Adding a Custom Pantry into an Existing Closet


So I’m finally finished tiling the laundry room floor and putting the wainscoting/board & batten on the wall and it’s looking great! I have a few more things to do including picking the new paint color for the top part of the wall. It will be some shade of blue, but the exact color is to be determined.

My mind works on things by processing multiple things at a time. It’s one of my main issues with projects because I get so excited about ideas that I start another project before I finish the other. If my house could talk, my house would probably say it hates it and my husband defintitely hates it!! But this time my husband is the one that made me stray from the project by suggesting the addition of a pantry!

As I finished tiling the laundry room floor in the closet, I asked the hubs what he thought about the usable space in there. It’s meant to be a laundry room/mudroom, but we were using it as that and a pantry for overflow of food we had. The organization of it was crappy and was not utilized the way it should be.

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That’s the moment we decided to build our own customized pantry. I knew I would be designing it and building it from scratch to save money, but I did look at pre-built closets for inspiration.

The requirements for the new closet would be shelves for food including cans and boxes and also fulfill the need  for storage for mops and coats and shoes if needed. I started by drawing out the measurements and sketching some ideas. This is a must before you start cutting random pieces of wood 🙂 If you plan to build your own closet, the best thing to do is sketch and then purchase some 3/4 ” MDF sheets 4’x8′. If you have the size of your shelving unit picked out, you can have them cut it there.

My closet is still in the works, but here’s what you need for supplies if I’ve inspired you to build your own!

2  3/4″ 4’x8′ MDF sheets

1 5/8″ Drywall screws

Liquid Nails Glue

Wood Filler

18″ x 14″ Mesh Baskets


L Brackets

Circular Saw

Measuring Tape


Start by measuring your whole space and figure out what you want the new pantry to look like. I divided my space into 2 areas to benefit multiple needs in the laundry room. With 4 children, we need to have a space for overflow of food since they go through it like crazy! We also need a space for brooms and coats or shoes plus whatever else the kids decide to put in there. So in my new pantry, I included mesh baskets for produce and shelves for canned goods and boxed foods. I left storage area on the very top for hardly used items and on the left side of the pantry, I left a space for hanging coats and brooms or mops.

The closet measures 56″ long and 8 feet tall. The height of the new pantry shelves is 7 feet tall to leave 1 ft. for storage at the top. The size of the shelves to the far right are 1 ft. wide x 16 deep and the middle shelves measure 18″ to fit the width of the drawers plus 16″ deep. To create a second area of storage near the top of the closet I left a 16″ tall space by putting board across the whole closet at 55″ wide and secured it to each side. The whole pantry measures 16″ deep.

It was a little tricky securing the 1 ft. shelves to the right side of the pantry. The 7 ft. side board needs to be secured to the wall on each side of the pantry, but the shelves need to be screwed in first before they are attached to the wall. Pre-drill each hole with a drill bit to create the hole so the board does not split. Each shelf should have 3 screws on each side to bear weight well.











The right side of the pantry has 3 1 ft. boards secured to the 7 ft. tall board. Secure it to the wall in studs to ensure a solid foundation for the pantry. Screw the second 7 ft. tall board on the left side into the wall and then put on the top board and secure it to the 2 side boards. Are you following this??! It’s a lot easier showing people rather than explaining it in text. Thankfully, I took a picture of every board that was put up!

Put up the second cross board that measured 55″ and secure it with L brackets. Measure from the floor to the new height of the second cross board to attach to the other side of the 1 ft. horizontal boards to create the first shelves. It is up to you how far apart the shelves should be. I spaced mine out about 14″, 15″, and 16″ tall and also left a bigger space at the bottom for things that may be a little heavy for a shelf.











Screw in the vertical board into the 1 ft. boards and then move onto the 18″ shelves. Pre-drill and screw in the 18″ boards next to create the next set of shelves. I spaced them at 6 1/2″ for canned goods, 14″ and 15″ plus I left room for the shelves at the bottom. Once you screw in each shelf, you will need to cut another board to finish of the last side. That will be 4 vertical boards total. The baskets that you picked out can go at the bottom or middle, whatever you choose. They screw in on the sides of the vertical shelves and are really easy to install. I love the way they look!




















It’s really starting to come together! If you want to break up the 16″ space near the top, add 16″ deep x 15″ tall boards to put vertically across the pantry. I have decided to put one board in the middle of the pantry to separate the 2 sides, but I’m unsure if I will put more. I already bought some really cute crates to put up there for storage! Thanks Gordmans!

If you are using it for storage, you can hang a mop hanger on the wall to hold your mops and brooms to keep them off the floor. I bought a rod to use for coat hanging, but it’s the wrong type so that will be going back to the store! I might just buy a shower curtain tension rod and use that if it measure 24″ since that is the width of the space on the left side. I’m almost finished and I can’t wait to use it! First I have to make it pretty by painting it white which should be pretty quick and filling the shelves will be the easy part.


My closet doors are the original builder grade oak so I plan on painting those white and maybe add trim to embellish them some. The finished product will be coming soon! I will be painting the next couple of days and hopefully figure out the closet doors and I will post an update. If you have any questions about measurements, let me know!

I also have train tracks finally on the way to go up on the new shelf so hopefully the train shelf will be operating soon! Nicholas can’t wait and neither can I so watch for an update on that also!


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