Serve drinks in style: How to style a bar cart
Whether you’re entertaining guests or having a casual drink with your partner, a bar cart is one of the most stylish ways you can enjoy a drink. Get ready for cocktail hour with our tips for styling a bar cart like a pro.
Pick your bar cart
So, how do you style a bar cart? The first step is to find one that suits your home interior. As drinks trolleys have soared in popularity over the last few years, it’s easy to find one that’s perfect for you. Keep it classic with gold or silver, opt for a modern look with chrome or glass, or for a laidback scandi vibe — go for cane or wood.
If you aren’t sure where to start, follow our top tips. Firstly, a bar cart should have three things: multiple shelving (for your collection of favourite drinks), wheels (cocktails in bed anyone?) and handles (to move it with ease). The rest is matter of styling and making the bar cart look your own.
Glassware to impress
You can’t have a bar cart without glasses. Take inspiration from the most popular drinks and include a selection of styles and shapes. You don’t need to have a full set on your cart. Two of each style is a good amount that won’t overcrowd your space. The most popular styles are highball, martini, rocks, wine and margarita glasses.
Many designers and stylists advocate for tastefully mismatched pieces and textures. Fine, classic crystal looks great next to delicate glassware with gold rims as they invoke a similar era. Don’t feel scared to mix and match; it’ll only add personality to your bar cart.
Grab your tools
Making drinks should be fun, so don’t forget the accessories. If you’re more of a wine person, an ice bucket is essential, plus tongs to pick up the cubes. A corkscrew and bottle opener should likewise make up your arsenal.
If you’re ready to release your inner mixologist, a cocktail kit featuring a jigger, shaker, bar spoon, and strainer is a fun way to style up your cart. Don’t discount the convenience of having all the pieces you’ll need in one place. You can match them with the colour of your bar cart or mix metals for an eclectic vibe. Gold, silver and rose gold are popular choices.
Now that the basics are out of the way, it’s time to get creative with the styling. While the bar cart is for drinks and entertaining, it’s also a design object with an aesthetic purpose when not in use. Glasses, bottles, and tools are necessary for its functionality, but it’s the little elements of flair that really make it come to life.
Why not take inspiration from still life paintings and keep a bowl of fruit stocked all the time? Pick something made of a natural material, like wood, or a fun shape (shell-type bowls are very popular) to create textural contrast. Opt for a single variety of citrus, preferably with leaves still attached, to channel the latest styling trend.
Think about height when styling and select objects that will add dimension. Look beyond obvious bar cart items for inspiration. Candlesticks and architectural candles are having a design renaissance; opt for one or two or varying sizes.
When not in use, your ice bucket, decanter, and mixing glass can work wonderfully as vases. Simply fill them with seasonal flowers or try a dried bouquet, which is even easier maintenance.
Finally, complete the look with a couple of books. Whether you’re a drinks aficionado or new to the world of mixology, a book on cocktails will serve you well. Don’t stop there, art books and even magazines will look fantastic on your carefully styled shelves.
Stock up well
We all have a preference for our drink of choice. If you want to make sure every guest is happy, it helps to have the basics right. These are gin, vodka, tequila, rum and whiskey. You can keep them in their original bottles or decant them into matching glass or crystal bottles for a sophisticated look. Don’t forget a bottle of champagne or prosecco. Not only do they look great displayed, they’re perfect for special celebrations.
If you’re feeling creative, you can make your own infusions by steeping fruit, herbs, and aromatics in a variety of spirits. You’ll get bonus points for housing them in pretty bottles and adding DIY labels.
As you can probably tell, there’s a lot more to a bar cart than housing drinks — it’s a fully fledged design item, with lots of styling options for you to make it your own.
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