The Pantry – Updated at Last! – The Less Than Perfect Kitchen

I just realized that it has been almost a year since I wrote “The Pantry” article for my Less Than Perfect Kitchen Series (scroll down a bit on the side bar to find the series).  The most beautiful pantry I have ever seen is found here, at Warm Pie, Happy Home.  Wow!  This sort of pantry will never be a reality in my home, but it’s fun to look at and admire all the same.

While my pantry is still not perfect, it is now much improved.  Perhaps, one day in the future, we can tear out the fixed shelving that is too shallow and not at all efficient and replace it with something better.  In the meantime, though, looking well to the ways of my household means working with what I have to make it work better for me.  I am quite happy with how the pantry has turned out.


Here is the BEFORE version.












It took four coats of red paint to coat the walls, but only two coats of Antique White semi gloss to paint the shelves and shelf supports.  I did have to buy a gallon of  the red paint (Behr California Poppy), but there is about 2/3 of a gallon left over.  This is the same color that I have on my dining room wall, so there will be plenty for touch ups or a fresh coat of paint in the dining room, in the future.













Here is my pantry now.   Leaving the doors off the pantry has made it much more accessible.  There is no natural light back there unless the back door is open, and even then there’s not much.  The red paint may have made the pantry a bit darker than it was, but that is offset by having both doors gone.   And I LOVE the red!







However, my plan always was to put some lighting in the pantry.  There is no wiring for a light fixture, nor any plugs in the pantry; but our Costco is selling very inexpensive packages of battery powered LED lights.  These are adjustable, too, so that I was able to focus the light where I wanted it.










Though my pantry is in a back hall just off my kitchen, it was still important for me to make it look nice.  I love it when function and form/beauty can coexist!  I corralled all of the small packages of like odds and ends, such as bags of dried fruit, boxes of baking chocolate and cake decorating tips, kids’ snacks, etc. into baskets.  The baskets not only keep like things together neatly, but they add a nice touch, as well.  I was thrilled to find two matching sets of four baskets at K-Mart.  I wanted natural colored baskets, but these with the navy blue trim work perfectly for the Americana theme in my kitchen.







I also added a couple of extra “shelves”, the kind with folding legs.  The one on the floor is the perfect size forIMG_4675 the two biggest baskets.  The bottom basket holds my potatoes.

I then went on a hunt around my home.  What else was there that was dear to me that I would enjoy having where I could enjoy it?  My late mother-in-love’s enamelware bowls were in the garage.  I love these things!!  They are banged up, and a bit rusty here and there.  There is evidence of someone trying to repair chips in the past with white paint.  They are perfect in my eyes!!  The smaller one was washed up and put into the lower, back corner to hold my big jugs of vinegar, oil and dish soap.  The rim of the bowl is quite bent, but because of this “damage” it fit where I wanted to put it!



The other folding shelf allowed me to keep quite a few more things on the same shelf as the “fats” and the “stickies” in my pantry.  One little basket holds all of our boxes of baking chocolates, and the other the cake decorating tips and supplies.  I painted all of the shelves with semi-gloss paint to make wiping up spills easy, but I still used a textured shelf liner for the “fats” and “stickies” shelf.  My husband asked what he could do to help when I was putting everything back in the pantry after the paint dried, and I asked him to cut the liner to fit for me.  He is such a detail oriented person, the liner fits perfectly.





Part of what I hoped to accomplish was to be able to “display” some of the items we use (my long red metal trays, and our iced tea jugs for example) up at the top.  I also added our bread baskets, and one or two other serving-type baskets.





I also wanted part of a shelf that I could just have some pantry pretties on, and I was thrilled, when it was all said and done, to have a full shelf just for that!  I’ve placed a vintage milk jug/lunch bucket on the shelf.  (Thanks again, Meg!)   I also pulled out all of my deviled egg dishes.  The blue with the chicken salt & pepper shakers went on the shelf, and I bought plate holders for the other three so that I could display them upright behind everything else, without any danger of their toppling over.  It will take only a couple of minutes to take them down and wash them  when I want to use them.  In the meantime, though, I can enjoy them every day rather than having them tucked away in a cupboard.



My mom’s covered dish, salt & pepper set came out of a sideboard and went onto the shelf, too.  It is quite old.   I added just a bit of crochet there by placing a vintage red doily underneath Mom’s set.  The red doily was also my mom’s.





This note, in my mom’s own handwriting, is tucked inside of the covered dish.  It explains when and who gave this set to her.  She did this note writing for almost all of our family heirlooms.  Not only do I appreciate her taking the time to preserve that bit of family history for me, but I love having little bits and pieces of my mom’s handwriting in so many of the pretty things that are now in my own home.




I washed up my mother-in-love’s larger enamelware bowl, too, and put it on the top shelf of the pantry set on its edge.  It will be available, and only need a quick wash up, anytime I might want to use it.  Once the large bowl was in place, I knew I needed something else with a bit of height next to it.  I took the red kitchen scale off the top of my fridge, tucked a napkin that my mom embroidered into the bowl and used that to fill the spot.  Again, the scale is just as handy here as on the fridge, but I love the way it looks here.




