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Closet Design Starts with Inspiration

Updated: May 29, 2023

Everyone needs inspiration and this gorgeous pantry inspired my client to make a change.

custom closet, pantry, pantry inspiration, closet innovations, maryland, custom closet design

Vision is an important first step to start a design plan. If you struggle with a vision but know what you don't want, that helps too. In this picture my client pointed out she liked the open shelves, use of space and combo of natural and black colored bins.

After years of using mobile shelving for her pantry, my client was ready for a change and this bright white, open shelf pantry got her motivated. In her current pantry, the shelves were too deep causing her and her family to "lose items". How do you lose items that are sitting at arms length? They were out of sight and there wasn't a good system in place to keep items visible.


The most important goal of the new pantry was to store all small appliances and Tupperware in a closed cabinet. This allows easy access but it isn't visible in the pantry. My client fell in love with a piece from Wayfair so we are making it our focal point and building the shelves around it. We also painted the walls with a fresh coat of bright white paint. The pale yellow color is pretty in an office or bedroom, but it makes a pantry feel less inviting. The light bulbs in the ceiling fixture were also changed out to a bright white from a warm white. The ceiling is high so it is easier to find what you are looking for and brightens the small room.

The next goal of the custom build was to increase the storage capacity on the shelves while providing the most surface space for access. We are using 14 inch shelves on the side walls and 16 inch shelves on the back wall. These shelf depths also created more space in the center of pantry, compared to the cramped area the had with the shelving units.

After pulling out the shelving units and getting the storage cabinet delivered, we started designing the shelving layout around the cabinet, water cooler, outlets and recycling bin that the family relied on to manage empty boxes.

With the design complete, we were ready to order the shelves and brackets. A trip to the Container Store was also a fun next step. We knew the surface area but wanted to try some different combinations to make sure to cover all types of food management systems for cans, boxes, decanted items, etc.

My first challenge was getting the shelves and brackets delivered. This project launched just before the holidays and the pandemic and billions of holiday deliveries were messing with my pantry materials. The Container Store experienced equal issues. The shelves were bare and the staff didn't have time to restock before all the product was gone again. I ended up having to place my order in store and had to wait a week for the baskets. They were in the store, but had to be sorted and prepared for curbside pick up. (I was learning patience the hard way.)

The good news is that the shelves were going up while I was waiting on the baskets and bins. It was exciting to watch it come together.

To add to the excitement, I found some great jars at the Family Dollar and tested out some bins, baskets, and turntables to start playing around with the layout.

A few weeks later, the project is complete! It turned out 1000 times better than I had expected. Needless to say, the client was thrilled. Who knew a pantry could inspire so much awe?! The pantry is stocked and there's room for growth. The top shelf manages the back stock and the baskets on the floor manage items that don't need to be mixed with the food such as dog treats and extra cleaning supplies. All the bins are designed to keep the pantry looking tidy while being easy to manage.

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