11 Ways You Can Make Open Shelving Work in Your Pantry

updated Jun 8, 2019
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Lilian’s Sunlit Family Kitchen (Image credit: Faith Durand)

The merits of open shelving in the kitchen are always a point of contention around here. On the one hand, open shelves offer easy access to your ingredients and dishes. On the other hand, it can be tough to keep them clean and organized.

If you’re inspired by the benefits of open shelving, consider adding it to your pantry instead. You can see all that you have in stock at once, and if the shelves get a little messy — just close the door. Here are 11 examples to give you some ideas.

Lilian’s Sunlit Family Kitchen (Image credit: Faith Durand)
  1. Pantry for an Open Kitchen: This open, sunlit family kitchen in Ohio has scads of cabinets, but the open shelving is tucked away behind a door.
  2. Vertical Space: Make the most of tall ceilings by going from top to bottom with your storage. Making use of a bright, welcoming color doesn’t hurt either.
  3. Custom Closet Pantry: Using a closet or nook to build out a pantry is a great use of space. These custom shelves mean that everything in the pantry has a place to belong.
  4. Hallway Storage: The key to making this pantry built into a hallway look nice is that everything is in matching storage containers and is kept well-organized.
  5. Floating Shelves: If you don’t have a dedicated pantry space, carve one out by putting open shelving over another piece of furniture like a short cabinet.
  6. Serious Storage: For anyone lucky enough to have this much space, think carefully about how you’ll organize the products on your shelves. Keep like things together, and even take a few cues from the grocery store.
  7. Multi-Purpose Pantry: We love the addition of the desk in this pantry. It’s the perfect place for planning menus, making grocery lists, or just stealing a quiet moment away from a busy day.
  8. Built-in Bookcases: Whether you choose a custom shelving unit, or make standard bookshelves look built-in turning a wall into a pantry is a great use of space in your kitchen.
  9. Specialized Storage: Make use of different shelf types like wine shelves or ones that accommodate bins for items you want to keep hidden (like potato chips) or that are hard to organize (like potatoes).
  10. Pocket Door: When in doubt, build in a way to close off your pantry—like this pocket door, or a curtain. That way you’ll have the option to hide it out of site when you want to.