The Single Best Thing I Ever Did for My Pantry Has Nothing to Do with Cleaning or Organizing

updated Feb 22, 2021
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Credit: Ashley Poskin

My pantry, like a lot of yours I’m sure, looked like it had been through battle after cooking so many hundreds of meals this past year. It was somewhat organized (I knew where to look for the canned goods) but it looked awful. I recently gave it a Home Edit-inspired makeover and, holy cow, it looks beautiful now — but the best and easiest thing I did had nothing to do with cleaning or organizing. And it was a literal lightbulb moment. 

We have red floors in our rental kitchen and I’ve always blamed their reflection on the white walls for the awful orangey-yellow cast in the pantry. It was dark, dingy, and not inspiring at all. I assumed it was something I’d just have to live with unless we were willing to cough up the cash to put in new floors. Then one day, I was in the pantry and was surprised at how beautiful the light looked. For once, not everything was orange. I quickly realized this was because there was tons of diffused natural light streaming in and the overhead light was off. So I got to thinking … maybe the red floor wasn’t completely at fault for the hazy gross lighting in the pantry.

It was the lightbulbs. Duh! I felt so silly because as a photographer I should have recognized this immediately. Yes, the red floors do have a bit to do with the red-orange cast, but it was mainly because the bulbs in the pantry were incandescent 2500K bulbs, which give off a warm, orange glow. In photography, when color correcting an image that is too red, you add more blue. So my solution was right there, so simple. And it wouldn’t require me forking over a ton of cash for a new floor. I just needed to change out the lightbulb for something cooler, something bluer. 

Credit: Ashley Poskin
Old, too-warm light bulbs.

See for yourself. Above is a pre-makeover photo of my pantry. I shot it on my phone, at night, with the very warm 2500K bulbs. So dingy and orange!

Credit: Ashley Poskin
New, cooler light bulbs.

To remedy the problem, I ordered daylight bulbs (5000K) as a starting point. This photo (above) was taken with the new bulbs in — also at night and on my phone. Just look at the difference!

I also ordered 6500K bulbs, which would have provided an even bluer color temperature, but I ultimately decided that the 5000K bulbs were perfect. They add a ton of cool light without making me feel like I’m walking through a big-box store. And it was easy as pie. It’s amazing how important good lighting is!