We’re all friends here, right? Can we admit to one another that we’ve pinned a $300 vintage bar cart, as if an expensive piece of furniture whose sole purpose is to house bottles of alcohol is a totally justifiable thing? Good. Now that we’re all on the same page, grab a drink while I tell you a little bit about how I came to have a home bar that I was happy with in my 1-bedroom apartment for waaaaay less than $300.
Think outside the bar cart: When researching various bar carts and bar furniture, I found that anything that had the word “bar” in front of it was pretty much always overpriced. So, I started looking around at kitchen and bath carts and became OBSESSED with the RÅSKOG (pictured above) from Ikea. I saw it on—you guessed it—Pinterest before it was even released and had a number of epic failed attempts before I was able to track it down. Although having a bar cart for $50 in my favorite color ultimately made it worth the effort, a little birdie told me it’s becoming much more widely available and can even be ordered online now.
Use what you already have: As you can see in the picture at the top of the post, we cleared off space on a bookshelf that is adjacent to our bar cart to store glassware, cocktail shakers, jiggers, etc. It might seem a little weird to have some dishes on a shelf in your living room, but adding accents like trays and coasters and moving all the prettiest glassware to the front makes it seem less like awkward storage and more like a home bar. For another example of this, I love what Megan from Stetted did with her home coffee bar.
Make a menu: We hung a simple magnet board—also from Ikea—behind the bar cart and stashed a little pile of index cards between bottles on one of the shelves. This way, when we make a new drink, we can easily jot down the ingredients, put it up on the board, and refine or recreate it later. Over time, this “menu” becomes a fun way to offer indecisive friends drink options too.
We’re still working on getting the bar cart fully stocked, but this “How to Stock a Home Bar,” guide from Good. Food. Stories has been super helpful. I also want to try to adjust the shelf height on the bar cart to maximize storage. It’s definitely still a work in progress, but we’ve come a long way from a couple bottles on the kitchen floor.