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The Prettiest Pantries on Instagram...And How You Can Have One Too

March 21, 2024

Pantry with gray cupboards

Where you store your food and supplies should be an extention of your kitchen's aesthetic weaving style and funtion no matter the size. With a little planning and thoughtful details, your own pantry space can have the same charm as the dreamy designer rooms you find online.

DESIGN + STYLE   |   Published March 18, 2024

Stoffer Photography Interiors gray pantry

Kitchen pantries are for more than just food storage.

How and where you store supplies impacts whether meal preparation is something you look forward to. Cooking becomes an enjoyable activity when you can find ingredients easily and boxes aren't tumbling when you open the cupboard doors.

Adequate storage helps avoid food waste, as well. If you can easily see and use what you have, you aren’t making duplicate purchases or letting things expire.

And as strange as it sounds, an organized and aesthetically pleasing pantry just makes you feel good.

Humphrey Munson dark pantry closet
PHOTO CREDIT: Humphrey Munson

Although walk-in pantries are one of the most requested design features in new build homes, the majority of us do not have the luxury of a separate room to store dry goods, appliances, and serving dishes. The space and budget are not there and those dreamy pantries we see on Pinterest are just that…..a dream.

But what if they don’t have to be? Can you can have lofty pantry goals even if your canned goods are stored in a kitchen cupboard or hallway closet?

These simple pantry design tips guarantee that even with limited space and budget constraints, you can have an attractive and efficient storage space for your stock of supplies.

Bookcase pantry shelves Cambridge Home Company

James May modern pantry with arched door
PHOTO CREDIT: James May Homes

How to Have a Dream Pantry Right Where You Are

Treat Your Pantry as an Extension of Your Kitchen

One reason we become envious of the fancy walk-in pantries is because they have style and are as thoughtfully designed as any room in the home. So, approach your own storage space with the eye of a designer.

  • Consider your overall design aesthetic. Colors, materials, and storage solutions should coordinate as they do in the rest of your house. Don’t overspend or buy a lot of new containers, but rather shop intentionally (or gather what you already have) with your design theme in mind.

  • Paint and wallpaper aren’t reserved for rooms. Color is the easiest way to dress up the interior of a closet or cupboard, too. Dark, moody tones are trending in the pantry right now, but neutrals and bold colors also make a statement.

  • Stained wood shelves have an elevated feel or paint them to coordinate with the walls. Shelf paper is another inexpensive upgrade. For those with wire shelving installed, construct budget-friendly shelf “covers” to fit over them.

  • Thoughtfully chosen vintage pieces like a canister set or decorative baskets add one-of-a-kind charm and a welcome contrast when paired with more contemporary bins and jars.

Brick dining room with pantry cupboard

Use a Cupboard in Small Spaces


Smaller homes must make use of the space available and that means there may not be room for a dedicated pantry closet or room off the kitchen. A large wooden cupboard provides ample storage for food and serving supplies and looks right at home even in the dining room.

Also Think of it as a Boutique Grocery Store

Dream pantries are about efficiency as much as looks. Grocery stores are orderly and organized so shoppers can find what they need and a pantry should be set up in much the same way.

  • Eliminate what doesn’t belong. Pantry storage should be reserved for food and tools related to meal prep and serving (if you have the space). If your edible items are crowded out by storing paper towels or lightbulbs, it’s best to find a new home for them.

  • Decant dry goods into stylish containers. A bulky array of bright colors, branding, and different sized boxes can be traded for a cohesive collection of jars and containers that let your food shine.

  • Line things up and keep the inventory neat.

  • Group like items together. Baking supplies in one zone, pastas and sauce in another. Aim for your most used goods to be within easy reach and save higher and lower shelves for lesser reached for products.

  • Add labels. It isn’t always necessary to label the outside of everything, but they do help others find ingredients and put things back where they belong. Labels are especially useful when using baskets or containers that you can’t see inside. (Get some free pantry labels for your food and spices.)

  • Organize so that it works for you. It doesn’t matter how many perfectly organized pantries you scroll through if they are set up in a way that doesn’t serve your needs.

James May styled pantry shelves

Adding a Decorative Touch


Vignettes of dishes, a collection of cutting boards, framed prints, or a rug add style if you have space to spare.


For a properly organized pantry with style, you’ll need to have an assortment of storage containers to hold your food.

  • Use baskets and bins for packaged goods. Not everything needs emptied from its packaging. Coordinating baskets and bins are the best way to store boxed goods, small packets, potato chips, and unopened cookies. You don’t have to see the packaging and can easily pull the basket out for easy access to everything.

  • Jars and canisters work for dry goods. Pasta, baking supplies like flour and sugar, and cereal are perfect for storing in coordinating or matching jars and canisters. For budget friendly storage, consider using mason jars or even empty spaghetti sauce jars for smaller amounts.

  • Consider whether you want see-through or opaque storage options or a combination of the two.

  • Curate a collection that looks good together and match the design vibe you have in the kitchen.

  • Think about contrasting containers with the design of your pantry for added style. For instance, in a white closet with wire shelves, stay away from choosing white bins and consider woven baskets to add texture and break up the white. Juxtapose wood lidded canisters alongside black metal bins.

Laine and Layne dark pantry

Conceal with a Curtain


Not everything has to be Instagram-worthy in a pantry. Chelsie installed a simple cafe curtain on the lower half of her built in shelves to hide kid's snacks, beverages, and other things that she didn't want to see.

Details Make the Difference

It’s the little things that really add charm to a utilitarian space and elevate your food storage space beyond just a basic closet or cupboard.

  • Keep a ladder or footstool inside (or close by) for reaching higher shelves easily.

  • Illuminate what’s inside. If there is a light installed in your closet or pantry, consider upgrading it to an inexpensive fixture you love. For cupboards or areas that don’t have electricity, install rechargeable LED options on the wall or under shelves.

  • Maximize your space. Add hanging spice racks or shelves on the back of your door. Use a lazy Susan for oil and vinegar for easy access. Look for can risers, stackable bins and small shelves that make better use of the vertical space you have available.

Metal pullout shelf in cupboard

Maximize the Space


Consider installing pull-out shelves, drawers, and organizers in hard to access spaces like under counters and corner cupboards. It's an upgrade that better utilizes your space and keeps things tidy.

Remember utilitarian spaces don’t have to be boring to be functional. Whether you have a huge walk-in pantry with built-ins or are using a small closet or cupboard, a thoughtful design can blend efficiency and beauty into wherever you store your inventory of food.

More Articles to Help Make Your House Feel Like Home

Hang Curtains Like a Pro - Your guide to exactly how to measure for the right length and width of curtains, where to install your rod for maximum visual appeal, and even work around problems like arched windows or heating elements.

Steps to Decorate Any Nightstand - Step by step through decorating a bedroom nightstand that is both pretty and functional. Learn about choosing lighting, how to include storage, and bonus decorating tips.

Rules of Thumb for Hanging Art Correctly - All the specifics you should know about heights, sizes, orientations, and placement along with plenty of inspiration that will have you picking up a hammer to add frames to your own walls.


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stylish organized pantries

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