A pantry makeover had been on my mind for a long while.
I knew, if I did it properly, it would take me a few days, so I waited for a 3-Day weekend.
We hadn’t touched the pantry since we bought the house in 2005 aside from changing the door and the floor.
We still had the original shelves with whatever yellowed paint was used and I wasn’t about to attempt a demo, because there are enough big projects around here already and I wanted to do this myself.
So I opted for paint and peel & stick wallpaper instead.
Before we get too far in the makeover, I want to let you know that the picture quality is somewhat low for this post. Our house, in general, gets very little light and I chose to finish this makeover and this post, over taking better pictures. Remember progress over perfection.
We already had paint, a nice crisp white, to overcome the cavernous effect in there, but I needed to find the wallpaper. I selected peel & stick wallpaper over contact paper because I thought I would get a bit more “fancy“ choices.
I looked online to find patterns I liked and settled on this one from The Home Depot. Working with that stuff, was no joke, but I’ll get to that later.
When I started, the pantry looked like this:
Day 1 – Prep Day & Declutter
I started by emptying the whole pantry and decluttering. It was important to get rid of expired and unloved foods to know exactly what I had.
Prepping the wall and shelves is the part I hate the most and the main reason why I don’t do makeovers very often. But it’s an essential stage if you want things done right.
So I cleaned the walls and shelves using T.S.P (Trisodium Phosphate Powder). This is an important step, especially if you have old walls/paint or you’re not sure if the walls are painted with latex or oil-based paint (as was my case). It will remove any dirt or grime that piled on over the years. And believe me, it’s best not to paint over that stuff because it often ends up showing through the paint.
I also started to figure out my plan for a well-organized space: layout, categories, list of missing items.
I already had a lot of plastic bins and mason jars in the pantry. My plan was to make do with what I had and only buy if I needed more.
I’m a big fan of using what you have. Pantries with all matching containers look great, but they are a BIG investment and I wasn’t prepared to do that.
One thing I knew I wanted to do was move our cookbooks from the kitchen cupboard to the pantry. Which meant, I also needed to move some items to another location.
We’re in the process of finishing the basement, so these items went into boxes in the meantime. They will eventually be stored there.
End of Day 1 has us (hubby helped) patch all the holes to let it dry overnight.
Day 2 – Finish Prepping & Start Painting
On Day 2, I started by sanding the patched holes and covering the whole pantry with a coat of primer. This helps prevent paint from peeling or make bubbles once you painted, as it usually happens when you put latex overtop of oil-based paint.
This step took me two hours! But I decided to power through and paint one coat before the day ended.
Our pantry is a rectangle box with shelves on two sides, which means a LOT of corners and edges. I swear it’s faster to paint a whole bedroom than a small storage space.
To finish the day, I painted a couple of old side tables that we use in the pantry to store more stuff so it doesn’t get piled on the floor.
It took me the better part of a day to get it done with some upsidedown-contorted painting. Good thing I work out and stretch!
Day 3 – Install Wallpaper & Organize
My body needed a break on Day 3, so I headed to Ikea to pick up a few missing pieces (see the list and links for what I bought below).
Meanwhile, Dave installed baseboards and helped with the light fixture. The old light fixture is one with a pull chain and we both hated it. So we did a bit of research and found a wireless switch that we installed on the outside of the pantry and it’s been working great.
Next, I tackled the wallpaper.
It’s super easy to use, but doing this horizontally and with a corner where you have to match the pattern almost had me ditch the whole thing.
I would probably have picked a simpler pattern if I had known how time-consuming this would be. That being said, I’m so glad I stuck with it because I really like the look of it.
This last day was all about putting everything back together. I was really looking forward to that because stuff had been strewn around the dinner table and kitchen for days now.
You know when you start using your label maker, the end is in sight.
Pantry Makeover Tour
All in all, I bought: two bins, a few containers and jars (Dollarama & Canadian Tire) some hooks, two shelf-risers, turning-trays (lazy-susans) – they are magic in corners, a pendant light and a couple of little bits of decor.
It’s been almost a year now since I completed this makeover and I’m happy to report it stood the test of time. Things don’t get messy in there, there is a place for everything; the perfect combination of function and cuteness.
I documented the process on Instagram Highlights.
What makeover have you been putting off?