DIY Pantry on the Cheap by

DIY Pantry Remodel on the Cheap

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Astute madams who’ve been lurking around The Navage Patch blog for at least two years will doubtless remember that I, your long-suffering narrator and antihero, was tasked with a pantry makeover mere weeks after moving into our Florida home by none other than my lovely wife, Shrimpus Maximus.

DIY Pantry on the Cheap by

The very same astute madams may then be rightly wondering why I’m now tasked with remodeling that which I just (relatively speaking) made over.

Well, it’s simple, really.

DIY Pantry on the Cheap by

First, we’re waiting for our new kitchen to be installed, and while the old pantry (which was still new in my books) might have had some cachet during the reign of The Green Monster:

Kitchen and Family Room Remodel Plan by

It was about to find itself looking like a hillbilly on holiday in Dubai once the new kitchen gets installed.

FL Kitchen Remodel Render by

As a reminder, the above picture is CGI. There’s been some confusion about that due to how good the rendering is!

Second, this remodel has been brewing in my babes’ brain since before the paint was dry on my April 2022 makeover.

It’s a strange feeling to hear the words, “It looks amazing my babes! You’ll be giving it another makeover soon!”

I’ll be giving who to the what now?

DIY Pantry on the Cheap by

But the Shrimp works in mysterious ways, so if she wants a new pantry, she’s gonna get a new pantry!

So once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!

man emptying a pantry

Sayonara shelves, I hardly knew ye.

man removing shelves from a pantry

DIY Pantry VIDEO Overview

Watch our short and fun video below for an overview of our DIY Pantry before you read the detailed account below.

Watch Our Tutorial On YouTube

On Tiktok


I built a beautiful pantry for my wife, and then she told me to tear it all out! Find out why and what will go in its place – you won’t believe how cheap I’m making this pantry, and I think you’re going to love how it’s going to look! #pantrymakeover #dreampantry #pantrygoals #foodstorage #diyprojects #pantryorganization #diyhome #kendinyap #kendinyapprojeleri #pantrydesign #diycabinets #diytutorial #doityourselfproject #diyhomeimprovement #homerenovationideas #doityourself #homereno #kitchentrends #pantryreno #budgetfriendly

♬ original sound – TheNavagePatch – DIY & Crafts

We love to see our DIY projects out in the wild! If you try this DIY project and take a picture and post it on Instagram, be sure to tag us @TheNavagePatch!

Handan’s vision for the new pantry is much grander than the one she had for my original makeover. That one involved ripping out the feeble wire shelves that came with the house and replacing them with six full, wrap-around shelves that made full use of the 10-foot ceilings.

For this remodel, we’ll be giving up a bit of storage space to have cabinets with drawers and a countertop for small appliances. The lost pantry space will be more than made up for with all the new cabinetry that will be installed in the kitchen.

To start with, I removed only enough shelves to accommodate the base cabinets I’d be building. No sense losing all that storage space until it was absolutely necessary!

man tearing out a pantry

Meanwhile, Handan whipped up a plan for how she wanted the cabinets.

cabinet plan on paper

To save money, I used as much scrap plywood as I could, especially for the drawers and cabinet supports. The only full pieces on the cabinets are the sides. I gave the backs three 2-inch horizontal supports and two on the tops. I put another 2-inch support across the front bottom, and each drawer would have between one and three horizontal drawer divider supports depending on the number of drawers.

I used my new Kreg 520 Pro pocket hole jig. Such a big upgrade over the original master system I got over 10 years ago!

man drilling pocket holes
man making a cabinet base

I added the drawer separator supports and tacked them with brads.

man making cabinets

I used a Kreg drawer slide jig to make quick work of the 14 pairs of slides I needed to install for the inset drawers.

man using a drawer slide jig

With the slides installed, I carried the five cabinets into the pantry and screwed them to each other and to studs.

man installing cabinets in a pantry
cabinets being installed in a pantry

Next I got to work on the drawers, again using my Kreg 520 Pro to drill pocket holes.

man drilling pocket holes

I assembled 14 drawers of various sizes but left off the faces – I’d be installing those later.

man building a drawer with pocket screws
man building a drawer with pocket screws

I installed the slides, inserted the drawers into their cubbies, and wasn’t the least bit surprised to find my babes’ had already started to test-fill the drawers!

pantry under construction

Satisfied with the fit and ability to store Turkish desserts, I took the drawers back outside and painted them white.

man painting drawers with a sprayer

Back inside, I added a face frame to the cabinets made of utility panel that I attached with construction adhesive and brad nails.

man adding a face frame to cabinets
man adding a face frame to cabinets

Next, I attached the drawer faces with construction adhesive and brads. I used a 1/8 inch spacer shims on the bottom and sides to keep the look consistent between drawers.

