It doesn’t matter if you’re feeding one person or a whole brood. No amount of decor will redeem a kitchen that lacks storage. And no storage solution offers more versatility and usable space than a walk-in pantry.
If you’re like many homeowners, though, adding a large pantry to your kitchen just isn’t an option. But with a little guidance and some space-saving tricks, you could have the pantry of your dreams without sacrificing any square footage.
These small pantry organization tips will inspire you to design the ultra-stylish, ultra-functional kitchen pantry you’ve always wanted.
1. Corner Pantry Ideas
Installing a corner pantry is one of the best small pantry ideas that won’t feel that small in practice. With a standalone or built-in corner pantry, you get just as much storage as a “normal” one. But it won’t eat up any of your kitchen’s usable square footage.
You can easily transform a corner of your kitchen into an open-concept pantry with a set of floating shelves. Or, if your kitchen cabinet design needs a facelift, install a matching pantry space in one corner. Remember that corner pantries can be as small or large as space allows.
If you’re up for a full pantry makeover, you can build out a wall and doorway in one corner. This solution also means you won’t need to expand into another room of the house to get that walk-in pantry you’ve always dreamed of.
For easier access to your pantry goods, opt for shelves that follow the angle of the wall joint behind. A deep shelf might seem to offer more pantry storage space. But you’ll quickly grow tired of blindly reaching around for the items you need.
2. Butler Pantry Ideas
Butler’s pantries offer more convenience, organization, and functionality than almost any other room in the home. You might think owning a butler’s pantry requires an excess of space. But nothing’s stopping you using these design elements in your small pantry makeover, as well.
Along with cans and dry goods, butler’s pantries often house countertop appliances. This is the perfect spot to store your coffee maker, electric kettle, or toaster.
Remember that you don’t need every amenity under the sun to call your food storage space a butler’s pantry. You might not have space for a sink or mini-fridge, but that doesn’t mean your pantry can’t serve multiple purposes. Many homeowners consolidate their butler’s pantry with a laundry room or linen closet to conserve as much space as possible.
An organized pantry is easy to maintain when every food item and appliance has its place. Start your pantry makeover by downsizing — get rid of unused cooking utensils and small appliances, as well as oversized storage containers.
3. Organization Ideas for Small Pantries
Small pantry organization is no easy task. Many people benefit from a detailed organization system. But there’s also nothing wrong with keeping dry goods in their original containers if that’s what works for you. What matters most is that your pantry meets your everyday needs.
Place large baskets on your pantry floor to hold produce or small kitchen appliances. This will keep everything organized while also keeping pantry items away from dirt and moisture.
Store beverage cans and bottles in stacked dispensers. A lazy susan will make quick work of awkward items like tall bottles or kitchen utensils.
While you likely know where everything goes in your kitchen pantry, labeling can help keep a large household on the same page. Label storage containers by item, person, or recipe. Pantry labels are also important for any container that’s not readily identifiable.
4. Cabinet Ideas for Small Pantries
If you’re collecting small pantry organization ideas for your own home, there’s a good chance your kitchen pantry consists of little more than a cabinet. Floor-to-ceiling cabinets are the most popular. But there are countless innovative designs out there to choose from.
Pull-out shelves are, without a doubt, the best investment you can make when designing a pantry cabinet. If pull-out shelving isn’t an option, use removable bins to store your food items. Don’t forget to take advantage of your cabinet door with mounted spice racks or another storage solution.
Many cabinet pantries blend right into the surrounding kitchen, disguising tons of hidden storage behind a simple door. You can also install a custom sliding pantry alongside your fridge or in another kitchen nook. Or repurpose a freestanding china hutch or sideboard as a small pantry.
Most cabinets feature deep shelves and very little light. Use risers to keep all of your cans and spice jars within view (and reach), no matter how far back they might be. In-cabinet puck lights can be used to illuminate even the darkest depths of your pantry.
5. Wooden Small Pantry Ideas
There’s nothing wrong with wanting your kitchen pantry to be both functional and beautiful. Whether your kitchen boasts a rustic aesthetic or you prefer contemporary decor, wood grain will complement any style.
