How to Build a Walk-in Kitchen Pantry

Jack S. Waverly

Kitchen pantries were once found in nearly every home. They are making a comeback in today's home building as homeowners are realizing the added value and space a kitchen pantry provides. Pantries make food shopping, planning and storage simpler by providing ready access to everything in one location.

Kitchen pantries make food and supplies easily accessible.

Building a walk-in kitchen pantry can take time but is worth the hours and cost once it's in service.

  1. Find the right space to put the pantry. Kitchen pantries should be a minimum of 36 square feet. A 6-by-6-foot square can work but you can also use a 4-by-9-foot rectangle if the shape fits. Check the area to make sure it's clear of any wires, pipes or vents in the walls and ceiling so you're not nailing boards into them or making them inaccessible.

  2. Design the pantry so the doorway and center aisle are 30 inches wide. This width provides enough room to pass through with bags or boxes and also allows space to turn inside the pantry.

  3. Measure the exterior dimensions needed for the pantry. Find the length, width and height. Write down these measurements and mark lines on the ceiling to create a framing pattern, using the carpenter's chalk and square. Measure and mark out the location of the doorway on the floor.

  4. Cut the lengths of wood needed to frame out the pantry. Build the perimeter of the pantry along the marks on the ceiling. Attach the boards to ceiling joists with nails hammered into the boards every 4 inches. Repeat the process for the perimeter around the floor.

  5. Build the framework using studs set on 18-inch centers to make the walls. Use a level to square up the walls so everything is straight. Construct all four sides, then frame out the doorway in front. Measure the doorway's height up the sides of two parallel boards. Cut the boards to the desired height. Frame the doorway to fit the door you're installing.

  6. Screw the drywall into place over the exterior of the framework. Use smaller pieces cut from larger sheets to cover the space above the doorway. Apply joint compound to the seams and over the screws with a putty knife. Smooth over rough patches to make them even with the drywall.

  7. Install the door jamb and threshold with nails. Make sure the nails are flush with the wood. Line up the hinges so the door opens outward. Use the level to make the hinges even horizontally so the door hangs correctly. Hang the door on the hinges.

  8. Hire an electrician to wire the pantry for lighting and any outlets you want along either the exterior or interior walls. You can use 110-volt outlets and overhead light fixtures.

  9. Lay down the vinyl flooring inside the pantry. You can use rolled linoleum or tiles. Attach the drywall, using the procedure in Step 6, to the pantry's interior. Put the flooring in before the drywall to eliminate the possibility of mold or dirt building up in the area where the wall and floor join.

  10. Install stand-alone shelving along the walls. Keep space open underneath and along one wall for bulk storage, bags and larger boxes.

  11. Warning

    This is not a one-day project