ALL POSTS IN Spring House Blogger Challenge

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I’ll be the first to admit that a bar cart is not even big enough to house our stash of whiskey, so when I was asked to style a bar cart for Spring House, my immediate thought was: Party! In the spring our get-togethers usually involve lawn games and lemonade, in which case a bar cart on the front porch is a perfect solution or in my case a “faux bar cart.” You see, the idea behind a bar cart is to have all cocktail items in one consolidated space, which means if you don’t have a “bar cart” you can easily just pick a side table and use the same small-space techniques. Here’s what I did to style our casual “faux bar cart”:

Define the space.

First things first. To define this “faux bar cart” space, I pulled out my favorite side table. Because carts usually have two levels, one for the main cocktail mixings and another to hold extra bottles and such, I got this metal bucket to put underneath and stow bottled beverages. Finally, to define the space, I bought tissue paper in spring colors and made a garland to call out the space for guests. (Learn how to make your own tissue paper tassel garland.)

Faux Bar Cart Ideas

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Y’all, my bar cart is my fav-or-ite piece in my loft. In 2012 I upsized to a larger apartment, and the first thing I bought was this vintage beauty for less than $30. When I downsized to my current studio loft last year, I was determined to find a spot for my bar cart, even if I trip over it every. single. day.

So, when Target asked the HGTV blog team to each style an outdoor bar cart, I couldn’t be more excited. I finally got to put my golden gal in the spotlight. While my bar cart at home is always weighed down with an assortment of alcohol, bitters, tools and trinkets, I wanted to create something super simple and colorful that can make the transition from AM to PM with ease.

Spring Bar CartBowls

The colors.

I was inspired by a palette of white, brass, spring pink and shades of sea green. A few key pieces like the porcelain tray and vintage glass buoy are eyecatching on the streamlined cart. But, I let Mother Nature do the “talking” when it came to color. Fresh-cut fruits and flowers instantly bring vibrancy and boldness to the setup.

Spring Bar CartTumblers | Vase

The purpose.

Where’s the gin? Where’s the bourbon?! Well, I decided to opt for a casual, family-friendly bar cart setup during the day. [Mom and Dad can take over once nighttime falls.] Once the sun comes out and the weather warms up, kids are going to be outside until it gets dark. Although I used glass tumblers and a hefty glass pitcher, feel free to opt for plastic pieces instead. Try this: A kid-friendly bar cart filled with a variety of snacks and chilled drinks is perfect for playtime breaks.

Spring Bar CartTowels

Style a Vintage Bar Cart

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I just returned from a quick trip to Key West, so I have beachy style (and warmer days!) on the brain. So when Target asked Design Happens bloggers to dream up an ideal spring bar cart with a coastal twist, I thought of one word: Simplicity.

As spring days heat up, I love to host small gatherings with just a few friends. Full-size bar carts are gorgeous, but you don’t need to stock a full bar for a casual affair. That’s why I decided to transform one of my favorite side tables into an easy-to-create, affordable bar cart stocked with repurposed items. You may even have most of the materials on hand! Here’s the finished product:

Orange Color Block Pillow

Ready to style your own faux bar cart? Here’s how to do it.

Find the right table. A small table with two or more open levels is ideal for a pint-sized faux bar cart. (This one serves as my bedside table in the cooler months.) Once you’ve shopped your home for the perfect table, move it to your sunroom, deck or patio to give guests easy access to beverages. You can even add casters on the bottom to move it from place to place with even more ease.

Pick a theme. A loose theme ties your bar cart together and helps you choose the cocktail and the decor.  I was inspired by both the hue and the flavor of in-season Meyer lemons. Since I have a lot of red-orange and turquoise pieces in my home, I decided to accent the cart with accessories in those hues.

Tart Pan

Gather the essentials. With your theme in mind, shop your home for essentials. Here are the basics you’ll need to stock your cart:

  • Signature cocktail ingredients
  • 1-2 non-alcoholic beverages
  • Bottled beer (optional)
  • Shot glass or shooter glass for measuring ingredients
  • Container to chill cold beverages
  • Drinking glasses for the group
  • A serving tray
  • A hand towel to clean up spills or drips
  • A piece of art or fabric to display behind the cart

Use what you have. Take a walk around your home and make a mental list of what you already have on hand. Don’t limit yourself to traditional barware: I repurposed a colorful tart pan as a serving tray, and hung a springy scarf as an impromptu curtain. Large terracotta flower pots make fantastic drink chillers. (Choose one without a drain on the bottom.)

