Make Your Kitchen Pantry Beautiful + Functional With These Designer Tips

Improve your pantry's style and functionality with these easy-to-implement DIYs that will have your pantry looking magazine-worthy by the end of the weekend.

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January 14, 2022
A Pantry With Colorful Wallpaper and Decor

A Colorful Arrangement of Finishes and Decor in a Pantry

This pantry has a bold new wallpaper on the backsplash, colorful decor in the form of framed artwork, vibrant vases and houseplants. A coffee bar is set up on one side of the pantry with a single-serve coffee maker, baskets for storage and a basket filled with fruit.

Photo by: Rebecca Propes

Rebecca Propes

Basic to Bold Pantry 01:22

Rebecca brightens up her kitchen with eye-catching color and wallpaper.

If your pantry is suffering from a lifeless, lackluster aesthetic, we’ve got the perfect solution: A colorful overhaul! A pantry is the perfect spot to start if you want to usher a vibrant new look into your space. Short on time? The small size of a pantry makes it a far more approachable and cost-effective place for renovations than larger spots in the home. Follow along to see how we gave this pantry a vibrant new look while maximizing its functionality.

Materials Needed

  • paint
  • paint tray
  • paintbrush
  • foam paint roller
  • painter's tape
  • drop cloth
  • degreasing soap
  • rag
  • vacuum
  • receptacle tester
  • screwdriver
  • peel-and-stick removable wallpaper
  • tape measure
  • utility knife
  • wallpaper smoother

Assess the Space

To make your pantry overhaul easier, start by cleaning and clearing out the existing space to create a blank slate (Image 1). Once clear, take a good look at your pantry and conceptualize your vision. Create a color scheme and decide how to best bring those colors into the space. Consider more permanent solutions like paint and wallpaper, as well as temporary items like framed prints, vases and plants (Image 2).

Pro Tip: Snap a picture of your pantry's "before" status for comparison once you're finished.

Put Up Colorful Wallpaper

Bold wallpaper is a perfect way to make a colorful statement in your pantry. We chose the peel-and-stick variety to make installation (and eventual deinstallation) a breeze.

Mustard Yellow Wallpaper Installed on a Pantry Backsplash

Fresh New Mustard Yellow Wallpaper Installed in a Pantry

The backsplash in this pantry has been covered with a mustard yellow wallpaper in a fun print. Above the cabinets, the wallpaper is continued to the ceiling. The colorful wallpaper breaks up the stark white cabinets with brass hardware.

Photo by: Rebecca Propes

Rebecca Propes

Measure Your Space

Choose the spot you intend to wallpaper and measure the height and width of the space. Factor in a few extra inches to account for pattern overlap.

Measuring the Height of a Backsplash for Wallpaper

Preparing an Area for Wallpaper Installation

This plain white backsplash will soon be covered in a bold wallpaper. The area between the cabinets is measure with a tape measure so the wallpaper can be cut.

Photo by: Rebecca Propes

Rebecca Propes

Prep the Space

Before wallpaper installation, remove all outlet and switch covers and store them somewhere safe. Locate the breaker that supplies the power for the space and turn off the power whenever working around open receptacles. Once the power is off, wipe down the walls with soapy water and dry them thoroughly. This will help the wallpaper to adhere.

Install First Wallpaper Panel

To install the wallpaper, cut the first strip to length. You can only cut once, so double-check your measurements. Peel half of the paper backing from the wallpaper and press the top of the wallpaper onto your wall. Work downward, smoothing with a wallpaper smoother and peeling off the remainder of the backing as you go.

Installing a Wallpaper Panel Using a Wallpaper Smoother

Using a Wallpaper Smoother to Smooth Down the Edges of Wallpaper

To make sure this wallpaper is properly installed on the backsplash in this pantry, a wallpaper smoother is used to smooth the edges of each panel.

Photo by: Rebecca Propes

Rebecca Propes

Continue Wallpaper Pattern

Align the second panel of wallpaper with the first before cutting. Once you’ve ensured the entire panel is aligned, cut the wallpaper to size and install it just as you did the first panel. Continue this process until the wall is covered, then trim any excess using a utility knife. Once finished, reinstall any removed outlet covers and restore the power.

Covering a Backsplash With Wallpaper

Securing Wallpaper to a Backsplash

This backsplash is being covered with peel-and-stick wallpaper as part of a pantry renovation.

