Would you rather mix drinks at home than going out? Then you might want to add a bar cart to your home, giving you a space to store your bottles and play bartender. (And give you a beautiful place to display some decor!)
Bar carts are a fun and festive addition to any room. For the past couple of years, they’ve been one of the “it” pieces of furniture to have—whether you’re looking to create a perfectly styled Instagram post or beautiful-but-functional drink station for when you’re hosting a party! They’re one of those versatile pieces of furniture that have become a designer must-have, both for the storage space and decorative opportunity.
If you want to jump on the bandwagon and add a bar cart to your home, you might wonder where to start. Bar carts come in so many styles, materials, and shapes, giving you a lot to choose from! To help you out, we’ve created an interior design buying guide for bar carts! We’re breaking down what to look for in a bar cart and sharing our favorite bar cart picks for different categories!
What should you look for in a bar cart?
When shopping for a bar cart, there are a few key things you should consider. Here are our top five designer-recommended considerations.
1. Bar Cart Storage
When it comes to choosing the right bar cart for your home, you should think through how much storage you need. Do you have a vast bottle collection that you’d like to fully display on your bar cart? Do you want to actually use the top shelf of your bar cart as a surface for mixing drinks? Or will it be more decorative than practical, styled with a mix of liquor bottles, books, glassware, and decor? The way you’ll use your bar cart can help determine how much storage you need.
Some bar carts are simply two shelves and that’s it. Others have more robust built-in storage, with amenities like drawers, wine glass and bottle racks, and even storage for barware, like ice buckets and tongs. This may sound great—the more storage, the better, right? The only catch is that these bar carts tend to be more expensive due to the extra parts, plus the additional time and effort required to assemble them.
So, consider what additional or specific storage needs are important to you. If you like having a specific place or surface to stash stuff, opt for more bells and whistles. But if you’re happy with a simple two-tier design and feel confident you can keep it organized on your own, go with a more basic, straightforward option. (Worried a bar cart won’t give you all the storage space you need? You might want to consider a bar cabinet instead!)
2. Bar Cart Material
Bar carts are made from a variety of materials—with frames made from wood and metal to acrylic, lucite, and even natural materials like cane or rattan. Most bar carts are made with durability in mind and are meant to hold up to regular use and have the strength to store heavy bottles. But think about how you plan on using your bar cart, as different materials will have an effect on the durability (and style!) of your bar cart.
Furthermore, while some bar carts are made of a single material, others use contrasting shelf materials to give an extra dose of style to your cart. Some of the most common accent shelf materials are glass, marble, and mirrored shelves.
Think through your lifestyle and preferences when considering which material to choose for your bar cart. A few notables? Glass shelves will require more cleaning than, say, wood. Marble can be finicky, especially if you’re a red wine drinker. Have a cat? It may be tempted to scratch the legs of a rattan bar cart.
So, where your cart will go within your home, how you’ll use it, personal lifestyle factors, and your home’s design style can all help you land on the bar cart material that’s best for you.
3. Bar Cart Size
Bar carts come in quite a range of sizes, from petite round numbers that take up very little space (perfect for small home bars!) to more substantial long and rectangular bar carts that can easily fill up an empty wall. The amount of storage space you need can help dictate the size you choose, as we mentioned above—but you should also consider where your bar cart will go within your home, so you know how much space you have to work with. It would be tragic to purchase a larger bar cart, only to find it doesn’t fit along the wall you had in mind!
4. Bar Carts on Casters
Most bar carts come with casters (or wheels) attached to their legs, making it easier to push them around. (The idea behind this is to be able to move the cart to wherever it’s most needed when hosting and to be able to serve guests around a party.) Some people love the option of being able to move their bar cart while others prefer a stationary piece and don’t need the casters. So, think through if this is a feature you want!
When considering casters, you’ll also want to think through the primary surface where your bar cart will be placed. If it’s sitting on a floor with wall-to-wall carpet, wheels won’t work well anyway, so you might not need them. And if you live in an old house where the floors slope a bit, look for casters that lock into place so that your bar cart doesn’t roll around on its own!
It’s worth noting that some bar carts have casters on all four legs while others only have wheels on the front two legs. Still others have faux casters, which give the look of a moveable cart but don’t actually function. So, be sure to read the product details when browsing for a bar cart to make sure you end up with what you want and need!
5. Bar Cart Shape
Just like dining tables, you can find bar carts that are rectangular as well as round and oval! So, how do you know which bar cart shape is best for you? Well, rectangular bar carts are best if you want to place it flush against a wall, want a more modern or traditional look, or want something more versatile that will work in a variety of different spaces and styles. Round and oval bar carts, on the other hand, add a chic flair to a space and are great if your bar cart will fill an empty corner or is often on the go!
The Best Bar Carts, According to Modsy Designers
Have you figured out what you want in a bar cart? Well, it’s time to get shopping! Below, you’ll find some of the best bar carts in the Modsy catalog, with our designers’ favorite bar carts broken down by category. (For what it’s worth, many of these bar carts fall into more than one category! So you don’t have to pick just one category!)
Unique Bar Carts
Not your average bar carts, these unique options bring pop of personality and unexpected style to any space! With unexpected shapes and finishes, they’re especially great for those with boho and eclectic design styles.
Mid-Century Bar Carts
Want to harness that Don Draper energy? Opt for a Mid-Century-style bar cart. This is classic style for bar carts that offer a timeless look to your bar area. Mid-Century bar carts are usually made of natural wood, sometimes with metal accents, and have simple, sleek forms that favor organic shapes and clean lines.
Chic Bar Carts
Add a little luxury to your life with a chic bar cart! This is the style of cart you’d find in a Hollywood mansion or a glam city apartment. These carts often have Art-Deco-inspired forms and are usually made of more glamorous and high-end materials—featuring gold or brass finishes, marble or mirrored shelves, or lucite frames. But just know that what they give in style they take in budget; these chic options tend to be on the more expensive end!
Bar Carts for Wine Bottles
Calling all wine lovers! Did you know there are bar carts out there with specific storage for wine bottles? If you’re a ride-or-die wine-o, this is a perfect option for storing some of your bottle collection, alongside stemware for easy pouring!
Indoor/Outdoor Bar Carts
Summertime parties simply wouldn’t be complete without a refreshing beverage! If you love to host outdoors, consider an indoor/outdoor bar cart. These carts are made of extra-durable materials and are designed to withstand the elements. But they’re not exclusively for outdoor use; during the colder months, you can roll them indoors and continue to use them. There do tend to be fewer style options for indoor/outdoor carts, however, as these pieces tend to prioritize function over aesthetics.
Stationary Bar Carts
Not looking for a mobile bar station? Skip the casters and opt for a stationary bar cart, which offers extra stability for your bottle collection. Bonus? Stationary carts tend to have a larger footprint and therefore offer more storage.
Compact Bar Carts
Hello small spaces! These petite bar carts are compact and make great additions to apartments or smaller homes. They give you all the look and function you want from a bar cart, without taking up a ton of square footage!
Need help integrating a bar cart into your home’s decor?