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Kitchen Remodel Money-Saving Tip: Ikea Pantry Cabinet

When you don’t have the budget to do exactly what you want in your remodel, thinking outside the box can help you get what you want and save money too. That’s exactly what we had to do when we needed to add storage in our kitchen. Kitchen cabinet systems were too expensive, so we came up with a creative alternative by using an Ikea pantry cabinet.

IKEA Kitchen renovation using PAX cabinets

If you’ve been following this site for any length of time, you probably know that we are nearly always in the middle of some remodeling project!

We love tinkering with our space and getting it just a little closer to our dream. Plus, we enjoy doing projects together. 🙂

But remodeling projects can quickly become budget busters. Through experience, we’ve learned how to think outside the box in order to save money.

By coming up with creative solutions (and doing most of the work ourselves), we can get amazing budget-friendly results.

I want to share an example with you of one big way we’ve done this. During our kitchen remodel a few years ago, we were able to put an Ikea pantry cabinet to use and save money. Here’s how.

floor to ceiling cabinets in kitchen

A Kitchen Storage Problem

If you’ve done any kitchen projects or watched HGTV shows, you probably have an idea of how expensive kitchen cabinets and fronts can be. That’s why many people try to just repaint and reuse their kitchen cabinets when possible.

A few years ago, we did a small-scale remodel project in our kitchen and were trying to keep the project on the cheap end. We knew we would most likely be doing a major remodel down the road.

This remodel project was meant to give us more functionality in our home until we could afford the large-scale kitchen remodel.

Before this project, the kitchen had an area that opened into the formal dining room. But we decided to turn the dining room into an office (and use the eat-in kitchen as the dining area), so we walled off that room and had an empty wall in our kitchen.

In addition, we needed more kitchen storage for a variety of items. We looked at different kitchen cabinet options to compare them.

We tried using some open shelving for a while. Specifically, we had those heavy-duty wire aluminum shelves. They held stuff, but things didn’t sit up straight, or they fell through the slits. I always felt like that area constantly looked messy and cluttered, and it was hard to keep it organized.

So we wanted to do something with doors that closed, matched the kitchen, and looked clean.

Kitchen sink showing dishwasher and refrigerator.

Getting Creative With Ikea Cabinets

Whenever we have a project like this, we always seem to turn to Ikea! They have so many great options for the kitchen (and every part of the house) that are affordable and offer design flexibility. So that means you get what you want at an affordable price.

We had a vision of what we wanted: tall floor-to-ceiling pantry cabinets that were deep enough to store our microwave and a few other appliances too.

As we began to look at Ikea pantry cabinet offerings and compare options at the store, we realized just how expensive our idea might be.

To get what we envisioned in a traditional way would cost around $6,000 to do tall kitchen cabinets. Yikes!

Since that was so far out of our budget, we had to go “back to the top” of this kitchen cabinet idea and start thinking outside the box as quickly as possible to avoid running into delays with our project.

Tip: When you run into a snag with a kitchen remodel, try getting creative so you can solve the problem and continue to move forward with your kitchen project!

The Pax Wardrobe

I thought about the Billy bookcases that we used as a pantry a couple of houses ago. I knew I wanted something similar for our current kitchen, but it needed to be deeper.

We sat down and began to search Ikea products using the website. After exploring all the cabinet systems and fronts, we found the Pax line of cabinets. It seemed like it was the right size and could work really well.

image from ikea's PAX line of cabinets

Note: in speaking with an Ikea employee, we were warned that this line is made for clothing, NOT the kitchen. The shelves might not be as sturdy as kitchen cabinet shelves need to be.

Ikea Pantry Cabinet Options: Finding An Affordable Alternative

We decided to purchase the Pax cabinets and give them a try. At the time, pantry cabinets would have cost around $6,000+, and a comparable major kitchen purchase today (because of inflation and supply chain problems) would likely be around $8,000 or more.

We checked the availability of the wardrobes we liked to see what combinations were available online. After some searching, we chose white wardrobes with doors that matched our other kitchen cabinets.

We ended up buying two variants of the PAX system. We measured and planned for them to fit side-by-side in the space we had in mind. They were pretty simple to assemble and install – and they fit great!

installing ikea furniture for kitchen

After both cabinets were installed, they looked beautiful! They matched the rest of our kitchen so well that it felt almost too good to be true. But it wasn’t – they were just that perfect!

IKEA wardrobe used as a pantry

SO, here’s how we used our IKEA pantry cabinets:

The larger one held our small appliances such as our microwave, Vitamix, and Instant Pot(s).

appliances and glassware in a kitchen cabinet

We used the drawers underneath to hold accessories.

IKEA pantry hack

The second cabinet held some food items such as cooking oils that we wanted to have easily accessible, as well as medication, and some extra glassware behind the doors.

ikea pax wardrobe as pantry cabinet

Then, the drawers were a perfect fit for all the storage bags, straws, and more!

Ikea pax wardrobe used as a pantry cabinet.

We got what we needed! But the best part was that we only paid around $2,000, which was about ⅓ of the cost of the new kitchen cabinets we had priced out.

Update: How Our Ikea Pantry Cabinet Worked Out

And we were really happy with them, and they matched our style!

Although we were grateful for the warning from the Ikea employee, we never had any problem with buckling shelves. Plus, the drawers worked great and were an unexpected bonus for our kitchen organization!

We used the units that way for about 2 years until we did a full-scale kitchen remodel and moved the wardrobe to our bedroom, where they now hold clothes 😁

But we’ll never forget the lesson we learned: getting creative with home projects can yield great results.

ikea wardrobe used in kitchen renovation

I hope this quick little cost-saving remodel hack inspired you to try thinking outside the box when you run into snags (which WILL happen)! With a little effort, I know that you can find a more affordable way and choose to move forward while still accomplishing what you want!

You might even find a great way to use an Ikea pantry cabinet in a different capacity!

ikea kitchen remodel

More Remodel Project Inspiration

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Tania Griffis is an accomplished writer, blogger, and interior designer with a Journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma. She started her popular blog, Run to Radiance, in 2011, demonstrating her design expertise through the personal remodeling of six houses to millions of readers across the globe.

Tania also owns The Creative Wheelhouse, a respected ghostwriting agency for bloggers, further showcasing her talent for creating engaging and informative content.

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