I have always loved walking around Ikea looking at the kitchen section. Strangely, my favorite part is the Ikea pantry area—looking at all those pantry cabinets and storage is so much fun to me…nerd alert. 🙂 When it was time for us to put our own freestanding pantry in, we turned to Ikea. Rather than going with an Ikea pantry cabinet, we decided to try an Ikea pantry hack by using the Billy bookcase as our pantry! Spoiler alert…it TOTALLY works! Check it out!
One of the main issues with our pantry before was having 100% open shelving. It wasn’t working for us. There are some food items that are beautiful and absolutely can earn a place as functional and tasty décor–have you ever noticed how beautiful Basmati rice grains are? Or rows of beans—green lentils, red kidney beans and purpley-blue black beans. What about fluffy flour piled in a jar or shimmering pyramids of sugar? God did good, food is pretty!
But then there are other foods that aren’t as pretty. And while I wish our diet was 100% natural foods, it’s not quite there. We have tortilla chips and cans of garbanzo beans and salsa jars and condiments that practically can’t be re-jarred into pretty glass storage and be displayed. So we knew that having some sort of hidden storage for our food was a must.
At first, our plan was to move one of the wire-shelving units into the odd little nook that housed our desk and computer and use tall wicker baskets to hide some of our food items. As a reminder- here was the nook before (we painted it edgecomb gray to match the rest of the pantry as shown here).
But the shelf was slightly wider than I preferred and it left too large of a gap on either side of the shelf. I was really trying to figure out a way to use our two metal shelving units, but I finally had to look at other possibilities. Fortunately we can give the shelving a nice home in our garage where it will house paint cans and drills and such. 🙂
As I was painting in our studio one night, I was staring at our Ikea Billy bookcase hack and it hit me—why not make an Ikea pantry using a Billy bookshelf or two in our pantry? I literally ran to grab the tape measurer and with trembling hands checked the spacing. It would fit! Hooray. A quick google search showed me that the Ikea pantry cabinet idea was not new. Ikea pantry storage using Billy bookshelves has had lots of great success, so I was super excited to get started. So we grabbed a 15” and a 31” Billy at our last Ikea trip.
We are basically pros at putting these together by now, so it went fairly quick. Once we built the shelves, Scott secured them both to the wall so they were safe.
I was in charge of putting the Ikea pantry shelves where they needed to go. I measured a bunch of random food items in our house, trying to make sure I accounted for both the tallest and the smallest heights as well as all my glass jars of dried food. 🙂
We were excited to put food in containers rather than the bags they came in! 🙂
Bella was very intrigued by the entire process, while Boomer (not pictured) was terrified of the hammering. Poor thing should be used to it by now! 😛
We opted to splurge on Ikea billy bookcase doors for each one—they are absolutely perfect! They are glass on the top half, for the pretties, and solid on the bottom half for the others. 😉 Installing the hinges and other hardware for the doors were the most time-consuming parts for sure. We worked on the three doors for about 2 hours…!
Sadly we had to remove a piece of baseboard for the doors to be able to swing open properly. RIP baseboard 🙁
The little gray things Scott is screwing in is a push to open door mechanism. You push on the door slightly, and they pop open, which is handy when your hands are full—you can use an elbow!
Except for one of the push mechanism things didn’t work. Sad! I think it’s defective and I’ll have to get a new one, but before giving up Scott hit stage 6 in the Ikea assembly process…despair and exhaustion. LOL.
But we persevered and got the pantry doors installed, minus the one door that isn’t automatically opening. We are just opening it from the top or bottom for now and will fix it later. 🙂 Look at how cool these doors are!
Once we had everything ready to go I got to do the fun part…putting stuff back in it! I can’t even say how satisfying it was to reorganize and resort all our food. Cleaning and purging and organizing is so therapeutic to me—anyone else like that? I am so happy with how it all turned out. I guess technically this isn’t an Ikea “hack” since we didn’t change anything…we just used it for a different purpose than most others. Maybe I should call this an Ikea Repurpose? 😉
I tried to keep all like things together—dried grains and beans, baking supplies, jams, etc. Everything in the top half is in a clear container of some kind. The lower half isn’t bad either!
I grouped oils and vinegars/syrups together in bins I got from Ikea. And of course have a baby shelf underneath for canned goods. 🙂
I LOVE that the shelves are narrower than our last one. No more losing things in the back! Everything is right where you can see it. It’s easy to see what we have and what we are running low of at a glance. And this is more than enough food for the two of us!
We still have a bit more we want to do with these shelves. To the left you can see a gap between the shelf and the wall that is about 10″—that’s where we’d like to build/add a wine rack! We also will go back and caulk in the holes on the side of the shelves once we are confident with the shelf placement.
And of course baseboards! 🙂 I am really, really loving our pantry so far you guys!! 🙂 So much storage and organization and prettiness….ahhh! 🙂 I am so happy this is finally happening! Is it weird that I am so excited…cause I totally am. 🙂 And just for good measure, here are our two favorite furry “helpers” in action.