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How I Style my Bargain Upcycled Marble and Gold Bar Cart

upcycled bar cart marble and gold

When we moved into our new house, there were certain items of furniture that I knew I absolutely had to get straightaway. Some of them were more practical than others - we definitely needed a bed, for example...and a washing machine. 

Others were a lot less practical and a lot less approved of by Sean - I have a feeling that when a dusty old tea trolley turned up at the front door before we'd even got as far as buying furniture for the spare room, he had a bit of a 'why is this happening to me' moment. That's right - I had my heart set on a bar cart for the living room, and a bar cart I bought myself. Kind of.

upcycled marble contact paper bar cart

As soon as I started looking for bar carts online though, I quickly realised that the beautiful gold and marble ones I had spotted on various blogs and pinterest images actually cost a ridiculous amount of money. My favourite was an Oliver Bonas number that cost over £250 - more than we had spent on ANY item of furniture so far. That was one purchase I knew I wouldn't be able to sneak past Sean, beautiful though it may be!

Even when I started looking on Gumtree and eBay, which usually totally came to my rescue when it came to bargain furniture, I was still finding that people wanted you to shell out upwards of 80 or 90 quid. I had just about resigned myself to waiting for my bar cart when I did one last search on Etsy, this time for vintage tea trolleys. If you guys are looking for something similar, do the same - turns out there's a lot less people after a retro tea trolley than a super popular bar cart!

I didn't bother taking before photos unfortunately, but obviously the particular style I went for was very popular back in the day, because there's plenty of photos on various sites of the exact one I bought. Isn't it special?


Whilst there's definitely a kind of retro charm to it, it really didn't work for me - and Sean absolutely hated it! It took me a little while to decide what I wanted to do with it, but in the end I decided to go for something simple and cheap - I took out the middle shelf to make more room and to make it look a bit less 'trolley-esque' and then I bought some £5 marble contact paper to cover the remaining shelves. I'm not going to bother doing step by step instructions, because honestly it was the easiest thing ever. I just turned the contact paper over and flattened it out on the top shelf so that I could use a pencil to mark out the inner measurements, cut out the contact paper and gradually placed it down, using a damp cloth as I went to push out any air bubbles. It went so well that Sean actually came home and refused to believe that I'd done it, because it actually looked good (thanks love). 

I Just love It gin this way illuminated canvas

Now that the bar cart itself looks how I want it, I've been playing around with different accessories and items to put on it. Currently it looks exactly as in the photos above - eventually I want to get some more pretty glasses to go on the top shelf, and swap the wooden tray for a round mirrored one, but it does the job for now! 

My absolute favourite addition is my illuminated canvas from I Just Love It*, which is a website offering gifts with a personal touch - perfect for you guys to bear in mind for Christmas! Sean and I are big fans of gin (Eden Mill is my current fave) so this sign is just the best thing ever - and it lights up! What more could you want? If we wanted to we could  of course hang the canvas on the wall, but I quite like it balanced on the top of my bar cart. What do you guys think? Can I rub it in Sean's face that I totally made the right choice, furniture wise? 

*The canvas from I Just Love It was sent to me for review purposes, however I was not paid to include it in this post and as always all opinions are my own - I genuinely think it's awesome, and it has pride of place in my living room!
  • My Edinburgh House Tour | Before Pictures

    Edinburgh House Tour Hallway Edinburgh House Tour Front Door

    Hello and welcome to my house! You might have spotted on my social media earlier this year that Sean and I had decided to buy a flat in Edinburgh, and then you might also have spotted in June that we actually ended up buying a three bedroom house and moving in with only the furniture that we had put together in two years of renting fully furnished tiny flats (i.e. not much) and that we were able to scrounge from family members. It's been a good few months now and we've made a lot of cosmetic changes, but before I show you any of those I thought I'd give you a quick tour of the house pretty much as it was when we moved in.

    Edinburgh House Tour Living Room
    Edinburgh House Tour Living Room Sofa
    Edinburgh House Tour Dining Room
    Edinburgh House Tour Garden

    Living Room/Dining Room/Garden

    The living room and dining room is combined and situated off to the right of the hallway, with french doors leading to the back garden/decking area. When we moved in the chimney breast was actually painted a very bright scarlet, but I changed that so quickly that we don't have any photos of it! We were very lucky that the previous owners left behind the built in reclaimed wood shelves and the big mirror, which saved us some money buying similar items! People tend to either love or hate the wooden shelves - I think they're great personally, but they are quite rustic so I guess I can see that they wouldn't be to everyone's taste.

    Edinburgh House Tour KitchenEdinburgh House Tour Kitchen Rangemaster Oven

    Kitchen

    The kitchen was pretty much brand new when we moved in and is by far my favourite part of the house - I've always dreamed of having a big kitchen with lots of light, and compared to some of the dark boxy ones we saw in some of the flats we viewed, this one was head and shoulders above the rest! Also, it came with the gorgeous berry coloured Rangemaster oven - not gonna lie, that's definitely what sold the house for me. As soon as we left I said to Sean that I knew this was the house for me! We've even got a pantry, which is just the icing on a very nice cake, to be honest.

    Edinburgh House Tour Spare Room

    Guest Room

    Our house is a three bedroom, with two bedrooms upstairs and one downstairs, which means that we actually have two spare rooms at present. The one pictured is our spare room downstairs, which has an en suite shower room and is therefore our chosen guest room - whereas our upstairs second bedroom isn't even pictured because it's currently just full of whatever junk I haven't yet been able to find a home for. I'm thinking that eventually it'll be a den/snug of some kind - but it's not exactly our highest priority! It's really nice to have so much spare room though, especially since my family and friends from down South like to come up and visit - it's great for them to be able to have their own little self contained bedroom and bathroom!

    Edinburgh House Tour Master Bedroom

    Master Bedroom

    Can we just take a moment to absorb the feature wallpaper that came in the master bedroom? It was the thickest, shiniest paper ever - to the extent that when we stripped it we could literally just peel swathes of it off, there was never any need at all to use a steamer or really any tools of any kind! I love the Edinburgh Press style cupboard, which I think was actually recently built in rather than being an existing period feature - and not pictured are the huge built in wardrobes on the opposite side of the room, again - saving us money since we didn't have to buy our own!

    I haven't bothered showing you the bathrooms as they're both pretty non descript - we will be replacing them as soon as we can (though after the wedding), but they're not hideous to the extent that it's painful to live with them - there's no avocado bathroom suites or anything like that! It's strange looking back at these photos now as it hadn't really seemed like we'd done all that much to change the house, but the rooms do actually now mostly look completely different! I'll be posting updated version as and when I'm happy with them - thought it'll by no means be a final version, as we're very much doing everything on a shoestring budget at the moment.

    Do let me know if you're interested in any other posts related to either decorating/furnishing a house or the house buying process as a whole - whether that's understanding buying a house when you don't even really understand what a mortgage is (thank the lawd for Sean is all I can say) or if you'd like some tips on furnishing a house from scratch with no money (Gumtree is your closest friend in this) - I'm happy to put some more posts together!