man installing cabinet drawer faces
man installing cabinet drawer faces
man installing cabinet drawer faces

We planned to use some sort of tile for the countertop, so I first laid down one layer of scrap 3/4 inch scrap plywood and topped it with another layer made from the shelves of the old pantry.

man adding a countertop to pantry cabinets
man adding a countertop to pantry cabinets

The Shrimp jumped in at this point to help with painting the cabinets. We used Sherwin-Williams Shiitake left over from our laundry room remodel last spring.

woman painting cabinets

What a delightful shrimp!

woman painting cabinets

I installed pulls with the help of my Kreg cabinet hardware jig. I don’t know how I lived without this thing for so long!

man using a jig to attach drawer pulls

The pulls Handan bought are beautiful! They’re perfect for this pantry, and they’re surprisingly affordable!

pantry under construction

Our original idea was to use the same adhesive vinyl tile we were planning for the backsplash (more on that in a minute), but when we laid out a mockup, we were both like, meh.

We then lit out for Home Depot and Lowe’s to find a suitable tile for the countertop. Tile instead of a “real” countertop was going to save us a ton of money.

After coming up empty in Home Depot, we popped across the street in Lowe’s. I had some lumber sticking out the back of my truck, so I told Handan to go have a quick look since I wasn’t expecting much.

After a time she called and told me what she found. She sent a picture and I said, “I’ll be right in!”

What she found was incredible!

large tile

It had the same tones as the cabinets and the backsplash we were intending! The tiles were 24×48, so we’d need three of them to fully cover the cabinets. But at $34 per tile, that meant our countertop would only cost $102!

Cutting a straight line on something this big seemed a little above my pay grade, so I asked the guys who installed our tile floor to come back and help me out.

men cutting a large tile

I thought they’d use some sort of fancy tile cutting machine.

Nope! He freehanded it!

men cutting a large tile

Handan and I installed the pieces with just a little construction adhesive underneath. The tiles are heavy, and they are bounded on all sides, so they’re not moving anywhere! I made a trim piece for the front to complete the look.

man putting trim on a cabinet front

Where the tiles meet each other, we added caulk to hid the very thin black line. The seams are all but invisible now! I’ll give you a better look in the beauty shots, but here’s a glimpse.

pantry cabinets and counterop

With the countertop installed, I turned my attention upwards. My babes planned for 3 floating shelves which I installed with the same method I used for the guest room closet shelves.

installing shelf supports in a pantry

I used the shelf supports from the old pantry to build new supports for this pantry. I screwed the wall supports into studs and then used pocket screws to join the rest.

man building shelves

I laid 1/2 inch plywood on top of the framework and secured it with brad nails.

man making shelves for pantry
Man making shelves in a pantry

Handan found a really handy tool for measuring and cutting shelves in spaces with unsquare walls. In other words – every house in America.

It’s official function is a stair tread template, but it works wonders for shelves, too!

man measuring for shelves

I set and locked the side angles.

man making shelves

Then I took the template outside and traced those lines onto a piece of plywood.

man making shelves

I cut the wood according to my lines, and it fit perfectly in place.

man making shelves
man making shelves

Before installing the shelf bottoms, I got to work on the backsplash. We had bought some vinyl when we first moved for bathroom makeover I still haven’t gotten around to. The best part about it was its price: 27 cents per square foot. Yep, you read that right!

Handan’s original thought was to use the vinyl tile for the countertop and the backsplash, but thanks to her amazing Lowe’s large-format tile discovery, we were able scale back our plans for the vinyl tile to just the backsplash. To make the look more appealing, my babes suggested we cut the tiles into 2-inch strips. I cut the strips with a vinyl tile cutter but discovered they wouldn’t stick to the textured walls

man cutting vinyl tile

But they stuck just fine to a piece of painted hardboard!

tiles stuck to hardboard

I installed the backer board to the wall with construction adhesive.

installing a backsplash in a pantry
man installing backsplash

Before grouting the tiles, I installed utility panel to the undersides of the shelves with construction adhesive and brad nails.

man installing pantry shelves

I added more utility panel to the shelf faces, and then I mudded the seams, nail holes and wall damage. The bottom shelf isn’t finished in the pic below because I still had some electrical work to do inside it before closing it up.

man building pantry shelves

I used gray grout and worked one tile at a time, and they turned out great!

man grouting tiles

Once again, my babes was right for suggesting Natural Gray grout, and I was a gibbering doofus for thinking Charcoal gray would be best.

man grouting tiles

After wiring up a power strip under the bottom shelf, I filled more holes and then sanded everything smooth.

man sanding shelves

A little paint, a little prime, and Bob’s your uncle! This DIY pantry remodel on the cheap was almost finished.

man painting shelves

But first, I had to do something about the frosted boob light sagging mirthlessly from the ceiling.

