IKEA Hack – DIY Bar Cart For Under $40

styled bar cart

I love the Bar Cart trend that is happening right now. So when my dad asked me to design him a Tommy Bahama inspired bedroom, I knew exactly what my first statement piece was going to be. I wanted his room to feel like he was on vacation, staying at an expensive, beautiful resort. And what do you do when you are on vacation? You drink of course! So I began shopping around for a bar cart. Because bar carts are so popular right now, there are a lot of options out there, but they all cost well over $100. And while my dad was ok with paying $100, I was not…because why pay more when you can pay less?

Choosing the perfect bar cart

ikea bygel utility cart
Photo credit: Ikea

My first stop was trusty ole’ IKEA.  I found the BYGEL utility cart to fit the bill and at $30, you couldn’t beat the price.  With its black wheels, silver framework and white shelves, it was rather plain looking, but I knew I could hack it pretty inexpensively.  Update: It appears that the BYGEL utility cart has been discontinued and replaced with the SUNNERSTA utility cart.  It’s a slightly different design than the BYGEL, but it would still work great as a bar cart, and it’s available for an even lower price of $25.99!

Painting the cart

I decided that gold was the appropriate color for a resort style bar cart, but seeing as this was meant to portray an island-y feel, I didn’t think it should look too shiny or pristine.  So I decided to give it a weathered elegance by brushing an almond colored spray paint over the gold.  To begin, I assembled the entire cart, minus the wheels and the drawer.  I sprayed the wheels a dark brown. Because the gold would have a warm feel to it, brown wheels would look better than black. Then I proceeded to spray the drawer and the rest of the cart (framework and shelves) with Rust-Oleum Specialty Metallic Gold Spray Paint.

Next I took my can of Valspar Almond Gloss Spray Paint and holding it within an inch of a chip brush, I sprayed the paint directly onto the bristles.  Then, I brushed various sections all over the cart.  The spray paint dries fairly quickly on the brush, so you have to spray and then paint quickly.  I brushed this onto the framework, shelves and drawer.  Sometimes I brushed it on a little too thick, so to correct this I simply re-sprayed that section with gold and then brushed over it again with the almond.

spraying paint onto a chip brush

The finishing touch

While I loved the paint job on my cart, I felt it was missing something. It needed more texture, more dimension and a more island-y feel. I was able to find these bamboo placemats on clearance at Ross, a set of 4 for $4.  Not only were they a mere $4, but they fit perfectly.  I could not believe my luck!

bamboo placemats on cart

Bar cart decor

Now that my bar cart was complete, it was time to add the décor pieces.  Here’s a breakdown of the items I added to the cart and their cost:

Top Shelf

  1. Decorative Ice Bucket – $1.  Yep, you read that right, $1.  I made this ice bucket out of supplies I already had on hand.  The only thing I had to purchase was a pair of $0.99 thongs.  See how I made it in my DIY Ice Bucket blog post.
  2. Wooden Bowl for Lemons/Limes – $4 on clearance at HomeGoods
  3. Faux Lemons and Limes – $6 after a 40% off coupon from Hobby Lobby
  4. Glassware – $0 already owned all this glassware
  5. Bar Towel – $2 from Ross
styled bar cart


  1. Tropical Napkins – $4 from Party City
  2. Flamingo Cocktail Stirrers – $0 already owned

Middle Shelf

  1. Cigar Humidor – $0 already owned

Bottom Shelf

  1. Various Bottles of Liquor – $0 already owned
Tommy Bahama inspired bedroom

To create the bar cart itself, minus the décor pieces, the total cost (for me) was $34. The cart cost $30, the bamboo placemats cost $4 and I already had the brown, gold and almond spray paint from another project. If you don’t have spray paint on hand, they are ~$4 a can.

I think this DIY bar cart is the perfect statement piece for my dad’s Tommy Bahama inspired bedroom.  And to think it only cost $34, not over $100, well that just makes it all the sweeter.

profile picture of Nicole Bolin

Author: Nicole Bolin