Bar cart ideas and styling tips – 10 inspiring ways to entertain at home

These bar cart ideas will inspire your next happy hour – whether indoors or outside

Bar cart ideas for the home
(Image credit: Future)

Bar cart ideas and styling tips are the perfect solution for a spot of impromptu entertaining, as it takes up far less space than a built-in home bar. 

The season of entertaining is well and truly upon us, and while it may not look the same this year, there are still plenty of reasons to celebrate, even if you find yourself without the company. 

Our curated selection of the best bar cart ideas, from small ones for compact spaces to bar carts that can be used outdoors in summer, should have all your interior design and home bar ideas needs covered.

Bar cart ideas – 10 styling ideas for your home bar

Where you situate a bar cart depends entirely on the shape and layout of your home, but you could have one in the corner your living room or basement ideas, or incorporate a home bar into your kitchen ideas – there are so many options to consider when placing and styling a bar cart. 

1. Set up a station for drinks and nibbles

Bar cart ideas with decorations

(Image credit: Future)

A stocked drinks station not only creates a show-stopping decorative moment, it allows guests to help themselves, taking the pressure off the host! Don’t forget the staples – an ice bucket, a base spirit and mixers, a stash of spare glasses and bottles of fizz. Incorporate a few extras such as napkins, straws, and garnishes. Mix a cocktail and pour a few glasses ready for guests on arrival.

2. Keep it neat with a small bar cart on wheels

Bar cart ideas for small homes

(Image credit: Future)

Small rooms can still hugely benefit from these bar cart ideas – you just have to consider its size and placement. Therefore, avoid placing your bar cart in a high-traffic area, even if you do want it to be the center of attention. We recommend that you keep it neatly tucked to the side or corner of a room – you can always roll it out when everyone wants a refill. 

3. Place a bar cart in an entryway

Bar cart ideas in the hall

(Image credit: Future)

Since the bar cart will inevitably be a gathering spot, you can also use its position to navigate people around different parts of your home. Avoid bottlenecks like the kitchen or the living room, and consider placing the bar cart in your entryway ideas or foyer. After all, who wouldn't want a tipple as soon as they enter the party?

4. Stay on trend with a rattan bar cart

Bar cart made from rattan library

(Image credit: Future)

The new trend of bar carts that lend texture to a scheme has precipitated a revival in all forms of weaving, from Seventies inspired wicker to rattan.

Dating from the days of the British Empire and traditionally used to grace conservatories, classic rattan furniture exudes timeless elegance. The denser the weave, the more hardwearing the bar cart will be.

However, rattan bar carts are popular mostly because of how it looks. The classic woven rattan texture is instantly recognizable, highly sophisticated and guaranteed to look on-trend for years to come. Perfectly blending country chic and modern minimalism, the design effortlessly adds a touch of elegance to any garden or outdoor space.

5. Set up a drinks trolley for guests 

Bar cart ideas for guests

(Image credit: Future)

Set up a drinks trolley as a makeshift home bar idea to encourage guests to help themselves and rustle up their favorite cocktails. Or, rather than uproot guests following dinner, why not bring the late night drinks to them?

6. Create a sense of occasion at home

Bar cart ideas for the festive season

(Image credit: Jon Day)

It is fair to say that bar carts ideas are having a moment. With the majority of us spending more and more time at home, we no longer seek refuge in an overpriced bar or public house. We want the entertainment value that comes from these establishments – just in the comfort of our humble abodes.

'So here’s my advice,' says interior designer Jonathan Adler. 'Buy a bar and watch your life transform. Suddenly you’re no longer Mildred from Accounting or Henry from HR. You’re Swinging Milly or Swanky Hank. A bar, you shall discover, will make you the toast of the party.'

7. Get the party started with an entertainment area

Bar cart ideas for parties and celebrations

(Image credit: Future)

A home bar cart signifies swagger – it makes young people seem sophisticated and old people seem young. Getting a bar cart is almost a rite of passage – it indicates you have entered your James Bond years but it’s a a lot cheaper than an Aston Martin! Of course, a bar cart is a go-anywhere-funster piece of furniture. Here, the bold colors and oversized balloons bring eccentric glamor to the space.

8. Use natural materials for a spot of summer entertaining

Bar cart ideas with trolley for summer drinks

(Image credit: Future)

From seagrass and bamboo to rattan and cane, natural woven textures are ideal for bringing interiors to life. A trolley is ideal for summer entertaining and this rattan weave design has a smart rustic look. Pair with your favorite tipples and colorful serveware for the ultimate party feel. 

9. Welcome guests into the garden

Bar cart ideas for gardens

(Image credit: The White Company)

Even the host with the most needs a break to enjoy the party, so stock up a drinks station and let guests help themselves. Premix a cocktail, stash spare glasses and back-up bottles underneath and don’t forget the ice! A bar cart is not only a glamorous touch but easy to move as guests follow the sun or shade. Style it up with a lantern or outdoor lamp for a pretty glow as the sun sets.

10. Dress up a bar cart

Bar cart ideas with fairy lighting

(Image credit: Future)

Set up your drinks trolley with all you need to keep serving well into the night. Put bottles in ice-filled buckets below and dress the top with your fanciest glasses and decanters. Add battery-powered fairy lights to give it that extra sparkle, and wheel it around so guests don’t even need to leave the room.

What can you put on a bar cart besides alcohol?

Surprisingly, bar carts can be used for more than just alcohol. Some of our favorite bar cart ideas feature pretty additions, such as fresh flowers, attractive serveware and even books. Yes, why not turn your bar cart into a book trolley?

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.