Natural wood won’t stand up to spills the way a wire shelf will. Protect at-risk pantry shelves with a waterproof shelf liner. Of course, nothing can replace a high-quality sealant applied to the wood surfaces in your pantry.
A small pantry made entirely of wood can end up quite dark. Contrast wood shelving with bright white walls behind. You can also incorporate multiple light sources, such as under-shelf lighting or decorative string lights.
If a perfect small pantry organization system is important to you, don’t underestimate the value of a professional carpenter or cabinet maker. With custom shelves, drawers, and cupboards, you’ll be amazed by how much you can fit in an otherwise tiny pantry
6. Storage Ideas for Small Pantries
If you can clearly see everything in your kitchen pantry, you’re less likely to double-up on items or forget about them until they’ve gone bad. Add small shelf risers to lift small items into view.
Anywhere you store food is bound to experience a spill or two. Fabric totes might look nice, but plastic baskets are easier to wash and sanitize. You can even hang baskets from the bottom of shelves to take advantage of unused space.
Ditch clunky bags of flour and instead store dry goods in uniform, stackable jars. This doubles as convenient storage while extending the lifespan of your pantry staples. Label your jars clearly, so there’s zero question about what is inside.
7. Middle-of-the-Kitchen Pantry Ideas
Building a pantry semi-adjacent to your kitchen often means more space and better utilities. For many, though, the inconvenience of keeping pantry staples in a separate room isn’t worth the extra space.
Match your main pantry door to your existing cabinetry for a cohesive look. Or take the opposite approach and let your pantry stand out with an accent color and statement hardware. You can decorate the inside wall of your pantry with a coat of paint or fun wallpaper.
Including counter space in your built-in kitchen pantry idea opens up other work surfaces throughout the rest of the room. This is the perfect place to stow must-haves like a coffee maker, microwave, or blender that doesn’t match your kitchen decor.
If easy access is your top concern, consider going with an open-air pantry. Mount floating shelves on a central kitchen wall to store canned food and dry goods. Remember that top-notch pantry organization is a must to pull off this concept!
8. Basket Small Pantry Ideas
To maintain a cohesive color scheme throughout your kitchen pantry, use baskets to hide the original packaging of your favorite goodies. This is especially important if you have an open-concept pantry space.
Baskets make excellent partners of wire shelving. Wire shelves are affordable and easy to install. However, they aren’t the best storage solution for small items. Baskets are great for hard-to-store items like chip bags, protein bars, and other individually wrapped foods.
Mount shallow baskets to your pantry door to hold spices, baking supplies, and canned goods. If using baskets that are tightly woven and not see-through, take the time to add labels to streamline your pantry organization system.
9. Closet Small Pantry Ideas
Any closet can be turned into a pantry — no matter how large or small. Keep your kitchen pantry design simple or accent the space with a vibrant wallpaper or paint color behind your shelving.
Opt for adjustable shelves if possible. There’s nothing worse than trying to store a tall bottle or mason jar in a too-small space. With adjustable shelving, you can customize your pantry storage at a moment’s notice.
Shelves aren’t your only option, either. A few drawers or cabinets inside your pantry closet will make the space more versatile. Install a mini countertop into your closet pantry to hold a microwave, coffee maker, or stand mixer.
If your closet pantry is large enough to step into, be sure to install a door that swings out rather than in. Sliding doors are another option that won’t block items stored inside. A door-mounted spice rack is a small add-on that will provide super-easy access to your baking essentials.
10. Shelves Ideas for Small Pantries
Behind every great pantry door is a set of shelves. Even the smallest pantry wouldn’t be the same without them. Shelves are flexible, multi-purpose, and can be installed almost anywhere.
Look for ways to double-up on usable space. Attach hooks or baskets to the bottom of your pantry shelves for additional storage.
You can use this pantry organization idea anywhere in your cooking space, including to supplement an existing pantry. Store everyday essentials on easy-to-reach kitchen shelves to make life a tiny bit simpler. You can recycle an old bookshelf or hang wall-mounted shelving for this project.
Above all else, make the space functional. If you need a step stool or ladder to reach your pantry’s highest shelves, invest in one that suits your kitchen style. Better to have everything you need close at hand than hunt for a stool every time you need a box of cereal.