Bar cart DIY Home Improvement

DIY Bar Cart + Island

A DIY Bar Cart Tutorial. A Multi-Functional Piece of Furniture That’s Perfect for Small Spaces.

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DIY Bar Cart = A Workhorse Piece of Furniture!

Bar carts are really terrific for multi-functional use in a small space.

bar cart cocktail
Image via Lucas Bee

Bar Carts Aren’t Exclusively Used for Alcohol.

Multiple names for this furniture piece are apropos to its multi-functional nature. You can call it a drink trolley, rolling cart, kitchen cart, or entertainment bar…

People use their bar carts for many purposes such as a coffee station or to showcase a record player and records. Have fun and get inventive with your bar cart!

Image via A Beautiful Mess
Image via Target

Bar Carts Will Always Be in Style.

Food&Wine has a great article from a Sommelier’s point of view on what to look for when shopping for a bar cart.

Check out The Spruce for several chic bar cart options too.

I love this one from Amazon. It has a clean, sophisticated look with a reasonable price tag.

Nathan James Carter Rolling Bar

The sky’s the limit for your bar cart use. Make it work for your needs.

Image via @thespritzeffect

Our Own Sweet Little Bar Cart.

Our DIY bar cart was designed to fit perfectly under the stairs (you’ve gotta use every nook and cranny to maximize a small space!)

As a bar cart bonus, we use the drop leaf with our barstools to instantly increase our little seating & entertaining area.

The cart is on rollers so it also functions as a kitchen island, or we can move it outside onto a sunny deck for parties.

Now Let’s Roll into This Bar Cart Tutorial!

We designed a tall bar cart so that people could comfortably sit at it with our barstools, and we opted for pipe legs because we already have other pieces of furniture made with pipes in our house, so it pairs nicely with that industrial design look we have goin’ on.

If I could make any modifications, I would shorten the overall height by about two inches (and I might still do that by just removing the 4-inch pipe feet and replacing them with two-inch ones).

Here’s Our List of the Bar Cart Materials:

  • A tabletop.

Get creative and use just about any piece of wood that is strong and level, then cut it to size.

My dear step-dad, Bob, made our glue-up tabletop with an extra drop leaf section.

This video is a quick, general overview of how t0 glue up a tabletop or cutting board.

  • (2) 1.5-inch square pieces of wood to anchor the tops of the bar legs to the tabletop and provide additional overall support (see image below).
  • (1) 30″L x .5″W x 1.5″H strip of wood across the face of the tabletop to conceal the wine glass rack hardware.
Image via Happy Home Vibes

Hardware to Mount Under the Tabletop:

  • 3.5 in. deep wood tray to hold the spirits. Drill one inch diameter holes through the four corners for the pipes.

Check out this video for simple instructions on how to build a tray.

Wire wrapped around the legs inside the tray to add extra reinforcement.

Tray Contents (Sans Alcohol).

  • Metal wire baskets for organizing the booze inside the wood tray.
  • Polycarbonate 1/8-inch-thick sheets are used as a solid base for storing bottles inside the wire baskets.

I like to order acrylic sheets from They’re precise, inexpensive, and quick!

The Legs:

  • 30 inch long pipes, 1-inch diameter (these are threaded down through the wood tray and into the couplers that hold up the tray).
  • 30-inch long, 3/4-inch diameter, wood dowels. We slipped these into the 30 in. long pipes so we could drill down through the tabletop into each pipe to secure each leg.

The Feet:

  • 4 inch long pipes, 1-inch diameter (if I could do over, I would choose 2 in. lengths instead).
  • 2-inch long, 3/4-inch diameter wood dowels for the casters. We slipped these into the 4-inch-long pipes and drilled a hole into each for threading and securing the caster wheels.
  • 3-inch, swivel casters with stems and brakes (these are threaded into the dowels that are inside the 4 inch long pipes)
  • 1-inch diameter pipe couplers (the wood tray rests on the couplers).
bar cart
Image via Happy Home Vibes

The Overall Dimensions.

  • Tabletop: 34″L x 15″W.
  • Drop leaf: 34″L x 10″W.
  • Wood tray: 34″L x 15″W x 4″
  • Overall bar cart dimensions: 34″L x 15″W x 41.5″H

A Few Additional Thoughts.

Our budget could not accommodate the expense of black pipes, so we bought silver-colored ones, cleaned them, and painted them black with metal spray paint.

The same goes for the baskets I found — they were silver, so I spray-painted them black. Basically, anything silver was painted black to be consistent with all the bar cart metal finishes.

I know this tutorial isn’t comprehensive in the blow-by-blow details of its construction, but I hope it will provide enough inspiration and information for building a unique cart to fit your own small space needs.

Styling Your Bar Cart.

Here’s where the fun begins — decorating and stocking it! Oh, my gosh — there are so many beautifully designed bottles of alcohol available. Alcohol bottles and their labels remind me of perfume bottles. They come in such a variety of looks, scents, and of course flavors!

bar cart alcohol

Before getting carried away with buying tons of gorgeous booze bottles, check out this guide at The Spruce Eats for must-have alcohol essentials.

Also, think about the tools and decor you’ll need to totally outfit the bar.

This bar cart tool set is so pretty (and it has everything you’ll need).

Bartender Kit with Stand

Additional Essentials:

You’ll also want a table tray to neatly round up all your bar cart odds and ends. Let’s stick with the warm glow of brass and go with this white marble and brass tray.

Marble Table Tray

Consider adding a special touch to the cart tabletop, such as a plant or small sculpture, to really elevate the look of your bar ensemble.

These yellow Agate slices would make for a beautiful addition to any bar cart:

Image via Etsy | Nine Zen

Here’s a fun post by Emily Henderson on a strategy for how to style a bar cart.

Oh, Hey! Check Out This Gorgeous Cocktail Infusion Kit.

Such a fun idea to package a special assortment of dried fruits, herbs, and aromatics for high-quality craft cocktails. Check out their hot toddy kit here. Just add alcohol, steep, and enjoy!

I’d love to hear in the comments what kind of bar cart you currently have (or plan to build) and what you’re using it for!

For more DIY inspiration check out this page!

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