A bar cart isn’t just a place to throw all your liquor. OK, it is. But it’s also something more. A bar cart is also a style piece — it is meant to show off your personality and being a focal point in your home. It’s difficult, though, to combine the two. How do you have a place for all that booze but also make it beautiful? How do you style it so it looks stunning and not just a catchall for whatever spare bottles you have laying around your home?
“Having a bar on your house is just a nice little element that adds fun, some relaxation and some frivolity to your everyday life, even if you’re not using it every day. There’s obviously a ton that you can add to a bar to make it look great. And you don’t need all of these things to begin with,” says HGTV’s Orlando Soria.
Soria suggests starting with glassware, displaying a six- or 12-piece set. Having a variety of glassware makes the bar look well stocked and ready to serve! And, for extra bonus points, pick out those glasses that have meaning to you, like vintage ones from your grandmother or those that match your home’s color scheme perfectly. Ensure to have different sizes and types, like a lowball glasses and wine glasses, to help add a bit of a playful look.
From there, he says, the styling can really begin. Start with trays or small boxes to help define the space and bit and make it look more organized, while the boxes, he says, “act as bit of a visual break from having like little things everywhere and store smaller bottle openers, or coasters or accessories that you might not want out all the time.”
Once the space is defined, it’s time to add accents. While books and eye-catching sculpture pieces can be a perfect addition, there is one thing Soria always recommends.
“I always think it’s really nice to have like a lamp on a bar cart, because it adds really nice low level lighting that makes the whole space feel warm and inviting. And it also kind of illuminates all the beautiful bottles and decorative items that you’re like putting on your bar,” he says.
Speaking of bottles, Soria says that a bar cart is not the place for bottle storage. It’s the place to showcase some of the most unique bottles in your liquor collection — bottles that others may not have seen before.
“Curate your prettiest bottles and group them in groupings of like three to five. Use a short, medium and tall because the various sizes make you feel like there’s visual interest but not so many bottles that it gets a bit visually overwhelming,” he says.
Another option, especially if you have lots of different booze, is to switch your bottles out seasonally, either creating a color story or moving from the lighter flavors of the Spring and Summer into the more rich flavors of the Winter months.
“I usually go for color and which ones are the most visually interesting color-wise, and you can be really thoughtful about what bottles you have,” he says. “You can try to do like a very monochromatic like cohesive bar that’s very color-specific. Or you can mix all bottles together. Just make sure that you have different colors of bottles scattered around sort of evenly so that it doesn’t look like there’s just one random colored bottle somewhere.”
But what if you want to showcase your barware and glassware but don’t have room for a bar cart? Never fear, Soria has a solution to that as well.
“I’ve done bar kind of on like a console table just with a tray, some glasses, few bottles and an ice bucket. That’s enough to be like its own little bar cart moment. You can plan shelving that has bar accessories on it. That’s especially good for small space because obviously that’s up on the wall and it takes up a lot less real estate,” he says.
No matter where you’re showing off the goods, be mindful about how to create a beautiful space that reflects your character but without going overboard.
“Not everything has to be out on the bar cart. Yes, there are some beautiful barware sets, but you can always put them in a storage box, too. Part of making the bar beautiful is making it look simple and quiet and elegant enough. So, you don’t necessarily want to see a million gadgets,” he says. “And, use things that speak to you in a way. It can be a small sculpture, beautiful linens, cocktail napkins, or woven coasters.”