Melissa B
Melissa B
  • Hometalker
  • Forney, TX

Pantry Remodel!


The standard pantries in the house we bought last year were almost unusable. Long deep shelves and only 3-4 of them in a large closet sized area. Thank heavens they had doors. I designed the shelves, my husband cut them out of MDF boards, I painted them with several coats of paint, and he installed them with L shaped aluminum brace. The brace allowed use of the shelf all the way to the back of the space. I
At least it looked nice and neat with the door closed!
At least it looked nice and neat with the door closed!
Such a disaster... we couldn't find anything in the jumbled mess, and heaven forbid it was at the back!
Such a disaster... we couldn't find anything in the jumbled mess, and heaven forbid it was at the back!
So you empty first, and knock those shelves out!
So you empty first, and knock those shelves out!
It was small closet sized, we repaired any wall damaged and painted. the strips are from the wood they used to hold the former shelves up.
It was small closet sized, we repaired any wall damaged and painted. the strips are from the wood they used to hold the former shelves up.
My production line for painting.
My production line for painting.
I used a left over Behr semi-gloss for the first 2 coats. But finished it off with a nice coat of gloss.
I used a left over Behr semi-gloss for the first 2 coats. But finished it off with a nice coat of gloss.
You can see the L shaped aluminum "brace"  he used to hold the shelves. Smart hubby.
You can see the L shaped aluminum "brace" he used to hold the shelves. Smart hubby.
I can see everything! We did add one more shelf up high a little later. And the bottom shelf is about 8 inches from the floor, so I can clean!
I can see everything! We did add one more shelf up high a little later. And the bottom shelf is about 8 inches from the floor, so I can clean!
Everything has a place.  So nice. No more digging around to find things.
Everything has a place. So nice. No more digging around to find things.

Have a question about this project?

33 questions
  • Jessica Hayes
    on Nov 26, 2015

    What were the dimensions of your pantry closet? My husband says mine is too small to do something like this. I think he just doesn't want to do it.

  • M Cohn
    on Dec 19, 2015

    My pantry is only 2 feet x 2 feet. Do you think it would really work for me? Not sure I'd really gain anything with this design.

    • Melissa B
      on Dec 20, 2015

      @M Cohn Really only you could determine that. Maybe a modified design of an "L" shape instead of the "U" shape? Or even a triangle shape from one corner to another. The only thing you would gain would be more shelves that you can see everything that's on them. 2 feet deep shelves was my problem... I couldn't find things at the back, and so few shelves that things were piled on top of each other. Be creative... you will solve it!

  • Pat
    on Dec 26, 2015

    This would be perfect for my small pantry. Where did you purchase the aluminum channel? Did it have to be cut for fit? How did you mount the MDF shelves using the channels?

    • Melissa B
      on Jan 12, 2016

      @Pat Look at the pictures and other responses. It's all explained.

  • Kathy Tuttle-Donohoe
    on Jan 3, 2016

    Did you lose any space for storage? Hubs is asking me - I'm thinking if there is any loss - it's minimal - do you know?

    • Melissa B
      on Mar 2, 2016

      Kathy.. it made more space. The cool thing is that I no longer duplicate things that I have, but are "lost" in the back of the closet. It helps me not lose $ by allowing things to expire as well.

  • Kathy Tuttle-Donohoe
    on Jan 3, 2016

    We have a similar pantry and sizing about the same - the "after" pictures really don't demonstrate if you were able to fit everything back in the same space. Were you able to fit all back in? Hubby is kind of a nay-sayer when it comes to home improvement - I have to be particularly picky about the projects I want done - and this one I would really like to be done! Thank you - hopefully this isn't going in the comments section - it wasn't my intent! Kat

    • Melissa B
      on Jan 5, 2016

      @Kathy Tuttle-Donohoe Kathy... the "before" and "after" pictures have almost all the same things in them. There were a few expired things that had gotten "lost" in the back that I tossed. I gained quite a bit more space, and can now find things. If you start at the beginning of the Comments.. there are lots of tips on how we did it. My hubby was great about understanding the need and how to do it. I describe the shelf holders as "channels", but there are really just L pieces of aluminum that he cut to length and used to brace the shelves in place. We wanted them so that the normal pieces of 1x1 wood that would hold shelves up weren't necessary as they would take up top space at the back of the shelf. Good luck with the project. I still love it.

    • Don
      on Mar 31, 2016

      Really know what you mean about the wood taking up space. I need to replace the wood with aluminum angle like you did, great idea.

