A walk-in pantry is a dream for many homeowners. Having ample storage for food, dishes, and small appliances can make a kitchen feel expansive and organized. However, even the best walk-in pantry can start to feel tired and dull over time. Bringing new life to a walk-in pantry doesn’t require a full remodel. With some clever tips and DIY projects, you can give your pantry a fresh new look with minimal time and money invested. Here are 11 ways to wake up a walk-in pantry.

Audit and Organize

The first step in revitalizing a walk-in pantry is getting organized. Take everything out and do a full audit of what you have and what condition it’s in. Get rid of expired foods and donate items you no longer use. As you put items back, use storage containers to corral like items and label everything clearly. Consider installing extra shelving or drawers to separate categories better. An organized pantry not only looks better but also makes cooking and meal prep easier.

Add Lighting

Lighting is an essential component in making any space look and feel brighter. Evaluate the existing lighting in the pantry. If it feels even a little dark or dim, add more lighting. Install under-cabinet lighting to illuminate countertops and shelves. Consider adding sconces on side walls or a ceiling fixture. The goal is to make sure all areas of the pantry are brightly and evenly lit. This will make the space more inviting and functional.

Fresh Paint

A new coat of paint is one of the easiest ways to refresh a walk-in pantry. Go with a light, neutral shade like a soft white, pale gray, or warm ivory. Neutral colors help open up smaller spaces. Matte finishes also reflect light better than glossy paints. For a bit of visual interest, consider painting the back wall in a bold accent color or create vertical stripes on one wall. Painting the ceiling the same color as walls also makes the space feel bigger.

Update Hardware

Over time, cabinets and drawers accumulate nicks, scratches, and tarnishing. Replacing the hardware is a simple upgrade that can modernize the look instantly. Swap out dated brass handles and hinges with matte black, nickel, or oil-rubbed bronze for a more contemporary vibe. Matching hardware throughout the pantry creates a cohesive feel. For a farmhouse style, try bin pulls or decorative knobs.

Add Molding

Installing trim molding along the tops of cabinets and shelves is an easy DIY upgrade. Molding introduces pretty architectural detail and covers any damage or irregularities on cabinet edges. For a farmhouse feel, opt for thick shiplap or reclaimed wood planks. Crown molding along the ceiling adds elegance. For a more subtle detail, install simple quarter round or rope molding. Paint the molding in a crisp white or match to the cabinet color.

Style with Baskets

Incorporating decorative baskets is an easy way to add charm and conceal clutter. Keep different foods together in baskets for the countertops and shelves. Look for baskets in natural materials like rattan, bamboo, jute, and wood. Combine textures and sizes for visual interest. Label each basket so items stay organized. Use baskets to hold cookware on bottom shelves. Line them with shelf liner to prevent scratches.

Display Dishware

Turn a section of the pantry into an open dish display. Install glass-front cabinets to show off pretty plates, bowls, and mugs. Try mounting cabinets vertically with lighting inside to mimic a china cabinet. Keep everyday dishware coordinated by color or pattern for a pulled-together look. Add risers, plate stands, or plate hangers to efficiently use all the space. Just be sure dishes are clean before putting them away.

Add a Rug

An area rug adds warmth and personality underfoot. Use a low-pile rug that can handle some spills and wear and tear. Jute, seagrass, sisal, and braided options are durable and easy to clean. Try a fun geometric, striped, or checkered pattern. Place a rug in front of frequently used countertops or pantries. Don’t use carpet, which can harbor odors and dirt over time. Place a rug pad underneath for safety.

Style the Door

An often-overlooked area is the pantry door itself. Make this blank slate a decorative focal point. Consider replacing a worn door with a shaker-style door that complements the kitchen cabinets. Paint or wallpaper the door a fun pattern like diagonal stripes or floral. Lean a full-length mirror against the door to open up the small space and make it safer to navigate. Hang cute chalkboard labels or a bulletin board for an organized look.

Add Wallpaper

For bold impact, paper one or more of the pantry walls. Self-adhesive, peel-and-stick wallpaper makes DIY application easy. Go for a graphic print, faux tiles, or nature motif like leaves or vines. An accent wall in wallpaper can serve as artwork in the utilitarian space. If using removable wallpaper, refresh it regularly as grease and dirt accumulate. Keep wallpaper away from shelves to prevent damage over time.

