Creative Pantry Shelving Ideas to Optimize Storage Space

Do you cringe every time your open your pantry to unload groceries or grab your dinner ingredients? If your pantry shelving isn't well planned then it is impossible to make the pantry function in a way that really works well. Making the most of your pantry shelves is key to keeping an organized and efficient kitchen pantry. These ideas and tips will help you design the best pantry shelving for your space. Then you will love your pantry every time you open the door!

pantry shelving ideas

I have been in the process of planning out exactly what I want when we make improvements to our large pantry. I have looked through so many walk-in pantry ideas, and I realized that it is not only important to be organized, but you also have to maximize your space with smart shelving! I can't wait to put some of these brilliant pantry organization tips to use in our redesigned pantry.

Pantry Shelving Ideas and Tips

Smart Measurements for Shelf Space

The best place to start is with your measuring tape. Shelves of different heights allow you to maximize your pantry space with smart shelf placement. Also, thinking through the depth is key so that you have spots for any large bulky items and so you can use standard-sized baskets or plastic bins. But you also don't want every shelf super wide because then small items get easily pushed to the back and lost.

Looking at other's people's designs and using their measurements as a guide is a great place to start. Think through what you will be storing on your shelves, and if you have any unique-sized items or anything your family uses that you need to account for. For example, do you buy large boxes of cereal? Make sure you have a shelf with heights that can accommodate those mega boxes!

Labels and Clear Bins for Easy Access

Do not underestimate the power of a well-organized pantry. Arrange your pantry shelving in a manner that allows you easy access to everything. I encourage using clear bins and containers whenever possible so it is easy to see when things run out. Also, having a uniform bin helps your shelves feel orderly and allows for easier stacking!

Label those shelves! This is actually a great hack for any storage closet, but adding a label to the pantry shelf removes all the guesswork for anyone that needs to grab something or put something away. I love this tip because it also keeps your pantry shelves organized for the long run. There are no excuses from anyone in the family when you make it really clear!

Smart and Pretty Shelving

Looking for pantry shelving that is useful and pretty? Design your space with your home aesthetic in mind by carrying your decor and kitchen design into the pantry. Using beautiful wallpaper and open shelving painted to match the trim is a great option for an open pantry, or if you want your pantry to feel like part of the kitchen. Things you don't want to be seen can easily be stored in drawers and hidden in matching crates below the countertop. Having it all painted the same color allows the wallpaper to pop and keeps the storage down below more subtle.

Add a pop of color with bright shelf brackets! This pantry isn't huge but it has tons of storage space and feels like a part of the kitchen with the bright blue that matches the pantry door and room decor. The blue will stand out perfectly once the shelves are filled with food and kitchen essentials!

Hate your pantry's wire racking? This is a huge complaint, especially from builder-grade homes. You can easily upgrade that wire shelving with a DIY wood shelf cover that fits right over it! They go from blah to beautiful and you won't hate your pantry every time you go to put something away.

Dressing up the pantry walls with shiplap and adding DIY floating open shelves are serious upgrades! The natural trim is gorgeous and looks amazing with the butcher block countertop. Having a shelf double as a counter space is a really smart DIY pantry upgrade–it frees up space on the kitchen counter and can provide an extra workspace. If you have the shelf space to spare consider this!

Smart Ideas for Small Spaces

Not everyone has a huge walk-in pantry. Maximizing your pantry space by reconfiguring your shelving is smart if your pantry has to pull double-duty for things like vacuums, brooms, or trash cans. This makeover is with a track system so shelf heights are adjustable, which can be helpful. As a family's needs change, sometimes what they need out of our pantry can change! When kids are little extra paper towels for messes are a necessity, and as they turn into teens that space may need to go toward extra snacks!

This complete pantry makeover took a normal small reach-in pantry and turned it into a beautiful cupboard and drawer built-in. This is one of my favorite small pantry shelving ideas! It takes an existing space and completely reimagines and reorganizes it.

Pantry closets with ugly wire shelves and hard-to-access corners can be fixed! This DIY removes the standard shelves and replaces them with beautiful wood DIY shelves in an L-shape. There is now plenty of room for kitchen storage, food items, and even a little extra storage that wasn't there before.

Space Saver Storage Systems

Make the most out of every inch of your pantry by containing the pantry clutter in super smart ways. We have all lost things on the top shelf or way in the back of a deep pantry shelf. Keep all your canned goods and your vegetables in one easy-to-access spot on the wall! This smart pantry organization idea frees up valuable shelf space for lots of other items.

can and vegetable wall storage for pantry
source: Ana White

Bring in a full system of preconstructed shelves like this IVAR shelving unit from IKEA. It is a simple look that I love! The shelves will hold tons of pantry items, and adding the bins on the bottom shelf are a great idea for bulk items, recycling, and pet food!

IKEA shelving system in pantry
source: IKEA

Another great idea from IKEA is using the PAX system in the pantry. Here one unit is used on each wall and there is a space for everything! This looks so much better than the old wire shelves and I love that you can adjust the heights of shelves as needed to make room for bulk items, appliances, or thin things like trays or serving dishes. There are so many options with the PAX!

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If you want the ultimate in organized food storage and beautiful pantry shelves, then go directly to The Container Store. You can take the most basic pantry to WOW with their vast array of glass jars, storage bins and baskets, racks for veggies and drinks, and organization for spices. You can even add extra shelving and storage options to the pantry doors with their Elfa system which we use to keep our closets organized and highly recommend!

Aren't these amazing walk-in pantry shelving ideas? Creating a smart space-saving plan to lay out your shelves will help you get it organized, and making it feel beautiful and a space you are proud of will help you keep it that way! I love keeping my kitchen cabinets organized and I cannot wait until my pantry feels as efficient.

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