Ideas and Tips for a DIY Kitchen Pantry

Additions and Remodels
Cabinets and Countertops
Kitchen Remodeling
By Alex Mikayelyan September 20, 2021

We all have our ideas of what a pantry should be, perhaps influenced by the one we had in our homes growing up: standards on where it should be located and what it should contain. But regardless of how diverse our ideas are, some aspects of a kitchen pantry are common across all variations. Kitchen pantries are super important to your cooking process, so some must-haves definitely apply to them all. Having all your ingredients and appliances at hand in an organized space, for example, makes your time in the kitchen a lot more efficient and enjoyable. This is a feature all the best pantries will have.

Building a pantry kitchen requires you to get various factors just right, be it the type, placement, or even pantry design. All of these details can have a huge impact on your work in the kitchen and make for a lovely home addition. With enough careful consideration and planning, you can create the perfect pantry that will serve you for years to come. 

Types of Kitchen Pantries

There are a few types of pantries you can go for based on how much space you have and where you have it.

A Pantry Cabinet

A Pantry Cabinet Can Complete Your Kitchen’s Look

A Pantry Cabinet Can Complete Your Kitchen’s Look

One of the most common pantry types in the kitchen is a freestanding pantry, aka the pantry cabinet. A tall pantry cabinet gives you the space to store kitchenware, appliances, dry ingredients, and everything else you’d like to stow away.

But while they do add some extra storage space, pantry cabinets do require some space of their own. Not all kitchens can accommodate a freestanding kitchen pantry cabinet. To do so, you will need to free up an entire wall, or at least a portion of it. If you do have the room for one more piece of kitchen furniture, however, the freestanding pantry cupboard is a classic way to go in maximizing your storage space.

An In-Wall Pantry

Convert Cabinet Space Into Mini Pantries

Convert Cabinet Space Into Mini Pantries

If you don’t have the extra space for a new piece of furniture, perhaps you might find the space within your existing cabinets. An in-wall pantry can be a great solution, especially for homeowners looking for small pantry ideas. These are designed to be dug into the wall and offer extra space without taking up any room in the kitchen. By opening up some space inside a wall and mounting shelves into it, you can create a pantry that won’t get in your way and will provide some extra storage as well.

The one limitation with wall pantries is that you can’t personalize how deep they’ll go into the wall beyond the depth of the surrounding cabinets. This means they can still be used to store smaller kitchen items and ingredients, such as spice jars, herbs, coffee, and tea, quite nicely though. Extra storage is always good to have.

The Walk-In Pantry

How To Turn Your Extra Closet Space Into A Dream Pantry

How To Turn Your Extra Closet Space Into A Dream Pantry

Maximizing space and storage, the walk-in pantry is a prime choice for any homeowner that is looking to keep a busy pantry stocked with all the kitchen essentials. Walk-in pantries are not unlike walk-in closets for your clothes — they are every organization lover’s dream. You would typically place a walk-in pantry in a corner of or near the kitchen. It’s nice to maintain close proximity to everything you’ll need to on a day-to-day basis.

A premium pantry like this will require plenty of space. It may be an option for those with an extra guest bathroom or broom closet near the kitchen. If you happen to have a little closet (or even an existing pantry) that hasn’t been realizing its full potential, there are a lot of walk-in pantry ideas that could serve as a fantastic conversion.

A Butler’s Pantry

The Ultimate Luxury Kitchen Pantry for All Your Storage Needs

The Ultimate Luxury Kitchen Pantry for All Your Storage Needs

Let’s delve into the epitome of luxury. Butler’s pantries were once a regular feature in the houses of well-to-do families. Also referred to as a kitchenette, back kitchen, or pantry kitchen, the hidden butler’s pantry used to serve as extra kitchen storage space for family heirlooms and was also a prep and cleaning room.

While it will require an entire room or hallway all to itself, the butler’s kitchen has a variety of practical uses — from extra kitchen space during big dinner parties to storing less-frequently used kitchen appliances. 

Slide-Out Pantry Shelf

Kitchen Ergonomics to Keep Things Organized

Kitchen Ergonomics to Keep Things Organized

For homeowners that are working with very little space and cannot afford to stuff another piece of furniture into their kitchen, a slide-out or pull-out pantry is the right call. This pantry design is very ergonomic and can be installed between kitchen cabinets and drawers. What makes slide-pantries unique is how it is essentially a single vertical shelf. This makes a pantry a feasible option for any kitchen.

Slide-out pantries are somewhat limited in the amount of storage they offer, but they are perfect for spice jars, bottles of oil, vinegar, and other compact items, especially when placed close to your worktop countertops. Ergonomic, convenient, and easy to use, a slide-out pantry can be one of the most useful modern additions to any modern kitchen.

