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iStock 173903475 CroppedYou might think that bar carts are only for retro TV shows and Don Draper, but think again. A bar cart not only gives your cupboards some breathing room, but it doubles as a stylish centerpiece to any kitchen or dining area. We break down the basics for building your next tasteful home addition.

Choose Your Cart

First, think of your cart as a stand-alone piece of art, rather than trying to have it match the rest of the room’s décor. Find your look: Are you opting for bright, fun colors? Vintage vibes with your fanciest china? A sleek metallic display? Knowing this will guide you when figuring out how to style the rest of your piece.

 

Metal Bar Cart, $197.89

Stock It Well

Avoiding clutter is key here. The practical items should be most accessible—glasses and a few go-to bottles of wine and basic liquors. (Hint: if your cart doesn’t have a built-in stemware hanger, you can easily attach one.) A shaker, jigger, muddler, and other tools wouldn't be out of place here either.

 

Stemware Rack, $13.71
We suggest aiming for pretty packaging on the bottles that coordinates with your favorite set of barware, but be mindful of space. Don’t cramp your surfaces with items you don’t regularly use. Be realistic about your everyday needs, and store the extras away until that upcoming dinner party.

Next, it’s time to get a little more playful with the second-tier necessities. Throw on that cocktail shaker (or vintage bar tools if you went that route), cloth napkins, or a cup of striped straws.

Gold-Striped Straws, $9.95 for a box of 100

Get Fancy With It

After the necessities comes the fun stuff. Think layers, height, and texture. Put a candle on a modern tray, stack a few cocktail books on the bottom shelf, or pile lemons and limes into a bowl next to the bottles. A simple vase of flowers can do wonders. Dare to go bolder? Add an edgy sculpture, bookends, or a souvenir from your recent travels. Your bar cart can act as an extension to your coffee table.

LED Candles, $24.99 for a set of 3

These add-ons don’t have to be permanent, either. In fact, switching them up for occasions and holidays is extra fun. Throwing a brunch party? Add a few pretty carafes of orange juice for mimosas. Holiday party? String little lights around the frame to make your cart sparkle.
 

Copper String Lights, $6.99

Finally, think beyond the bar. Focus on how you’re going to style the space around it. A kitchen-inspired painting or a quirky bar sign above the cart will complete the look. Or, keep a few big house plants next to your cart for that beer garden look. Scope out flea markets for bar-inspired items, and see what works.

Cocktail Lounge Sign, $9.99

Cheers! You're only a few steps away from living the good life!

 

Emma DiLallo is a copywriter living in Chicago (but reps her NYC roots). She is always down for catching live music and eating sushi 7 days a week. 

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