Pantry Makeover

Over New Year’s we were also on the reorganization bandwagon like many of you out there and we decided to remake the pantry as an impromptu project.  The sneak peek I posted the other day probably gave you a good idea of what we did, but it’s not an area of the house you see a lot, so here’s the before as a reminder.

Pantry Before

It’s a drabby blue color with warped white shelves.  And now the after.


It’s not the best angle, but it’s the only before photo I could find!  We’ve got a whole kitchen/hallway/half bath/pantry redo coming at some point 2014-2015, so I just wanted this little upgrade to get us through and turn this little space into something pretty.  The shelves that were in there were all warped and bent, but the depth and the spacing actually worked well so I emptied it all out and decided to use the existing supports that were on the wall to save myself time.


I did also break out the level and ensured the shelf supports themselves were level first.  You never know with this house! I took my measurements and off to Lowes I went to get some boards to make the new shelves.  Here’s what I needed for four new shelves:

  • (4) 1×12’s @ 56″
  • (4) 1×2’s @ 54″
  • wood glue
  • clamps
  • wood stain

I wanted them to have a “beefier” look in this space, but not be so beefy that it infringed on the height of my shelves too much, so I went with a 1×12 shelf depth with a 1×2 face board to give it that extra ooomph in thickness.  You’ll see what I mean as I put them together.

I lucked out and we had one nice afternoon literally a day before we got a cold spell and then a ton of snow dumped on us, so I took advantage of it and set up the miter saw and sander outside to prep my boards.

Cutting Station

I cut each of the 1×12’s down to 56″ which was the length of my original shelves.  The 1×2 face boards only got cut to 54″ because I needed them to sit next to the side shelf supports.  I couldn’t really get a picture of it, but the shelf supports are along the back wall and one on each side, forming a “U” shape.  If my face board was 56″ like my shelf (which was sitting on top of these supports), it would not fit, since these boards were ~3/4″ thick.  So I cut my face board 1″ shorter on each side, so it would slide in and sit next to the shelf support.  It’s hard to explain and I should’ve gotten more pictures, but trust me, it worked.

Once the boards were cut to length I resisted my urge to skip sanding them and went to town on them with 80 grit and then 220.  For some reason I always want to laze out and skip this step, but then while I’m doing it I sort of zone out and just love feeling the boards turn to butter soft and lovely.  Moral of the story – don’t skip your sanding!


Once sanded I got ready to stain them inside where it was a little warmer.  I set up a staining station in the front mudroom since I could close the door that connects that room to the house and crack a window if it was too stinky.  It wasn’t too bad, but it’s a good out of the way spot for the boards to dry.  This time around I chose Minwax Special Walnut over the Dark Walnut we typically use.  I was planning on using a dark color for the rear of the pantry and didn’t want the shelves to blend too much.  This color was a little warmer so I went with it.


I only used one coat on each board since I really liked the tone and once they were dry I started assembling the shelves.  I applied wood glue along the edge of the 1×2 and then used clamps to clamp the 1×2 face board to that while keeping the edges even (and the ends evenly pulled back on each side).

Pantry Pantry

Some of the boards are warped and I haven’t yet assembled a huge supply of clamps so I used my new brad nailer I got for Christmas to shoot a few brad nails into the ends and for more security while the glue dried.  If you don’t have a finish nailer and have lots of clamps, then wood glue should do just find here on it’s own.


Here’s a shot of the board end so you can see the 1×2 about an inch from the end.


While those were drying one at a time I moved on to painting the inside of the pantry.  I decided to try the Thunder Gray I had picked up for the front room and see how it looked.  I showed it to you when we went through the house color scheme and I’m glad I tried it here first.  It turned out to be more of a dark gray with hints of green to it that I didn’t expect from the swatch.  I know, I know, I always say Sherwin Williams comes out true to the swatch and when I held the swatch up after it was all dry – it did.  I just don’t think I read the color correctly this time around.  Anyway, I used their Duration line this time, since it’s a darker paint and it’s what they recommended at the store.  It still only took 2 coats to cover that drabby blue color and then we were all set!


Update:  Before I placed the shelves back in the pantry, I gave them a coat of the same Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Wax I used on the bureau project here just to give them a layer of protection since we’ll be pulling things on and off the shelves.

All that was left was to reload the shelves and do a little organization and purging!


don’t judge the wine bottles and beer…it was New Year’s after all! 

Well, that’s not really all… to make this post even longer, we painted this small room out side of it as well.  I grabbed our can of Agreeable Beige from our house colors and cut in the low parts while Jake painted up nearly the insanely tall ceiling.

Pantry Pantry

2 coats again and that drabby blue color was all gone we have great shelves for all our things!

DSCN3505 DSCN3508

It’s nice to have some appliances out in the open and not have to go digging through cupboards.  And I love a few open baskets for fruits and veggies!


We still would like to add more trim around the door (to hide that insanley crooked opening), and need to switch out the light switches.   We’ve also thought about paining that super high ceiling and neat contrasting color and adding some sort of unexpected light fixture.  Are fun crystal chandeliers allowed in the pantry??  I’ve seen then in bathrooms before!  Last before and after before I leave you!

Pantry Before Pantry

Thanks for sticking with me on this post!

Any reorganization going on over at your house?  Have and tips for keeping a neat and well stocked pantry you want to share?

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1 Comment

  1. When I saw your before picture I was thinking “That doesn’t look that bad…” but then when I saw your after picture it looks GORGEOUS! I love the wood stained shelves. Right now I’m thinking about what I want to do with our wire shelves and you have provided me with inspiration!

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