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Our At Home Bar Cabinet in Bookcases

Get organized - convert a cabinet into an at home bar

In effort to restore our basement from the “move” when we had our hardwood floors installed, I overstocked the bar cart, causing it to shatter overnight. Oops! Since that sad November day, I’ve been rethinking what we should do with our wine and alcohol. Over the summer, we removed the obtrusive wet bar that was dated and blocked both the light and flow between our living room and kitchen. Removing walls and storage forces you to optimize the space you do have and minimize clutter. That’s exactly what our bookcase was filled with – clutter. Trinkets that weren’t in use, miscellaneous books that used to grace our shelves and games that were better suited for our linen cabinet in the family room. I decided to utilize Saturday afternoon nap time by painting and repurposing the bookcase into a home bar cabinet – and I’ll never miss that mess!


I find that anytime something is dark, it almost encourages me to consider it the abyss and hide anything and everything there. That’s exactly what our bookcase cabinet had become, the black abyss, so I gave it a fresh coat of “white paint” and distributed the odds and ends to their proper homes.

Lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner finds beautiful ways to blend organization into home decor

The existing tray that is displayed on the bookcase is the perfect host to bar tools and a signature cocktail – whatever you’re serving that evening, but looks beautiful day in and day out. I tend to take a utilitarian approach to decorating and this is no exception. Our bar cabinet consumes absolutely no extra space in our home and only adds to the decor. Our living room is small, so it’s important to make it functional. It’s where we frequently congregate with friends, so it’s convenient to have the bar nearby. It would be the perfect addition to a small apartment.

Entertaining blogger Julie Blanner converted her built in bookcases into a beautiful bar cabinet

Beautiful bar cabinet in a built in bookcase

Lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner finds beautiful ways to blend organization into home decor

In addition to wine, hard liquor, and accompanying glassware I’ve added a piece of art for a pretty backdrop to break it up. I’ve also included our copper ice bucket and a wine opener.

Create a home bar cabinet in just a few minutes

Beautiful bar cabinet in a built in bookcase

A little hidden gem…

Beautiful built in bookcase ideas - create a bar to add function and save space

Beautiful bar cabinet in a built in bookcase

Aside from painting, converting the bookcase into a bar cabinet took just 15 minutes, using things we already have. I love any organization project I can complete in an hour or less!

Lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner converted her built in bookcases into a beautiful bar cabinet

This is a view of the bar when closed…

Make the most of a small space by creating an at home bar cabinet

While I miss my bar cart {and can still replace the glass} I’m beyond excited for the cabinet that consumes no additional space. Which do you prefer, a bar cart or a bar cabinet?


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14 comments on “Our At Home Bar Cabinet in Bookcases”


  2. Gorgeous inspiration! I love bar-cabinets, so beautiful!

  3. You really have a knack to change something ordinary into outstanding! Very beautiful indeed!

  4. Boy, what a transformation! Lovely new look. Time for me to start the decluttering, too 🙂

  5. This is perfectly lovely and totally do-able!

  6. HEYYY!!


    I really enjoyed this post. White color is my favourite and this cabinets looks very b’ful..

    Those little changes within the space really make such a difference.

    This helps me think about ways to decorate my future home and make it cozy!

    thank You for your great ideas

  7. Hi Julie, I am in the midst of a renovation and I planned to display some beautiful bourbon/scotch bottles and glasses on the shelf of our new built ins. I have been looking for a tray that would be both elegant and functional. Where did you get your tray? I love your shelves. Can you do a blog on dining tables in small spaces that need to be narrower than 40 inches? I often see people online looking for them but they are hard to find.

    • I wish I had good news for you – I’d love another one as well. Sometimes I see pretty brass trays on Etsy or Restoration Hardware, but this one was a lucky find at an antique store in Rocheport, Missouri. I still swoon over it a few years later!
      I will see what I can do! Thank you SO much for reading and taking the time to say hello!

  8. Pingback: Before and After Home Inspiration

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