Secretary Desks Are the Bar Cart Alternative You Never Knew You Needed

Secretary desk as a bar cart.

Lauren Zillinger for Laura Metzler Photography

For many months, I was lusting over a petite secretary desk from World Market, but given that I didn’t have anywhere specific to put it, I was able to refrain—that is, until the piece went on major sale. I knew there had to be some way I could work the beautiful desk into my small apartment, and then it occurred to me: the piece could most definitely double as a bar table. 

Secretary desk as a bar cart.

Lauren Zillinger for Laura Metzler Photography

I picked up the desk at my local World Market, spent a few minutes assembling it, and then immediately began styling. Compared to secretary desks featuring tall, cabinet-like hutches and drawers, this piece doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles.

There are two small drawers on top but not a ton of storage space, so unfortunately, I’m not able to store my barware anywhere inside. Instead, I made use of the top of the “hutch” portion of the desk and used that to display a few favorite accent pieces—but if you’re more into functionality, note that this surface would also make a great place to set bottles. 

Close up of wooden desk as bar cart.

Lauren Zillinger for Laura Metzler Photography

I then corralled a few liquor bottles on one of my favorite marble trays, added some cocktail-related books, and set out two of my favorite glasses to style a little entertaining-ready setup. Simple, but sweet and stylish. 

I’m by no means the only person who’s thought of using a secretary's desk as a home bar. Below, you’ll find a few inspiration images from designers, which I can’t stop swooning over. 

Designer Zoe Feldman made a major statement by adding a tall secretary desk to a Washington, D.C. rowhouse, where it serves as a deluxe bar cabinet. The piece can be neatly closed up when not in use but provides significant storage for all kinds of entertaining essentials. 

Desk styled as bar cart.

Design: Zoe Feldman; Photo: Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Southern State of Mind blogger Heather Metzler transformed an antique-looking piece into a well-organized bar station, in which she displays all kinds of cocktail glasses and a variety of liquors. 

Vintage hutch styled as liquor cabinet.

Heather Metzler

This setup by designer Cindy Witmer proves that even small pieces—like mine—can look beautiful with a small bench tucked underneath and plenty of art and accents nearby. A large tray is simultaneously functional and stylish. 

Vintage desk holding liquor bottles.

Kerry Kirk  

Related Stories