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Bar Cart Query: I Need Your Thoughts

Your feedback on the mantle was amazing (I’m in the process of implementing some of the clever ideas, with my own quirkiness tossed in) so I’m soliciting your opinions again.  Photographing the DIY tablecloth the other day, I really couldn’t ignore what has long bugged me: a dead space in the dining room.  I put a plant stand there, but plan on murdering those plants (it’s more humane than the slow death they are now enduring) . . .

The space is small.  Somehow, it looks bigger on camera and keeping it rather simple further tricks the eye into believing it is more spacious.  Still, I would love a place to put a bottle of wine or a casserole dish mid-meal without crowding the table or having to run to the kitchen counter every ten minutes.  Not that the kitchen is far, but who likes their host dashing back and forth the whole meal?  A handy surface would make life easier, but with such cramped quarters the options are limited (the chair touches the wall under the painting when pulled out, so anything would have to be really tucked into that corner, to the right, and pretty small, so folks can still squeeze by).

These are some ideas I’ve had:

1. A cool, built-in asymmetrical cubby set up, to the right of the painting (although Hubby is dubious about wall-mounting).  Here’s some inspiration:

Via Babble (Photo by Vincent Leroux for Marie Claire Maison (Feb/Mar ’12); Via Decor8 (101woonideen)

2. A proper bar cart, maybe a vintage find or DIY’d option.  Something with open storage and a handy surface, but moveable.  This is my favorite option right now, although I’m worried about clutter . . .

Better Homes and Gardens; Shop Society Social

3. A small, small chest of drawers or sideboard, which has the added perk of storage for some table linens.  But would it look dining room-y enough?:

Apartment Therapy; Better Homes and Gardens

4. A built-in, or stand alone, corner hutch for some display and a handy surface, like these (although more modern and clean-lined, to suit the space):

Via Design*Sponge; Better Homes and Gardens

5. Leave the area alone and walk the five steps to the kitchen.  Bah, who needs exercise?

I’d love your feedback, so c’mon, dazzle me with your genius ideas!



  1. Liz Chaisson Thompson
    April 5, 2012 / 11:43 am

    Love the tablecloth! And I understand the dying plants – I struggle with that so much.Have you thought about a drop down, wall mounted shelf? Something like this Maybe with some sort of modular art above it?Other than that, I'm all about dressers as consoles. So much storage space – and well hidden. Not to mention, another surface to decorate!I'm looking forward to seeing which way you finally decide.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      April 5, 2012 / 8:20 pm

      What a neat idea! Thanks for the link. Also glad to hear I'm not the only plant-neglecter 😉

  2. Anonymous
    April 5, 2012 / 11:53 am

    If you really need storage space, I'd go with a modern, clean lined corner hutch. If not, some sort of small dresser/console.Lil

  3. Bobbie
    April 5, 2012 / 12:06 pm

    Definitely NOT the wall mounting option. I like the idea of a MOVABLE CART. Clean up would be easy — just clear the table, load up the cart, and roll it into the kitchen!

  4. Shannon
    April 5, 2012 / 12:19 pm

    NOthing wrong with dead space!i would put a rug under the table, then that little area won't feel like so much floor space

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      April 5, 2012 / 8:22 pm

      Glad to hear you don't think it looks empty! I'm more concerned with some storage space – it is so awkward with no place to set things. I appreciate the suggestion, and think they look great in other homes, but rugs and I don't get along. I just find they make chairs hard to move and collect dust, so with my nerd-girl allergies that's just no fun.

  5. Cassie @ Primitive & Proper
    April 5, 2012 / 12:32 pm

    i love the idea of a bar cart to add some glam and shine!

  6. Jeanette @ This Dusty House
    April 5, 2012 / 12:49 pm

    I love the bar cart idea. Or, what about a larger console/buffet along the wall with the painting? You'd likely want to shuffle your table for that and it's hard to tell how much room there is to accommodate movement, but it's an option. I love long, pretty consoles…

  7. Chris Loves Julia
    April 5, 2012 / 1:34 pm

    Bobbie does make an excellent point about rolling a moveable cart into the kitchen, but eh, I am team corner hutch I think. Spread the love a little to both walls. 😉

  8. Ashley
    April 5, 2012 / 1:48 pm

    Hm…I like the idea of either a bar cart or a corner hutch! I think a dresser would look too "heavy". And I have no opinion regarding the built-in cubby things. Ha!

  9. Staci @ My Friend Staci
    April 5, 2012 / 2:17 pm

    I'm dying over that shiny gold bar cart. I've been keeping my eye out for one for a few months! That is, at the thrift stores… of course 🙂

  10. Faith Pike
    April 5, 2012 / 2:36 pm

    I like the bar cart. Since it will be mobile, you can use it for other purposes. It won't have to be a stationary piece.

