Elevate Your Bar Cart: An IKEA Hack Guide

I’ve been searching for the perfect bar cart to liven up our living room for years. The ones I loved were too expensive or not my style.

I love the glam vibe of a gold cart but some can be overly flashy. I wanted something chic yet subtle.

With lots of wood furniture in my living room, including a wood coffee table, I wanted something to complement the existing pieces.

I chose a cart with wood shelves that tie in nicely with my wood decor and give the cart an elegant look, rather than just plain metal.

The wood adds that extra substance that really takes it to the next level for me. I’m so pleased with how it turned out! This bar cart is now the focal point of my living room.

Even if you don’t drink, a bar cart has many uses. You could stock it with mocktail supplies or use it to store anything, not just barware.

With its pretty design, this versatile cart could be used in so many ways around your home – not just as a bar.

Supplies Needed for IKEA Bar Cart Hack

  • IKEA Nissafors Cart
  • Gold Spray Paint – 2 cans minimum
  • Wood Planks for Shelves – 1×12 plank of pine wood works well
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood Stain
  • Polyurethane Sealant
  • Tools – saw for cutting wood, screwdriver for cart assembly
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When choosing the paint color for my bar cart, I knew I wanted to go for a gold tone but not something overly shiny or flashy. After researching options, I landed on this beautiful warm champagne gold spray paint. The subtle tone is so tasteful and elegant – exactly what I was envisioning.

The wood stain selection for the shelves was an important decision as well. I wanted a rich, darker shade that would coordinate with the existing wood furniture in my living room, especially my coffee table. After testing out a few samples, I decided on a dark walnut stain that matched perfectly. The deep color contrasts beautifully with the soft champagne gold.

Finishing up the shelves required a clear protective coat. I tested out a few polyurethane options before finding this fast-drying satin finish. It went on smoothly and evenly over the stained wood, providing a subtle sheen that allows the wood grain to show through. The end result is gorgeous wood shelves that truly stand out as a focal point of my bar cart.

Choosing the right paint, stain and sealant combo took some time and testing, but it was worth it to get the elegant, cohesive look I was going for. I’m so pleased with how all the elements came together to create my dream bar cart!

Step-by-Step Instructions for DIY IKEA Bar Cart

Follow these simple steps to create your own stunning bar cart using an IKEA hack:

  1. Assemble IKEA Cart

I tried spray painting the individual pieces first, which was time-consuming. Once assembled, I realized many plastic pins that hold it together were still the original color.

After assembly, I had to completely re-spray the cart to cover those pins and get an even coat. Assembling first makes the project much easier with a better finish.

When assembling, note the wheels need to be spray painted separately per the next step. Buy at least 2 cans of spray paint to avoid running out mid-project.

Fully assemble the cart, minus the wheels, before painting. This will save time and headaches compared to painting individual pieces.

NISSAFORS Utility cart, black – IKEA
NISSAFORS Utility cart, black. This utility cart fits in the smallest of spaces and can be moved to wherever you need it. Use it as extra storage for all your kitchen utensils, desk accessories or for gloves, keys and mobile phones.
  1. Prepare Cart for Painting

Remove the wheels before spraying the cart. I wanted the metal wheel frames to match the gold cart, not remain black.

Cover the wheel treads with tape and spray paint the wheels separately so they coordinate. Use at least 2 coats on the wheels.

Spray paint the cart itself with 2 coats, allowing each to fully dry first. Spray from about 12 inches away for even coverage.

Only spray paint outside or in a well-ventilated area due to strong fumes. Be cautious of overspray landing on nearby items.

For a cohesive look, paint the cart and wheels separately. Tape off the tires, use 2 coats, allow proper drying time between coats and spray evenly from 12 inches away.

3. Cut Wood for Shelves

Purchase a 1×12 plank of wood and have it cut into 3 equal shelves, around 18.5 x 11 inches each. Sand each piece thoroughly, focusing on the cut edges.

Stain the wood with 2 coats of stain, allowing each coat to fully dry between applications. Let the stained wood dry overnight.

Apply polyurethane to the top side of each shelf. Allow to dry overnight again. Lightly sand again and apply a second coat of polyurethane.

Work in a well-ventilated area and let pieces fully dry between steps. The woodwork will take several days to complete.

Once thoroughly dried, the shelves can be inserted onto the cart’s metal frames, leaving a small gap. Allow the finished shelves to cure for a week before placing items on them.

The key is properly preparing the wood, applying adequate stain and sealant, and allowing proper drying time between each step. Taking it slow ensures beautiful shelves.

The entire project can be completed over a weekend. Allow proper drying times for the paint and wood finishes to ensure a long-lasting bar cart.

Alternative Carts for IKEA Bar Cart Hack

While the Nissafors utility cart works great for this project, you can also use other IKEA carts. The Raskog, Hornavan, Bror, and Sunnersta carts would all make excellent bases for a DIY bar cart.

Style Your New DIY IKEA Bar Cart

Once your IKEA hack bar cart is fully constructed, it’s time for the fun part – styling!

The stylish yet budget-friendly bar cart you craft will become a treasured piece of decor that adds function and flair to your home for years. With a Saturday and some simple supplies, this IKEA hack gives you a high-end bar cart on a DIY budget!

I hope you enjoyed learning how to create this glam DIY bar cart using an IKEA hack. Be sure to visit Make Calm Lovely for more inspiration to craft a home you love. I look forward to sharing more DIY and lifestyle content with you soon.

If you recreate any projects, I’d love to see! Please tag me on Instagram @makecalmlovely and @ikeahack, so we can see your beautiful work. Let’s keep being creative and building lovely spaces together.

– Jae –

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