How many of you have taken the plunge and purchased a bar cart? We scored a vintage one on Craigslist a couple years ago, and since then have used it countless times, painting it a new color between uses. And when it’s not being used at a party or in a photo shoot, the cart stands pretty in our office, displaying gorgeous glassware, fun party accessories and of course, booze! By now, I think it’s safe to say that bar carts are breaking out of the trendy category and becoming something of a furniture staple… so in light of this this tectonic shift in interiors, we thought we’d turn to blogger and online shop owner Mandy Kellogg Rye of Waiting on Martha for a crash course in styling the perfect bar cart. Mandy styled this beauty (photographed by Rustic White Photographyand is sharing her 10 tips for bring a bar cart into your space seamlessly…

1. Let your bar cart tell the story of you. Mix in personal items that represent your personal style. On my cart I have monogrammed mint julep cups that hold straws, vintage swizzle sticks from my great grandmother, wine corks from my favorite bottles of wine and vintage bartending books that I fell in love with while antiquing. 

2. Don’t overdo it. You don’t have to cram every barware item you own on to your cart. Keep it flexible and switch out the colors, napkins, glasses and other components for easy entertaining designed for each gathering and/or season.

3. Mix it up. By mixing colors, textures, metals, vintage and modern items your cart will be full of personality (and won’t look like you ran out and bought everything for it in one fell swoop).

4. Consider investing in the actual cart. A good one will last you a lifetime! And from my experience, get one on wheels. Though it’ll likely live in one room in your home, it’s nice to be able to move it to a different space when entertaining.

5. Get the right tools! I am a firm believer that every bar cart should have all the tools necessary to make the perfect drink. Start with a shakermuddleropenerstirrer, strainer, ice bucket and tongs (or take the guesswork out by buying a complete set).

6. Pick bottles that will look gorgeous when displayed. Even if you’re not a fan of the liquor itself, you can always refill the display-worthy bottles with your preferred scotch, whisky, vodka, gin, brandy, tequila, or rum.

7. Pick wines that you plan on drinking within 3-6 months. Anything you plan on holiding on to longer should be stored on its side, preferably at a 55 degree angle (yes, even red!).

8. Fresh flowers make everything better. Include a pretty arrangement in a really fabulous vase on your bar cart to help brighten up the design.

9. Don’t limit your bar cart to just booze! Most carts would make for a lovely coffee and tea spread, dessert or appetizer cart or even a place to hold gifts at a shower.

10. It should be both functional and beautiful. Your bar cart serves a very distinct purpose, but it should also be a piece that you love looking at.

design & styling by Mandy Kellogg Rye of Waiting On Martha; photography by Rustic White Photography; mint julep cups, straws, shaker, muddler, opener, stirrers and vase available at Waiting On Martha online boutique
57 comments
  1. 1
    PressedWordsAt | July 23, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Lovely tips!! I actually did a post on bar carts a while back, but the post was mostly eye candy: http://pressedwordsat.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/bar-cart/ Totally agree with the fresh flowers, on bar carts and beyond!

    Reply
  2. 2
    Alexandra Pettinato | July 23, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    This is wonderful! I’ve been trying to put together a bar cart for awhile now. Thanks so much for the tips!! Can’t wait to put them to some good use.

    Alex from http://www.polkadottedpixels.com

    Reply
  3. 3
    sev2108 | July 23, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Where is the bar cart itself from?

    Reply
  4. 4
    DVH | July 23, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Totally agree on picking the right bottles, but I would pick the right brands. Unfortunately, it’s illegal to refill liquor bottles in Texas (not that many people would know). A good spirit should be proud of it’s container!

    Reply
  5. 5
    Molly {Dreams in HD} | July 23, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    great tips! my mom got me a vintage bar car a few years ago and i just love it!

    Molly {Dreams in HD}
    http://dreamsinhd.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  6. 6
    Waiting on Martha (@WaitingonMartha) | July 23, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    SO thrilled to be featured today. Thank you thank you darlings! Made our day. xo Big Hugs

    Reply
  7. 7
    Erica Zamora | July 24, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Orin Swift wines – always perfection. The Locations series – those are drinkers, that’s for sure. I have a pie safe that I’m using as my cocktail cabinet, but love the traditional cart. And beautiful bottles filled with favorites is a long time secret and great tip. We should always like what we drink.

    Reply
  8. 8
    Supal {chevrons and éclairs} | July 24, 2013 at 4:26 am

    These are great tips and this is probably the most beautiful bar cart I’ve ever seen!

    Reply
    • Chanel Dror | July 24, 2013 at 10:00 am

      Agreed! Mandy did an amazing job 🙂

      Reply
  9. 9
    Capella | July 24, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Pretty.

    Reply
  10. 10
    Lotoya Vongrechin | July 24, 2013 at 10:31 am

    I love a bar cart. I remember them when I was a little girl, my family always had a party. I must scour some estate sales for my next find. Love the skull liquor bottle.

    Reply
  11. 11
    Cristina | July 24, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Scouring Craigslist constantly for an affordable one. This one is gorgeous.

    Reply
    • Chanel Dror | July 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm

      The key is to check daily! Best of luck 🙂

      Reply
  12. 12
    Smash | August 1, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    I love this post! So many cute ideas.

    Reply
  13. 13
    Kumi | August 2, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    Do you know where that bar cart is from or the manufacturer? So lovely.

    Reply
  14. 14
    kitchen design perth | September 25, 2013 at 6:11 am

    I’ve looked _EVERYWHERE_ for half decent looking bar carts, and I can’t seem to find anything! Could you please provide details of this one? I’m thinking I might need to attempt making my own!

    Reply
  15. love it sooo much!

    RepublikHijab,
    Inspirasi Hijab Fashion Indonesia

    Reply
  16. 16
    Ash West @ The Delightful Home | January 29, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Just beautiful! I second drinking the wine within a couple months… nothing sadder than a bottle wasted because it was used as decoration for too long!

    Reply
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