40 Ways to Use a Bar Cart (Plus, 16 Inexpensive Favorites!)

I’ve used bar carts in more than a handful of ways throughout the years but today, I’m bringing several of those together to share 40 bar cart ideas! Yes, 40. From a permanent (but versatile and transitional) everyday furnishing around your house to ways to style and incorporate them into events/gatherings, in today’s post, you’ll find everything from pretty to practical and a melding of both. Along with tons of bar cart ideas, I’ve also included 16 affordable, pretty bar carts. You’ll find gold bar carts, round bar carts, utility style bar carts, modern bar carts, acrylic bar carts, under $50 bar carts… all kinds of bar carts below!

*Posts on KelleyNan.com may contain affiliate links. While this post is created in partnership Walmart, all opinions, concept, and creative are my own. Click HERE for full disclosure.*

How to Use a Bar Cart Around the House -- Tons of Ideas!

Source: Bar Cart

16 Affordable Bar Carts

Below, I’ve sourced 16 bar carts that are perfect for a variety of uses. You’ll find narrow and wide, round and rectangular, gold and black, utilitarian and glam. The beautiful thing about these versatile pieces is that they are true chameleons and can adapt to so many different rooms and purposes. They’re among the most (multi)functional pieces I have in my own home and while I consider a few spots “home base” (dining room, office, etc.), it’s pretty typical for them to make their way all over. All of the following bar carts ship free from Walmart (all Walmart orders of $35+ ship free, but I’ve been using the heck out my Walmart+ membership that has fast, free shipping with no order minimums on tons of items.) The link for each bar cart can be found below the following graphic!

16 Affordable Bar Carts that are Versatile for Multipurpose Use!

Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16

My latest bar cart (Number 2) is so sleek and I love the black finish with wood on the bottom shelf and a mirrored surface as the top shelf. I will likely house this in my dining room as a permanent fixture and move my current gold cart upstairs to my office. It arrived incredibly quickly from Walmart and Dave put it together in minimal time and reported back how simple it was. While all ship free, if you do have the Walmart+ membership, many of the carts are eligible for 1-2 day shipping.

Number 1 is practically identical to my gold bar cart I’ve had and used for years. I’m still not tired of it and it’s current price is under $136 (and of course, ships free!) It actually comes in six available finishes but along with the gold version, I love the black and mirrored version (Number 6) and the black and wood version (Number 12)!

If you’re thinking of a bar cart that’s versatile but will primarily spend its time in a more utilitarian capacity, Number 8 is currently under $48 (plus, it ships free)!

Number 10 also comes in a gold bar cart version but I think the black finish can go with just about any style — it’s sleek enough for a more modern space, could totally be a statement in a farmhouse, and is traditional in nature — it can be dressed up or down.

I love the clean, simple aesthetic of Number 3 and along with a bar cart, think it would be awesome for office/play/craft storage. You could get it for your kids’s room, but wheel it out for a bridal shower you’re hosting and it would be so chic! Acrylic is so easy to mix in with other furniture finishes. It’s also under $175 (and ships free) HERE.

Number 16 is so smart — the “shelves” of the cart are actually removable trays. So, this multipurpose piece just got even more versatile! This is a hostess’s dream and an all-in-one entertaining smart center. It’s also only $101 for the full unit!

While I highlighted only a few affordable favorites, Walmart has a TON on their site. You can find them all and browse HERE.

So, once you have a bar cart(s), how are you going to use it?

Ways to Use Bar Cart Around the House

Last year taught us all a lot about nesting and living well within our home. Versatile pieces that can serve double duty became even more important with the increasing time we spent in our houses and as the world has collectively reemerged in 2021, hosting today has been an important reconnection of people. With tons of uses from parties to furniture, bar carts marry the two beautifully. If you want one for entertaining as it’s primary role, bar carts are great, easy pieces to incorporate into regular decor. While it may serve as an entry piece one day, it’s simple to transform it into a hostess helper for a gathering the next day. They’re mobile and come with wheels and are usually small enough to fit into a corner without looking awkward. Also, styling them isn’t difficult. Even if you lined up the entire cart with beverage bottles, it would likely still look amazing!

1. Table-side Dining

The most traditional use (aside from using it exclusively as a mobile bar), I’ve had a bar cart in our dining room… well… always. I keep it tucked over in the corner of the room and keep some favorite dishes and glasses displayed as a permanent fixture, but it’s perfect to set up for the evening when hosting guests (or even dinners with your family.) Whether you want to load it with essentials for the evening or use it as storage for your nightly meals, you can’t go wrong with using a bar cart as a table-side dining extension.

Tons of Bar Cart Ideas & Ways to Use Them Around Your House

Source: Bar Cart

Keep special beverages stocked at all times, or just the wine you’re serving for the evening. There’s plenty of space to add an ice bucket, accompaniments, a dessert, etc.

Ways to Use a Bar Cart Around the House -- the Most Versatile Home Furnishing Ever!

