Style at Home: Create a cart that raises the bar

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The sun is out, the sky is clear, and things are starting to feel normal again! After the crazy and isolating year we just endured, it is wonderful that we are able to start gathering together again in time for the summer.

Back are the evening happy hours and parties with inventive cocktails! Ever since their heyday in the ’50s and ’60s, bar carts have been a staple in many homes. Carts come in so many finishes and styles that you’ll be able to find one that fits into any space.

As Mary Carol Garrity likes to say, the beauty and the curse of bar carts is you don’t have a lot of space to work with. Everything you place on the tiny shelves needs to either serve a functional purpose or add a powerful punch of visual panache. One of the most important parts of decorating a bar cart (like any vignette) is introducing items that provide height. This can be achieved in many ways, from a tiered server to hold appetizers to a lamp or a showy bouquet of flowers. Another great addition for height is stacking cocktail books to create a platform and top off with barware accessories.

They say that you eat with your eyes, so wouldn’t that be true for drinking as well? Try incorporating colored glasses and beautiful beverage holders to make a stunning bar display. We like to group our glasses on additional trays for easy transport to the table and as a nice visual anchor for the cart. Cocktail napkins and hand towels can either be draped over the handles of your cart or go on the bottom shelf (move to the top shelf when you start mixing and serving) along with more glasses, full bottles and additional snacks.

If your favorite beverage comes in less than attractive bottles, pour the spirits into decanters. No need to spend a fortune on crystal. We are always looking for affordable pieces that look nice for a fraction of the price, like these fabulous cut glass options. When it comes to adding texture to your bar cart, the more containers, the merrier.

At the end of the day, the bar cart is a place to have fun with functional decor. Switch up your display seasonally for pops of color or keep it simple for year-round enjoyment — there is no wrong way to enjoy your cart. Pop the cork on your favorite vintage and let inspiration take you away.

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