Design · Furniture · Inspiration · Interiors

Alternatives to Bar Carts

Bar carts have been popping up with great frequency in interiors over the last few years.      They impart a fun and slick mid-century Mad Men sort of vibe to a space.  Although you may like the look of bar carts, and there are many great new and vintage ones from which to choose, perhaps you don’t want to buy one or you don’t have the space for one. In this post, I present some alternative approaches to capturing the look and feel of a bar cart in your home.

Bar tray:

My favorite solution is to grab a large tray and load it up as if it were a bar cart. The tray can then be placed on any table, desk, or dresser in your living space. Since the bar set-up is on a tray, it can be moved around easily.

Here are some good-looking bar trays:

House Beautiful


House Beautiful
via Jessica Gordon Ryan
Slim Paley


Jenny Wolf Interiors via My Domaine
via Pinterest
Lonny (notice the Staffordshire dog!)

Over the Memorial Day weekend, I put together a quick and simple bar tray for guests. I opened the secretary desk in the living room and placed a wicker tray on top of it as seen below:



Bookcase bar:

If you clean out a small shelf in a bookcase, you can create a mini bar in it:

House Beautiful




House Beautiful


via Jessica Gordon Rya


Furniture Bar:

You can also use an existing piece of furniture and turn it into a temporary bar area:

The Every Girl

The inside of this armoire has been converted into a bar:

House Beautiful

I hope these photos have provided not only some decorating tips for bar cart alternatives, but also some inspiration for entertaining. It is nice for guests to be able to serve themselves drinks, and if you create an area conducive to that, it makes entertaining much easier! Is it 5 o’clock yet?

header image by Anna Hackathorn via Duchessfare


6 thoughts on “Alternatives to Bar Carts

  1. This is a great list of alternatives, Elizabeth! So smart, too, especially because having a bar cart just isn’t feasible for some people, particularly if space is at a premium and/or you have young children. Have a great weekend. 🙂


    1. Thanks so much Kate! I definitely agree that a bar cart isn’t the best idea with young children in the house, it also isn’t the best idea with teenagers! Happy weekend to you too!💙


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