I have been wanting to give my pantry a makeover for such a long time. When the winter seemed never ending, I finally decided to do it! It literally leaves me speechless every time I see it. I’m still in shock that I was able to take a vision of what I wanted and create it in real life. I’m hoping that this tutorial will give you some inspiration for your own pantry.
- Shelf brackets
- Wood for shelves
- Edge banding
- Stud finder
- Wood for accent wall
- Countertop- I custom ordered quartz but you can get any style you want!
- Cabinet for broom closet-Mine was Ikea Pax unit
- Hardware for drawers
- Paint-I chose Woods Violet by Benjamin Moore
- Stain-I used a combination of 40% Early American, 20% Whitewash, and 40% Weathered Gray. You can use whatever color you like. I do prefer water based stain!
- Grout Float
- Beverage fridge
Step 1- Remove old shelving
The first step in my pantry makeover was to remove all of the shelving. I did mine a little at a time because I knew this project would take longer than a week and I still needed somewhere to store my stuff. I started with the side of my pantry where I wanted to put a cabinet to hold my vacuum and mop.
Step 2- Install cabinet for broom closet
I purchased this Pax wardrobe cabinet from Ikea and decided to make it look built in. I went ahead and made sure that everything I needed would fit inside of it. I attached trim to the top and a baseboard to the bottom. I added a side support for the countertop and also a side piece so I could attach a front face all the way around it. I also filled all of the holes in the unit. I know that filling all those holes isn’t necessary but it just helps it to look more built in to me. Then I caulked all those seams and added the wood for the front faces.
Step 3- Replace the light fixture
If you like the light fixture in your pantry, you don’t need to do this step. Mine wasn’t my favorite but on top of that, with the new design of the pantry, I needed something slimmer. I love the light I got. I’ve used it in multiple rooms now. It’s super slim but still puts out a ton of light. I’m working on a blogpost to show you how to change out a light fixture. It’s super easy to do. You can definitely YouTube it or hire it out though.
Step 4- Install cabinet bases
The next step is to install those cabinet bases/drawers. I ran into a couple little hiccups with this but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t figure out. I had to cut out a small box in the back of one cabinet so that I could still have access to the outlet. Having outlets in your pantry is a game changer. These drawers are probably one of my favorite parts of this pantry! When installing these, I made sure to use my stud finder to attach to the studs in the wall.
Step 5- Paint!
Usually for my paint colors, I tend to either go white or green. I love those colors! After talking with my mom though, she convinced me to try something new. I was pretty nervous to see how it would turn out but I absolutely love it! I know that this color isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. At the end of the day, all that matters is if you like the color. I went with Woods Violet by Benjamin Moore. My husband stared at it for a good long while trying to decide what color it is. Is it blue? Is it purple? It’s magical! I painted my broom closet and the base cabinets in this color. Some of the cabinet was already primed but for the raw pieces of wood that weren’t primed, I used primer first. It helps so much!
Step 6- Beverage Fridge
I think this may have been my husband’s favorite part of this renovation-NOT! It was so hard to decide between the beverage fridges and I kept changing my mind and getting a different one. We finally settled on the one I wanted and it didn’t work! So we ended up returning yet another beverage fridge. 4th one’s the charm, right? I knew when I started this project that I wanted to put a beverage fridge in the pantry and I am so glad we did! Instead of just storing all of our drinks on the floor of the pantry, they now have a place to go and are cold too! It also saves room in the fridge, win-win. I did have to add some supports to the sides of the beverage fridge for the countertops to sit on top of.
Step 7- Hide a skeleton
Okay, so maybe this isn’t a real step. I had a corner in the pantry that I was unable to use for something else. I tried multiple options and nothing really worked. So I decided before everything was all in that I’d put a fake skeleton into that corner. It’ll make for a really funny surprise when the next homeowner’s change up this space. You should have seen the look on the countertop installer’s face when they saw what I did!
Step 8- Countertops
I knew that I wanted quartz countertops in the pantry. I love the way they look, how well they clean, and how durable they are. I decided to hire this part out. We have some friends that are in the countertop business and we went with them. The process is actually really neat. When they come to measure, they use lasers and it’s incredibly accurate. After they were made, they came back to install them. The fit is perfect. You could easily get some countertops from your local hardware store or make your own. Whatever option you choose, I’m sure you’ll love it!
