keep your tallest bottles on top (note that wine won’t fit on the middle or bottom shelf on this bar cart). Play around with how you place them.
Decide where you want to put your bar books. I usually like to stack them in different directions a la our bookshelf or use them as a foundation to store our glasses. It’s an easy way to make it look like you’re a sophisticated interior designer!
Drop in your bottles of alcohol. They are usually shorter so you can add them to different shelves until you like how it looks.
Then, add your barware. Space it out so that ever shelf has a bit of gold hardware on it. Play around with having some on the left, some on the middle, and some on the right. It visually creates a balance.
Use your mixers and smaller items to fill in the spaces left after you add your bottles of alcohol. If you haven’t noticed, I work in order of largest item to smallest item!
If you have a smaller spot, add a candle. Also an item that I use everywhere around our home! They add texture and diversity to every space! Which means, they obviously made my list of the 5 must haves under $50 for every stylish home.
Top everything off with a bowl of fresh citrus for that “real” effect and you are ready to throw your next party! Just make sure you have a few craft beers chilling in the refrigerator before game time.
(Bonus) Step 8: Wall decor.
I like to balance out the space with some wall art. This map was our wedding guest book and matches perfectly with this cart. We had our guests sign it and now put these gold pins into the countries we have been to. Since we both love to travel, this adds a little sentimental element to this space!
Do you have a bar cart already? Are you planning to get one?