Shallow Pantry Ideas


Many of us pantry lovers live in houses that fall short of perfect. Finding extra pantry space sometimes means pushing past our house or apartment limits. The neat thing about pantry space is that it can exist anywhere.

A pantry can be as shallow as the width of a jar of food. Shelves can be as narrow as 2" for spices and up to 3.5"-7" for jars.

Shallow pantry solutions and no-pantry solutions have the same goals: finding space where there isn't any. Don't miss the no-pantry solutions page to find similar ideas that may work for you.

Shallow pantries provide space when there isn't any

If you live in a small house or just have a small kitchen, apartment, or tiny house, there are shallow pantry solutions for you. 

A clever trick used by do-it-yourselfers is to sneak in pantry shelf space between wall studs. Studs are around 4" wide. Utilizing sections of space between wall studs can amount to significant space for homeowners - maybe even enough to meet their pantry needs.

Some of these no-pantry solutions are not that hard to do. To make a simple pantry, add a few rows of narrow shelves, scrap boards, or pantry baskets to walls. Find an empty wall, nook, or cranny that isn't being used.

The examples below show different ways creative homeowners have found pantry space in their house. One of these shallow pantry solutions could work for you!

This shallow pantry cabinet provides much needed space in a small kitchen. The kitchen designer was able to turn the cabinet to make use of end space OR it was a bare wall to start out with.

In cases of shallow pantry cabinets, you can purchase cabinet fronts to match the rest of the kitchen and custom build the box. Even stock cabinet companies often offer cabinet door fronts (stock means they only have standard sizes and don't customize).

Custom cabinet companies or cabinet builders would be able to fit almost any of your space needs. Custom cabinets will cost more, but for challenging spaces, sometimes it's the only solution. Here's a custom kitchen tour that was featured in an old farmhouse.

In this kitchen arrangement, there is no extra room for base cabinets or pantry closet. The only available space is an open wall that is in competition with a walkway. The owners turned the bare wall into shallow pantry space.

When adding shallow pantries, thought needs to be given about blending it in with the other space/cabinetry. The pantry could have been added later after the original kitchen. The cabinets are a lovely blue that blends with the trim work on the pantry. The end product is a beautiful kitchen with ample pantry space.

In this example, the homeowner has about two feet of space to work with. The carpenter was able to turn it into attractive storage space with open shelving, narrow countertop, and base storage. 

In another shallow pantry configuration, this solution uses every bit of space it can. In addition to the shallow storage space, doors are added that also have racks on the cabinet doors. Extra points!

This shallow pantry is almost invisible behind the pantry doors that are almost like walls. Would anyone even know there was pantry space behind them? Look at the cereal boxes, that should give you and idea of how deep the shelves are - only one box deep.

This shallow pantry cabinet is deceiving - from the outside it looks deeper than it actually is. My guess is that the carpenter is needing to build around something to make it fit in - good job!

Another shallow pantry cabinet solution in a kitchen. Many shallow pantry cabinets are turned so their "backs" are facing the end of a run of cabinets. This is a clever way to squeeze in a two-foot wide space that is perfect for 1-2 cans deep of food.

This rustic little cabin found shallow pantry space on an open wall. The unfinished boards add to the charm of the space, providing a prime example of a simple pantry that works.

Here, pantry wire baskets/shelving system were installed on the wall. It fills the wall nicely giving the pantry owner additional space that is easy to manage.

This handsome, wood shallow pantry unit was crafted to compliment the cabinetry in the rest of the narrow room. They have conquered the "no-pantry" solution quite well.

About the author 

Renee Matt

Renee is an Iowa farmwife with a background as a former kitchen designer. Supporting the family farm with hearty meals has been key to Renee's pantry readiness. She uses her professional IT background and expertise to bring the Everything Pantry website to life. Read more about this farmwife on her about page.

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