college dorm room bar cart on a budget with ikea kitchen cart

bar cart essentials

Living in small spaces requires major creativity. I’ve been living in a college dorm room with linoleum tiles and drab greige walls, so I’m always looking for space-saving decor that’s big in impact. Buying a bar cart was the best call in that department – I bought the Bygel Utility Cart from Ikea for only $39.99. While you can use this cart to display whatever you like – I’ve seen some great coffee and tea carts, book carts, etc – having a bar cart is such a fun way to show your guests that you’re the hostess with the mostess. There are so many ways to personalize this piece; I’ve also seen lots of Pinterest tutorials where the silver details were spray painted gold, but I kept my silver since I already had a silver shaker! Keep reading to see how I stocked & styled this bad boy.

bar cart essentials on a budgetSIPS

I kept my pretty bottles on the top shelf, but if you are willing to invest in something super fancy, make sure all of your bottles are pretty! Customize this to fit your palette, but here’s what I recommend for a great bar cart:

base level (3 bottles of from the following):

  • gin (hendrick’s)
  • vodka
  • rum (lamb’s)
  • tequila
  • whiskey (jack daniels)

amp it up:

  • go from 3 bottles to the full 5!
  • get some mix in there – i display two bottles of san pellegrino because it has great packaging, great colour, and mixes with everything. flavoured pop, tonic, soda water and syrups all do the trick.

fully stocked:

  • champagne (veuve)
  • add some liquers & bitters to the mix! cointreau, st germain & chambord have gorgeous packaging and can snazz up a multitude of drinks

bar cart essentials on a budget

bar cart essentials on a budget


Paper straws are my thing. They can turn a red solo cup dorm party into a insta-worthy soiree. I keep mine in a mercury glass cup. Check out this tutorial on how to add a little extra glam to your paper straws.

Bar tools are a worthy & practical investment. To be totally honest, I rarely use my shaker. Sorry Martha! But I will say that my shaker is a nice metallic finish that plays off the silver in the cart + my mercury glass cup.

Pretty things like candles or flowers finish up your cart in a gorgeous way. I’m totally a candle person, and I just got this new Diptyque candle that smells just as amazing as it looks. I think it finishes off the counter of the cart in a classy and personal way.

bar cart essentials on a budgetbar cart essentials on a budget

bar cart essentials on a budgetcollege dorm room bar cart on a budget with ikea kitchen cart

How do you style your bar cart? Share you thoughts in the comment box below!

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