  • Mary Davis
    on Jan 11, 2016

    Great Idea.. I am so over my pantry.. I need a COMPLETE REDO!!! Just trying to get some ideas.. Anyone have any ideas for an older house with a bathroom in the pantry??

    • Melissa B
      on Jan 20, 2016

      @Mary Davis Actually I do. Definitely doors on the pantry, but if you post a sketch, I think you would get lots of ideas.

    • Melissa B
      on Jan 20, 2016

      @Melissa B We had an older house with a bathroom right off the kitchen and next to the butler pantry... or I guess that's what it would be called. It was a strange arrangement as well. Is it big enough to make a small bathroom and separate pantry?

  • Ashleigh
    on Jan 17, 2016

    What are the aluminum shelf supports? Where did you find them? How much weight can they hold? I'm so intrigued!

    • Melissa B
      on Jan 20, 2016

      @Ashleigh The shelf supports are aluminum "L" pieces cut to size from Lowe's. The other pantry next to this one has the same shelves now, and holds my Kitchen Aid with all it's extras, a cuisinart food processor/blender, and a few other things. They are screwed to the wall, and then from the top down into the channel with the screw heads countersunk into the wood.

    • Melissa B
      on Feb 27, 2016

      They are currently holding very heavy items... Kitchen Aid, stacks of dishes, etc. Hubby just got the aluminum pieces from Lowe's and cut them to size.

  • Jetvang01
    on Jan 19, 2016

    Great Pantry...any ideas for renters, who can't redo their closets?

    • Melissa B
      on Jan 20, 2016

      @Jetvang01 How about wire shelves on whatever is there?

    • Norma Durbin
      on Mar 2, 2016

      for renter, consider using labeled plastic bins on the shelf to hold similar items, when you move, you will be half packed !

    • Cecile Whyte
      on Apr 1, 2016

      Like the dry sense of humour Norma. Seriously though it is true. Maybe you could try adding some narrow tiered shelves between the existing shelves as needed. Maybe 6 &12 inches depending again on what you'd like to put on them.

    • Cecile Whyte
      on Apr 1, 2016

      That was for Jetvang01

    • Cbs4637169
      on Apr 5, 2016

      We got permission. From our landlord to cut the deep shelves in half length-wise to make more shelves that made organizing and seeing at a glance what was needed for shopping trips! We also added 3" deep shelves along both sides for storage of spices, cookie sprinkles, etc

    • Melissa B
      on Apr 6, 2016

      That sounds perfect!!

    • Judy Nichols Robertson
      on Apr 9, 2016

      I lived in an apartment, had already been told manager did not allow changes! I went ahead and did this same design in the small pantry, added some shelves and painted it bright white instead of the dark brow it was. When I was finished, it looked so good, I decided to really rebel and put up beautiful neutral striped wallpaper on the bavkside of the cabinets that faced into the living room. Called the manager down, showed him what I had done, said the other was just not acceptable the way it was. After he picked his chin up off the floor, he told me what a great job it was and just asked that I leave all the shelves when I moved! Of course I would! When I moved, I got every penny of my deposit back! Unheard of for this complex. He was very nice and friendly to me after this, where he was not before ! Said if every do-it-yourselfer would do as nice a job, they would have no problems !

    • Kathleen
      on Apr 9, 2016

      Just show them this post, and they'll probably pay you to do every apartment!?

    • Nancy Walters
      on Apr 9, 2016

      I bought inexpensive stand alone metal shelving and fitted it inside the dining room closet..since the door closed, and no one would see, I left them industrial gray. It's worked fine for me..

  • Diana Deiley
    on Feb 15, 2016

    The original plan looked like you chose a U design and then ended with an L shaped shelf. (Maybe it's the picture.) Do you like the MDF and is it holding up well?

    • Melissa B
      on Feb 27, 2016

      It's just the pictures. The original design is the same as in the shop pictures. The MDF is holding up REALLY well. No warping or sagging of any kind.

    • Don
      on Mar 31, 2016

      We are looking at two different pantries...one has U-shaped, just can't see the last leg and the other is L-shaped...?

    • Melissa B
      on Apr 2, 2016

      Don...same pantry in original post. Shelves are "U" shaped. I did post some pictures in comments of the second pantry, but used same shape for those shelves.

  • TraceyMarie Graham
    on Apr 9, 2016

    About how big is this closet/ food pantry? It looks just like mine, the before picture. ( sadly) and I wonder how much of center it would allow?

    • Melissa B
      on Apr 9, 2016

      Closet is 2ft. X 3ft. The center is just wide enough for my broad hips to stand on a stool to reach top.shelves.

