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These (Top! Shelf!) Bar Cart Ideas Will Give Your Bottle Stash the Makeover It Deserves

The only thing happier than these bar cart setups is happy hour.

Headshot of Hannah ChubbBy Hannah Chubb
preview for Five Steps To Styling a Bar Cart | Cosmopolitan

I don’t know who invented the bar cart, but I would love to give them a big smoocheroo. It’s hard to deny that the bar cart is furniture at its finest—it’s practical, beautiful, functional, and fabulous all at the same time. It’s a habitat and storage center for all of the bottles of booze that you hold dear, keeping them contained and putting them on display so you can admire your collection in its entirety. I could wax poetic about the glorious, glorious bar cart all day long. But I won’t, because if you have one, you already know why they’re so damn great...

…but even great can get better. You know what they say: There’s always room for growth. And I’m here to help make your bar cart look the best it’s ever looked, and probably feel the best it’s ever felt. (What? Bar carts have feelings too.)

If you take a little gander down yonder, you’ll come across 40 easy tips (and accompanying pics) that’ll teach you how to zhuzh up your bar cart in a snap—from adding booze-inspired books to making it ~coastal grandmother chic~. If you never thought you’d be inspired by a photo of a bar cart…prepare for your whole life to change because we’ve got inspo. for. days. Scroll down for allll the bar cart ideas.


Light a candle.

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Candles make my world go round, and there’s no place in my home I will not put one. Not only do they make your house smell nice, but they also add a cozy glow—perfect for when you’re hosting cocktail night at yours. If you *really* wanna be on brand (don’t we all love a good theme?), consider splurging on these booze-inspired candles: Champagne Toast from Brooklyn Candle Studio and Mojito from Malin+Goetz.


Give it the top-shelf treatment.

You know how when you go to a bar, the fanciest (aka most expensive) liquors are on the very top shelf? Well, why not recreate that at home? Designate the tippy-top of your bar cart to your finest bottles—they’ll also be on full display that way, in case ya wanna impress any visitors.


Wheel it around and serve guests.

You know that feeling when you want a refill but you don’t want to get up so you just sit on the couch and pout with your empty glass? (Hoping this isn’t just me?) Well, you won’t have to feel those feels ever again with a rolling bar cart. Skiiiirt it over to wherever you’re sitting or wheel it around and play bartender for your guests. Best host ever? I think so.

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Add some fresh blooms.

There’s no space that isn't better when you add flowers. That’s a fact, and there will be no further questions. Liven up your bar cart by adding some fresh (or even dried!) florals in a cute pot or vase, like the one you see here. Pro tip: Head to Trader Joe’s for all your greenery needs. Their selection is super affordable and the blooms are actually healthy.


Make it a mimosa bar.

Hosting brunch? Get your Martha Stewart on and leave your guests swooning by decking your bar cart out with everything you need to make some 'mosas. Set up some cute glasses, a few different fruit juices, some sweet garnishes, a bucket of ice, and, of course, a bottle (or three) of champs. You hostess with the mostest, you.


Fill it up with fruit.

If you ask me, the best cocktails come with a wedge of fruit on the side—they add a lil somethin’ somethin’ when it comes to taste and also just look cute as an accouterment. If you’re having people over (or if you just wanna feel fancy), bowl up some fruits—think: lemons, limes, and oranges—and use them to add a pop of color to your bar cart. Fashion! Meets! Function!

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Use a funky side table instead.

No bar cart? No problem. Use a fun little side table instead. I love this vintage piece (pictured) that screams ~squiggle-aesthetic~, but you can also find some cute and cheap options at IKEA, HomeGoods, Target, and on good ol’ Amazon.


Show off your cutest glassware.

You know what they say: If you got it, flaunt it. That statement is especially true when it comes to chic glassware. Set out your colorful cups, your customized champagne flutes, and your cute coups to give them the light of day they deserve. Dark and dingy cupboards? Fuggedaboutit. (P.S. If you’re looking to upgrade your glassware, look no further than Estelle Colored Glass. Your obsession begins now.)


Show off your book collection.

Hot girls read. And hotter girls show off their favorite reads on their bar cart. Because what pairs better with a good book than a good cocktail? If you wanna get some cocktail-themed books (have I mentioned I love a theme?), consider Dressed to Swill: Runway-Ready Cocktails Inspired by Fashion Icons, by Jennifer Croll, or Booze & Vinyl: A Spirited Guide to Great Music and Mixed Drinks, by André and Tenaya Darlington.

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Take advantage of under-shelf space.

Too many bottles, too little surface area? Make use of open space by hanging your wine glasses upside down underneath a shelf. You can buy racks for pretty cheap on Amazon (like this one) that can hold a lot more glasses than you’d expect.


Store your record player.

Girl, put your records on...your bar cart. Corinne Bailey Rae might not have said it, but hell, I will. It might not be what the cart was originally intended for, but damn if it doesn’t look perfect. Record player on the top and records on the bottom or vice versa—no matter how you arrange it, you’ve made a song-playing station worth ’gramming about.


Add appropropriate art.

A little artwork goes a long way, and a little ~alcohol-inspired art~ is the special touch every bar car needs. Consider hanging a neon sign for dive bar vibes, a framed ad from your favorite liquor brand, or a stylized piece featuring some adorable bottles, like the one in this shot.

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Give it a theme.

I love the idea of giving your bar cart a theme—spritz season, Parisian, get the idea. Make it matchy-matchy, and prepare to snap 9,000 shots for the ’gram. (Also, if you don’t start salivating at the thought of a crisp 'n' cold Aperol Spritz when you look at this bar cart, we probably can’t be friends.)


Make it coastal grandmother chic.

The “coastal grandmother chic” aesthetic is probably my favorite trend to take over TikTok in 2022—and that’s saying a lot. But like, who doesn’t want to look, dress, and feel like a retired rich lady enjoying her luxe life on Cape Cod? I know I do, and I know your bar cart would too. Play up the aesthetic with some pinot grigio, seashells, East Coast–inspired coffee table books, and alllll the rattan you can get your hands on.


Add dimension with a mirror.

Everybody knows that a mirror can make a space look waaay bigger than it actually is, and this trick works just the same behind your bar cart. I love this full-sized, round-top mirror, which frames the cart and makes it look like one fancy drink station.

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Let there be light.

I swear, every time I walk into a home store, I’m overwhelmed with the number of cute lamps and the lack of places in my apartment I can put them. Welp, one day I realized I could just pop a cutie on my bar cart! Not only does it add a classy touch, but it also puts a lil spotlight on your booze collection.

Headshot of Hannah Chubb
Hannah Chubb
Associate Lifestyle Editor

Hannah Chubb is the associate lifestyle editor at Cosmopolitan, covering all things home, travel, food, health, career, and more. She spends pretty much every hour of every day curating the internet for the best new products, trends, and travel destinations. You can typically find her looking for houses she can’t afford on Zillow or Airbnb, planning her next meal before she gets to the restaurant, or taking all of the Justin Bieber classes over and over and over again on Peloton. Follow her on Instagram

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