The Art of the Bar Cart

If you want to be fancy and posh, whilst filling your home with friends, merriment, and breathtaking vignettes, you should probably invest in a bar cart.  Bar carts have been back for a while — and come in at a close second to weddings and puppies on the pinteresting popularity scale.  Form and functional combine in these pretty little things and with all the vintage glassware floating around the flea markets, the styling opportunities are endless. While ogling some favorite images, I tried to decide how many bar carts one can reasonably own and realized that as long as they are all styled differently, no one would care.  


The necessary ingredients for a successful bar cart usually include: colorful glassware, decanters, ice buckets, pretty booze, a tray to corral odds and ends, cocktail shaker/tools, and coasters.  I also like adding at least one unique and unexpected item as a conversation piece, and to stay ahead of the Jones’ and their mult-bar-cart-situation.  Some of the best sources are sites like etsy, ebay, and craigslist, the amount of vintage barware out there is endless, so might as well pick up something that will make a statement. Here are a couple of products I would use for my Golden Regency Bar Cart, which might be parked in my powder room.


1. Glasses, 2. Geometric Bottle Opener, 3. Coasters, 4. Bar Cart, 5. Vases, 6. Glasses, 7. Decanters, 8. Tray


I thought Brian might want a bar cart too, obviously.  So, for a more masculine look I chose items with a lot of texture and warmth, and some quirky pieces that might appeal to a guy who primarily likes his decor ‘funny.’ Here are some picks for my Executive Bar Cart:

1. Bar Cart, 2. Bowl, 3. Horn Coasters, 4. Tray, 5. Cocktail Shaker, 6. Whiskey Stones7. Snack Containers

8. Fish Glasses



Finally, my third bar cart would be parked outside next to my infinity pool and bocce court, naturally. I went with a summery color palette with lots of pattern. I don’t care if its fall for many of you, it was 90 degrees yesterday – summer still exists.  A few options for my Color Pop Bar Cart might include:



1. Cocktail Swatchbook, 2. Bar Cart, 3. Vase, 4. Speckled Tumblers, 5. Coasters, 6. Straws, 7. Trays,

8. Ice Buckets 


For more pretty pretty pictures and my favorite product picks, feel free to follow me on pinterest.   Grab a drink while you do it.  From your bar cart.  



  1. Ahhhh I've been dying for a gold vintage (or vintage looking) bar cart! Alas I cannot find one that I love that is in my very limited budget. Any suggestions for budget friendly beautiful bar carts? I have also been searching for something cheap that I can perhaps spraypaint gold. Ideas?

    ps – loooove your designs!

  2. Avis

    Great post! Love bar carts! Emily Henderson is so dope! I just purchased the vintage Garnier stacking decanter for $20 and 1950's Rid-Jid brass and walnut bar/food trolley (rolling and folding).

  3. Megan

    How do you feel about breakfast bars? I think I want a bar cart and a breakfast bar for my espresso and fun pretty mugs. These would go great with your Color Pop Bar Cart (or any for that matter) I have the 'beaches' addition and love them!

    I love those trays also – they have them at Huset on Abbot Kinney, definitely worth a visit (relatively new opening) if you haven't been already!

  4. I have had such a love for these beauties! And last December we picked up a vintage cart very similar to the 1st one and the last one you featured – the wheels on the first one are the same as ours, and the lines of the last one are more like the one we have. I love it! But, I'm not doing a great job styling it, and that's one of my next projects to seriously tackle. So thank you for this timely article. I can't wait to get started!!!

  5. Patti

    What are whiskey stones? This is the first I have heard or seen them. Perhaps because I am a tequila lady. Love your blog and style. Wish I had the room. It would be nice if someone would specialize in older homes with small boxy rooms.

  6. amy h

    Those fish glasses are killing me. I've been keeping an eye out for a midcentury cabinet version of a bar cart, seeing as I don't want my booze to go for a joy ride, which is what would inevitably happen with three small children in the house. Save the booze!

  7. Check my blog on about say….. thursday for something really awesome.

  8. Obviously to do with bar carts, whoops!

  9. Della

    I misread the first few lines and thought that the must-have accessory was "bear cat", your cat.

    I had to go back to re-read the first few sentences and it was very confusing until I figured it out. I thought that you were just being clever.


  10. i was just thinking about your mormon post the other day and how smart you are — i am thinking about putting together a post up refashioning/upcycling children's clothes from grownups' old or thrifted clothes, and the master chick at doing this appears to be a mo.

    and now this. i have been working on an MCM Pillow Talk (with Doris Day as the MCM career gal and Rock Hudson as her down low mo) room for a couple of years now. while it's moving along glacially (etsy chandelier, hwood regency, scored, rewired, but not painted yet, etc.) the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow has always been the perfectly accoutred bar cart.

    like here, on the right, just visible below doris' awesome coral counter. (please note her apartment is done in two shades of blonde: platinum and honey. mmmhmmm. mmmhmmm. i tracked down the famous mo who designed this set for her, can't remember his name. i'll get back to you on that.)

  11. torie horton

    thanks! thanks! thanks! i bought a metal bar cart for like $6 at the thrift store but it's still bare. now i have tons of wonderful, purdy ideas to make it awesome. it's currently lime green and white and chrome but i think it shall be made gold! now….can you give some tips on styling your nightstand that doesn't include lots of books, chapstick and a box of kleenex???

  12. I recently sold my MCM bar cart and am looking for an Asian cabinet with inlaid mother of pearl, etc. I do own 3 really cool ice buckets. I keep finding them at thrift stores and take them home with me. This might sound silly but I'd love some suggestions of what liquor to stock, esp. brands. I'm not a drinker and don't know a good vodka (for instance) if it came up and bit me. I love the thought of offering friends a drink when they come over. "Hi! How are you? Can I get you a drink?"Sure, I can make you a Tom Collins."

  13. Sue

    This was a great article Emily. I'm somewhat humored by it. I remember I was working as a Sales Associate in a department store's housewares department and I said in discussion several times with a coworker, our hunky manager nearby, that I really wanted a bar cart for the house. I left feeling like a fool and thinking he must have thought me some sort of alcoholic. Funny thing is, I no longer drink but I still want a bar cart for my living room. To me it represents comfort, luxury, relaxation, a social life. I'm not afraid to do one, and fill it with non-alcoholic drink accoutrements. BTW, I always drink my tomato juice in a goblet. Why should wine drinkers get all the pretty stemware? I like the idea of a Pinterest board for bar carts too. Cheers!

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