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DIY Under the Stairs Closet Pantry Conversion

Are you tired of overcrowded kitchen pantries and cluttered cabinets? Do you have an underused coat closet under the stairs? Well, we have the perfect solution for you! In this article, we'll share our experience...

Are you tired of overcrowded kitchen pantries and cluttered cabinets? Do you have an underused coat closet under the stairs? Well, we have the perfect solution for you! In this article, we'll share our experience with a DIY under-the-stairs closet pantry conversion that transformed our unused space into a functional and organized pantry.

DIY Under the Stairs Closet Pantry Conversion

Finding the Need for a Pantry

Let's start by understanding the reasoning behind this project. Our kitchen had a pantry with sliding doors, but as our family grew and our cooking habits changed, we quickly ran out of storage space. We were storing food, ingredients, and kitchen gadgets all over the house. That's when we realized that our underutilized coat closet under the stairs could be transformed into a much-needed pantry.

The Challenge of the Closet Space

The coat closet, with its declining ceiling and limited visibility, had become a catch-all for items we didn't know what to do with. But after stumbling upon an Instagram reel from Shanty2Chic, we knew we had found the perfect solution. We decided to turn this closet into a walk-in pantry. With minimal convincing needed, we were ready to embark on this exciting project.

Under the stairs coat closet

The Journey Begins

As amateur DIYers, we knew we had a challenging task ahead. Our goal was to share our experiences, successes, and lessons learned to make your journey easier. Before starting the pantry conversion, we removed the baseboard molding and carpet, preparing the space for its transformation.

IKEA Shelving Units for Efficiency

Building shelves and cabinets from scratch would have been a time-consuming and costly endeavor. So, we opted to "build in" IKEA shelving units instead. We carefully measured the space, the angle of the declining ceiling, and selected Billy bookcases that perfectly fit our needs. The total cost of the shelving units was around $190, a fraction of what it would have cost to build custom shelves.

IKEA shelves in coat closet

Adding a Touch of Style with Beadboard

To add a touch of elegance, we decided to cover one wall with wainscoting (beadboard) up to four feet in height. This accentuated the pantry space and created a visually appealing backdrop for the shelves. We also painted the exposed portion of the wall and ceiling above the short units in a beautiful shade called Silver Strand from Sherwin-Williams.

Practicality with Stained Pine Countertops

To create a level and durable surface for storing additional items, we added stained pine "countertops" to the tops of the shelving units. These pine boards were carefully measured and cut to fit perfectly. Although we initially attempted to install them as one large piece, we ended up installing them in two sections due to the limited space.

DIY pine countertops in pantry

Attention to Detail with Crown Molding and Finishing Touches

To give the shelving units a built-in appearance, we meticulously reinstalled the baseboard molding against the exposed wall and the bottom edges of the IKEA units. This small detail made a significant difference in the overall aesthetic of the pantry. We also added beadboard trim and top molding, caulked, and spackled everything to ensure a polished look.

A Floor That Works: Floor Paint

Deciding on the flooring was a challenge since we had to consider the trap door in the pantry. Peel-and-stick tile or extending our laminate wood flooring were options, but we opted for a third choice – floor paint. We used porch and patio floor paint from Home Depot in a color called Bridal Veil. The floor paint proved to be durable and easy to clean, even without a rug covering it.

finished coat closet pantry conversion

The Ultimate Pantry Experience

Once the pantry was complete, we couldn't wait to start organizing our kitchen items. Platters, slow cookers, rice makers, and spices found their new home in this beautifully transformed space. The addition of a runner-style rug from Well Woven perfectly complemented the pantry and concealed the trap door while keeping it easily accessible.

Light Up the Pantry

To address the lack of wired lighting in the closet, we opted for rechargeable LED lights. We installed one on the ceiling and another on the side to ensure ample lighting throughout the pantry. These soft LEDs provided a pleasant, white light and were easy to recharge every couple of months.

Conclusion: A DIY Pantry Worth the Effort

After six months of living with our DIY under-the-stairs closet pantry conversion, we can confidently say that it has been one of our favorite and most practical projects. The pantry allows us to keep our kitchen gadgets and appliances organized and easily accessible. It has significantly reduced the time spent searching for items and created a dedicated space for our expanding collection of spices and ingredients.

If you have an underutilized coat closet under the stairs or anywhere else in your home, we highly recommend considering a similar pantry conversion. It's a cost-effective way to maximize your kitchen storage without undertaking a major renovation. We estimate that our total project cost was around $300-400, which includes the IKEA shelving units and paint.

If you decide to embark on this pantry conversion journey, we'd love to hear about your experience. Leave a comment below and share your story. Happy DIYing!

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