Good thing they have wheels, because these bar cart ideas prove this multitasking storage solution can go anywhere.

By Amanda Lauren
August 19, 2019
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Bar carts have become near-essential accessories for every stylish home, in part thanks to the practically endless variety of bar cart ideas out there. Bar carts create a sophisticated space to store and display bottles, glasses, and other cocktail accoutrements—but they can also do so, so much more. In fact, some of the best (and best-looking) bar cart ideas have nothing to do with alcohol. (If yours does, though, here’s everything you need to know about stocking a bar cart.)

But first: One myth about bar carts is that they actually have to be carts. While many people like the idea of having a large, mobile piece of furniture on wheels, this can be less than practical in a home with children or pets (or in an older home with tilted floors). But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a bar cart. Choosing a cart with removable wheels is an easy hack—no one will notice the difference if the so-called cart is stationary, and it won’t really change the look of the piece.

One of the biggest trends in bar carts is using them for anything other than bottles of booze. Think of the alcohol-free bar cart as an on-trend rolling storage cart: dynamic storage and good looks in one package. Whether your space is short on storage or it just begs for a showstopping focal point, bar carts can be equally stylish and useful. Read on for 11 bar cart ideas that prove one belongs in every room of the home.

In the bedroom

A bar cart in the bedroom is the perfect way to make sure you have easy access to a drink (of water) in the morning. Swap out your nightstand, especially if the room could use a little extra storage. This is an ideal look for smaller bedrooms and guest rooms where there isn’t space for a nightstand on both sides of the bed.

You can place a lamp atop the cart or install a sconce on the wall to save even more surface space, then decorate with books and other knickknacks. Store extra linens on the lower shelves.

In the bathroom

No shelving? No problem. A bar cart in the bathroom is an excellent alternative to a linen closet. Neatly roll or stack extra towels, hand towels, and even washcloths on the lower shelves. Then, use the top shelf for items you need to keep within reach, from cotton balls to bubble bath potions.

As a coffee cart

If java is your preferred vice, use a bar cart to create your own kitchen coffee bar. Keep your espresso maker or French press and milk steamer on the top shelf and store mugs, saucers, espresso cups, stirring spoons, pods, and packets of sweetener on the bottom shelf. If guests stop by for coffee and your cart still has its wheels, you can even take your caffeine counter to where guests gather.

As a bookshelf

Whether you have more books than shelving or just want to create a stylish reading corner in any room, a square or rectangular shaped bar cart easily doubles as a bookshelf. Don’t you remember the book cart at the library?

The key to styling your books properly is being very intentional about arrangement. Stack some books horizontally and others vertically, and consider grouping books by color (but only if you can tolerate a non-alphabetical sorting system).

Don’t forget accessories. If you wear reading glasses, keep a spare pair on the cart in a brightly colored or patterned case, and add a small tray for bookmarks.

In a vanity area

Infuse a little glamour into the room where you get glam. A bar cart is the perfect place to display your eyeshadow palettes, primers, and all those tubes of mascara. PBTeen and Benefit designed a cart specifically for this purpose (To buy: $249; pbteen.com), which has gold accents and rose gold–mirrored shelving.

Because makeup counters and storage tend to get cluttered, make sure there is a place for everything. Neatly tuck away items in a case or display in acrylic organizers. Accessorize the cart using a vintage cup for brushes and a mini-cocktail shaker to hold liners, pencils, and concealer wands. A small tray can group fragrances.

In your home office

Filing drawers and cabinets can be so corporate, so ditch the industrial pieces for a cart instead. Use the top shelf for pens and other writing instruments or office supplies you need to access frequently. The bottom shelf is best for paper items and files stored in bright, decorative folders.

To display art

Do you have smaller pieces of art that don’t quite work on your wall? Why not integrate them into your bar cart decor instead? Place the frame kitty-corner so it stays put and use another accessory to prop it up if need be. Can’t figure out the right piece for your cart? It’s hard to go wrong with a cocktail- or dessert-themed print or painting.

As a plant stand

Can’t find the right spot for your favorite house plants? Try this bar cart idea: Keep plants in beautiful planters on a bar cart. Serious green thumbs will appreciate being able to move and rotate plants to get the sunlight, and the space can also hold gardening supplies such as watering cans or clippers.

As an alternative to a china cabinet

Bar carts are the new china cabinets, just scaled down. Use your cart to display your favorite dishes, platters, and serving pieces. This is also a practical storage solution if your kitchen just doesn’t have enough cabinet space or the space you have isn’t easily accessible.

For serving food

If you are serving food at a dinner party or brunch, a bar cart can provide an extra surface to create a mini buffet. Allow your guests to conveniently take their own finger foods, appetizers, and desserts from the bar cart.

As arts and crafts storage

A bar cart is ideal for storing crayons, markers, paint, and other supplies all in one place. For this purpose, it’s best to use a metal or a plastic cart that cleans easily, especially for messy paints or anything that can potentially leak. A bright cart such as the one pictured here (To buy: $35; michaels.com) also makes a cute accessory for a child’s bedroom or playroom. This bar cart idea is also an opportunity to teach kids how to keep things organized and put items away on their own. Label the outside of each tier—paint, paper, etc.—for easier clean-up.

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