Photo by: Rebecca Propes

Rebecca Propes

Bring In Color With Paint

While painting cabinets can be a massive undertaking, painting a pantry door is a quick, yet effective way to usher in color to your space. Additionally, successfully pairing your beautiful new wallpaper with coordinated paint will make your space look straight out of an interior designer’s workbook. For our pantry door, we chose Sunwashed Brick by Behr. This delicate pink works well with the whites that are present in the space but adds just enough color to make an impact.

Enameled Sign on Freshly Painted Pantry Door

A Freshly Painted Pink Pantry Door With Enameled Sign

This freshly painted pantry door is finished in a soft and subtle pink shade and features a cute enameled sign with the word "PANTRY" on it. The sign is stuck to the door with removable adhesive strips so the paint is protected should the homeowner decide to remove the sign.

Photo by: Rebecca Propes

Rebecca Propes

Prep Door

If your pantry door is dirty, remove all dust and debris and wipe it clean with degreasing soap before painting. To save time, skip the hardware removal and simply tape around the door hardware using painter’s tape.

Cut In Around Details

Use a cut brush to apply a thin coat of paint around the door’s millwork details. Pay close attention to runs, as paint tends to collect in the corners of the millwork.

A Pantry Door is Coated With a Pink Paint

Painting a Pantry Door With Pink Paint

This white pantry door is being coated with pink paint as part of a pantry renovation that will maximize the style and functionality of this kitchen's pantry.

Photo by: Rebecca Propes

Rebecca Propes

Pro tip: Between coats, wrap your brush or roller in plastic wrap to keep the paint from drying out.

Roll the Flat Areas

A foam roller is perfect for smooth surfaces like doors. Use the roller to apply multiple thin layers to the flat areas of the door. Avoid loading the roller with too much paint when painting doors, as this will lead to a poor finish. Open the door to get all the way to the edge.

Subtle Pink Finish on Pantry Door

Kitchen Pantry Door Finished in a Subtle Pink Paint

This kitchen's pantry door is finished in a soft and subtle pink that slightly contrasts the white paint on the walls and cabinets. Beneath the upper cabinets and above the countertops is a backsplash covered with a bold printed wallpaper in a mustard yellow shade.

Paint Over Details Once More

Once the flat areas are done, use the brush to paint the millwork details once more, ensuring every spot is evenly coated. Once dry, we chose to finish off our door with an enamel “Pantry” sign that we mounted with removable adhesive strips.

Attaching a "Pantry" Door Sign With Adhesive Strips

Rebecca Propes Placing a "Pantry" Sign on the Pantry Door

Adhesive strips are used to secure a sign reading "Pantry" to the door in this kitchen's pantry. The pantry features white cabinetry, a pink door and a backsplash that is covered in a mustard yellow wallpaper with a bold print. The colorful space features marble countertops.

Photo by: Rebecca Propes

Rebecca Propes

Accessorize With Functional Items

Before you get to have fun with decorative items, find a spot for the functional items that belong on the countertop. When doing this, look for items that are nice enough to leave on the counter, as well as things you’ll use daily. For us, this space will serve as a coffee bar, so we chose a single-serve coffee maker with a sleek, neutral finish, plastic-lined woven baskets for storing coffee pods, creamer and sugar and an adorable basket to fill with fruit.

Pantry Coffee Bar With Single-Serve Coffee Maker

A Coffee Bar Setup on a Pantry Countertop

This recently renovated pantry has been turned into an in-home coffee bar. The space features a neutral single-serve coffee maker, woven baskets for storing coffee accessories and pods inside and a basket of fruit for a snack on the go. Everything is set against a mustard yellow wallpaper background.

Photo by: Rebecca Propes

Rebecca Propes

Work in Decorative Items

Once your functional items are in their proper place, work in decorative items. Use items like framed prints, candles, houseplants in pretty pots and other knickknacks to further your pantry’s color scheme (Image 1). Add visual interest by grouping some items on small stands to give them height (Image 2). The key is to choose items that are not so small as to make the space feel cluttered, but not too large as to overwhelm the space.

Admire Your Work

Take a step back and admire your hard work. If you snapped a picture beforehand, take a look and get ready to be wowed!

A Colorful Pantry After a Fresh Overhaul

New Wallpaper and Decor in a Freshly Renovated Pantry

This pantry is fresh off of a colorful renovation that introduced bold wallpaper, a painted door and new colorful decor on the countertops. The cabinets have been left white, but the wallpaper and painted door offset the cabinets with color, while the countertop is filled with colorful accoutrement.

Photo by: Rebecca Propes

Rebecca Propes

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