Where to Build Your Pantry

Every home is different, so having an exact formula for where to put a pantry is not a viable option. There are however some tips on what makes pantry placement good to help avoid clogging up the natural flow of the kitchen. 

The basic formula here is to find space that has the potential for extra storage but won’t get in the way of the kitchen’s productivity path. This is the common route you tread for your most routine kitchen activities: making coffee, grabbing produce from the refrigerator, and walking chopped veggies from the countertop to a sizzling pan on the stove. Be it a closet, a little alcove, or a recess, pantry placement is very important for determining how much storage you have access to and how easily you can access it.

DIY Kitchen Pantry Ideas

Freeform Shelves 

Customized Cabinet Sizes for Better Space Optimizations

Customized Cabinet Sizes for Better Space Optimizations

While uniformity is important for keeping things in your pantry organized, you can still add a bit of variety to your pantry shelves by mixing them up. Incorporate freeform shelves which do not have to be symmetrical or lined up. This is among the most practical pantry shelving ideas and it can work wonders for your storage.

Freeform shelving allows you to customize exactly how much storage you have in whichever part of the pantry you choose. For example, if you are looking to store your spice mixes on the left you can make those shelves slightly smaller than the ones where you’ll be storing larger bins of food items. This way, you won’t be losing storage space for height above your spices. It’s also a nice visual technique to break up the monotony of kitchen pantry storage and add a little flavor to the design.

Pull-Out Kitchen Cabinet Drawers

Make Things Easier and Smart In the Kitchen With Pull-Out Drawer Organization

Make Things Easier and Smart In the Kitchen With Pull-Out Drawer Organization

The pull-out drawer is a very popular cabinet upgrade. This is because it makes better use of available space and allows for more ergonomic storage. Having to reach into a dark, overstacked drawer just to find a lemon squeezer you haven’t used in a while is not something you want to be doing when you’ve got garlic overheating on the stove.

A pull-out drawer gives you easy access to everything inside the cabinet. This is a crucial upgrade for your pantry as it makes it easier to find exactly what you need without bumping your head against the counter too. 

A Pantry Room with Natural Light

A Window Is the Cherry On Top of a Roomy Kitchen Pantry

A Window Is the Cherry On Top of a Roomy Kitchen Pantry

If you’re building a walk-in pantry from a broom closet or a kitchen annex that has a window in it, do not close off the window. Some homeowners get rid of the window fearing that sunlight might spoil the food stored inside the pantry. However, if you can limit the amount of sunlight that gets into the pantry with curtains or smart window blinds you definitely want to keep the window for some extra natural light. This is especially welcome if you’ll be using the pantry to prep as well.

Another great purpose for the pantry window is ventilation. Pantries often have that distinct smell that many of us love; it’s a mix of cereal, our favorite sweets, and that faint whiff of spices. However, if something rots in the pantry and stinks up the entire room, the smell will be stuck there for weeks. If you have window access you can easily air it out and freshen up the entire kitchen.

Consider a Storage Stand

Minimalist Shelving for a Smaller Kitchen

Minimalist Shelving for a Smaller Kitchen

Freestanding cabinets are great for pantries that do not have a dedicated space like a closet or recess. However, even a cabinet can be a little too big for some kitchens. A good way around this problem is with a more minimalist storage stand, which is nothing more than a few shelves on a metallic frame. They may not have as much storage capacity as freestanding cabinets but they are quite ergonomic and can be easily implemented into most interior aesthetics (especially Scandinavian or loft designs). 

Hooks for Additional Storage

Expand the Potential of Your Pantry by Using a Variety of Storage Solutions

Expand the Potential of Your Pantry by Using a Variety of Storage Solutions

If you’re looking to maximize the usefulness of your existing pantry, try utilizing more vertical space. Most homeowners rely on the shelves they’re given and often miss out on a lot of opportunities to declutter and store items with a few hooks. These can be used to hang utensils, kitchenware, mugs, or other supplies. A savvy homeowner will make use of every inch in their pantries and that strategy pays off with a more organized pantry and kitchen. 

Cute Containers, But Not Just for Looks

An Essential Part of Any Clutter-Free Pantry

An Essential Part of Any Clutter-Free Pantry

While this pantry storage tip isn’t necessarily a DIY design idea, it is a must-have ingredient for an efficient and visually serene pantry. Now, you may not be focused too much on how good your pantry should look; after all, most pantries are not necessarily on display for all to see. However, storing your pantry items in glass jars is not only cute but can also help you with your kitchen efficiency. Clear storage bins, boxes, containers or jars, allow you to find what you need a lot more quickly. They also help maximize storage by eliminating the need for food boxes of varying shapes and sizes. Add on some labels and you’ve got the ultimate professional organizer's stamp of approval along with a pantry that doesn’t scream chaos.

Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan