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18 Bar Cart Design Ideas Just in Time for Happy Hour

Serving fresh looks!

Headshot of Hadley MendelsohnBy Hadley Mendelsohn
bar cart ideas
William Abranowicz

Here at House Beautiful, we're suckers for home decor items that are designed with both fun and function in mind. And there's nothing quite like an all-mighty bar cart, or, more playfully known as a drink trolley. It's a storage piece and a good-looking party starter. There are so many great use-cases for bar carts, too. While they look and act like a side table, they're also on wheels, so you can take the party from room to room, while simultaneously giving decorative items, drinkware, tableware, and more a great home. So if you're looking for new ways to reimagine your bar cart or you're simply thinking of buying one but want to see how others use them first, the 18 bar cart ideas and styling tips ahead will serve you all the inspiration you need.


Display Cirtus

bar cart ideas
Read McKendree

Limes are a home bar essential, but aside from being a great cocktail ingredient, they also brighten up a space. In this tropical oasis designed by Kevin Isbell, the bowl of limes speaks to the real greenery as well as the floral curtains.


Put Your Wine Rack on Wheels

bar cart ideas
William Abranowicz

A wooden rolling rack displays wine and is strategically placed between the living room and open concept kitchen slash dining room in this home designed by Darryl Carter. It's also taller than your average bar cart, which means more booze!


Place a Tray On Top Of a Table

small home bar

Fitz Pullins used a small cabinet to prop up barware and hold glasses in this dining room. It's a great alternative for anyone who doesn't want to splurge on a new bar cart and can repurpose an exister dresser or nightstand.

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Keep Water On It for Guests

new york city a restored industrial loft in soho architect andrew oyen decorator elizabeth lawrence
Andrew Frasz

Displaying family photos and easy-access waters for guests on a circular bar cart gives this living room designed by Bunny Williams and Ferguson & Shamamian Architects even more character. The cheeky statue of Allen Iverson in the corner is a fun surprise, too.


Put Our Your Brightest Glassware

bar cart ideas
Simon Brown

A rounded rattan bar trolley gets us every time. The colorful accents draw attention to the cool curves of this cart in a parlor by Beata Heuman. Very Mrs. Dalloway meets The Parker Palm Springs. No room for an actual full home bar? That's okay! Just deck out a bar cart instead, as Beata Heuman did in this eclectic parlor.


Place It Near an Outdoor Area

bar cart ideas
Studio DB

Studio DB moved the black rattan bar cart into a room that leads to the terrace to optimize it for al fresco entertaining during the warmer months.

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Don't Overcrowd It

bar cart ideas
Arent & Pyke

Don't overcrowd your bar cart—just keep a few things displayed on it at a time. Arent & Pykd propped up a vase with a dramatic arrangement that flatters the color scheme, plus two bottles of spirits and a decorative bowls.


Consider the Room

bar cart ideas
Studio DB

Three shelves and a brassy material make this bar cart the ideal display for a swanky home library designed by Studio DB.


Enliven a Hallway

bar cart ideas
Studio DB

A decked-out bar cart is a sure-fire way to animate a boring or empty hallway. Studio DB placed it beneath two prints and across from a pair of stylish floor lamps to make the dead space come alive.

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Bring It to a Game Room

bar cart ideas
Arent & Pyke

In this basement game room designed by Arent & Pyke, there's an adjacent wine cellar that's traditional and low-key, elegant and modern, and a small folding table doubles as a bar cart by the pool table.


Optimize for Parties

bar cart ideas
William Abranowicz

Multiple seating areas, a chaise lounge, and a fully stocked bar cart make this midcentury modern living room designed by Analisse Taft perfect for throwing fun parties. The bar cart is a vintage 1940s find.


Keep It In the Dining Room

bar cart styling ideas
Tamsin Johnson Interiors

A wall-spanning etagere creates surface space to display vases, tableware, and barware, while a small bar cart meets magazine rack animates the corner in this dining room designed by Tamsin Johnson Interiors.

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Put It Under Statement Art

bar cart styling ideas
Regan Baker Design

Decorate your bar cart with candlesticks and coffee table books, as Regan Baker Design did in this vignette. To draw more visual attention to it, put it under an eye-catching photograph on the wall.


Use a Free-Standing Wine Rack

home bar unit
Laure Joliet

This freestanding storage piece hits the small-space home bar jackpot. It's slim enough to slide into a corner without blocking any prime usable space, and the minimalist design ensures that it doesn't take up too much visual real estate either. That way, we can focus on the superb lines of this sofa in a living room by ETC.etera.


Use a Secretary Desk Instead

bohemian style desk in living room
David Tsay

Double your living room's function by investing in practical, multi-purpose furniture. Here, in a space by Justina Blakeney, the console table also functions as a fold-out desk. But it's not all work—there's definitely room for play, from the lush plants to the fun details, and colorful patterns throughout.

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Or a Dresser!

media console
James Merrell

Pretty bottles don't need to be stashed away! Keep your collection out in the open on a tray in your dining room or living room atop a dresser or cabinet. Another pro tip? Maximize the perceived size of your space with a mirror above the buffet, as designer Ellen Kavanaugh did in this whimsical Florida home.


Use It As a Side Table

bedside table

A surprisingly great use-case for a bar cart? A bedside table. In this bold bedroom, a bar cart was used as a makeshift bedside table. The thin silhouette ensures a low visual impact but it still has plenty of space for a night light, books, and flowers.


Use a Tray

bar cart ideas
Beatriz Da Costa

Michelle Adams proposed a two-tier side table by placing a tray for barware. Though the table isn't on wheels, you can carry the tray around as you serve.

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