This Is the One Item That Makes Every Bar Cart Cuter, and It’s Cheaper Than You Think

published Mar 10, 2021
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Last October, my boyfriend and I made the decision to live together. We packed up our respective apartments and moved into a small Brooklyn home situated in Park Slope. Among the decor choices that were determined — couch! bed linens! coffee table! — one piece we were especially jazzed about was the spirits, bitters, a shaker set, a decanter, and assorted glassware. I tossed a few of my favorite books on the bottom shelf, hoping that would tick off the ‘well-designed’ box, but it still felt like something was missing. I scanned the room for a tchotchke of sorts and spotted our jade plant. As you can probably guess, it was a solid match. The contrast of the industrial cart and glass bottles with little a splash of greenery felt completely aligned with my pared-back, natural design sensibilities. 

Regardless of what design aesthetic you lean towards though, a plant is an accent that’s universally-complementary to each and every bar cart. Hoping to drive this point home, I asked plant expert and consultant Maryah Greene of Greene Piece to lend her expertise here with plant recommendations to accompany the spectrum of popular bar cart styles. Going for a mid-century modern look? She’s got an idea for that. Skewing more rustic farmhouse? No sweat; Greene’s got you covered there, too. Ahead, find the sample bar cart here that most closely resembles what you have at home then shop Greene’s plant picks to take your setup to the next level. Keep in mind that the photos here were just an inspiration point; so plants matches aren’t necessarily shown in each picture. You can still click through the links to see what these stunners look like though — and you’re probably going to want to add them to your cart ASAP. Just remember to always check to see if the species you want will be kid- and/or pet-friendly if that’s a consideration you need to make.

Credit: Anna Spaller

Contemporary Cool: A Silver & Mirrored Bar Cart

Play up the sleek vibes of your contemporary chrome or mirrored cart with a bold leafy plant that can hold its own in the drama department. “If you’re looking for something with a fuller leaf size and a unique pattern, Calathea Orbifolia is the one for you,” says Greene. “The mirrored surface [of the bar cart] will also complement the underside of the leaves, which are brightly-colored green.” Another option? Variegated Japanese Aralia, which Greene says are a rarer plant “with leaves that have a unique architecture.” 

Credit: Dims.

Make It Minimalist: An Architectural Bar Cart

If you have a cart that looks something like the Dims Barbican Trolly II, then Green suggests something with some curves to balance out all those hard, geometric lines. “The Devil’s Horn goes well with the minimalist aesthetic, but the curvature adds a unique twist,” she says. Same goes for the Ghost Euphorbia. “Pair this with a colorful pot, and you have an incredible statement piece that will be the perfect eye-catcher with the clean lines of the bar cart,” she says.

Mid-Century Modern : A Classic Wood Bar Cart

Deep green or purple leaf plants are your best bets for a wooden MCM bar cart or cabinet, especially if you want to emphasize the warm, golden undertones of a walnut or oak piece. Greene likes the Black Coral Snake Plant for its low-maintenance care (water it just once every three weeks) and striking coloring. “The deep green complements the gold and wood while also matching with any of your darker bottles of wines and liquors,” she says. With its deep purple vining leaves, Greene thinks the Tradescantia Zebrina is another solid option.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Gold and Glam: A Shiny Brass Bar Cart

Look no further than the popular ZZ plant — which is slow-growing and low-key but can get pretty tall — to find a species that’ll shine as bright as your bar cart’s finish. “The mirrored surfaces of this [kind of] cart will reflect the shine from the leaves as it continues to grow taller over time,” says Greene of this pairing.

Credit: Nicole Kliest

Industrial Chic: A Galvanized Steel Bar Cart

To accessorize a galvanized piece, Greene loves any species with leaves that echo the cool-toned finish of a galvanized piece. “Echeverias often have a blue/silver undertone to them, and this will pair nicely with the metal in this [kind of] bar cart,” says Greene. “I’d recommend planting it in a terracotta pot to add a pop of color.”

Want something a little bit more obscure and unexpected? Greene says you can try a Blue Candle Crested Cactus in this combo, too, if you can find one and are looking to splurge on something special. “While definitely one of the rarer plants I’ve mentioned thus far, the unusual shape and color of this cactus is sure to be a show-stopper,” she adds.

Credit: Emma Fiala

Woodsy and Warm: A Modern Country Bar Cart

For a cart that’s a little bit country and on the simple, softer side silhouette-wise, Green actually recommends a plant that follows suit stylistically. “Clean lines and the softer, pale green of the Sayuri leaves is always a stunning combination,” she says.

Bamboo also works for a more woodsy bar cart, too. “Why not pair bamboo with bamboo?” says Greene. “The cuttings will grow tall over time, and the stalks will give the illusion that the bar cart is a statement piece even though it’s made of a simple wood material.”

Credit: Urban Outfitters

Breezy and Boho: A Rattan Bar Car

When it comes to rattan and cane, two typically boho materials that can also skew traditional depending on what you pair them with, it’s best to find a plant that can hold its own graphically with these textural materials. “Ferns are a great option for anyone looking to add a fuller, heartier plant that doesn’t necessarily need to be in a large pot,” says Greene. “The foliage of Maidenhair Ferns are unique, as they fit together like puzzle pieces, similar to wicker or bamboo.”

Can’t swing a fern, even if it’s faux? Try a spider plant instead. “[A spider plant is] one of my favorite low-maintenance plants that gives the illusion of a fullness, as it grows up and out,” says Greene. “This is one that would look great on the corner of this bar cart to reserve room for spirits.”

Modern and Minimal: A Matte Circular Bar Cart

Greene’s all about a False Aralia for any bar cart that has a circular frame. “With such a strong shape for the bar cart, you don’t want to over shadow it,” says Greene. “This plant gives it texture without feeling too cluttered or unkempt.” 

Want to go a slightly different route? Greene also thought of the Song of India plant… aka the dracaena. “The Song of India plant is a great pop of color, and the curves in the stalk complement the curves in this [kind of] bar cart,” says Greene.