Built-In Pantry Shelving

built in pantry shelving
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This is the best way to build nice pantry shelving, that will last a lifetime and looks great.  Free plans and video by Ana-White.com

A pantry is a must have on any house I build.  I design my kitchens to hold tools (dishes, mixing bowls, pots and pans, cutting boards, etc) and spices and coffee.  That's it. Everything else goes in the pantry.  Yes, everything.  If it regularly rotates out, it needs to be on open shelving in the pantry.  That way you don't end up with expired cans in deep drawers or moldy bread at the back of the shelf.  Or maybe worse, you can't access and inventory what you have quickly and easily.

Even though this house is small, we made sure to include a pantry right in the middle of the kitchen.

This week, we are tackling the pantry shelving.  We want to put the right shelving in that can last a lifetime and won't need to be ripped out or changed later.  You might as well do it right the first time, it saves you time and money in the long run.

pantry off kitchen

Here's what we came up with as a final result:

built in pantry shelving

And an inside look. 

built in pantry with corner

It was some work to add the corner, but it was worth it for the more accessible storage. 


Video of Building this Pantry Shelving


How to Build Your Own Custom Pantry Shelving

Pin For Later! 

Built-In Pantry Shelving


Shopping List
  • 3/4" plywood
  • 1x2 for trim
  • 1x4 or 1x3 for bay supports
  • 3/4" edge banding in matching wood veneer
  • 1-1/4" pocket hole screws
  • 1-1/4" brad nails
  • wood filler
  • wood glue
  • paint, primer, finishing supplies
Cut List
  • Cut list is generated in Ana's Design App
  • Rip the plywood first to the desired depth of the shelving.  Then cross cut with a circular saw to match the cut list generated in the design app.
  • Cut the 1x boards to fit
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Miter Saw
Table Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
Iron for Edge Banding


Step 1

Planning and Designing Your Pantry Shelving to Fit Your Pantry

Measure your pantry and decide how big of shelving you'll want.

You'll want to make the shelving a little smaller so it fits inside without scratching up walls - I give an inch.

Use my free design app (below) to custom design your pantry shelving using the following parameters -

  • Height - up to you, but consider useable heights for storage is about 72" - the top counts as a shelf too.
  • Width - overall width of pantry, but subtract an inch so it's not too tight of a fit
  • Depth - 11.25" or 15.25" are standard depths, but it's really up to you and the space you have.  
  • Bays - Shelves should not span over 36" as they may start to sag, so add bays to keep shelf spans.
  • Distance between shelves - About 13" is good standard height, but it's up to you.

Click here to use this tool in a pop-up full page view



Cutting the Pieces

Once you have finished designing your perfect pantry shelving, complete the project and download the drawings.

The drawings will supply a cut list.  Rip 3/4" plywood into desired depth and then cross cut with a circular saw to match the cut list.  

Apply edge banding to front edges with an iron and trim off excess.  Sand the edges with sand paper.

Step 2

Assembling the Wood Pieces

Depending on how many bays you have, it may make sense as I did to assemble outer bookshelves and tie them in once they are in the pantry.  

Assemble using 3/4" pocket holes and 1-1/4" pocket hole screws.  Add "bay supports" to the top to help keep the shelving square, and this also gives you a backing to attach to the walls.

Step 3

Attaching Shelves Together

Join multiple shelves together as shown using 3/4" pocket holes and 1-1/4" pocket hole screws.

Step 4

Trim for a Finished Look

Trimming the front edges will make the project look better and protect front edges.  Use 1-1/4" brad nails and glue to apply trim to top and bottom.

Step 5

Finish Face Frame Trim

Measure and cut the trim pieces to fit the front edges to complete the build.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all nail holes with wood filler and let dry.
Sand excess off.
Sand entire project with 120 grit sandpaper.
Remove all sanding residue with a vacuum with soft bristled brush. Wipe clean with a damp, lint free cloth.
Finish Used
I used a primer and then paint to finish the pantry shelving.