How to Style Shelves for a Chic Barcart Look


If you are dying to have a chic bar cart in your home but don't have the space, you can still create the same trendy look using open shelving without adding new furniture. Fill your shelves with practical barware and cute accessories and your beverage station will be just as stylish as the infamous bar cart.

Bar cart alternative
Bar cart alternative (Image: Barcart Alternative)

Start With a Blank Slate

First, start with a blank slate by clearing everything out of the area where you will be creating your beverage station. Purchase your floating shelves and hang them according to the instructions.


  • IKEA has trendy and affordable open shelving with many different bracket options. These brackets are spray painted gold to coordinate with the rest of the decor.

Start with a blank slate
Start with a blank slate (Image: Barcart Alternative)

Add Barware, Accessories and Decor

The key to styling open shelves is to take it slow. Start with the first shelf and work your way up. Make sure to focus on organizing the shelves in a way that works for your family. For example, use the first and most accessible shelf for something you use on a daily basis, like coffee or tea.

Add the first shelf accessories
Add the first shelf accessories (Image: Barcart Alternative)

When you are happy with the way the first shelf looks, move to the second shelf. Add items such as serving plates, napkins and drinking glasses.

Add the second shelf accessories
Add the second shelf accessories (Image: Barcart Alternative)

Finish off the third shelf with beautiful or decorative barware.


  • When styling shelves, particularly open shelving, play around with your barware, serving items and decor until you find an organizational method that is both stylish and functional.

Add the third shelf accessories
Add the third shelf accessories (Image: Barcart Alternative)
Play with the arrangement
Play with the arrangement (Image: Barcart Alternative)

Add Texture and Contrast

Adding artwork to your shelves will create a unique contrast to your arrangement, and adding fresh flowers or greenery is a great way to add pops of color.

Add artwork for contrast
Add artwork for contrast (Image: Barcart Alternative)
Add fresh flowers
Add fresh flowers (Image: Barcart Alternative)

Use Items of Varying Height

Mix taller and shorter items together for a cohesive look. Use baskets to add texture or a quirky beverage dispenser for a fun touch.

Make the space functional
Make the space functional (Image: Barcart Alternative)

Details are important for creating the perfectly styled shelves. Baskets, trays, and catch-all bowls are great items to corral napkins, straws, mugs and more.

Details are important
Details are important (Image: Barcart Alternative)
Cute napkins
Cute napkins (Image: bar cart alternative)
Fun bowls and pops of color
Fun bowls and pops of color (Image: bar cart alternative)

Enjoy Your Chic Styled Shelves

Stand back and admire your new chic bar cart alternative. You can easily change out the accessories and re-arrange your setup as seasons change. A hot chocolate or cider station would be great for the winter and a mimosa bar would be perfect for springtime brunches.

Admire your new styled shelves
Admire your new styled shelves (Image: Barcart Alternative)

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