15 Holiday Bar Cart Ideas For A Tiny Apartment

Bring on the eggnog.

by Ashley Abramson
Holiday decorations for your bar cart perfect for a tiny apartment

Whether you’re entertaining a full-on crowd or hosting an intimate get-together with a couple of friends, planning a holiday gathering takes some serious strategy — especially if your home is short on square footage. You want your space to feel special while also making the most of that space.

One way to get more out of every square inch while upping the festive factor? Do double duty with your bar cart. “As a bar cart can function as a serving piece as well as decor in a space, a fun idea for the holidays is to ‘dress it up’ in a festive way,” says North Carolina-based interior designer Grey Joyner.

From adding holiday flair to making room for party essentials, here are 15 ideas for decking out your drink station-on-wheels this holiday season.

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Declutter The Non-Essentials

As is true with any small space, it’s a good practice to keep only what you’re going to use in high-traffic storage areas and surfaces — and your bar cart is no exception. Before you reset for the holidays, remove any out-of-season items or decor so you can create more space for your winter wonder-bar.

Install A Wine Rack

If you live in a small apartment, you probably don’t have room for an actual wine fridge, and leading up to holiday gatherings, your actual refrigerator is likely crammed. Create extra space for all those bottles by investing in a pretty wine rack. “A beautiful wine holder is a simple space-saving trick and is also appealing to the eye, especially when your bar cart is a focal point of the room,” says Joyner. “Think of it as a decorating accessory, but one that’s functional as a bonus, so don’t be afraid to be bold with the design.”

Invest In Holiday-Themed Glassware

Another easy way to spruce up your bar cart in the winter months is by swapping out your normal glasses for special ones, like these red stemless wine glasses. To save room on your cart, Joyner recommends looking for stackable glasses.

Grab Some Holiday Glass Charms

If you’d (understandably) rather not dish out money on new barware — and you have glasses with stems — then grab some holiday glass charms for a more seasonal feel that’ll also help your guests keep better tabs on their drinks.

Go The Extra Mile With Cocktail Accessories

Making cocktails? After you swap out your bar supply for all those holiday recipes, buy some fun seasonal swizzle sticks or candy-cane-like straws. This way, even the seasonal cocktails you make will look like decorations.

Opt For Wintery Cocktail Napkins

You already need napkins, so why not stay on brand and transform the feel of your bar cart space for the holidays? These gold-foil cocktail napkins lend a sophisticated touch to any bar cart setup, and you can keep the extras for any special occasion. To keep your event environmentally friendly, go for winter-y embroidered napkins instead.

String Some Lights On The Cart

Playing with light is a great way to add some ambiance to your bar cart area, especially around the holidays. Joyner recommends winding a few strings of sparkly lights on the edges of the shelves for extra flair. Create a magical vibe with these gold fairy lights, or go the nostalgic route with colorful ones.

Add Some Ribbon

If your bar cart isn’t near an outlet or you want more color, use red velvet ribbon instead. “You could wrap the ribbon around the edges of the cart in order to not take up any valuable storage space, but still add some holiday flair to make it feel special and seasonal,” Joyner says. Save the extra for gift wrapping!

Play With Pine

Nothing says the holidays more than pine, but you may not have space for a full-size tree. Consider hanging a pine garland on the cart (or, if there’s not room, on the wall above it). Real pine, if you can get your hands on some, will infuse your space with a familiar holiday scent. To get the same effect without worrying about pine needles, diffuse pine essential oil or light a pine-scented candle nearby.

Display Your Stocking

No mantel to speak of? Your bar cart is the perfect stand-in. Try hanging a few holiday stockings on the corners of your bar cart! Fill each one with crumpled-up newspaper (OK, or actual presents) to add some dimension.

Use The Wall Behind Your Bar Cart

If your bar cart feels as cramped as your apartment, think vertical. You can add to your bar cart’s holiday vibe using the wall behind it, whether you hang holiday-themed art, a wreath, or a garland. If you’d rather add more functionality, then consider hanging floating shelves on an adjacent wall for extra storage. Or, hang hooks that hold mugs, and set up a hot chocolate bar!

Get Creative With Books

Stacking coffee table-style books on the bottom shelf is a great way to add height and dimension to your bar cart. Around the holidays, change out your normal books for holiday-colored or themed design or cocktail books. “They can be used to create varying heights by displaying bar tools on top of a stack, and can also add some additional color and cheer,” Joyner says. “They may inspire some fun recipe experimenting too!” If you don’t actually plan to use the books, create a fun display by tying holiday ribbons around them like they’re gifts, either individually or stacked together.

Use Existing Glasses As Vases

Your glasses don’t have to sit upside down on the shelf — think of them as an opportunity to show off your holiday barware or decor! For example, you could display some candy canes in a highball or a few sprigs of holly in a champagne flute.

Add Height With A Tiered Tray

You may be hesitant to decorate your bar cart if you want to conserve space. One solution: buy a two-tiered tray to take advantage of height. Decorate one tier with tiny Christmas trees, fake snow, and ornaments, and use the top tier to display and store your barware or jars of holiday-themed candy.

Decorate With Gifts That Keep On Giving

Create decor that doubles as storage by wrapping empty boxes with your favorite paper and ribbon, and using them to store extra bar essentials (like straws, napkins, and stirrers) on the bottom rack of your bar. Just be sure to wrap the lid separately from the box so you can open them without tearing the paper!


Grey Joyner, interior designer