Decorating Doesn’t Get More Fun than Styling Up a Bar Cart!
Plain and simple…it’s the truth! Bar carts, tea trolleys, they are super fun to style! Why? Maybe it’s because it seems so non-committal. The very nature of the bar cart is that it’s temporary. So the pressure’s off! Phew! Bar carts have been an on-going design trend for several years now, and they are showing no sign of slowing down. It’s no surprise.
Bar carts can create “destinations” in your home which is another hot trend in home decor. What do I mean by destinations? Coffee station, bar area, reading corner, computer nook…you get the picture. Bar carts can solve problems and be very useful. They are multi-functional and of course, the best part of all, they are mobile. Jodie and I regularly use our bar carts in a variety of ways in our homes. Between the two of us we have 3 very different styles of carts that we styled to show you the versatility and FUN you can have with bar carts!
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The Anatomy of a Stylish Bar Cart/Tea Trolley
- Serving ware, i.e. glasses, plates, etc.
- Something living (or at least faux) so a plant or fresh flowers
- A WOW piece that shows your personality
- Color, your bar cart is no time to play is safe
- Texture, same as the above
- Make it work, keep essentials close at hand (original use of a cart!)
- A tray or two make it all look pretty AND organized…bonus!
When Your Cart is “Off Duty”
Don’t think that if you don’t entertain you can’t have fun with a bar cart. Just because its original use was to hold party essentials (i.e. adult beverages and relevant accessories) doesn’t mean you can’t use one for many other purposes. I actually think you can have a lot more fun if you let your imagination take over and get creative! Honestly, the only thing limiting you is your own inventiveness. Here are just a few ideas I came up with to get you started…I know you can think of MORE!!
- House your computer, or printer, desk supplies, etc.
- Display a fun collection that you are proud to show off
- Craft Cart full of supplies (and/or to display some of your work)
- Homework Cart (only slightly less fun than the craft cart! wink wink)
Take a look at what I created this morning.
Easter Tea Party
This cart I actually call a tea trolley, but it is the same idea, a cart on wheels that serves both purpose and decoration. Here I have it styled up for Easter, but by swapping out just a couple of elements this could also be used throughout spring and summer months as a Garden Tea Cart. I would love to actually see this cart pulled out into the garden or onto the patio in the summer (and I probably will!) Click HERE to purchase my pretty pink cake stand.
The cart itself is made by The Bramble Company, and as all their products, it is a custom piece. The top level is actually a tray with handles that lifts off so you can serve your tea (or whatever). It was love at first sight! (This is not an affiliate link but simply for your shopping convenience.) It is the: Alyssas Tea Trolley
The Decorating Process
It’s important to have a process mainly for two reasons:
(1) so you don’t waste time and
(2) so you don’t waste money. Both are important, so let’s talk process.
- First, Pick a theme. I chose Easter since it’s right around the corner.
- Next, Define your event. Since my purpose was this blog post I had to create one! (ah the life of a blogger!) I imagined a mid-day tea party, mothers and daughters. No alcohol but I certainly wanted it to feel festive. So sparkling Dry Ginger Soda was my choice, as well as tea and juices. The whimsical details were chosen with my young audience in mind.
- Next, Choose your color scheme. I chose pink, white and black (a favorite color combination which worked well with both the cart and the bunny!)
- Always shop your house BEFORE you go out shopping. Make a list and you’re ready to go!
- Finally, my favorite part, arranging. Just start the process. Rarely do I get it perfect to start. This is play time so try a few different arrangements and pick the best.
- Balance color. Do you see how my pops of pink are strategically placed? Just be aware, and it will all fall into place. Remember, there is no right or wrong, so this is a “no-stress” zone. Just play.
Elegant Bar Cart
This was the first cart I purchased. I got it from Target for a reasonable price. I wanted to be able to serve drinks and small plates when entertaining in my formal living room. This room is a small walk from the kitchen so my goal was to use it to serve. The reality is that I don’t entertain very often, but I still love this cart and have used it for several different purposes. I enjoy styling it and restyling it (shocker!) And it is definitely fun to use when we have guests over.
This time I wanted an elegant look. I used the same process to decide how to decorate
- Event: Cocktail Piano Party
- Theme: Glam Elegance
- Color theme: Gold, metalic with a pop of pink
- Audience: Adult
These decisions listed above helped determine all my decor choices: what to include and not include in the styling of my cart. Once you clearly define your event, theme, colors, and audience it’s much easier to decide what you need. I looked at what I owned and where the “holes” were. Knowing I was looking for a “wow” piece I didn’t make a list (just a mental note to keep my eyes open for something fabulous 🙂 I was so excited when I spotted these gold pineapples.
Coffee Station Bar Cart
This cart is very basic and utilitarian in style AND inexpensive. I have put it to use in quite a few different ways over the years. It actually was the perfect spot for a microwave in our last kitchen. Its second life it spent in our pantry serving several useful functions…basically keeping my organized!
Just recently I put it to good use creating a mini coffee station. Here are some ways I made it work for me:
- I removed the wheels so that it was sturdy and wouldn’t go anywhere without me wanting it to!
- It’s the perfect size to fit my small Nespresso maker AND house my collection of Rae Dunn mugs. (Click HERE for my vintage inspired mug rack.)
- I found trays that would add some detail to bare metal construction AND
A cart of this kind is so incredibly versatile I love owning it! Kitchen utility, pantry organization, coffee station, craft cart, computer or office cart…this baby has many lives! Click HERE to purchase a bar cart similar to mine.
Teenage Movie Night
Turn a regular movie night into a memorable event! It’s so easy to use your bar cart for lots of purposes. My boys feel special when I take a little extra time to create a bit of a “party atmosphere”. A normal night of TV can feel like a party with a little effort.
Sometimes it’s the little things make your loved ones feel important. I got an extra hug for this one. Whether it’s just a regular movie night at home with the family or you’re having the gang over for a big game styling up your bar cart with all the essentials is another great use of this handy piece of furniture.
It’s All About FUN!
Most importantly I really urge you to have fun with your cart! A cart of any kind is not meant to be taken too seriously. It’s meant to be playful. Because it has a temporary feel I think it’s a great spot to “practice” decorating…and you know, the more you practice the more confident you get. Let your personality shine through. Make sure to add wit and whimsy. Style it up for each and every holiday you celebrate.
Julie & Jodie, your design twins