Two years ago we moved into our forever home. Overall we love just about everything about our house. However, there are some areas that could be improved upon. One such area was our pantry. As a family of five, we constantly struggled to make the measly four shelves work for us. I even purchased additional wire storage solutions that served as a band-aid for the problem. Without a doubt, the aspect of our pantry that bothered me the most, was how much vertical space we were losing. We easily had four feet of space lost.

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One day, while trying to find space for our groceries, I had enough! We ripped out all the wire shelving and decided to start from scratch.


Step One: Demo

Once we removed the wire shelving, we had to carefully remove the drywall anchors. With all the drywall anchors removed, we grabbed some Spackle and filled in all the holes. Finally, with the Spackle dry, we sanded the filled in holes.

Step Two: Painting

With the walls all prepped and newspaper spread, we were ready for painting. Fortunately, we had many gallons of left over paint in our basement. For this reason, the painting didn’t cost us any money. We decided on a soft beige color to keep the space light and clean. Inside the pantry was very tight, so it took longer than expected to get in every corner. Altogether, it took three coats of paint to finish the pantry.

Step Three: Wallpaper

Following paint, our next step was to add an accent wall with peel & stick wallpaper. We found this beautiful Spanish tile inspired peel & stick. These days, wallpaper has become increasingly easy to install. Additionally, the options are endless and beautiful.

Step Four: Wall Bracing

Without delving into a history lesson, shelving cleats have been around for hundreds of years. While there are many ways to hang a shelf, using a cleat to support the shelf is far and away the easiest.

This is step of the project where you’ll want to tailor the project to your specific needs.

Our family happens to include four cats and one dog. The food for our furry children are stored in rolling air tight containers. In order to maximize the shelving, we measured the containers and set our first shelf just above those containers. Additionally, we measured the shelf spacing by 14″, with a slight deviation to account for a power outlet. This step will require attention to detail. Be sure that all cleats are at the same height and level. Taking a little extra time here will save you time in the long run.

Step Five: Shelving

The final step of our DIY pantry update was the shelving. There are a lot of things to take into consideration when picking the right wood for shelving. The wider your shelf, the stronger the wood needs to be. However, as the wood strength increases, so does the price. We opted for white wood also known as poplar. Not only is poplar a fairly strong wood, but it’s also relatively inexpensive.

Our pantry width is 36″ so we used our 12″ miter saw to cut the boards to size. I highly recommend checking the width with your first board before you continue cutting. In the case of our pantry, our walls weren’t perfectly straight. The width of our pantry varied up to a quarter inch on the way up. Due to this, we measured every shelf before cutting.

To complement our wallpaper, we choose a blue paint for our shelves. After several coats, our shelves were ready to be installed.

A few years ago, my in laws gifted us with a nail gun and it’s seriously a game changer! Having the nail gun made installing the shelves extremely fast and easy! Nail guns are surprisingly affordable. This is the exact one that we have – DEWALT Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA, 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch.


We seriously couldn’t be happier with the final result of our DIY pantry update! Because we made better use of the space, we were able to add 2 additional shelves that the top.

Since we customized the shelves to our needs, we have designated space for everything. This will make it easier for it to stay organized. I also purchased clear totes so it’s easy to see what’s in every bin. Additionally, all bins have an assigned food type, like breakfast, baking, and snacks. I also purchased air tight cannisters for cereal and baking supplies, to keep those products fresh.

Pantry Organization

Clear Bins


Cereal Containers

Baking Canisters

Spice Storage

Pet Food Storage

Canned Goods

We hope you liked this guide for a DIY pantry update. You may also like our DIY sofa table with outlet. Make sure you follow us on Facebook and follow our adventures on Instagram.