From Sad Shelving Unit to Glam Bar Cart

before and after picture of a shelving unit turned into a bar cart

As featured on Houzz

Lately I’ve really been into upcycling furniture.  A few months ago I scored this ugly, damaged shelving unit for FREE from someone who was moving and ready to throw it out.  

I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with it, so it sat in my garage for a month while I cogitated on it.  And then it came to me.  I was so pleased with the BYGEL IKEA bar cart hack that I did for my dad, that I wanted a bar cart of my very own.  This ugly shelving unit was going to make the perfect bar cart, I’m just not sure why it took me so long to see it.

pictures of a shelving unit before and after its turned into a bar cart

Let the upcycle begin!

First, I removed all the shelves and spray painted the chrome frame a rose gold using Rustoleum Vintage Metallic Rose Gold Protective Enamel Spray Paint, from Lowes.

The top shelf of the shelving unit LOOKED like a really elegant routed piece of wood but in actuality was some type of molded foam core with a wood laminate over it.  In many places the laminate was either chipped, cracked or peeling. So I decided to replace the top shelf with a shorter solid wood board that I stained grey using Minwax Wood Stain in Classic Grey.

For the 2 lower shelves (which were some type of particle board covered in laminate) I cut a few inches off the ends, mostly because they were damaged and couldn’t be repaired, but also so they matched the length of the new top shelf.

I purchased 1.3 yards of Keepsake Calico Cotton Fabric in Grey Texture, from Joann Fabrics and decoupaged the fabric onto the bottom two shelves with mod podge, which you’ll see below.

bar cart shelf with fabric decoupaged to it
bar cart shelf with fabric decoupaged to it

I added some wheels to the bottom of the frame because well for one, it’s a bar CART and two, it makes it easier to move it into different rooms for wherever you want to entertain guests.

bar cart set up in living room

And for the final step, I added some jewels to the handles.

bar cart handle

Now the jeweled handles were one of those happy accident moments. If you look back at the original shelving unit, you’ll notice the top shelf completely covers the framework from end to end.

That top shelf was attached to the framework by small screws fitted through metal tabs which were protruding from the framework. Once I removed that top shelf and replaced it with a shorter wood board, those metal tabs became exposed. I had 2 choices at that point: grind them off with a disc grinder (which was going to be a lot of work) or dress them up a bit (way easier).

close up of jewels on a bar cart

I decided on “way easier” so I went through all my old jewelry supplies and found some hematite rings and pearled beads which I used to adorn the metal tabs. Not only was that way easier, but I think it gives the bar cart a more unique look.

bar cart handle

Because I already had some of the supplies leftover from other projects (wood board, wheels, mod podge and jewels) the only items I needed to purchase to make this bar cart were the rose gold spray paint for $5.88 and the fabric for $5.18, for a grand total of $11.06.  I don’t know about you, but I’ll drink to that!

Finally, I topped it off with some cute decor and alcohol of course. Cheers!

styled bar cart
Author: Nicole Bolin