Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pantry BEFORE & AFTER: Simple, Stylish Storage

A pantry facelift may not be a 'need', but it can definitely be a want!  It's a much frequented space that requires very little time and money to 'dress up'.

The way-long pantry comfortably held the wine fridge (our solution to the limited space issue in the counter-depth fridge); However, it definitely looked like it didn't belong there.  So, we decided to rectify the awkward space... and then gave the rest of the pantry a little sprucing too.


A roomy pantry, but it featured a 'difficult to use' end space thanks to the slant of the ceiling.


Now a sexier space that works much better for us.

Hubby built a custom space with a some sheetrock, 2x4's and a little bit of trim.  The project only took a couple of hours at most and anyone can do it (hubby's a business man, not a builder... and I think he did a great job :)  A doorway was left underneath so that we still have lots of storage space behind the new wall.

Ok, so most pantries don't need additional walls... but you can still create a space that shows off your great style and makes you smile when you enter (which isn't always a given in such a food-related place ;)

Now, in case you're wondering if anyone will ever see your pantry... they will.  I never realized how 'frequented' it was until after we re-did ours before Christmas.  Not only were all of our house guests in and out of it all week, but even our neighbors and friends have seen it!  The kitchen seems to be a 'gathering spot' in homes these days, and think of how many times you open your pantries and closets when entertaining guests... Scary, huh!  Ok, no worries... come join me for some quick and easy fixes:


Baskets from World Market.

Baskets are an inexpensive way to organize and fancy-up your pantry.  These are great for grouping our paper towels, recycling, potatoes, additional water, shopping bags and grocery sacks (which always seemed to 'crawl' out of their assigned spot before).


Inexpensive jars from Garden Ridge.

It was all about sassy storage and making everything easy to find for us.  Airtight containers are working great for a hubby that never seemed to close boxes or bags very well before!

If you're worried about the additional post-grocery work, then only store the items you don't use as often (and aren't weekly buys)... such as baking ingredient like these.

Canisters from Bed, Bath and Beyond... and a few from around the house.

Even my favorite furry friend gets in on the fun.  Guests don't know that their snacks are stored right next to the dog's treats when we keep them in cute jars like these.  (And for any of our guests that are reading this... wellllll... you know how much we love ya... AND Tampa :)

Old glass containers, from Sydney.

Warning though... if you already store treats in containers, be prepared for your best friend to be in the way the whole time you're reorganizing!  'Are you going in for a treat now???'


Pantry Entrance

 First, all jars, bottles, etc were grouped together on a shelf and categorized by like items. The 'breakfast shelves' were then tidied up by grouping boxes and similar products.  Next, all of the individually packaged granola and grain bars were 'de-boxed' and put into another pretty container.  Lastly, the bottom shelf was used for easy-access to our fruit as well as additional storage for some less-used kitchen gadgets.

Shelves are done... Now it's time to ORGANIZE US

Organizers from Pottery Barn.

We picked up these wall storage and organizational systems to add something pretty and pretty useful to our pantry walls.  The top board is great for keeping shopping lists and has boxes for 'To Do Lists' and 'Messages'.  It's also a place to scribe the weekly meal plan... which has prevented lots of 'but I had chicken for lunch' comments!

The bottom one houses a cork board, and two cubbies... great for storing extra trash bags, pens, etc.

Lastly, it's time to CLASS UP the space with DETAILS

Bottle 'nets' from Pottery Barn... on sale for $3.49!

In an effort not to look like a college flashback... I dressed our less attractive liquor bottles with these 'nets' from PB.  We also use them as also a cool way to provide bottled water in guest rooms.

A hammered champagne bucket and this brass horse bottle opener sit near the wine fridge to offer both a bit of character and functionality.  (To fully understand the brass, read this previous posts of mine here.)

Bucket from Williams Sonoma.

This 5 light fixture replaced the single and scrawny bare bulb.  Originally thinking a pendant light, we instead decided to go with something a little more fun and different.

Light fixture available at Lowes.

Next, it's new light switch plates.  One switch in pantry = cheap!  We love motion lights in our closets... and highly, highly recommend!  You can adjust the motion sensitivity and length of time that the light stays on, anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes.

Brushed silver plate and motion sensor light switch from Lowes.

It drives the hubby nuts when I buy the oversized cereal boxes that don't fit on our shelves - but what deal-lover can resist the price per ounce of the super-sized Frosted Flakes?!  Anyhoo... we came up with a solution to the problem.  Well, hubby took the bag out of the box and left it open... hmm.  So I came in with a clip... but not one of those big plastic chip clips!  There's no place for such ugliness in a new pantry... I just used some cute stationary clips instead.

Clips from OfficeMax.

I grouped together all of our onions on a pastry display stand.  You can also use ceramic or mixing bowls.

We added more decor by hanging this oversized silver bowl.  (Maybe try using a cutting board if you don't have a lot of depth to work with.)  I'm also finding that we're using this favorite piece more often now, as it isn't going unnoticed tucked away in some cabinet.

Silver bowl from Bayswiss (in Sydney).

A closer look at what started it all...

GE wine refrigerator available from Best Buy.

With adjustable and pullout shelves, ours gets used for a lot more than wine!  (And it appears to be a little light on the wine post-holidays :)

And one final look at our spruced-up pantry...

We decided to keep it simple - white, wood and silver - mostly for a nice transition from our copper and stainless kitchen.  However, I'm thinking about giving the space a little extra, now that time is more on our side post-Christmas.  Maybe adding some copper to the mix... or hubby's idea of a wall-sized stainless steel pegboard, framed in white molding, and utilized for hanging silver baskets or hooks... or creating an artistic feel with lots of pics in oversized mats and thin silver frames.  Which of those possibilities are your fave?  Any other thoughts or ideas that you have?

We're happy with how it turned out and now I'm finding myself inspired to 'redo' lots of nooks and crannies to 'customize' our home a bit more.

Thanks so much for taking the tour.  Always love to hear from you!



  1. You are so inspirational! I just want to go attack my pantry now. I LOVE the wine fridge and now I want one :) With 2 teenagers I really need the motion light. Never thought about it before.

    Thanks for all the great ideas!

  2. Wow what an amazing job! I might add some color or pattern to the mix - by papering the backs of the walls in the shelf unit. But I think it looks fabulous as is. And now I want that wine/beer fridge!

  3. What an inspiration. I would want to move right in there, you would find me eating chocolate or sketching those uber nicely organized shelves. I love paper on shelves, you could add a fun pattern...just a thought!
    Way to go!

  4. Little things can make such a difference! looks great...