Decades ago, when cocktail parties were the primary entertainment function of the 1950s and 60s, bar carts became a living room furniture staple. Bar carts not only kept alcohol easily accessible, they added a certain style and sophistication to the room. While the classic drinks cart eventually fell out of use over the years, their frequent appearance in scenes from the acclaimed AMC series “Mad Men,” have brought the bar cart back into fashion.
Before rushing out to purchase a bar cart, it is important to know exactly how the piece will fit into the room. Rather than tucking the cart into a convenient corner, select a location that features the cart as a focal point, such as an empty wall below a large mirror or prominent painting. Take careful measurements to ensure that any cart you purchase will fit into the space without protruding too far into the room. A too-large, glassware-laden bar cart jutting out into areas where people walk is just an accident waiting to happen.
An important step in decorating with a bar cart is selecting the look, whether opting for a sleek, modern cart to achieve the James Bond bachelor look or a more dignified dark wood with classic Queen Anne lines. While it may be tempting to pick whichever one appeals to you, it is important to purchase a bar cart that fits into the design scheme of a room. For example, a clinically modern bar cart becomes an eyesore in a living room decorated with austere antiques.
Buyers should also beware of choosing a bar cart that comes as part of a matching living room couch and chair set, as the room will take on the appearance of a department store display rather than a comfortable home. Instead, choose a bar cart that has similarities to the prominent design details in the room, such as color, materials or design style lines.
Once the bar cart is purchased and placed, all that’s left is filling it up–which is not as easy as it may sound. The tendency of many is to put out all their glasses, liquor and other barware onto the cart for the mere convenience of it. While this is a fine option for individuals incorporating a bar cart purely for its functionality, individuals interested in the aesthetics must approach the project with an editing eye.
First it is important to ensure that the design of your cocktail glasses fit complement the look of the bar cart. For example, martini glasses with modern, zigzagged stems would look out of place on a Queen Anne bar cart. Although it may not be possible to purchase only alcohol that comes in an attractive bottle, the same style lesson still applies to the liquor. Rather than filling up the cart with a cluttered collection of bottles, pull out only the ones that have an attractive shape and a color that complements the room’s décor. For liquor in containers that fail to pass the design test, pour their contents into glass or metal decanters that match or complement the design style of the glassware.
The final decorating tip to remember when incorporating a bar cart into a room is the concept of “less is more.” While cluttering the top shelf of the cart with bottles and glasses may be convenient, it merely detracts from the design. Instead, reserve the top area as a drink mixing work space, with only a few key items permanently placed on its surface, such as an ice bucket, a cocktail shaker and a collection of decanters.