How to create your own bar cart

How to create your own bar cart

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A bar cart or drinks trolley is a stylish and practical addition to your home – and as everyone is trying to spend a little less money at the moment, this is a great way to have a party at home and save on expensive bar and pub prices. It’s also a good excuse to invite family and friends over and show off your cocktail-making skills. If you need help getting started, or want to style a bar cart with something other than alcohol, and learn how to clear up any spills, then read on.

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Bar cart ideas – how to do it yourself

There are so many pieces of furniture you may already own that you could repurpose to create your own bar cart. Alternatively, there could be something at your local charity shop or online second-hand marketplace you could upcycle. Some of the most successful DIY projects we’ve seen have used:

  • Baby’s changing table: They’re already at the perfect height, with storage options like shelves and drawers in easy reach. They’re also solid enough to hold large bottles of spirits.
  • Tea or hostess trolleys: If you’re lucky enough to find an old-fashioned trolley with wheels, then if it’s in good condition all it may need is a new lick of paint. We’d suggest using a spray in a metallic colour if the original hardware looks tarnished.
  • Bathroom or vegetable rack: You can pick these up quite cheaply if they’re made of plastic, rattan, or bamboo. They may not be as secure as a wooden or metal trolley, so we wouldn’t recommend moving them. But they’re great as a budget option.
  • Anything goes! Search your loft, charity shop or flea market, or go online to see who’s getting rid of furniture in your local area. We’ve seen people reusing a vintage suitcase by opening it up to become a shelf, then attaching lightweight legs to the base. Other people have refreshed an old vinyl record rack or turned an open-shelved bookcase or cabinet into a static drinks trolley.
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How to make a bar cart

If you don’t want to make your own bar cart or drinks trolley and intend to buy one instead, there are so many options available on the high street or online to suit your budget and style. Most of them lean towards the art deco designs of the 1920s with a slim footprint, curved edges, and metal accents. Others are more like delicate serving carts with Scandi-inspired pale wood, or are painted black with sleek lines, plus a handle for ease of movement.

This is a piece of furniture that should look good as well as being practical as it’s something you’ll want to show off all year round. While it’s up to you which one you go for in terms of looks, the best bar carts all share the following qualities:

  • Wheels or castors so you can move it around
  • Be sturdy enough and have a decent amount of space to hold bottles of alcohol, glasses, tumblers, and mixology equipment
  • Easily accessible from the front and top so you and guests can make their own drinks and grab some nibbles
  • Have somewhere to store napkins or a tea towel to avoid spills
  • Have a wipe clean surface


A moving bar cart or a static one?

This is entirely your choice, but practically speaking, if you push your bar cart, you’re more likely to have a spill, and there’s always a danger when you combine alcohol with people! We have a collection of stain-resistant carpets  you could put under your bar cart or other furniture to avoid this. Or else, choose a smooth flooring like a laminateLVTvinyl or engineered wood over which your drinks trolley can glide easily.

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How to style a bar cart like a pro

It sounds obvious, but as it’s on show it’s worth having a think about the looks of your bar cart or drinks trolley. If you want to display all the exotic-coloured liqueurs you’ve brought back from foreign holidays, put the prettiest ones in front.  We’d suggest heavy bottles go at the bottom of your bar cart.

Or perhaps you have a set of attractive shot or martini glasses or sophisticated champagne flutes? Make sure they’re sparkling clean and fingerprint free, before lining them up together. Some people are unearthing their granddad’s old whisky decanters and cleaning them up to take pride of place. And don’t forget cocktail shakers and ice buckets to make your home drinks bar look professional. We have plenty more ideas on how to style a room with carpet or floor in our Ideas Hub.

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Bar cart ideas

Finishing touches

Once you’ve decided which style direction you’re taking your bar cart, it’s time for some embellishments to bring it to life. For instance, you could add a decorative tray or tablecloth, snack bowls or coasters. You may want to prepare some lemon slices for a gin and tonic or go full 1970s throwback and have cocktail umbrellas ready to pop into your guests’ drinks. And perhaps add a living mint plant in a pretty pot so you can pull off some leaves to serve in a very fresh mojito? You may also want to set the mood by adding a vase of flowers or light a pair of candles to create atmosphere.

Make it seasonal

If you’re going down the route of turning yourself into a home bartender or mixologist, then what better way to practice than to have cocktails that match the seasons? In spring you could change the décor on your bar cart for floral napkins and fresh daffodils and match the pastel colours with alcoholic drinks that contain fresh tastes like rhubarb, berries or citrus.Go for a fruit cup or punch with strawberries and cucumber garnish for a real taste of summer. When it’s autumn, highlight drinks in warm russet tones like whisky or brandy as the basis for your mixology. In winter, the traditional flavours of cranberries and cinnamon sticks give a nod to a Christmassy theme.

If you’re concerned about alcohol stains on your carpet or smooth floors, we’ve a selection of care guides that will help you get out of any messes. Our best advice is not to wait for a stain to sink in and deal with it as soon as you possibly can.

Non-alcoholic ideas for a bar cart

You may not want to put alcohol in your bar cart at all! You may want to use it as an alternative piece of décor to show off a prized collection, your favourite vases or pot plants. If you place several items together, the effect is much more pleasing than dotting them around a room. How about a set of books with attractive spines, family photos in co ordinating frames? If you stick to one theme like gold or silver, the result is elevated, and goes with every décor.

Check out our lookbooks for exciting colour palette ideas, such as turquoise shades paired with gold, or black and white with metallics for a timeless yet sophisticated style. Or add dried grasses, fresh fruit and flowers, straw-based planters in seagrass or water hyacinth to recreate that ‘natural source’ or ‘farmhouse’ look.

If we’ve inspired you to create your own bar cart at home and want a new carpet or floor to match your new decor, then visit your local Tapi store with a free store appointment to speak to our floorologists or book a free home visit. A member of our friendly team will come to your home to explain all of Tapi's services, measure up and give you a free, no-obligation quote. Alternatively, discover our range of other decor tips and trends, including how to style your coffee table, and tips for cleaning white walls.

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Published: 04-01-2023