Pantry Makeover on a Budget

Pantry Makeover on a Budget

I love my house, but oh how I dislike the builder-grade wire shelving that came in every closet and in my kitchen pantry! It you have them, you know how annoying they are! Well, I decided I had had it, but I couldn’t afford new shelving. My solution? Cover them!
Box cutter or exacto knife
Contact paper

Measuring tape or ruler

Measure your shelves and, using an exacto knife or box cutter, cut cardboard to fit. Lay the cardboard on the shelves.

pantry shelves cardboard

Next, roll out the contact paper on top of a shelf and cut the length you need. Then carefully peel about 6 inches or so of the contact paper from it’s backing, revealing the sticky side. Starting at one end of the shelf, position the contact paper, sticky-side down, over the cardboard. Be sure to leave enough in the front to fold down over the front of the wire shelving.

…(Of course, if you’d rather, you could just cover the cardboard and set it on the shelf instead of covering the entire shelf. But I wanted to hide all of the ugly wire and give the illusion of more substantial shelves.)…

Working in sections, smooth out the contact paper with your hand as you slowly pull more of the backing from the contact paper. Keep pulling and smoothing until you’ve reached the end of your piece of contact paper. (PS…check out my lime green nail polish! ha! It was for St Patrick’s Day.)

pantry shelves cut to size pantry shelves peel backing pantry shelves

Now fold down the front part of the contact paper to cover the front section of the shelf. At this point, you’ll have to cut some slits in part of the paper to accommodate for the shelf supports and brackets.

pantry shelves4 pantry shelves2 pantry shelves3
pantry shelves5

Once you’ve cut your slits, you can wrap the contact paper down and around the front of the shelf, and around the brackets, smoothing it all as you do so. I also then folded in the contact paper on the inside edge of the brackets to give a little more of a finished look.

Then all that’s left is to fill your pantry and organize a bit. My favorite organizational tools are baskets and fabric bins. Other handy organizational items are nails or screws for hanging things like a dustpan and broom or apron. I also used thumb tacks to hang a grocery list, monthly meal plan, and a convenient pen on a string. I also hung up a metal file holder to keep my coupons organized. And those metal planter baskets are really versatile! I had one in the garage just sitting around, but now it’s holding onions and garlic. I plan to get one or two more to get some of my other produce off the counter tops. The last thing I did was put up an over-the-door pocket organizer to hold things like yeast packets, my hand mixer, skewers, etc. I let the lower row of pockets hold things for the kids like chalk for our chalkboard wall in the kitchen and bubbles.

pantry_coupon folders pantry door pantry basket

Luckily, I had most of the supplies for this project already on hand, but the supplies are quite budget-friendly. I think that the most expensive part was probably the contact paper. The paper I used was about $20 for one roll, but it’s a huge roll! There are so many uses for contact paper, and I love the pattern I found, so for me it was money well-spent!

contact paper



15 thoughts on “Pantry Makeover on a Budget

  1. This fix for the wire shelving is awesome! It worked! If I can do it, anyone can! Thanks so much for the helpful tip!

  2. This is exactly the solution I was looking for! I don’t mind them in the closets but there are a bunch in my laundry room which is exposed. My apartment complex won’t put a door on it for some strange reason, and curtains look weird. Thank you!

  3. I love this idea of yours and the contact paper you used is so cute! Where did you buy it? I’ve been looking for “pretty”/”fun” contact paper for awhile now and none of the stores near me have any. Is there a website you ordered it from? I’d love to know so I can cover the wire shelves we have too! Thanks!

  4. A good idea to keep the cardboard from shifting would be to poke small holes in a few spots and use zip ties or even bread ties to secure the cardboard to the wire shelf.

    • Good idea. I’ve not had any issue with the cardboard shifting or moving around. As long as the cardboard is cut to fit snugly, the contact paper should hold it in place. But that’s a good idea for added security, if you don’t mind zip ties poking through the shelves 🙂

  5. Just moved into a house with a pantry, but NO shelves! Saws this idea and we’ve got the wire shelves up and the contact paper came yesterday. Thanks for this great idea. It’s going to look amazing!

  6. Thanks so much for this idea!!! I found your link on Pinterest. Just bought a townhouse and did this and it looks awesome!!! I’d love to share a picture of the final project.

  7. This is a great idea for even a regular closet. Cover the selves and take off the door , use baskets on shelves for storage. Sometimes closet doors just take up too much space to open in a small space. Make your small space feel larger and more unique

    • We have a small closet in the doorway by our back door. One of the first things I did when we moved in was removed the closer door & hung a curtain in its place. I used a tension rod in the door frame.

    • I’m glad you found this useful! It’s such an easy & inexpensive upgrade to those ugly wire shelves! I have a ton of cardboard leftover too. I might just have to do another closet.

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