Our living room is my favorite room in the house and I am so happy to team up with my favorite west coast based design source, Serena & Lily, to put the finishing touches on this space and share how to style their popular South Seas Bar Cart!
I turn to Serena & Lily for special pieces for my home and my clients’ homes again and again. Aside from their effortless, coastal aesthetic, one thing that always impresses me is the incredible quality of their furniture and decor. We have their beautiful linens in our master bedroom and I bought these blue chairs for our dining room. The latest addition to our home was waiting for me when I got back from Europe. The South Seas Bar Cart was inspired by a mid-century antique and has an intricate weave with several different patterns which make it feel special and elevated despite the casual material. Smooth rolling brass casters mean you can move it room to room, and use it as a bar cart or console table in turn. Serena & Lily also makes many of their most popular items in multiple sizes to fit every type of home, so if you’re tight on space the cart comes in a mini version for apartments (and also looks darling as a bedside table!) and a double console version as well! On that note the navy blue Windsor-style “tucker” chairs in our dining room have slightly narrower seats which make them perfect for small space living!
There are a lot of different ways to style a bar cart, but I wanted to share my philosophy with you, which works well for an everyday setup that looks pretty, isn’t overly cluttered, and puts your go-to drinks on hand when company arrives. We typically start our dinner parties with drinks in the kitchen, but with the addition of this beautiful bar cart I’m looking forward to starting dinners with drinks in my favorite room.
This “how-to” isn’t about storage – it’s about styling – so don’t plan to put all your barware on the cart. We’re editing what you have to make sure your most – used items are on hand and beautifully presented. Unattractive bottles or specialty ingredients are better kept in the cupboard until you need them for that signature drink.
- GLASSWARE – To start: think of your two favorite/most served drinks and bring out the glassware for those beverages. I think sets of 6 looks best (4 if you opt for the smaller cart). If you have a set of 8, 10, or 12 glasses keep the extras tucked in a cupboard until you have a larger party on the calendar. I appreciate that although the shelves of the South Seas Bar Cart are woven, the weave is even enough that glasses can be placed directly on the surface and won’t wobble. Glassware will look best if you have a mix of heights, and use a coffee table book with a beautiful cover as a tray for shorter glasses.
- INGREDIENTS – Next select the ingredients that go into either drink, and corral the bottles on the lower shelf in a tray to keep things looking tidy and ensure the visual weight of the arrangement is on the bottom shelf. Taller bottles go in the back with shorter ones in front so you can see everything at a glance. You can add a jigger, cocktail shaker and/or mixing glass/stirrer to the tray as well.
- LIGHTING – A lamp will add much needed height to the vignette and if you don’t plan on moving the bar cart from room to room, you can hide the cord by using zip ties to cinch the cord along the backside of the leg, then run the cord along the baseboards to the outlet, stapling to secure it. (Do not pierce the cord!) This lamp is a similar size and shape to mine. I balanced the weight of the lamp on the upper right with blue and white jars on left of the lower shelf. Coffee table books are a decorator’s best friend and can tie together your color scheme and help elevate objects to achieve a visually balanced arrangement, so I popped two under the jars to help fill the space between shelves.
- STYLING – When styling any surface include something organic and something antique to make sure the things don’t look too “catalog”. A julep cup with cuttings from the garden looks pretty paired with my vintage match strike I picked up in Avignon. If your signature drinks include garnishes like mint or limes I love the look of mint leaves tucked into the julip cup, making it easy to pick a few while whipping up cocktails. (Trader Joes even has miniature plants of most herbs that could be potted in the cup as well!) I also added this fun blossom pillow to the chair to tie together the blue and green color scheme. Serena & Lily has so many gorgeous pillows and offer something for every aesthetic. For example I also love this, this, this, and this.
- ART – A mirror or simple artwork hung above the bar cart works well so the overall look doesn’t become cluttered. My painting was inspired by the art hung in Kate and Andy Spade’s Living Room, which I DIY’d with the navy blue wall paint from our former Greenwich Village apartment. If you aren’t crafty, Serena & Lily has an incredible and ever-changing collection of prints and original artwork on their site.
- SIDE TABLES – Lastly, when you’re in full party mode pull up a side table to use as an extra surface for setting down an ice bucket or additional ingredients. I love love love garden stools and have 6 small ones sprinkled throughout the house but this one from Serena & Lily is the best because the top is totally flat and ideal for balancing glassware. (Many ceramic garden stools have slightly rounded tops for whatever reason, making them great for sitting but not for holding drinks!) White garden stools work in almost any space and I also like this one for more modern homes and this one for a more rustic space.
Thank you to Serena & Lily for partnering on this post!