I cannot tell you how long I looked for a bar cart that was cute and affordable. Everything I found was either super expensive or just not the style I was looking for. Until one day, the heavens opened and the Target gods decided to send me a beautiful gold cart on sale. It’s kind of ridiculous how excited I was when it arrived, but it’s been a highlight of our apartment for me ever since!
On any given day, our bar cart looks pretty average to be honest. Functional and full of mismatched bottles. To spice it up, I will throw a candle or fun napkins on there, but I could definitely put more effort into it.
Between the lack of chic and my need to practice my design skills, I decided that I was going to intentionally style my bar cart. I got the initial idea from a business who has their interns practice their design skills by playing around with different themes, and one particular intern did a St. Patty’s day theme on a bar cart. It was like an aha moment for me! Why not use what I have and start practicing? Plus it’s really fun!
Here’s how I went through the process and how you can style your own bar cart for your next party! Or just your next Mimosa Sunday.
1. Decide on a theme.
Do you have an upcoming birthday, anniversary, or dinner with friends to plan? Is there a holiday coming up? What season is it? What are your favorite colors? Truly you can use anything for inspiration. I decided to do a spring mimosa bar, to help cope with this crazy, never-ending Midwest cold.
2. Start with what you have.
Look around your house and see what you can re-purpose! I’m sure you have tons of things that are just sitting in your cabinets because they’re special occasion or seasonal items – bust them out! I started by gathering some items from my apartment and my office. Those gorgeous vases are from the Nashville Farmer’s Market, which I highly recommend visiting!
3. Think about what you’ll need to purchase.
For me, it was important to incorporate elements from local businesses – like a real styled shoot. I love spreading the word about local businesses I love! I knew that I wanted to get succulents from Casey’s Garden Shop, flowers from Vera & Buck Floral Studio and Farm, and treats from a local bakery. Initially I planned to use sweet macaroons, but ended up using these gorgeous and delicious scones from Ivy Lane Bakery. Of course, there are some items – like champagne and orange juice – that I just purchased from Kroger, and a couple plain glass bottles from the dollar store.
4. Put everything on the cart.
Just get everything on there so you can see what you’re working with. Look at how the items work together – the different heights, different styles, different colors, etc. At this point, I didn’t know yet how I was going to use the pineapple jewelry tray, and I chose not to use the mini faux succulents since I decided to purchase real ones.
Once I got everything on there, I knew I had to rearrange it. It’s not like this setup was actually going to be used for a party, but it still didn’t make sense to me to put the juice and fruit cups on the bottom of the cart. Logically, it wouldn’t make sense for guests to have to kneel down and build their mimosas. (So it’s not just about making things look pretty, it’s still a bar cart.)
5. Arrange and rearrange – until you’re happy!
Keep moving things around until you’re happy with it! As you can see, I rearranged some items, added a gold mirrored tray, found a use for the pineapple jewelry tray, added a candle, plated the fruit, poured the bubbly, and celebrated!
There are a few details that I kept in mind when pulling all these items together; they’re subtle, but they make a difference:
- The gold details on the mirror, pineapple, and cake stand
- The focus on pinkish/purplish tones – in the flowers, juice, berries, vases, candle, scones, and even the center of the cactus
- The contrast between soft and edgy with the succulents vs. cacti and the hexagon vase
- The scalloped edging on the mirror and the cake stand
- The mint color of the fruit cups and how they tie into the succulent colors
- *Didn’t plan this, but the way the sun sparkles across the champagne on the mirror
You may not have even picked up on these little details, but hopefully you can see how they work together, and how you can recreate something like this at home!
I would love to see your own bar cart styled shoot, so feel free to send me pics! And if you don’t have a bar cart, just use your countertop or dining room table! Remember, work with what you’ve got.