Infuse Personal Style

One of the best ways to liven up a pantry is by adding personal flair that showcases the homeowner’s tastes. Hang photos or framed art that inspires you. Incorporate favorite colors with small appliances, containers, or organizational items. Display sentimental serving platters or cookbooks. Add a wine rack, bar cart, or coffee station. Make the space your own with fun signs and unique knickknacks.

A walk-in pantry should function efficiently while also feeling fresh and inviting. By taking time to organize contents, update storage, add lighting, paint, complete small DIY projects, and infuse personal style, you can breathe new life into your pantry space. Implement just a couple new ideas at a time until you achieve the look and feel you love, all without a major renovation. With a bit of creativity, you can easily wake up your walk-in pantry.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some quick ways to update a walk-in pantry?

Some quick DIY ways to update a walk-in pantry include:

  • Adding new cabinet hardware like knobs, pulls or hinges
  • Painting the walls or cabinets a fresh, light color
  • Installing peel-and-stick wallpaper or removable wall decals
  • Organizing with matching containers and baskets
  • Replacing lighting fixtures for better illumination
  • Hanging new artwork, signs, or personal decor

How much does it cost to remodel a walk-in pantry?

The cost to remodel a walk-in pantry can range greatly depending on the size of the space and the extent of the updates. Minor updates may cost a few hundred dollars. A full overhaul with new flooring, cabinets, countertops and fixtures can cost $2,000 to $5,000 or more. The national average for a pantry remodel is around $3,500.

What type of flooring works best in a pantry?

Durable vinyl plank flooring is a top choice for pantry flooring. Other good options include tile, polished concrete, or unfinished wood. Avoid carpeting, which can easily get dirty. The flooring should be able to handle spills, moisture and heavy foot traffic. A floor with a gripping surface is safer for walking on.

How can I add more storage to my pantry?

To add storage, first consider organizing what you already have into matching bins and baskets. If more space is still needed, add extra shelving, racks, pegboards, or freestanding cabinets. Take advantage of vertical wall space. Install utility hooks on the backs of doors. A door organizer can also add storage. Evaluate all unused space to creatively fit in more storage options.

What is the best way to organize a pantry?

Keep like items together in labeled clear containers. Store heavier items on lower shelves. Use shelves closest to eye level for everyday items and upper shelves for lesser used items. Keep cooking oils and dry goods in a cool, dry area. Store cleaners and chemicals away from food. Maintain visible inventory of what needs restocking. Purge unused and expired items regularly to keep clutter minimal.

How do I make my small pantry feel bigger?

For a small pantry, use:

  • Light, neutral paint colors to open up the space
  • Glass jars and containers to see contents easily
  • Pull-out drawers and slide-out shelves for hidden storage
  • Tall, narrow shelving units and vertical storage
  • Wire, hanging, or wall-mounted storage to get things off the floor
  • Lighting under cabinets and inside the pantry
  • Mirrors or mirrored cabinets to add depth

Should everything be taken out of the pantry before organizing?

Yes, it’s best to empty the entire pantry before organizing. This allows you to:

  • Do a full inventory of everything you currently have
  • Check expiration dates and toss expired items
  • Clean all shelves, walls and floors thoroughly
  • Consider the space and what storage solutions make the most sense
  • Group like items together into bins, baskets or containers
  • Arrange items efficiently from top to bottom for easy access

Starting with an empty clean slate makes organizing much easier.

What paint finish is best for a pantry?

A matte or eggshell paint finish is best for pantries and kitchens. The subtle sheen hides flaws and reflects light well, while resisting stains, moisture and frequent cleaning better than flat or glossy paints. Semi-gloss is also durable but can show imperfections. Use satin or gloss only on trim. Avoid high-gloss, which magnifies grease and dirt in a busy pantry.

Is it a good idea to hang a curtain over the pantry door?

Hanging a curtain over the pantry door can provide a soft, decorative touch while also concealing clutter. Choose a fabric that complements the kitchen decor without overwhelming the small space. Cotton, linen or canvas have nice drapability. Hang the curtain on a tension rod for easy installing. Make sure the curtain has sufficient clearance to open fully without catching. Open weave or loosely woven fabrics also help prevent dust buildup.


There are endless possibilities when considering ways to wake up your walk-in pantry. Start with a thorough organizing session and cleanup. Then get creative with paint, lighting, storage solutions, materials, and personal touches to make the space look fresh and inviting. Implement updates over time until you achieve your dream pantry that both functions and looks amazing. With a bit of DIY spirit and style inspiration, you can easily breathe new life into your walk-in pantry.