Step 9-Slat Wall
Accent walls add so much character to a space. I decided to add wood slats to one wall in my pantry. I wanted it to match the wooden shelves on the other wall. First, I started by painting the entire wall dark. I wanted the spaces in between the wood slats to be dark. I cut all of the slat boards to the length that I wanted for the wall. Then using my nail gun, I nailed the wood slats to the wall. I made sure the first board was level and then I used one of the pieces to act as a spacer so they were all equally spaced. It makes it so much easier to get the proper spacing. I did add a piece of wood trim to the top of the wall where it meets the ceiling, to make it look more finished. Then I stained them using the same mixture of stains that I did on my shelving. My formula is in the supplies list above. For some reason, it didn’t stain the same and I wasn’t loving the result. It looked way more gray. So I decided to change it up. I painted everything black.
I was wanting to find some cute artwork or a plant to add to the wall but none of the stores had what I wanted. So I decided to make my own! A blogpost will be coming soon with step-by-step instructions for it. I just repurposed an old frame that I had. I mitered the edges of the wood for the new frame and just secured it on. Then I added some cute artwork and I love the way it looks!
Step 10- Repair the wall and tile
Since I knew I was going to cover this wall up with tile, I wasn’t a perfectionist with how smooth I got the wall. I just wanted to fix the rough pieces to make it mostly smooth. If I was going to paint the wall, I would have spent more time perfecting it. I just used this spackle to patch the wall and then sanded smooth. For some of the bigger problem areas, I had to repeat the process until I got it how I wanted it. After the wall was completed, I put up Musselbound. Have you heard me talk about it before? Musselbound is an adhesive tiling mat. You peel off the back and stick it to the wall. Then when you are ready to tile, you peel off the front layer. I’ve used this for multiple tiling jobs and I have never had a problem. Even years later, the tiling is still holding up fine. I used a tile saw to make the cuts I needed this time. Because it was still so cold here, I had to use hot water so my hands wouldn’t freeze while using the tile saw.
Step 11- Grout
I like to buy the premade grout. It makes the process so much quicker and cleaner, in my opinion. You can use a grout flout or your fingers to press the grout in between the tiles. I like to wear gloves when I do this as it does get messy. I also like to only do small sections at a time. I’ll put some grout on, and then wipe off the excess. I’ve found that if you do bigger spaces at a time, the grout dries faster and is a lot harder to get the excess off. Also, if you plan ahead and lay down a drop cloth on your countertops, then you don’t have to scrape off the excess grout that falls and dries on it. Ask me how I know!
Once everything is grouted, you can move along to the next step. I didn’t have to do a sealer because the grout has a sealer in it already and I knew this area wouldn’t be coming into contact with water regularly.
Step 12- Install shelves
This step was a hard one! That tile sure was hard to drill through. I still would rather drill through tile for the shelf brackets than have to tile around the brackets. I think it looks nicer and is the easier route to go. I used a diamond bit and a regular bit for this. The diamond bit is so much nicer to drill through the tile with but it doesn’t have a pointed end and would slip easier when I was just starting to drill. So I would start out with the regular bit and then switch to the diamond bit. It required a lot of upper body strength. All those workouts and weight lifting definitely helped me out!
For the shelves, I bought some oak plywood at Lowe’s and had them cut it down to the width I wanted. And then I cut the shelves to the length I needed. I did use edge banding for the ends of my shelves to give it a nice finished look. I always use wood conditioner before I stain. It helps the stain to apply more evenly and have less splotches. After the conditioner, I used my favorite mixture of stain and added a polyurethane topcoat. After my first coat of polyurethane is dry, I sand. That way I don’t end up sanding off the stain but it still gets it as smooth as I’m wanting. After sanding, I add another coat of polyurethane. Then just screw your shelving boards into the brackets that you hung and you’re good to go!
Step 13- Organize
Next is the fun part, organizing your new pantry! It was easiest for me to get all the organizing materials and see which fit the space best. I’m loving all the options there are. My favorites have been the lazy susans in the corner, the clear containers, and the cereal dispensers. Only time will tell if the cereal dispensers are cleaner or messier than just the regular cereal containers.
This was not a quick project. It took me a total of 9 weeks to do! It’s hard to be without a working pantry for that long but we survived and love the results. Everything is so much more functional now. I am obsessed with this pantry and still amazed that I was able to create it. I love the way it looks. I have to pinch myself that I’m not dreaming! I fully stand by my motto that YOU can create the home of your dreams. Follow me on Instagram for more home project inspiration @spetrichhome