DIY Bar Cart on a Budget

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It definitely takes longer than 5 months to be fully done customizing your new home, even in a 1,200 sqft condo, so you will not always have your final decor in place before you want to start entertaining, but it is good to have something in place.

That’s how I felt about our wine bar/liquor cabinet setup.

We needed something in place so bottles and glasses weren’t all over the kitchen, and we happened to have a cabinet that we are no longer needing in our bathroom, so we decided to repurpose and run with it. The cabinet is a simple wooden, self-assembled, multi-shelf piece from Target ($34.99, before Cartwheel coupons) that gets the job done and saves our wallets while we have bigger projects to tackle.

Using what’s around the house

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The wine bottles on top…are just wine bottles that were already enjoyed (but were more decorative) and washed out to serve as decor to the top of the bar. We just picked a couple simpler ones with nice coloring and design for our decor.

The gold-framed mirror tray…is actually a find from my grandma’s garage pile of giveaways so I was very happy to find a good use for it. I am thinking about spray painting the frame a brushed silver if it sticks around for my final bar cart piece. (Spoiler alert: it does get painted, and doing it was SO easy: check it out.)

The wine glasses…are two smaller glasses that I found in my cabinet that definitely don’t go with a larger set, and I wasn’t even really sure where they were from anyways. Since they don’t match the actual sets I have, it was an obvious fit to use them as decoration on the tray as a stand alone pair.

Adding a few special and/or custom pieces

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The wooden sign…was a gift from my mom to Kevin because he likes to ask if she has any ‘cold beverages’ whenever we go home. My mom had it made on Etsy and it was the perfect fit to adourn our new bar area.

The Blackhawks light bottle…was a gift from Kevin’s mom. How our moms inadvertently gift us the perfect items for me to decorate with, I will never know. I’m just glad they do! I hear these are semi-easy to make if you find a tutorial, but she found this one at a local craft fair. We use it as our ‘beacon’ on game nights, so it’s always lit for goodluck!

The little nick nacks…are both ‘just because’ gifts from my mom over time. One is a champagne bottle-shaped container of jelly beans and the other is a gift shop “It’s Wine O’Clock Somewhere” candle holder. If you look around the house you can surely find a few things to dress up the cart, they don’t even have to be wine/liquor related, just look nice and fit your aesthetic. These were also already home when I decided to make this car cart, I just found them amongst other decor and this was an obviously better fit.

On a budget? In college? Freshly moved out on your own?

This is definitely also for you.
This is super on point, affordable decor for a first apartment for you and your roomie (or you flying solo) if you are just working with some hand-me-downs; a coat of paint and some love can go a long way for anything secondhand!

Easy holiday decor conversion?
I’m a big fan of this simple jingle bell light addition for the holidays (gifted from my office Secret Santa, read: another resourceful re-use). Dig through your mom’s holiday decorations to see if there’s anything she is willing to part with, or even pick up a $2.50 strand of lights, like these.

Nothing spreads cheer quite as quickly (literally) as mirrors and bright lights!

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Until we have a little more space or find a more traditional bar cart, this cabinet/mirror tray duo is serving us great. The piece fits the little area perfectly. Without something it would be too empty but anything bigger would look forced. It’s the first area you see as you walk in to the living room/kitchen area so it’s important that it looks just how we want.

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Don’t let a budget keep you from making a cute new piece for your home. When I looked back, this whole setup ended up costing me $0.

Summary of setup

Cabinet: repurposed from bathroom, was otherwise getting thrown out.
Wine glasses: from my cabinet, all of mine have been gifts.
Wine bottles: empty ones that I had on hand at the time.
Sign, nick nacks: all gifted, were already around the house.
Holiday lights: Secret santa gift from coworker (check your own holiday bins before buying!).
Mirror tray: Passed down from Grandma, was otherwise getting tossed.

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