I replaced with a light Handan found. I mean, obviously my babes found it. What are the chances I’d find anything stylish if ever I waded into the murky waters of online light shopping? Pffft!

It makes a beautiful pattern on the ceiling and walls!

And now let’s see how it all turned out!

DIY Pantry on the Cheap by
DIY Pantry on the Cheap by

I’m amazed and pretty proud of what I built! And the Shrimp is over the moon! She wasted no time purchasing and filling all these beautiful containers.

DIY Pantry on the Cheap by

Now, I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t address the elephant in the room that most likely only I can see. But anyone who does a little digging would see it too. I’ll explain after the beauty shots.

DIY Pantry on the Cheap by
DIY Pantry on the Cheap by
DIY Pantry on the Cheap by
DIY Pantry on the Cheap by

Now let’s have a gander at that elephant.

Two years ago, I wrote these words in my pantry makeover reveal post:

You may also note that (besides the aforementioned exceptions) we don’t go in for those rows of identical containers to store things like cereal and snacks. Our reasons for this are many, but it boils down to a few key points:

  1. It’s more work. Filling and re-filling those containers takes time. Ain’t nobody ’round here got time fo’ dat!
  2. When does it expire? It’s good to see the date on some packages. Saves a trip to the nose for a sniff test.
  3. We find those row upon row of identical containers to be a little too clinical looking – like you’re peering into the laboratory at a hospital, not at the food you’d like to consume.
  4. Last (and most importantly) – we like using our own baskets that we’ve collected over the years.

Allow me to revisit the points of my slightly younger self.

  1. Yes, it’s more work, but Jeezum Crow, life is work so suck it up and fill them! Seriously, it’s not much work, and it looks much better. Bonus: these jars have way better seals, so food stays good longer!
  2. Ugh, really? When did I ever give a fig about expiration dates? When I travel I take blood pressure pills from 2010, so I think some rice from a few years ago won’t kill me. Besides, my nose is a national treasure. It can smell rancid food from two counties over. Even the dry stuff like rice and flour goes bad, and when it does, this nose knows!
  3. No we don’t – at least not when they’re done right. And that means having a little variation. We have containers of all different shapes and sizes, so there’s nothing clinical about it.
  4. Our baskets are old and tired, and frankly, we’re sick of them. Oh sure, we’re still keeping some around, but the rest can go out to pasture, find a sheep and start chewing grass because we’re done! 😂
DIY Pantry on the Cheap by

DIY Pantry Cost Breakdown

Watch our short and fun video below for the cost breakdown of our pantry. And no – the dispensers are not included in the cost of build 😁.

So there ya have it: we’re converts to the fancy new pantry aesthetic. I hope you like it as much as we do, and I can’t wait to show you the new kitchen when it’s installed!

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  1. This makeover is INCREDIBLE! I usually get annoyed when I see other bloggers redo something “so soon” after finishing a project but this project took the pantry to a whole new level of beauty. Did you just add 1/4 round where the counter meets the backsplash? And is it painted to match the grout or the countertop? It’s great that the build portion of the project was able to be done using a lot of materials you had on hand because I know those gorgeous containers add up quickly 😉 Always love seeing what you build and reading your witty descriptions.

    1. Thanks, Angie! it’s not 1/4 round – it’s some other small trim piece we found in either Lowe’s or Home Depot. I can’t remember which.

  2. Beautiful new pantry and you’re new kitchen will look incredible! Are you relocating the stairs?
    I’ve been following you two for a few years. Enjoyed reading your love story 😍 and seeing all the home projects!

  3. Exquisite! Loved the light you chose. It was the cherry on top of all your hard work. Can you share the shopping info? Which online shop? Thanks,

  4. “But the Shrimp works in mysterious ways, so if she wants a new pantry, she’s gonna get a new pantry!” You ae a wise man, Greg. And shrimp is very lucky.
    You have outdone yourself. The pantry will stand tall next to the new kitchen. The beautiful containers really set it off. Do you have a link for the dispensing containers? They are awesome.

  5. Wow and wow! When you said flooring for the backsplash I was skeptical but it looks fantastic! I’m wondering where in my ridiculously small house I can do the same.. Everything is beautiful and I love the containers.
    As soon as it quits snowing in WI I am off to make my two drawer craft tool organizer and I am fully confident as I have watched 89 videos on how to build a drawer! Oh, that Kreg tool thing for aligning handles is genius. Thanks Greg, you guys are an inspiration!