impromptu bar setup

The other night I had about 20 minutes notice that a handful of friends were stopping by after work – they were bringing pizza, we were supplying a few after dinner cocktails.  It’s times like these that I wish we had a fabulous, fully-stocked bar cart that I could just wheel into the dining room, onto the deck or into the living room on a moment’s notice, but I don’t, so instead, I turned my entryway console, which is adjacent to the dining room, into a makeshift bar. Here are a few tips that have come in handy for me when I’ve needed to set up a makeshift bar area on very little time:

1.  Keep a good liquor selection on hand.  Because we are often prone to get togethers, dinners and barbequeing by the pool at often a last minute’s notice, I always try to keep a good supply of wine, liquor and mixers on hand. Nothing – NOTHING – kills a party quicker than a sad supply of spirits!

2.  Corral bottles on a tray.  Using trays creates a clean, pulled-together look, but they also help delineate an actual bar area, and best yet, you can carry it with you to any room you are in:

3.  Add some greenery.  Whether a bunch of flowers from the grocery store or some picks from your yard (I snipped a few fatsia here), nothing brightens up a bar spot better than fresh greenery:

4.  Striped straws are a must.  Most of the grown men I know won’t usually reach for striped straws for their Jack and Coke’s, but I always include them on my bar tray anyway as much for the touch of whimsy as for practicality sake (you can use them to stir drinks, too!)

5.  Add a touch of whimsy.  I had some empty space to fill on my console, so I added a book of fun toasts and one of 101 margarita recipes, along with a small piece of coral.  Just because it’s got to be practical doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.  I like to mix it up, adding one of our fun bottle openers or my Drunken Sailor coasters.

I was pretty happy with the results, especially on such short notice!

What are your favorite bar setup must-haves?

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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Hello and welcome to Bungalow Blue Interiors!

I'm Kelly, interior designer, stylist, hostess with the mostest and editor of my blog, where I share pics of my work, my own home, décor projects, entertaining hacks, where to find the best decorating deals and all the beautiful things that are currently inspiring me!




  1. Laurie on August 31, 2013 at 12:27 am

    Hi. Love the lamps. Where are they from? Thx!

  2. Kelly Stivers on August 31, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    Laurie – thank you! I found them at Kirkland's, of all places, a few years ago! They came with white shades, which I swapped for black linen ones, instead 🙂

  3. Sherry Hart on September 5, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    I'm in love with the greenery….never knew the name! Cute setup girl.

  4. Kelly Stivers on September 5, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Thanks, Sherry! I LOVE fatsia….it grows like a weed and the clippings last forever – I have some sitting on my mantle that have been there for more than a month now!

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