3 Clever Ideas For Building A Pantry For Extra Kitchen Storage

Pantry spaces are a necessity for anyone who likes to cook, allowing an easy view and access to everything one might need for meals or snacks. Many kitchens, whatever their capacity for storage, often focus on stowing cookware and dishware at the expense of functional spaces for canned items, dry goods, and snacks. Creating a dedicated pantry space, big or small, can help alleviate the chaos of modern living. It can also help reduce clutter, save you money on bulk purchases, and, according to Reclaim My Space, assist in making shopping lists and meal planning.

While most new home constructions incorporate a much-desired walk-in pantry, those in smaller builds, older homes, and rental units often lack this amenity. As a result, foodstuffs get scattered between various cupboards and counters and stowed on top of the fridge. Whatever your space allowances in your kitchen, however, there are a few key ways to create an attractive and functional pantry that suits your needs.

1. Optimizing unused and existing spaces

A great place for pantry storage is any unused space in your kitchen. Think about the nooks and areas in your kitchen that might accommodate free-floating shelves. The popularity of open shelving in many modern kitchens puts all your beautiful dishes on display, but there's no reason you can't also employ some shelves featuring your finest food. If you're concerned about the attractiveness of boxes and packaging, consider baskets and jars as alternatives. Mixing in your favorite dishware and accessories can add stylishness and visual variety. 

Consider other spaces in your kitchen or nearby. A space beneath a stairway can provide an excellent place for pantry shelves, either open-shelved or closed off. A nook created by structural columns, for example, can easily hold some free-floating shelves. A hallway off the kitchen might be an excellent place to install some thin shelves running along the wall.

If you want to hide your pantry goods instead of placing them on display, you can employ several coverings like curtains, screens, and sliding doors to hide away items. If you're short on space at floor or counter level, look up, since many kitchens offer upper space that can be easily outfitted for pantry storage, according to the National Association of Realtors.

2. Adding a cabinet or shelving unit

If your kitchen lacks nooks or unused spaces, another great option is using a free-standing piece of furniture. Cabinets and hutches are an attractive addition to any kitchen, keeping all pantry goods hidden behind closed doors and contained in one place. According to Grillo Designs, you can outfit even a shabby old cabinet with a shelf liner, wallpaper, and new paint to look beautiful. Hutches and pie safes often have both display areas and shuttered areas that can hide less attractive packaging or extra food. 

If you like the look of open shelving in a kitchen, chrome metal shelving units are a modern, clean, restaurant-style touch available in several sizes and configurations at affordable price points. Even a repurposed bookshelf placed in your kitchen can be perfect for creating a pantry.

Another idea is to add a small island to your kitchen with under-counter storage if you have space in the middle of the room, whose top can also provide extra counter space. Bar and butcher carts are an option for smaller kitchens, and can be moved around easily and adapted for various uses.

3. Working with what you have

For tiny kitchens and small spaces, adding a pantry can be a challenge, but there are some great ways to create storage without needing additional space or bringing in more furniture. If you have a bit of extra room on your counter, an attractive array of jarred dry goods and spices can create a tableau that is as lovely as it is functional. Existing cabinetry, with some added things like risers, hooks, and baskets can be optimized as a place to store food and canned goods more efficiently and user-friendly. Don't forget the inside of many cabinet doors, which can accommodate over-the-door racks for spices and small jars. 

If cabinet space is limited, consider a slide-out pantry unit that can be custom fitted for the extra space around a fridge. A favorite for RV and tiny house denizens, this slender unit on casters can be easily pulled in and out when you need it. You can buy a pre-made wire rack model, have one custom-built by professionals, or, according to Instructables, build your own wood DIY version.