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You’ve finally found the perfect bar cart. You know it’s the ideal piece to fill out that corner and make your home or apartment look party-ready. You’ve brought it home, ready to show it off to the world. And then you realize you need to stock it.
Even the most beautiful bar cart looks sad if its shelves are empty. Deciding what to put on your cart isn’t always easy, though. Do you add coffee table books? A potted plant? Eccentric liquors? Fresh flowers? Part of the fun of owning a bar cart is being able to play with what you put on it, changing its decor with the seasons or your tastes. But before you can focus on the highlights of your bar cart, you need to get the key pieces in place. Here are four essentials every bar cart needs.
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Bar cart essential #1: decanter
The decanter is possibly the most important piece on your bar cart. Nothing takes your cart from looking like kitchen storage overflow to a veritable home bar quite like a glass container filled with liquor.
A decanter (or collection of them!) is a game changer. Plus, you can decant your less expensive liquors into these beautiful bottles and none of your friends will know that their cocktail was made with bargain alcohol. Or, if you opt for a wine decanter, you can bring out the flavors of more affordable bottles. In both cases, the decanter is essentially an investment in being a better host without busting your budget.
If you want a classic decanter, hunt for something like Pottery Barn’s Library Decanter or Williams Sonoma’s Dorset Wine Decanter. Don’t think you have to add crystal to your bar cart to capitalize on the decanter’s power, though. Modern pieces like this sleek blue carafe from H&M give you an elegant but playful receptacle for your booze.
Bar cart essential #2: high-end glassware
Most people come into their nice glassware from a wedding registry, an antique store or a relative who passed away. The only problem is that, regardless of how it ended up in their home, they often don’t use it. We get in a routine of relying on the same old glasses while our prettier vessels get left in the back of the cupboard. That is, until you put them in the spotlight on your bar cart.
Make space on your cart for glassware you love and it’s sure to get used. Crate & Barrel’s Hatch Drinkware is a classic option that will give your cart a distinguished look. If you don’t want to shell out big cash for your glassware, fear not. You can still get a high-end look on a budget thanks to options like H&M’s gold-rimmed, textured glasses.
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Bar cart essential #3: bar tools
Adding a bar cart to your home sends the message that you’re a willing host with skills at entertaining. Make sure you’re ready to step up to the plate! Add a set of bar tools to your cart so you’re prepared to make any cocktail your friends request – or at least point them in the direction of the tools they’ll need to make it themselves.
Beyond being useful, bar tools add a notable flash of metal to your array. If you love copper, accent your cart with your favorite metallic hue with this three-piece set from One Kings Lane. Or, if you’re going for a more sleek, masculine look, choose a silver set like the one from Sur La Table.
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Bar cart essential #4: ice bucket
If you’re having trouble making your bar cart look full, the ice bucket is your friend. Its relatively squat profile adds a sense of solidness to your cart’s shelves. Plus, it’s great storage when you don’t have it filled with ice. Say you stocked up on lemons for your summer cocktails; your ice bucket is a perfect place for them to live until they get used.
You might think that ice buckets are the least exciting option on this list, but they don’t all look like the one you find in a hotel room. This pineapple ice bucket from Pier 1 might just be the most interesting item on your bar cart. A shiny canister like the Chelsea Ice Bucket from West Elm – which comes in brass or copper – will also add a touch of glam.
Armed with these four essentials, your bar cart will look complete in no time. Were you inspired by any of these ideas? We’d love to hear about it. Happy hosting!