    • TraceyMarie Graham
      on Apr 10, 2016

      Awesome! Same size as mine, now to fix my mess! Thank you

  • MaryJean Modica Sullivan
    on Apr 9, 2016

    What are the dimensions of your pantry?

  • Fran Whiddon
    on Apr 9, 2016

    How did he get the shelves into the side channels since the shelves were wider than the opening of the door frame.

    • Amy
      on Apr 9, 2016

      Put all the shelves in lengthwise resting on near the floor then lift them one at a time and put into place.

    • Melissa B
      on Apr 9, 2016

      Just like a bookcase....put them in upright and lift them above the channel, lower into place. You only do one at a time.

    • Fran Whiddon
      on Apr 9, 2016

      Thanks. I see know. I thought they were u shape. My husband did mine yesterday. Identical, even the shelf paper. He used same shelves and used original support boards. Love the light getting on all shelves.

    • Fran Whiddon
      on Apr 9, 2016

      Thanks. I see know. I thought they were u shape. My husband did mine yesterday. Identical, even the shelf paper. He used same shelves and used original support boards. Love the light getting on all shelves.

    • Melissa B
      on Apr 9, 2016

      They ARE u shaped. Please see all the pictures and posts

    • Brockmatthews
      on Apr 9, 2016

      What are the shelf heights

    • Melissa B
      on Apr 10, 2016

      Mr. Matthews....as you can see, they are all different heights. I lined up all the items in my pantry and decided how tall they needed to be and how many shelves with that spacing. All of course based on an 8" toe kick and remaining wall space.

  • Pat
    on Apr 9, 2016

    Sorry, but I don't get the part about the aluminum channels. What part do they play in this? I can't see them underneath the shelves (horizontally or vertically).

    • Melissa B
      on Apr 10, 2016

      You should probably look at the pictures. They really help. I've explained them several times as well. They are an "L" shaped piece of aluminum used to hold up the shelves.

    • Glaynebaker
      on Apr 11, 2016

      They are in the pix but they are not specifically necessary as other types of shelf supports / brackets would also do the job.

    • Melissa B
      on Apr 18, 2016

      Yes, but I wanted something other than pieces of wood that would take up valuable space at the top back of the shelf.

  • Cindy mulcahey
    on Apr 10, 2016

    Good evening, my question is : my husband and I bought our beautiful home a few yrs. ago. The little pantry we have , I believe the home owners made it them selves. Inside the pantry when they made the shelves all they did was staggered the wooden shelves to hold one on top of the other if you can picture it.

    , How could I re do the pantry shelves To give more room
    • Melissa B
      on Apr 10, 2016

      What a nice and convenient pantry you have!! I don't know your skill level, but i had a pantry with similar depth that had the shelves half the depth and the other half was on the door. It was great. If you aren't into rebuilding it, then how about doing some rearranging? I arrange my kitchen by how it's used. Cooking oil over stove, coffee things by the pot. That will give you more space. Then see if those cans will stack, or one of those things that keeps them rolling out as you remove one. Or little bins by type,beans, tomatoes, veggies. Otherwise its a great pantry. I agree it's small, but if you aren't a huge baker, then the store is close! Good luck. Keep trying things until something works and let me know!

    • Melissa B
      on Apr 10, 2016

      Cindy...I've been staring at your pantry and see what you are talking about...they made a broom closet into a pantry. It was designed to hold a broom, dustpan, mop and cleaning supplies up top. I would be tempted to rip it out and build one that opens on the other side with just 8-10" deep shelves, but quite a bit wider...at least as far as the refrigerator comes out.

    • Jennifer Morgan
      on Jun 17, 2016

      Cindy, you can find the hardware to makethe shelves pull out. I have cabinets like this bordering my fridge also. I really wish I hadn't bought them because they are so deep food get pushed and pushed. I just found cocoa mix from 4 years ago never opened, also a box of cheerios never opened. I am in the process of buying the hardware to make the shelves pullout. You can also do that for your bottom cabinets so that it's easier to gain access to pots, pans etc. I'll find a pic and post it here.

    • Jennifer Morgan
      on Jun 17, 2016

      You can also find some that are for those corner ghost cabinets. Here's what I found just in a quick search. https://www.google.com/search?q=cabinet+pullout+shelves&oq=cabinet+pullo&aqs=chrome.2.69i57j0l3.4372j0j4&client=ms-android-att-us&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8 I hope this helps to give you some ideas. Have a great weekend ladies.