Source: Bar Cart

2. Art/Office Supplies Storage

A bar cart works perfectly for the home office, in a family room, or a playroom with art supplies and organizing easy-access tools and materials. I will actually be keeping a bar cart loaded for this very purpose, in my office, as a solution for Eliza’s creative supplies and art she brings home from school.

Tons of Ways to Use a Bar Cart

Sources: Bar Cart | Small Linen Storage Bin | Medium Linen Storage Bin | Water Hyacinth Document Bin | Water Hyacinth 3-Compartment Bin | Washable Markers

Plus, it’s so easy to wheel around to another room! THIS three-sectioned seagrass basket works perfectly for organizing supplies — it’s also currently only $12.97. It would even work well on a desktop with a section for pens/pencils, one for scissors, etc.

Using a Bar Cart for Smart Storage -- Kids Art and Art Supplies

Sources: Water Hyacinth 3-Compartment Bin | Play Doh Assortment | Washable Markers

How to Use a Bar Cart for Kids Art Supplies

Sources: Water Hyacinth 3-Compartment Bin | Play Doh Assortment | Washable Markers

It’s also a great affordable (and non-breakable) option to go as a centerpiece on a kid’s activity table to hold all the supplies.

Kids Art Storage and Organization Ideas (Using a Multipurpose Bar Cart!)

Sources: Water Hyacinth 3-Compartment Bin | Play Doh Assortment | Washable Markers

And coordinating with the seagrass basket on the top shelf, THIS narrow basket/magazine file works perfectly to stash activity and coloring books.

Using a Bar Cart for Kids Art Supplies & Storage

Sources: Small Linen Storage Bin | Medium Linen Storage Bin | Water Hyacinth Narrow Basket | Coloring Books | Bar Cart

But, possibly my favorite component of this art cart solves a major pain point for me — where to put Eliza’s “art projects” she brings home from school. Eventually, we’ll probably only keep the most special projects or have some sort of photo solution but right now, we’re in the stage where I want everything. I just haven’t had a place to put them all… so they’ve continued to mount up in a stack on the edge of my desk for the better part of a year.

Using a Bar Cart for Kids Art and Art Supplies

Sources: Small Linen Storage Bin | Medium Linen Storage Bin | Water Hyacinth Narrow Basket | Coloring Books | Bar Cart

These affordable, collapsible fabric bins come in four colors and three sizes — I stacked the small and medium on top of one another. They are great for closets and shelves too, but fit perfectly on this cart. And while the uses for these are endless, it was the perfect solution to house Eliza’s things she brings home from school. Easy access and plenty of room!

How to Organize Kids Art Supplies & Organization Ideas with Bar Carts

Sources: Medium Linen Storage Bin — perfect for storing completed art projects!

If you get a bar cart specifically for this purpose, again, you can easily transition it into a hostess station the next time you entertain. You can also evolve the components of the cart as your needs change and evolve. What was once a toy station or craft station could ultimately become a homework station.

Using a Bar Cart for Kids Art and Art Supplies (Plus Tons of Bar Cart Usage Ideas!)

Sources: Bar Cart | Small Linen Storage Bin | Medium Linen Storage Bin | Water Hyacinth Narrow Basket | Water Hyacinth 3-Compartment Bin | Washable Markers

3. Plant Rack

Great to showcase a small collection of your favorites, turning a bar cart into a plant rack is an all encompassing decor moment and awesome addition to any room. You can be as cohesive or as eclectic as you want with the containers, baskets and planters.

Tons of Ways to Use a Bar Cart in Your Home

Sources: Bar Cart | Round Ceramic White Planter | Cut Flower Garden Book | Martha’s Flowers Book | A Year in Flowers Book | Color Me Floral Book 

I even added a few of my garden and floral books to the display. A few favorites I’ve included are:

Using a Bar Cart as a Plant Shelf (Plus Tons of Other Bar Cart Ideas Around the House!)

I just recently shared THIS planter AGAIN but it’s a new favorite, so of course it was included in the plant cart. It comes in both 8″ and 12″ (I have two of the 8″) and is a steal at $7.96.

Using a Bar Cart as a Plant Cart

Source: White Planter

Another basket I found that is adorable with a favorite plant nestled inside is THIS foldable handmade grass basket. It comes in three sizes and I adore the sweet pom pom detail.

4. Herb Garden

A slight pivot from the full plant cart, a bar cart can be used in the kitchen/eating areas to host a small herb garden! I only recently purchased a small basil plant and I can’t explain how satisfying it is to pick leaves to incorporate into our dishes. We have made a tomato basil pasta a few times now — simply because we have the fresh produce and herbs to do it! #YUM

Bar Cart Herb Garden (& Tons of Other Ways to Use Bar Carts Around Your Home)

Source: White Planters

See the versatility in 30 seconds in the video below!

Other Bar Cart Uses for Everyday Home and Events/Occasions

While some of these lend themselves to more utilitarian, basic carts (read: no mirror tops 😉 ), portable bar carts and utility carts have infinite uses around the home for everyday purposes, but also special events. Here are a few ideas to initiate a little inspiration!

