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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
Jpdie and Julie
This makes me want to go out and buy s bar cart. What Great ideas for parties, as well as storage! Hmmm……… maybe I could store some of my dishes on one! I think I need to start looking????????
March madness! Thank you, Patti
I bought an antique tea cart and it was my first (and only so far) chalk paint project. I wish I had your chalk painting tips before I did! I like all the cute ideas for carts! Thanks ladies!
You girls are just so much fun!! ????
You’ve come up with some cute and creative uses for any type of cart. Love this blog post. I have a yellow vintage metal microwave cart that is in pristine condition and I am thinking I’m gonna have to pull it out of the garage and get it styled up somewhere in the house now. Thank you, thank you, thank you. ????March Madness ????
Rhonda, You are the cutest!! Love it so much! HaHa! Bring that vintage cart and get it going, Girlfriend! So fun. Blessings & Love, Julie & Jodie
Thanks for the decorating tips for the bar cart! I’m going to get my MIL tea cart out of storage. It might need a little TLC before decorating, but I’m going to give it a try! Such an inspiration! Can’t wait!
I feel like they add dimension and another place for storage, especially when working with small spaces. It’s fun to see what you come up with when using decorating them because you can use so many different themes! I love the gold pineapples!
Easter bar cart was my fave, but all very nice. I don’t actually have a bar cart and likely not to purchase one, but I appr crate your enthusiasm.
I am much more of a minimalist when it comes to styling, but I ALWAYS enjoy reading your posts and following you and your twin sis on IG. Fantastic job! You both are inspiring but most of all…your ❤
Another great post ! I’m looking around my house to incorporate some of these ideas ???? March Madness ????????????
How great is the movie night cart? I like the other ideas, too, but wouldn’t have thought of this particular use. Love to get fresh ideas!
This makes me want to go and buy a tea cart righ now. You have done a fantastic job styling them. Thanks for your help. March madness????????????
Love the tea cart! Cannot wait to receive my rosary beads I ordered!!! Thank you for the inspiration ladies.
I have a small bar cart in my dining room, and I love decorating it for the seasons. Thank you for some great ideas. Mine is on wheels, so I move it where ever I need it. My friend uses an old baby changing table for her bar cart, and it is perfect, with the three shelves. Mary
Wow, your bar cart post did not disappoint! So many options on styling a bar cart! Am definitely going to go buy one now! Love those gold pineapples! March Madness! My Jayhawks are still dancing!
Love the different looks- is great for summertime too out by the pool or the deck!
Oh I love all these ideas.! As soon as I can I need to get a bar cart! You girls got me excited to style one❤️❤️!
Love the Bramble bar cart in black and all the pink! Where did you find the wooden bunny with crinkled edge? So cute!
Tracy, The bunny came from Hobby Lobby. I was going to try to tag it or put it in our shop but when I searched Hobby Lobby they didn’t have it online anywhere. Either they are out or you may be able to find in stores. Good luck, Sweetie.
With love, Julie & Jodie
Oh what a fun post specially the Easter cart❤ MARCH MADNESS
I’ve been on the look out for a bar cart for some time now. This post couldn’t come at a better time. Love all your different styles.
This cart is so versatile and able to be moved to where ever it is needed.. plus it gives us another place to d citrate!! Yay! #marchmadness
I want a bar cart now!!! Maybe my husband will get me one as a “push present” ???????? so I can enjoy after the baby!!!
Where to put a bar cart ummmm ????
Oh if only I had a bar cart oh the fun it would bring???? March Madness Go BADGERS!!!!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
What style you have!! I cannot pick.a favorite! Easter Tea Party cart is so fun but the elegant cart with the gold pineapples is just amazing!! What a fun blog post that one was!
I need a bar cart,so much fun!!!!!my favorite is the easter bar cart ????????
Love love the tea cart,what adorable Easter cart,this looks like so much fun….I think I will check out the coffee station such a great idea….thanks for sharing….March Madness
Well, now I need a bar cart! That is just too cute! Love all your cute ideas for them. March Madness
I really want to get a cart for a coffee bar station so this was super helpful! Thank you!! March Madness
Ohhhh I think my fave is the coffee bar cart ????☕️???? probably because I really want one!!!!! & the teenage cart is an idea I’ll have to keep in mind down the road!! ????????????????
Such cute carts! On or off duty, sophisticated or whimsical! All very delightful!!
Bar cart palooza! Lots of great ideas here! I would like a vintage tea cart that I would keep outside with plants on it and then I could use it as a portable drink station when I have friends over! The Blackheart is so gorgeous and the pops of pink on it look fabulous! Great post! Thanks! March Madness
Oh wow! These top two are so glam! I love it! These ideas are awesome!
