Before and After: A Bar Cart Was Transformed from Plain to Stylish With Just $32 (And a Little Paint)

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Welcome to Apartment Therapy’s $32 Design Challenge! Finding the perfect piece of furniture is hard enough… but then it can be surprisingly tricky—and expensive—to style it just right for your home. We challenged five staffers to style five different areas of the home, from the entryway to a desk, with a budget of just $32. Follow along with the whole series here.

Credit: AT Video

Challenge: Can Laura style a bar cart (the one we used is out of stock, but here’s a similar one) with just $32?

Where Laura shopped:

  • Dollar store
  • Home Goods
  • Michaels
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Home Depot

What she bought:

  • 2 vases
  • Daffodils
  • 4 glasses
  • 4 tiles and felt pads (to make coasters)
  • Letterboard
  • Paint
  • Wine rack
Credit: AT Video

Big splurge: The wine rack! It was almost a third of the budget, but I felt it was worth it since it takes up about half of the real estate.

Big saving: The glassware from the dollar store: four glasses and two vases for $6 plus tax.

One tip to remember: If you’re styling a bar cart on a budget, try to stick to a single theme—this one only serves wine, for instance (you could get even more specific with, say, a rose motif). You can also pick a signature cocktail with all the fixings and the proper glasses. Or skip the alcohol all together and make it a cart for coffee, books, plants, or whatever else you already have at home.

Check out the finished product of how Laura styled the bar cart (and find out whether she stayed on budget) in the video above.