Simple Pantry Open Shelving

January 31, 2018

Earlier this week I posted on how we added DIY built-ins to our pantry that we completed during the One Room Challenge. Today I am here to share all about how the open shelving above the built-ins to create more pantry storage!

When designing our pantry portion of our pantry/laundry room combo I knew I wanted some closed storage and extra counter space because we are fortunate that the space allowed for it! I also have been eyeing opening shelving for quite some time and knew I wanted to add open shelving to our pantry design as well. When you walk in the room there is a long wall immediately in front of you (~10ft in length). The left side of the wall is devoted to the laundry area, while the right side the wall is all for the pantry area.

The before of this area was pretty bare. Not much going on in terms of function or form.

We added the built-ins spanning the width of the wall under the window to add extra counter space and storage. On the long 10ft wall to the left of the window we had a lot of space to work with, but we knew we didn’t want to take up much, if any, floor space because this room is pretty small for all we wanted to fit into it. This was the perfect space to add open shelving.

We wanted to add a substantial amount of shelving to this space to hold all of our pantry related items and dog supplies. After the pantry built-ins were installed we measured the area to see a) how deep we wanted the open shelves to be and b) how long we wanted the shelves to be. We determined we wanted our shelves to be 12″ deep to fit our pantry storage baskets and we wanted our shelves to be 60″ long. Also, based on our measurements and given that we wanted the shelves to start above the new countertop we put in we decided 3 shelves on the wall would work best visually and functionally (enough space between each shelf to stack things).

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This was really an easy project and here are all of the supplies you will need to recreate it yourself:

After taking all of our measurements into consideration we purchased 3 – 1″x12″x8′ common boards and cut each down to our measured 60″ using our circular saw.

I then laid the board on card board in the garage and stained each side using a foam brush. I quickly stained one side of a board at at a time and immediately wiped the stain off using an old t-shirt. Even though I wiped the stain off immediately it still ended up being a lot darker than I expected. I figured out this was because we used common board (read not very nice lumber). I still really like the stain color, but had I left it on any longer it would have been too dark for my taste. If you want your shelves to look lighter I would just go with a lighter stain to be safe.  Since the stain took so quickly it took no time for the shelves to dry and be ready for installation.

For this whole project we were working on a pretty tight budget. We were aiming to spend $500 or less on the entire room (laundry built-ins, pantry built-ins, and pantry shelving). Given the length of our shelves and the weight we anticipated each shelf would have to hold we figured each shelf would need 3 brackets to ensure the middle of the shelves were appropriately supported.

I spent a lot of time searching for shelf brackets online and in various local stores online to find that shelf brackets can get pricey quickly! I found a number of brackets that I fell in love with, but knew they were out of the question because they were $12-20 a piece… that’s a decent chunk of change when you need 9 brackets! Luckily I found some simple black brackets at Home Depot that were only $5 a piece, much better.

To install the shelves we measure the wall where they would go again and used level to draw a very light straight line with a pencil where each shelf would go. Then we used a stud finder and determined that based on the placement of our shelves we would not hit a single stud for the location we wanted our brackets to go. We wanted 1 bracket to be centered in the middle of each shelf and the other two 25″ from the middle on either end of the shelf to leave a 5″ over hang on each end.

Since we weren’t going to hit a stud to screw any of the brackets into we had to use wall anchors to ensure the brackets and shelves were secure and could support the weight of our pantry items. After we had each bracket location marked we screwed in the wall anchors and then attached each bracket to the wall using the bracket screws. Then we used the bracket screws to attach the shelves to the brackets.

Tip: Start installation with the top shelf and work your way down that way it is easier to get underneath the shelf to attach it to the brackets.

Now we were ready for the fun part… organizing and styling the shelves! I am all about our shelves having a lived in feel and really don’t mind our pantry items being out in the open in the space because they are items we use every day!

The nice thing about this project is these shelves can be installed anywhere… an office, a bathroom, a linen closet, a kitchen… you name it!

Let me know if you install your own open shelving! I always love to see your projects.

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