  11. muchadored
    April 5, 2012 / 2:42 pm

    I like either the small modern chest of drawer or a bar cart. You could always do a floating shelf or two above it for linens or glasses. I think a corner cupboard might look a little country and go against the clean lines you've got going on. I can't wait to see what you come up with! And I absolutely adore your table cloth. I might make one soon, too!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      April 5, 2012 / 8:23 pm

      Great idea! Definitely make a tablecloth because I'd love to see your version 🙂

  12. Carol@TheDesignPages
    April 5, 2012 / 3:08 pm

    My vote goes to either the bar cart or the small chest which is super practical. I actually love the look of non dining room furniture in the dining room. It gives it character:)

  13. Christine
    April 5, 2012 / 3:15 pm

    I would say no to a corner hutch. I don't think it goes with the aesthetics you have going on in the house- seems a bit too traditional of a piece. I would go for a bar cart (which could be relocated if you decided you didn't like it there after awhile) or maybe just some small floating shelves in each corner of the back wall framing the art. You could maybe do a few floating shelves and then have a floating "box" of a cabinet on the bottom (with a door or drawer) to anchor it and provide some closed storage for linens, etc. Just a thought.

    • Christine
      April 9, 2012 / 2:10 pm

      Saw this post on Bower Power and thought of you. her little cabinet with the floating shelves above- it's kind of what I envisioned for your space. You could put your twist on it of course though!

  14. Ashley@AttemptsAtDomestication
    April 5, 2012 / 6:27 pm

    I agree with Christine. I think that a corner piece would look really nice, but it wouldn't really flow with the rest of your house. Perhaps corner shelves on both sides? Or a small bar cart would be best?

  15. Amelia @ House Pretty
    April 5, 2012 / 7:59 pm

    I love the bar cart idea – especially something vintage you could fix up with your super DIY skills! But Shannon also makes a good point about adding rug (although I guess that doesn't give you the option of an extra surface while dining).

  16. Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
    April 5, 2012 / 8:25 pm

    You are all so fabulous!! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and chime in, I really appreciate it. Great feedback – I have lots to think about. I'll keep trolling the classifieds, hopefully I can find something cute (and cheap) to refurbish. I'll keep you posted!And thanks to everyone for not opting for 5) the get off my butt option. Lol.

  17. Leone
    April 6, 2012 / 12:41 am

    I think a vintage bar cart or a small chest of drawers would look fantastic. I LOVE the look of bar carts, but the small chest would offer great hidden storage.

  18. Angie@Echoes of Laughter
    April 6, 2012 / 3:35 am

    Although I love the bar cart idea…I am wondering if it would make that side of the room feel heavy and the whole room unbalanced? In our first house, I had a narrow sideboard{chest of drawers} in the dining area and I loved it! It was great for laying out drinks & appetizers for a party. And it was a great place to put dessert when we had people over for dinner. The dining space we have know has gigantic windows with bright light but we don't have a sideboard and I miss it so much! Sideboards are certainly a traditional look, but they are so functional and pratical to have! Wishing you a great long weekend & Happy Easter Tanya! Angie xo

  19. InteriorGroupie
    April 6, 2012 / 3:52 am

    oooh love the bar cart idea!! I refinished a small cupboard for our corner, and put wire mesh in the doors so that it was more of an open feel but still closed doors to hide things behind. Then I display pretty stuff on top. God luck!

  20. gemma@thesweetestdigs
    April 6, 2012 / 4:43 pm

    Hmmm I thought you were thinking about this when I saw all the bar carts you were pinning!! Fun, fun! #2 is my vote (DIYed or vintage)!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      April 6, 2012 / 4:48 pm

      Thanks for the input! Maybe you can help me find something if we can finally find a weekend to go thrifting together, lol.

  21. Lets just build a house!
    April 6, 2012 / 9:13 pm

    Bar cart! I see them all the time at thrift stores and think how vintagey morderny they could be fixed up if it was our style. I really love them. YOU could totally make one work in that space and make it fab looking!

  22. Oona
    April 7, 2012 / 7:40 pm

    If you can't find the vintage bar dream cart and are willing to look in the knock-down furniture category, Target has a couple of small black kitchen carts you may want to look at. Check out Granite-top kitchen cart and Room Essentials kitchen storage cart. Both have multiple shelves, a drawer, and wine glass hanging racks. The granite top one has a wire basket, the other has cupboard space and a wooden top. Both are on wheels, easy to put together, slightly over $100. I know, I know… not vintage, no character… but I have one in my house, and it holds an amazing amount in a quiet, unassuming way. I'm thinking the black version would resonate with your Ikea hack, maybe. Looking forward to seeing what you do!

  23. Meagan, in house nester
    April 9, 2012 / 3:18 pm

    I 110% support the bar cart idea – they are hard to find 2nd hand though, I have been looking for years…Unless you are willing to pay more. Maybe you could find one at Antique Market outside of Guelph – Aberfoyle – once it opens again?Also – not sure if you care but the small chest of drawers with the head sculpture on it is from Me, you and a wiener – – she does lots of awesome DIY's! Meagan

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