      , These are not mine but they are what I am looking to do My big cabinets have a wood brace going right in the middle where the doors meet, I ve had 18 back surgeries and I can t get on the floor and dig for pots and pans Plus it keeps things so much more organized All I typed in was cabinet pullout cabinet pullout hardware
    • Katrina
      on Apr 23, 2017

      Pull out shelves are a great idea!! Doing that!!
    • Cindy mulcahey
      on Apr 26, 2017

      Awesome idea! Thank you.
  • Phyllis Marsh
    on Apr 10, 2016

    Great idea! Inspiring. Our pantry has always been a challenge and this is the best idea I have ever seen for a small pantry. Also, what is the spacing on the shelving (e.g., how high and how deep?). Would you change anything about the depth of the shelves?

    • Melissa B
      on Apr 18, 2016

      Phyllis...I'm sorry it took me so long to respond. Please read through the comments...I've explained a bunch of times what we did, and no, I wouldn't change a thing. Its exactly what I wanted and is working really well.

  • Jennie Lee
    on Apr 10, 2016

    I'm not ordinarily this dense, but I still do not see how the aluminum channels can be U-shaped. L-shaped, yes; T-shaped, yes; but not U! You would have one leg of the U running on top of the board, and one leg underneath. Are the ones on the side walls different, maybe? This is driving me nuts!

    • Kim cox
      on Apr 10, 2016

      If you look at the photos you can see the u shaped channel he used, the board on top of the whole channel

    • Jewellmartin
      on Apr 10, 2016

      Channel is the magic word. You could also call it C channel because it is applied with the center part against the wall.

    • Melissa B
      on Apr 10, 2016

      The shelves are U shaped. The metal is L shaped. Please read through here and look at the pictures.

    • Anita DePaul
      on Apr 17, 2016

      Oh ok I see now this is 2 different pantry lol

    • Jennie Lee
      on Apr 17, 2016

      I see from my email that this is still confusing people. Melissa clarified it: the SHELVES are u-shaped. The metal strips that the shelves sit on are L-shaped in cross-section.

    • Jennifer Morgan
      on Jun 17, 2016

      That's what she said from the very beginning, L-shaped brackets not U shaped. And not L shaped shelves. As you can clearly see in the photos the shelves were U or C shaped. But obviously in the corners they would have to be L shaped beackets.

    • Marcy Marxer
      on Sep 7, 2016

      Thank you! I love this!

  • Exie Darlene Pitts
    on Aug 23, 2016

    Where did you find the "L" braces? I can't find them anywhere!

    • Melissa B
      on Aug 24, 2016

      Exie Darlene Pitts...the L braces are aluminum pieces he cut to size. Lowes carries them. I'm not sure what they are actually for, but worked for us. I think they come in 4-6 foot long pieces. Fairly heavy weight, not thin and flimsy. About an inch on each side, enough to securely hold shelves and drill holes to hold them in place.

  • Sab7983742
    on Sep 5, 2016

    What kind of wood/material did you use for the shelves and how thick was it?

    • Melissa B
      on Sep 6, 2016

      Thank you for your question. It's 3/4" MDF. There are descriptions several times in the post and comments if you look back. It might help you.

  • Ann10591901
    on Sep 7, 2016

    The shapes of shelves are Ushaped how did u make those?

    • Melissa B
      on Sep 12, 2016

      Husband cut them out. Better answer in comments and questions.

  • Sab7983742
    on Sep 8, 2016

    What are the dimensions of the shelves (length/width)?

  • Earl J. Snyder
    on Sep 8, 2016

    Would you consider adjustable shelving hardware, or wouldn't that be strong enough?

    • Melissa B
      on Sep 12, 2016

      Earl, I'm sure someone makes adjustable shelving that would be strong enough, but it just wasn't necessary with the different spacing we used.

  • Kathy
    on Sep 10, 2016

    Hi, I was wondering how wide are the shelves. And it appears you left some space for tall containers on the bottom shelf. So how many shelves did you actually make? And did you just recycle the existing shelf?

    • Melissa B
      on Sep 12, 2016

      Kathy it's all explained in the posts and comments, but all new shelving and measuring the contents to see what spacing we needed. By "wide" are you asking about the depth of the shelf or width?

    • Kathy
      on Sep 12, 2016

      the depth

    • Melissa B
      on Sep 18, 2016

      Without going to re-measure them..about 4 inches on the right, about 10" in the back, and 5-6" on the left side.

    • Melissa B
      on Sep 19, 2016

      Honestly what I did was take a pencil on the full waist high shelf before we removed it and start tracing the shape I wanted. Started at sides where door frame was and drew back to the back of the closet, then across the back. I was glad I used pencil, since some erasing was involved! I also put cans and jars on it so if tweaking wider or deeper was necessary. Dear hubby straightened my wobbly lines and rounded corners to make it all pretty.

