5 Materials
2 Days

When I say there are approximately 452 thousand DIY projects floating around my head at any given moment, I am not exaggerating. I would make you a list to prove it, but quite honestly, NOBODY needs that amount of overwhelming stress in their life.

However, some projects are born out of absolute sheer necessity & that my friends is why I made my very own built-in pantry from scratch while six months pregnant!

Considering I left an enormous walk-in pantry behind in our last house, having zero food storage for the last two months has just not been cutting it.


Buuuuut…. I did have an empty, sad coat closet in the hallway. So, I shoved some storage cubes in there, stuffed all of our groceries inside and called it a pantry.

Clearly, I am a brilliant genius, and this solves all my pantry woes. Except….

Can you see how far forward those bins are leaning!?

Not ideal for a household with a fifteen-month-old snack monster that enjoys helping herself to whatever she pleases from this pantry selection multiple times a day.

Now obviously, the measurements I used are for this specific space, and most likely will not work for any other house out there. Therefore, I am not even going to bother giving you the specific measurements, because you will just need to work with the space you have.

Instead, I will give you the steps I used, the supplies needed and some general guidance that you can easily apply to your own home. Please keep in mind, you may still have to make some adjustments to your plan based on your specific space. Do not let this stress you out, it is all part of the fun of DIY.


I started off by completely emptying the pantry, then removing the existing shelf and coat hooks. Since we are planning on replacing the baseboards and door trim throughout the entire house, I went ahead and removed it as well.

I used painters’ tape to mark off exactly how far apart I wanted the shelves, this helped me determine the measurements and exactly how many materials I would need. Ultimately, I decided on building the shelves 14″ apart.


Once I had a plan, I patched the holes from the old shelf with drywall spackling, let them dry and sanded them completely smooth.

I always apply a coat of primer over any joint compound or spackling. This stops the patched area from absorbing too much paint, which results in uneven coverage or dull spots in your finished paint.

Some people claim simply using an all-in-one paint plus primer will allow you to skip this step. That is not my experience, I always just use the primer!

I did two coats of paint in Sherwin Williams, Pure White with a satin finish. You could use a semi-gloss finish here as it is slightly more durable and easier to scrub.

Personal preference, I just am highly, HIGHLY averse to shiny paint finishes and almost never use anything above satin.


Once my walls dried, it was time to get started building my shelves.

I started prepping by giving all of my wood materials a coat of primer (if not already pre-primed) and two coats of SW Pure White paint. My original plan was to paint the walls white and stain the shelves.

Unfortunately, the plywood stock at Home Depot was super low and not the greatest quality. So, I opted to just paint everything white to avoid potential stain related problems down the road.

For the shelf supports, I used pre-primed 1×2 MDF boards, cut them to the exact width of the closet using a miter saw, and screwed them into the studs on the back wall of the pantry making sure they were level.

Once I hung all the supports on the back wall, I started with the bottom shelf and worked my way up. I hung additional shelf supports on both sides of the pantry walls so the shelf would be totally supported.

For the shelves, I used a ¾” thick sanded plywood board cut down into strips to fit the exact size of this closet. (My husband did this for me, but Home Depot is able to make these cuts in the store as well. I like putting Tyler to work, it’s good for him.)

After I had all my shelves in, I went back and cut an additional 1×2 to fit in front of the plywood to create a “face” on my shelves. I attached these using 1&1/4” nails and an 18-gauge nail gun.

You can see that I also installed baseboards along the floor. Weirdly enough, this closet did not have any installed here when we moved in. Guess it is a good thing I planned on updating this little space!


To give everything a finished “built-in” look, I went back and filled all my screw holes, nail holes, and seams with wood filler, let that dry and again sanded everything smooth.

I also used white caulk to fill around all the edges and gaps. You can see in the picture above, the bottom shelf has not yet been caulked, but the top two shelves have. The change is not all that distinct, however, I think it makes all the difference when wanting something to look totally seamless.


Finally, I finished everything off with a final coat of paint and put in an instacart order!


… & just like that I have a beautiful functioning pantry!!!


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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Jaswan
    on Sep 17, 2020

    So no door? The staging makes it look magazine worthy. But I imagine looking at the old configuration you can live long term without utilizing all the available space--- so if no door--- curtain? What's the plan?

    • Flipturn
      on Sep 20, 2020

      There may not be enough width in the hallway for another door, Mom, and baby on the way, all at the same time.

  • Bbunny
    on Sep 18, 2020

    Really nice job! But where do you keep the canned goods? I like the idea of a screen door on this.

    • Sydney Dawson
      on Sep 19, 2020

      We have a skinny spice cabinet on the side of our fridge that our canned goods fit into! I also stay pretty minimal and just grocery shop for the things we need for the week, so we don’t always have a lot to store!

Join the conversation

3 of 19 comments
  • Andrea
    on Sep 24, 2020

    Such a great job! Congratulations!

  • Mary McDonald
    on Sep 28, 2020

    At the beginning you said you removed the baseboards since you were putting new ones in your house.

    Then near the end you said that it was weird that there were no baseboards when you moved in.

    Now I’m confused

    • LaShaun
      on Oct 2, 2020

      I was too at first. I believe she was referring to the door trim. In the pic with the crates, at the bottom left, there isn't a baseboard. :)

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