After my husband and I had already purchased our new home I realized it didn’t have a kitchen pantry. It did, however, have an under-stair storage area that the previous owner had used as a broom closet. For me, finding an alternate location to store my vacuum cleaner and mop was easier than finding a spot for all my non-perishables. So we decided to convert the broom closet into a kitchen pantry. Here’s how we did it.
Choosing the Flooring
Pantry floors have the potential to get very messy. Sticky spills from liquids like syrup or vinegar as well as the occasionally dropped flour canister or overturned coffee bag meant our flooring needed to be durable and easy to clean. I also wanted a light color so that I could see any potential mess and get it cleaned up before it attracted unwanted critters. I chose a lightly mottled 12″ square porcelain tile. I chose a grout color that matched the mottling in the tile which gave it just enough contrast without looking like a checkerboard.
Assessing the Space
The footprint of the closet was 46″ deep by 36″ wide. That figure is deceiving though because since space was below stairs, the ceiling was sloped. This ate up a lot of potential storage space.
Because the footprint was so narrow, placing shelving on both sides was not possible. We decided to add shelves to the back and right side only.
The space was adequately deep so there was plenty of room to add 15″ deep shelves along the back wall. Even with only placing shelves on one side, however, the 36″ width only allowed for 8″ deep shelves on the right side.
Making a Materials List
We first considered using stationary wall-mounted shelf brackets to hold the shelves. However, this would have made the shelf positions permanent. Since we knew there would be times when we’d want to adjust the amount of space in between shelves, we decided to go with adjustable shelving strips instead. We were adding shelves to two walls, so we needed four mounting strips.
Even though buying raw lumber is less expensive, sanding and painting the shelves is very time-consuming. For us, purchasing prefinished shelving better met our needs. We purchased 8-feet lengths and then cut them to size. We needed 3 – 15″ deep shelves and 8 – 8″ deep shelves.
The only other materials necessary were 22 adjustable/removable brackets, drywall anchors and screws to mount the shelving strips.
To prepare and install the shelving, the only tools we needed were a table saw, a 24″ level and an electric drill with a screwdriver bit. We already had all of these, so that added no additional cost to the project.
Installing the Shelving Strips
We attached the shelving strips to the walls 3-1/4″ on center in from the shelf ends. Since we were using drywall anchors there was no need to mount the strips to a stud. It is important to be sure each strip is perfectly straight vertically and perfectly level horizontally with the matching strip on the other side.
- When measuring for your shelving strips, be sure to start your measurement from the top of the baseboard rather than from the floor.
- Be sure to take into account that you will lose a little flexibility with shelf placement due to the screws that secure the shelving strips.
- For maximum support, it’s a good idea to get brackets no more than one size less than the depth of your shelves.