More Spring Bar Cart Ideas

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Last night I noticed something after dinner: it wasn’t quite dark yet. Spring is coming! I have a huge deck and an even bigger group of close neighbors and family, so welcoming spring means welcoming guests. First order of business? Creating the perfect bar cart for outdoor entertaining. Here’s my plan:

When you are entertaining a big crowd a full bar can blow your budget. Keep things in check by offering a signature cocktail in addition to beer and wine. I made refreshing Cucumber-Pomegranate Gin & Tonics (recipe below), and kept a dish of limes on the cart for the purists that prefer a classic G&T.

Cucumber-Pomegranate Gin & Tonics

Muddle a slice of seedless cucumber in the bottom of a cocktail glass and pour 1 oz. of gin over. Add ice, top with tonic water and a splash of pomegranate juice. Garnish with a cucumber spear.

Cucumber-Pomegranate Gin and Tonic

Not everyone is a liquor (or alcohol!) drinker, so I always fill a tub with ice, beer, and a couple of non-alcoholic options for my guests. Don’t forget the bottle opener!

My #1 tip when setting up a bar cart for outdoor entertaining this spring? Put a tray on it. Or rather, put a tray under it. Having drinks on a tray makes it easy to move the party outside, and filling a second tray with your cocktail essentials means a refill is never far away.

I don’t know about you, but this has me in the mood for spring, and a cocktail! With my bar cart stocked and at the ready, you can be sure I’ll be entertaining soon. Wanna come over? Drinks are on me.

How can you make your next party sizzle? Shop Target‘s newest spring decor and entertaining products (available in store and online now) to bring coastal inspiration and create a summer beach house look with a little French Riviera.

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Okay, so I obviously didn’t take these photos at a beachside cabana, but I imagine this cart fitting in perfectly on an exotic beach. I stocked the bar with the essentials — libations, glasses, stirrers and lemon and limes. A nifty carafe keeps white wine chilled and frees up the ice bucket for other drinks.

 

Beachside Cabana Bar Cart

To give it a beachy feel, I made a CHEERS banner using wrapping paper, glittery miniature clothespins and scrapbook paper in coastal-inspired colors. I kept the bottom level simple, filling the ice bucket with sparkling water and the acacia wood wine holder with a few bottles of choice.

Outdoor Bar Cart Banner

A few simple additions include a square jar filled with seaglass and books on — you guessed it — cocktails and beer.

Outdoor Bar Cart Sea Glass

However, I think the bright polka-dot straws in a gold pencil holder steal the show because of the bright contrast. I filled a gold candle holder with disposable stirrers, while a simple tray holds the lemons and limes. I filled a small wood serving tray with sand and topped it with crisp white bowls filled with one of my favorite snacks, Goldfish Crackers. To finish the look, I placed fresh flowers on one end of the cart and artwork on the other end. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?

Beachside Cabana Bar Cart

How can you make your next party sizzle? Shop Target’s newest spring decor and entertaining products (available in store and online now) to bring coastal inspiration and create a summer beach house look with a little French Riviera.

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A few months ago, Target asked Design Happens to host a Blogger Challenge in which five bloggers — four regular D-Happ contributors and one from our sister blog, Made + Remade — would shop, style, photograph and then pitch their design ideas for the outdoor entertaining setup at HGTV Spring House. The HGTV Spring House team shared their ideal color palette and style inspiration with each blogger, and they created true or faux bar carts using products from Target, among other items.

We’re all friends here at Design Happens, but things can get a little competitive when it comes to design. (I mean, you’ve seen our Color of the Month series, right?) It was fun to see how a spring color palette and “casual,” “coastal,” and/or “nautical” inspired a slew of different design styles.

HGTV Spring House Exterior BeforeHGTV Spring House: Here’s the Atlanta bungalow’s back deck before its makeover, waiting for some spring entertaining action.

Each week, from now until April 1, we’re going to share the five bloggers’ spring-inspired bar cart designs with you. Check out a teaser of each one below:

HGTV Spring House Bar Cart

Unfortunately, we have to keep a secret from you for a few weeks. You’ll have to wait until April 1 to find out whose winning design inspired the outdoor bar cart design at HGTV Spring House. Womp, womp.

Until then, keep checking back each Tuesday and Thursday for a bar cart project reveal from your fave bloggers.

How can you make your next party sizzle? Shop Target’s newest spring decor and entertaining products (available in store and online now) to bring coastal inspiration and create a summer beach house look with a little French Riviera.

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