How To Decorate A Bar Cart

A bar cart is a stunning addition to your home, regardless of how often you choose to indulge in a cocktail or nightcap. Whether making yourself a drink after a long day or entertaining guests at a party, bar carts are a useful place to store your liquor. During an interview with The New York Times, designer Eddie Ross said, "It's chic to make a martini using really beautiful things, standing at a great cart — the suave entertainer making a cocktail for everyone."

From the stunning glassware to the cool decanters, bar carts possess a sense of elegance and refinement that is not easily matched. That being said, how you decorate your bar cart is just as important as the bar cart itself. If you're ready to spruce up your space and take your hosting skills to the next level, keep reading for House Digest's guide on how to decorate a home bar cart.

Style your bar cart by season

Do you love getting in the spirit and decorating for each holiday? Then it's time to start decorating your bar cart accordingly! While sitting down with Elle Decor, professional designer Just Destiny said, "During the holiday season, I'm always looking for ways to bring in a fun element into the party with non-alcoholic and alcoholic options for my guests." From Thanksgiving bar carts with fall spices and cranberry juice to Christmas-themed setups featuring peppermint liqueur and marshmallows, the possibilities are endless.

While holidays are great, they are also few and far between. Therefore, decorating your bar cart in accordance with the seasons is a fun way to add some flair to your space. For example, use citrus fruits and greenery to create a bright, earthy atmosphere during summer (via Camille Styles). For winter months, use lots of gold, silver, and glitter (via Alicia Tenise). You can even transform your bar cart into a hot cocoa station for a sweet, seasonal change.

Make large batch drinks that can be served on tap

Whether you're hosting a party or just having a few friends over, making a large batch cocktail is convenient, easy, and chic. While you can easily bring out a large dispenser for special events or parties, it's obviously not realistic to have pre-batched cocktails ready to go at all times. However, if you want your dispenser to be a consistent item on your bar cart, you can always fill it with water and ice for a quick solution to quench your thirst.

If you want to put a stylish spin on your water, invest in a clear dispenser and add items like lemon, cucumber, or mint for an aesthetically pleasing display. The Hatch Glass Drink Dispenser from Crate & Barrel is a stunning and ornate option. If you would prefer something more casual or modern, go for something like this glass drink dispenser from Tea + Linen.

Create a theme based on specific spirits

While some people prefer to have a little bit of everything on their bar cart, there is nothing wrong with sticking to the spirit of your choice. From a margarita bar with your favorite tequilas to a whiskey bar filled with bourbon and scotch, there are several ways to get creative when stocking your bar cart with liquor. According to Patron Tequila, the ultimate margarita bar requires fruits, spices, bitters, and of course, tequila. If you are looking to gain extra style points, display top-shelf tequila in a stunning bottle such as Grand Mayan Reposado.

If you're more of a whiskey fan, create a bar cart that is dedicated to the art of a classic nightcap. In addition to your favorite brands, a whiskey bar cart should ideally be stocked with a variety of brands and whiskey styles that range from bourbon to rye to Japanese Whiskey (via Paste Magazine).

Add a stylish shaker and matching accessories

A cool shaker is an essential part of any bar cart. There is just something about a shaker that is timeless and elegant, allowing it to serve both a functional and fashionable purpose. Even if you are not super into making your own cocktails, a shaker set makes a great addition to bar cart decor. This classic crystal shaker from Crate & Barrel features diamond crosshatches that add depth and dimension, while the clean, silver lid adds a modern touch.

However, if you want to go all out with your cocktail accessories, consider something like this Bar Bundle from West Elm. In addition to the brass shaker, this bundle includes a Brass Chelsea Tray, Brass Chelsea Ice Bucket, and Metallic Base Decanter and Glassware Set. This is a solid purchase for anyone who wants to create a cohesive bar cart with matching materials.

Pour all of your liquids into matching bottles

From crystal decanters to glass bottles, transferring your liquor and wine into matching bottles creates a timeless and elegant bar cart. While some people may prefer to display the actual alcohol bottles, transferring your spirits into decanters results in a professional-looking bar cart with more cohesion and style, as per KegWorks. Though it may require a little extra work, the end result is well worth it.

These bitters bottles work great for liquor, and they even come with dash tops that allow you to pour your liquid in a clean and smooth manner. However, you can also close them with a classic rounded stopper for a vintage-inspired look. For something larger that makes a statement, check out these French Cut Glass Whiskey Decanters. These vintage decanters feature a classic and traditional style, making them the perfect addition to your elegant bar cart.

Invest in some stunning glassware

No bar cart is complete without an eye-catching glassware display. While the type of glasses you display will depend on the alcohol you plan to serve, many people display special glassware that they don't regularly use. Per Advanced Mixology, there are certain glasses that you must have on your bar cart. If you're a whiskey drinker, you'll need at least a couple of double old-fashioned glasses. If you love Moscow Mules, keep some shiny copper mugs on hand. And if you're big on martinis, delicate coupe glasses are a necessity.

Anthropologie is one place known for stunning glassware, and these retro-inspired Ramona Coupe Glasses are no exception. They are available in three different color combos and feature a thick stem that is easy to hold and carry. Another wonderful glassware brand is Estelle Colored Glass. Handmade in Poland, these vibrant glasses are available in a wide variety of cool shapes and colors.

If you're not a fan of liquor, create a wine bar cart

Not really a fan of cocktails? No problem! A wine bar cart is perfect for those who prefer a glass of vino over a glass of whiskey. According to Kendall-Jackson, some of the most important items to keep on your at-home wine bar include a nice decanter, wine glasses, a wine opener, and a bottle stopper. It is also a good idea to display a few different types of wine. However, if you are serving white wine and have guests coming over, chill your wine beforehand and place an ice bucket on the bar cart.

