Budget Pantry Makeover

You know you’ve done it… drooled over a spacious and beautiful pantry on Pinterest. Like maybe this one, or this one, or this one. It’s okay — this is a safe space to come clean about the fact that the pantry will be one of the things at the top of your list when you put together your dream house. We Remodelaholics understand.

But we also understand that sometimes, you have to love the one you’re with and make your small pantry work for you. And oh yeah, the budget thing. So when we see great budget-friendly real-life pantry makeovers like the one that our guests have to share with you today, we feel it our duty to share them with you. Check it out:

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budget pantry makeover, Craftivity Designs on Remodelaholic

One of the fun elements of Lora’s pantry makeover that we love is the bold geometric pattern on the shelves. The key? Contact paper! Also known as shelf liner, the stuff comes in oodles of colors patterns these days — we found chevron, ikat, polka dots, toile, faux stainless steel, and this fun pattern in a quick Amazon search

In addition to lining shelves and drawers, you can put contact paper to work as a backsplash

contact paper backsplash
via Lease to Decorate on Remodelaholic

as a removable and personalized privacy door liner

contact paper as privacy film on door
via Design Sponge

to resurface countertops

contact paper countertops
via Like The Dawn

and as a renter-friendly statement wall, just for starters.

contact paper polka dot wall
via The Homes I Have Made

Check out all the details of Lora’s pantry makeover and get her tips for applying contact paper to shelves, too. Give Erica and Lora a warm Remodelaholic welcome!

Budget-Friendly Organized Pantry Makeover
by Erica and Lora of Craftivity Designs
budget pantry makeover, Craftivity Designs on Remodelaholic

Thanks so much to Cassity for inviting us over to share at Remodelaholic! We are Erica and Lora from Craftivity Designs and we love to share our DIY projects, parties and crafting adventures. We like to add our own special touches to items we pick up at retail stores and thrift shops, like our easy Ikea cabinet makeover and refreshing a thrifted hutch in one simple step. We’re totally amateur DIY-ers and will share the details of projects we’ve never tried — before from a beginner’s viewpoint — like the deck makeover we completed last summer. Lora moved into a new home at Christmas and has tackled her first “room” — the pantry!

Our pantry was looking pretty dark and dreary when we moved in. There were also a lot of stains on the walls from years of use.

pantry before, Craftivity Designs on Remodelaholic

Pantries are essentially like a closet, right? It might have been tempting to overlook a fresh new paint job but we knew that it would make such a difference in the final product.

I wiped down all the walls, used a stain blocking primer and then covered it in a fresh coat of paint. Since this will be a high-use area I chose to go with a semi-gloss finish.

painting the pantry, Craftivity Designs on Remodelaholic

As you can see, we didn’t leave the shelving as-is either. Instead of painting them, my mom helped me cover each shelf in contact paper. Honestly, it would have been faster and easier to paint them — contact paper can be really tedious to work with sometimes. It was worth the extra work though, because I love this graphic pattern.

contact paper pantry shelves, Craftivity Designs on Remodelaholic At first, our goal was to wrap each shelf with one long piece of contact paper, but that only worked when the shelf was perfectly square {in other words.. hardly ever} so we made some adjustments to our process.

tips for applying shelf liner, Craftivity Designs on Remodelaholic

Gold Rub n’ Buff is a craft item I’ve come to love and it was the perfect treatment for each of the metal hooks in the pantry. Place a small dab on your fingertip and then just rub it on the metal.

rub n buff on pantry hooks, Craftivity Designs on Remodelaholic

I tried to use Rub n’ Buff to give the ceiling light a little makeover too — but it ended up that gold metallic craft paint adhered better. The light needed 3-4 coats of paint to take it from boring to charming.

gold striped light makeover, Craftivity Designs on Remodelaholic

When I decorate our home, I like to use art in unexpected places too. An empty golden frame, a string of cupcake liners, some washi tape and this free printable give our pantry a whimsical touch. Even if it’s just a closet, you can still hang some art, because it will make you smile when you open up those closet doors each day.

easy budget pantry makeover and decor, Craftivity Designs on Remodelaholic

You don’t need lots of empty wall space to hang art. I stuck this rusted old vintage tray, depicting my home town, in the corner. It’s just hung on one of the golden hooks.

decorating and organizing the pantry, Craftivity Designs on RemodelaholicI’m a big believer that pretty spaces = motivation to stay organized. So, the pantry is filled with baskets and bins that fit the general color scheme of the space. Most of the containers were from around our house that I’ve collected over time. I watch for clearance prices on medium to large baskets that fit my style because I know they’ll be interchangeable from room to room.

use baskets and bins to organize pantry, Craftivity Designs on Remodelaholic

Anytime you makeover a closet space, consider what should be labeled. I typically like to leave some “flex” space, because you won’t always have the exact same amount of green beans, for example. Then I usually label the containers by category instead of specific items.

If you’ve got a pantry to organize, you can use these gold polka dot labels too — here is the free printable. They fit perfectly in a 2″ paper punch and you could attach or hang them several different ways. In this case I use some more gold craft paint to jazz up some basic clothespins and adhered the tags to those.

gold painted clothespins, Craftivity Designs on Remodelaholic

Since the pantry is a walk-in we decided to remove the doors and swag a curtain instead. I’ve got a toddler — so we’re always grabbing food out of there anyway! The curtain keeps it easy to go in and out. A small area rug on the pantry floor keeps our little guy warm when he decides to just sit down and eat his snack right away {or use the pantry as his little play hideaway}.

curtain door and rug for pantry, Craftivity Designs on Remodelaholic

 An entire room can be a lot to tackle in a weekend, but a closet is totally feasible as a weekend project. We worked on our pantry over a few days and had a completely new, functional space to enjoy. I’m so glad we invested a little extra time and elbow grease into this space!

organized pantry makeover, Craftivity Designs on Remodelaholic

It’s the perfect place to get me in the mood to bake! Yummy 🙂

Source List:
Paint – Old Fashioned by Easy Care {a True Value Paint}, $25 for 1 gallon
Contact Paper – Macbeth Collection in Collins Graphite, $22 for 2 packs {4 rolls}
Gold Craft Paint – Martha Stewart Metallic Paint, $2.50
Gold Rub n’ Buff – by Amaco in Antique Gold Finish, $8
Total = $57.50


Great makeover, Erica and Lora! I love seeing what creative people like you can do on a budget!

Head over to Craftivity Designs to say hello to Lora and Erica and check out their other budget-friendly and awesome projects!

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Lorene has been behind the scenes here at Remodelaholic for more than a decade! She believes that planning projects and actually completing them are two different hobbies, but that doesn't stop her from planning at least a dozen projects at any given time. She spends her free time creating memories with her husband and 5 kids, traveling as far as she can afford, and partaking of books in any form available.

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  1. Thanks for the tips on how to do the contact paper. I’ve tried it a couple of times, but it never worked right. I’m going to try your tips! Thanks so much! Love your picture in the pantry!!