  • Coffee Station — perfect size for a portable coffee bar, especially if you don’t have counter space or a butler’s pantry
  • Produce/Garden — holds all the fruits & veggies from your garden or farmer’s market visits
  • Bathroom Essentials — great way to organize all of your towels and beauty supplies in the bathroom, especially when vanity storage is maxed out
  • Dessert Bar — fun way to showcase a dessert selection for guests
  • Toys, Legos & More — add small bins to keep those legos and other play items organized in the playroom
  • Movie Night — fun to wheel out on family night with popcorn, movie candy and favorite movies
  • Games & Puzzles — holds all of the puzzles, board games and card decks you love to play
  • Birthday Party — holds an entire birthday party, from the cake to the hats to the plates and napkins!
  • S’Mores Roast — fun to style and to enjoy on the patio
  • Shoe Storage — great (glam) solution to hold more shoes in your closet
  • Thanksgiving Sides — use to set up and serve large meals when hosting
  • Coffee Table Books — great way to style and hold all of those beautiful coffee table books you have collected
  • Party Favors — place at your exit so guests don’t forget their cute party favors you have provided
  • Nightstand Substitute — especially great for a guest bedroom to hold towels, toiletries and other thoughtful touches
  • Plates, Dishes & Serving Pieces — great for storing excess or pretty pieces in the pantry or dining room
  • Office Help — provides another working surface and storage for printer, files and office supplies
  • Outdoor Gardening & Potting Tools — keep all of your gardening tools and pots in one place
  • Clean Sweep — more utilitarian but a great portable solution for cleaning supplies (opt for a more basic cart for this one)
  • Shower Gifts — stage as a focal point to gather and display gifts
  • Changing Table Essentials — great to use in a nursery to hold diapers, creams, wipes and more
  • Display for Stuffed Animals & Dolls — especially great to transition from one stage to another, from changing table to toy storage to art storage
  • Pantry Excess — useful in the pantry to hold excess groceries when there is no room on the shelves
  • Front Porch — great for serving lemonade in the summer and hot chocolate in the fall
  • Fall Festival — perfect to style with pumpkins, mums and leaves in the fall
  • Santa Treats — Santa and the reindeer will easily find their treats here!
  • Grilling Essentials — great to keep and corral all of your cookout tools — also provides another great surface when grilling!
  • Bloody Mary Bar — perfect to hold all of the ingredients and serving ware for the perfect Bloody Mary Bar
  • Happy New Year — champagne, sweets & noise makers
  • Pancake & Waffle Breakfast — holds all of the toppings, syrups and sides for special breakfasts
  • Laundry Room Organizer — detergent, dryer sheets, etc. in the laundry room
  • Tax Prep Organization — receipts, files, etc. — in the office or wherever you need to work
  • Charging Station — dedicated surfaces for all of your charging needs
  • Family Photos and Memories — works in any space!
  • Trick or Treat — fun way to style treats and Halloween items at the front door
  • Girls’ Night — Spa items, treats and more when you host a Girls’ Night
  • Accent or Side Table — the possibilities are endless!

Do you use a bar cart in an unexpected place or for an unexpected purpose? Share in the comments below!

*You can see more bar cart posts in the full gallery HERE.

Bar Carts & Post Sources

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  1. 7.28.21
    Kimberly Hubartt said:

    Loving these ideas! They are also a perfect pet station done in style! Treats, Food, basket for leashes, toys or doggie bags as you walk out the door, etc.

    • 7.28.21

      Hi Kimberly, Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. I LOVE your suggestion for the pet station. A bar cart would be perfect for that!

      • 8.17.22
        Susan Van Veld said:

        Love,❤️,❤️ your rolling bar cart ideas! The way you have styled your table side dining cart is stunning! Love the tulips! And office cart and garden cart? Brilliant!

        • 8.18.22

          Hi Susan, Thank you for always being the sweetest supporter. I obviously love rolling bar carts 😉 and would probably have one in each room of the house if I had the space!

  2. 7.30.21
    Margaret said:

    The only place for my dogs’ water bucket is right above a heat vent, so I have a bar cart right above the vent with their bucket on the bottom shelf. The heat can escape, and the lipped shelf contains most of the spilled water–doesn’t help when Nina walks away with water running out of her mouth, though…
    The top shelf has my microwave, a fruit bowl, and a basket of water-mopping cloths.

    • 7.30.21

      Hi Margaret, Thank you for taking the time to stop by. From the description of your usage, it sounds like you are a bar cart expert! I love that you can contain many things in one small space. I bet Nina loves this solution too!

  3. 5.19.23
    Tammie McIntire said:

    I love the idea of turning a bar cart into whatever you want/need cart! I feel like it really allows you to express yourself in a fun, creative, and convenient way. After spilling red wine all over my carpets, I thought I’d never have a bar cart on the carpet again! Thankfully my carpet cleaners and your post saved it for me! I want to do an Herb Garden in my kitchen!

    • 5.19.23

      Hi Tammie, Thank you for taking the time to stop by and for your note. A bar cart Herb Garden in your kitchen sounds great!