When it comes to your decanter (which is sure to be the star of the show), keep things classic with something like this Swoon Wine Decanter from Crate & Barrel. The voluminous curves ensure that your wine can breathe properly before being smoothly and cleanly poured. For wine glasses, stick to wine glasses that are rounded, large, and have stems like these from West Elm.

Add some florals for a delicate touch

Though most trends drift in and out of style, decorating with florals is a timeless look that will never die. However, flowers do more than simply sit around and look pretty. According to BloomsyBox, placing flowers throughout your home can actually result in a mood boost and feelings of joy. While you might not have the space to display a large flower arrangement, a single flower in a slender vase is really all you need.

Florals and greenery are also great for adding a pop of color, especially if the majority of your bar cart features neutral colors (via GenTwenty). However, if you are not up to the task of caring for flowers, use faux florals or plants to evoke the same effect without the effort. This bundle of faux pink flowers from Afloral features realistic texture and color that will look authentic on your bar cart.

Use a tray to keep things organized

When it comes to home decor, trays are one of the most versatile items around. Trays make it easy to carry items from one room to the next, and you can style them in various ways. Though they can definitely work as a fixed piece of decor on your bar cart, they are typically best for transporting cocktails or drinks to the living room or kitchen. Utilize your bar cart as a mixing or pouring station before using your tray to relocate the drinks to your preferred spot.

Trays come in a wide variety of different shapes, sizes, and materials, ensuring that you'll be able to find at least one that matches your style and aesthetic. Whether you want a round marble tray or a woven, wicker style with handles for easy transportation, the options are endless. This Bleeker Bar Tray from Pottery Barn can hold many items, but it's still a simple option that won't overshadow your space.

Add a box of chocolates or some nuts for pairing

Though bar carts are obviously meant for drinking, there is nothing better than having a little something to nibble on while sipping. During an interview with Elle Decor, designer Emilie Munroe said, "Along with displaying your favorite statement glassware and bottles of spirits, don't forget to add natural elements to your cart such as a fun vase of flowers, bowl of citrus for use as garnish, or even snacks like a dish of walnuts or candies."

In addition to making sure that the snacks themselves are on point, you'll also want to choose your serving dishes wisely. These clustered gold serving bowls from Burke Decor are great for setting out a tasty variety of snacks and treats. However, if you want something more reminiscent of what you'd find in an actual bar, this Antique Brass Triple Condiment Set is simple, stylish, and sleek.

Add some sculptures for decor

Despite the fact that most bar carts have limited space, adding at least one or two pieces of artwork is definitely doable. In fact, adding some unique sculptures or vases can make your bar cart look instantly more refined and sophisticated. As reported by StyleCaster, adding art to your bar cart is a great opportunity to let your personal style shine. If you're not looking to spend a hefty amount of money on a priceless piece, there are plenty of simple yet modern sculptures that look professional. This unique bust is a great example of an affordable yet elegant piece of art. Situate it among your bottles of liquor or place it on the bottom of your cart for a subtle enhancement.

Since bar carts center around the concept of drinking, this Gold Metal Pineapple Jar is a great head-turning option that definitely makes a statement. Though it is made entirely out of metal, it features padding on the bottom to prevent scratching on your cart. It is also hollow, meaning you can store things in the center.

Place some cocktail recipe books on the bar cart

Cocktail books on a bar cart are just as important as cookbooks in a kitchen. In addition to being visually appealing thanks to their eye-catching covers, cocktail books also allow you to entertain your guests with innovative drink recipes. When it comes to displaying your cocktail book (or books), you can either lay them flat on their back or stand them up.

According to Town & Country, one of the best cocktail books for your bar cart is "How to Cocktail." For a more minimalistic take on a cocktail recipe book, go with "Shake: A New Perspective On Cocktails" and impress your friends with some innovative flavor combos. During the summer months, "Drinks for Every Season" from Williams Sonoma makes for a vibrant and colorful cocktail book display. If you prefer something more interactive than a standard recipe book, check out these fun cocktail cards and surprise your guests with spontaneous sips. In addition to having great recipes, these cocktail cards also feature stunning watercolor illustrations.

Use a lamp for added ambiance

According to MyDomaine, placing a lamp on your bar cart instantly makes it look more sophisticated. Whether you prefer wicker lamps with bohemian style, quirky, antique styles, or something that is more modern and minimalist, the kind of light fixture you choose is totally up to you and your unique taste. However, the size of your lamp is important. Since most bar carts can't fit a larger lamp, be sure to take measurements into account when shopping or browsing styles online.

Though it is far from a typical table lamp, the Confetti Glass Table Lamp from Urban Outfitters is made completely from glass, giving it a unique shape and texture. This glass lamp is also handblown, ensuring that no two lamps are exactly the same. The Edie Prismatic Table Lamp from West Elm takes a more elegant approach and features a cool, retro vibe.

Decorate with relevant art on the wall behind the bar cart

Though the main focus should be on your bar cart, you can still spruce up the wall behind your cart with artwork or an eye-catching sign. Whether decorating with a neon sign from a classic dive bar or a watercolor painting of wine bottles, there are plenty of ways to create a sense of cohesion between your cart and the surrounding area. Adding artwork to your wall is especially important if you want to create a room centered around your bar cart, as opposed to simply having a bar cart in your living room.

This framed champagne painting adds a pop of color to your bar cart background. It is also pretty sizable, ensuring that you don't need much else behind your cart. According to The Decor Fix, there is something perfect about placing a neon sign behind a bar cart. For something more flashy, take a look at this neon bar sign. The cute martini adds a fun touch, and the sign is available in nine different colors.