  • Laf9510031
    on Sep 11, 2016

    Really like what you did. My question is regarding the Masonite shelves- did you cut the u shape shelves from one piece or did you have to cut and connect joints? Would the L bracket also work on a stand alone wall mounted shelf?

  • Wandamurline
    on Nov 19, 2016

    Where did your husband get the aluminum or metal back supports.

    • Melissa B
      on Nov 20, 2016

      He got the aluminum L piece at Lowe's and cut it himself.

    • Wandamurline
      on Nov 20, 2016

      Thank you so much. I intend to use your project in my messy pantry.

  • Janfalco4
    on Dec 15, 2016

    This exactly my pantry also! Do you feel like you have the storage space with the new shelving as you had previously? Or are all food products more a accessible with this project. I love it, but can't decide if I am loosing sq footage vs a much more visible pantry system. What's your input? Thanks so much!

  • Rhonda
    on Jan 18, 2017

    Do you know the size of your pantry? My pantry looks considerably deeper, but looks more narrow than yours. Like your idea a lot!! I would appreciate the info, please. Thanks!!

    • Melissa B
      on Jan 18, 2017

      Pantry is 3' wide, 2' deep. Pretty standard sized coat closet.

    • Linda
      on Apr 23, 2017

      My take-away from this is the concept is u-shaped shelves designed and adjusted for almost any small pantry. I like this and will try it. Thank you!
    • P.h3878229
      on Apr 24, 2017

      My mum had a pantry fitted like this - oh dear- 50 years ago . She added a small / low wheeled trolley that fitted in the 'U' for frequently used stuff , longterm storage top & bottom & ' once a week ' items on the middle shelves above the trolley. She's still very organised now - at 87- with pullout storage/ trolleys that roll under 'hidden corner' shelving, which all makes life easier when bending & stretching require a little more effort!
  • Mary Zelhofer
    on Jan 25, 2017

    how to get rid of bleach spots on carpet?

    • Shawna Bailey
      on Jan 29, 2017

      You can try to color them in, what color is the carpet?

    • Mary Zelhofer
      on Jan 29, 2017

      it is light tweed beige how would one color that ? with rit? need help!

    • Red11254206
      on Apr 23, 2017

      Indelible felts might work. A little time consuming....depending on the size of the spots. I would suggest using felts of each colour in your carpet and stroking individual strands of the carpeting. Start with the lightest colour and work in the pattern of the carpet's tweed.
  • Ron16360846
    on Mar 22, 2017

    I read this article many months ago. I seem to remember that it mention the dimensions of the C-shaped shelves were 4"x8"x6". Is that correct? My pantry shelves will be in a 30" x 23" space. I expect to build 7-8 shelves to accommodate all my goods.

    • Melissa B
      on Mar 24, 2017

      Yes, that sounds about right. The back part is the deepest (cereal box depth) and that was the max we could make the sides without obstructing the doorway.

  • Debbi
    on Apr 24, 2017

    what was the size of your closet? How did you determin the size of the shelves. Is there any written directions? Great idea!!!
    • Melissa B
      on Apr 26, 2017

      Well poo..I wrote a long answer and forgot to hit post! There are lots and lots of directions in the pictures and esp the first 100 comments.
  • Slg22725097
    on Aug 14, 2017

    The pictures show "L" shape shelves or is the "U" hidden behind the door?

    Excited to try.
  • Slg22725097
    on Aug 14, 2017

    The shelves in the pictures look "L" shape instead of "U" shape. Did you change your mind or is part of it hidden from view? Thanx for great idea.
    • Mam13914079
      on May 23, 2018

      Look at the last picture again. You can see the right hand side that makes the shelves a U and not and L .

  • Jma30450627
    on Sep 21, 2017

    How did you make the l-shaped shelves?
  • Kiturah Humphrey
    on Apr 2, 2018

    Do you believe your configuration would work in a 30 inch wide closet?

Join the conversation

3 of 367 comments
  • Elaine
    on Aug 16, 2018

    I did this. I wholeheartedly advise using the metal brackets. Makes the entire shelf uniform. I used the wood cabinet grade wood and made each shelf one piece as you did. A bit more expensive but I did not need to paint. We rounded the edges of the shelves so we let them extend one inch beyond the door frame. A motion detector light and turntables in each of the corners finished it off. I have more in it than I did before and I CAN SEE EVERYTHING. Thanks for your inspiration.

  • Jewel Butler
    on Nov 22, 2018

    Got to do this one thanks for the idea see my cluttered pantry

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