I enjoyed reading this article! I liked the idea of the bar carts being temporary and practicing design ideas through bar carts!! I really like all your different ideas for bar cart uses as well! Such fun concepts!
I love all of your different party ideas for the bar cart.
Good Morning Julie…your place is looking lush and beautifully green and we are still covered in another layer of snow…????….Iam impressed with your bar cart creations.. You gave me ideas for one in my kitchen which would be perfect for my needs…Thanks for this and also I will be heading to the drug store today and getting nyx eye makeup…I have seen before but always passed it by…Thanks once again and cheers…Cory
I have a tea cart that was my moms….currently in my dining room with, of course, my moms teapots and tea cups on it. I have been wanting to paint it and your post has motivated me to go for it! Not sure what theme it will be to strait out, but tired of the tea cups…..excited to work on it now! Thank you!
I love all the bar cart stylings you did but my favorite is the gold one. I like sparkle! You did such a great job showing how they can be styled different ways and for different occassions.
Thanks for doing such an assortment to demonstrate how useful and decorative a bar cart can be.
So lovely! I would never have thought of these great ideas! March Madness
Hi Julie and Jodie!
I have that same Target bar cart and am currently using it as an end table!! I have trouble styling it! Love all of your ideas but I especially love the “movie night” one. Gonna have to file that one away for future use! Happy March Madness!
So many ways to decorate these tiny carts! Y’all have really made them so lovely and useful! They are such space savers! I’d love to win!
Jodie and Julie,
Good evening! Thank you for sharing in your adventures and ideas on bar cart styling. I particularly enjoy all the different uses that you discussed and presented in your post. I look forward to using my bar cart for fun movie nights with my family.
Good job! Each one is so well done! I can always count on you girls for fresh ideas???? Thank you! Now, to find a bar cart….
March Madness! ????????. Love you so! ❤️ Jan, HomeGirls Design
Oh my heavens! I need one asap! That movie night themed one gets alllllll the heart eyes from me!!!
I have the same gold bar cart ❤️ Thank you for the inspiration! (Does this count for march madness ????)
I love how cute and festive your bar carts are! Thank you so much for sharing!
Reading this just got me the perfect idea of styling some left over space in my living room. Running now to find a good cart????
i get so excited to read your blog. Your pictures are so inspiring ☺
This blog post also has me thinking about my cart out on the patio. So many ideas running through my head now. I’ll have to send you pics of the vintage microwave cart and my outdoor cart when I get them styled. Thanks for getting me rolling on these ideas. No pun intended. Haha. ❤
Never knew I needed a bar cart until now!! So inspiring!
I’m in love with my Agape candle ❤️
,and I just noticed your signs for your giveaway. #pickme
Can’t believe March Madness is only three days away to be over ????
I have to give it another try March Madness ????
Love the bar carts! I am going to make a coffe bar cart, can’t wait to pull from your ideas!
These are such great tips, and I love all the ideas!
I love the way you styled and softened a basic little cart and made it your own. Love the trays on each shelf! March Madness
Great ideas for a bar cart! I’ve been wanting to do a bar cart so this was inspiring! March Madness
This looks like so much fun! I think I’m gonna have to find a bar cart to style myself! I’m thinking my living space would love one!
Love all the different ways to decorate bar carts especially using it for a coffee station. Beautiful
Thanks you for here wonderful tips. Thanks for sharing…March Madness
Love all the different ideas for bar carts…..so creative.
What a fun idea. Great for the holidays. March Madness!!
I’m heading to my fav goodwill store to look for a cart. Thanks for all the great ideas.
March Madness, almost over.
Thanks for the tips. I’m looking for a bar cart for my formal dining room. Once I find the winning cart I will refer back to this blog. Thank you!! March madness
March madness! ????????????
Great tips! I love the mini coffee bar cart.
MARCH MADNESS ????????
Love your carts???? March MADNESS
I LOVED all these ideas and suggestions, I am going to be on a hunt for a cart now when I go antiquing. I would love to use one at my daughters graduation party, we have a popcorn machine and it would be so fun to do a popcorn station. Thanks for such a creative post….MARCH MADNESS????
Wowza!! So many fun and creative ideas. Beautiful pics too. Love the idea of adding something living to the cart. March madness.
Love this bar cart..I have a similar one..Gonna nix it up..Can’t wait to see what the hubby thinks..Lol. Always changing things up????
Boy these sure are so lovely!!! I want to find a bar cart now and style it! I love that movie night one
Hi Jodie & Julie, thanks so much for this blog! I love all your tips for bar cart design, I also found this blog and I think it complements very well with your tips! https://www.decorilla.com/online-decorating/bar-cart-ideas/,
You’re so welcome sweet friend! We are so glad you enjoyed this blog post and thanks for sharing as well!
Lots of love,
Jodie & Julie
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