Still to be done:  I want to paint the wall around the outside of the pantry, as well as the trim around the opening of the pantry.  I’ll have to carefully feather in the painting at the corner so as not to spoil the “cracked stucco, bricks and ivy that Dani painted for me a few years ago.   I’ll not be able to get to the painting until next week.  I also plan to keep my eyes open for some things to hang on the wall above the pantry opening – reproduction tin signs for food products are what I have in mind, but we’ll see what I find as time progresses.




My less than perfect pantry still is less than perfect, but I love it’s new look!  There was some expense involved, but for about $100 (paint, baskets, folding shelves and lighting), I was able to accomplish exactly what I wanted.  It makes me smile everytime I walk by!





God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27

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22 comments to The Pantry – Updated at Last! – The Less Than Perfect Kitchen

  • It’s WONDERFUL! I love it! Will you come do mine? I’m serious!

  • Hi Cheryl,

    How beautiful. You and Dani did a great job. An ideal for shelves. When Dave remodeled my kitchen he took the shelves out of my pantry and replaced them with  bracketts from Home Depot and wooden shelves that can be painted. The boards can be bought any size. It didn’t cost alot of money.



  • How beautiful, I just love it!

    It gives me inspiration, even though my pantry is a set of shelves in the garage. Perhaps it can be “prettied up”, too. 🙂

    Wonderful job. Very creative!

  • Cheryl-you did a beautiful job on your pantry-I LOVE it! Thanks for the pictures and the inspiration to do things like this in our own homes!

  • Cheryl-you did a beautiful job on your pantry-I LOVE it! Thanks for the pictures and the inspiration to do things like this in our own homes!

  • Oooooh. Beautiful. I love how you added the touches of your mom and mother-in-love. Someday Little Miss Fiesty will be adding her grandma’s things to her kitchen.

  • I think your pantry is adorable!  I love how you put in “pretty” items to make it look that much better.  I have so many “pretty” items from both of my grandmothers that stay in the cabinets, I need to find places to display them also.

  • Your pantry looks charming. I love that you picked the same storage and used ot over and over. Instead of a mish-mash of different items. It looks so good. Clarice

  • Mama Cheryl, thanks for the link to that most beautimous pantry! I added her to my Bloglines. Her words were as warm as her home. You are right, that is a fabulous pantry.

    I love your new pantry too! I have been looking for GOOD baskets that were affordable for my pantry. I saw some I liked but could not afford at Lowe’s, then saw the same ones at Costco for more!

    Maybe I can afford them in June. I am hosting a Pantry Challenge Contest on my blog starting today and running through June 1. Yes, I am crazy because I am including Memorial weekend in that mix and I am hosting a cookout for Memorial weekend <laughing>

    Any time I am feeling the money pinch, I go look in my pantry and see how blessed I am. So many folks ‘toss food’ because their family doesn’t like it or they let it get ‘buggy’ or ‘expire.’ Now my personal opinion is that some things are fine, but you just have to be careful. When we don’t use what the Lord has blessed us with, then we are not honoring Him.

    What have I learned? Bulk buying is not always a savings on rice and pasta. We will be carb loading…no Atkin’s for us the next six weeks!

    So this Missy is buckling down, and going to see how much she can use up and how little household money she can spend through May for food stuffs.

    We have some bills that need to be paid off before interest kicks in, and we need pool stuff, and this is how we are going to do it!

    Much love,

  • Cheryl – your “new” pantry is beautiful! :goodjob:
    I especially enjoyed seeing you mix your gorgeous heirlooms with your pantry items. It makes me start to think about how I can do that in my home as well.
    🙂 Erin

  • It looks lovely Cheryl.  :sunny:  My pantry items are stored in a variety of places throughout the house separated by function. 

  • Clicked submit too soon…adding to say that I’d love to have everything all in the same place though.  :laugh:

  • Your pantry is a labor of love. You both did a fantastic job. Thank you for sharing your treasures of your mother and mother in love.

  • Cheryl,

    Your pantry looks wonderful! I love how you combined simplicity, practicality and beauty! You have inspired me!! Thanks!



  • I think it is perfect!  The red looks great and makes what you have in the pantry pop – great choice of color!  And I love the note from your mom!

    xoxo Cat

  • I think it is perfect!  The red looks great and makes what you have in the pantry pop – great choice of color!  And I love the note from your mom!

    xoxo Cat

  • Wow your pantry is so lovely.
    I have learned a lot on how to fix up our pantry and use it wisely and also display pretty items with it as well.
    God Bless,

  • LOVE It! Your “pretties” have given me ideas for my kitchen. My pantry is behind a closed door and the pretties wouldn’t really be in view there. I do like the basket idea and have meant to implement that here too.

    As for your stickies on that shelf, maybe you can find a vintage enamel tray to put under those containers. Easy to pull out and easy to wash. Just an idea. 🙂

    I love seeing everyone’s home and how they decorate.

    Kay on the Farm

  • It is so beautiful!  You did such a wonderul job, I would love to have a pantry, I buy food in bulk and find it so hard to store it.  I was just looking at my kitchen and thinking to myself…….hummm how would a exposed pantry look against a barren kitchen wall.

    A thought!

  • Oh my.. I think it’s absolutely beautiful! And thank you for the link to Warm Pie, Happy Home! What a lovely site! You ladies truly inspire me. Thank you for being a Titus 2 woman.

  • Oh my.. I think it’s absolutely beautiful! And thank you for the link to Warm Pie, Happy Home! What a lovely site! You ladies truly inspire me. Thank you for being a Titus 2 woman.