One surefire way to make your next holiday do feel special is to create a bar area. Whether you’re using a pretty cart, stealing space on a tabletop or clearing off the top of your sideboard, this is the ideal opportunity to up the glam element — and to show off all the special barware you don’t get to use daily.

In small spaces, make the most of your existing furniture set-up — remove off the top of a side table and use it for a mini-bar, as in this eclectic living room where a single tray shares space with a cool table lamp and a small-scale floral arrangement.

Photographer: Monic Richard

Source: house & home November 2012 issue

Designer: Nicola Marc

Don’t worry too much about matching; a selection of vintage decanters feels collected, while gorgeous glassware with a metallic pattern acts as a uniting force. A mixed metal motif picks up on the brass frame of the vintage bar cart, making for a glam vignette.

Photographer: Donna Griffith

Source: house & home December 2013 issue

Designer: Margot Austin

If you have the space, set up a bar table behind your sofa so guests can help themselves without impeding flow. At this luxe party, a mod white Parsons table pops against the graphic wall treatment, turning the bar into a fun focal point.

Photographer: Michael Alberstat

Source: house & home December 2012 issue

If you’re short on space, consider setting up a small bar on a set of nesting tables. A single bottle of bubbly and some pretty glassware is a pared-back handle a fully stocked set-up, but you could spread a wider selection over all three tables.

Photographer: Alex Lukey

Source: house & home December 2014 issue

Designer: Joel Bray

In open-concept spaces, a console table that separates zones is the ideal bar. use vintage silver trays to keep things organized — wrangle liquor on a larger one, while a smaller version can hold glassware. set out pitchers of juice and club soda, and maybe even a zester and lemons and limes for garnishes.

Photographer: Angus Fergusson

Source: house & home December 2010 issue

Designer: Kate Thornley-Hall

In this neutral living room, visual interest comes from the contrast between a raw wood sideboard and an all-silver bar set-up. putting the tray slightly off-centre leaves space for guests to set down their glasses when mixing drinks, minimizing the potential for spills.

Photographer: Janet Kimber

Source: house & home November 2010 issue

Designer: Cameron MacNeil

Against this deep red wall, a super-simple console table with tripod legs feels modern despite its rustic wood top. A vintage ice container is the ideal spot to stock bubbly and white wine, while the reds are displayed on a small silver tray. organize glassware close by so guests can serve themselves.

Photographer: John Cullen

Source: house & home December 2009

For a much more rustic look, add small bites on mix-and-match serving plates and chill red wine in an antique-look jug. consider whipping up a punch bowl full of a signature drink, like a robust, ruby red sangria.

Photographer: John CullenSource: house & home December 2011 issue

Designer: Morgan Michener and Sarah Hartill

A large-scale sideboard makes a great bar. The collection of glass decanters feels glam, and picks up on the pretty crystal knobs, while a spacious cabinet is the ideal place to store extra bottles, glassware and other accessories.

Get more holiday embellishing ideas.

Photographer: Michael Graydon

Source: house and home November 2010 issue

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