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How to Build a Compact Pantry Opening

This zero-footprint pantry steals space from another room. Learn how to install your own pantry with these easy steps.

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  • Time


  • Price Range

    $250 - $500

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard


Step 1: Look Inside the Wall

Before committing to a plan, cut a few exploratory holes in the wall. Any plumbing or electrical lines in the wall need to be moved by a qualified professional. For this project, Karl did move one electrical outlet to better accommodate the microwave.

Step 2: Plan Out the Project

Karl's plan calls for the pantry cupboard to extend into the garage, which is set at a lower level than the rest of the house. To get the right dimensions and location for the pantry, use a long level and measuring tape to determine point on the kitchen wall that corresponds to the garage ceiling; the pantry needs to fit under this space. In this home, there's enough room for a 3' x 45" box pantry to sit flush with the kitchen wall and extend into the garage space.

Tip: Clear out the kitchen and spread a large drop cloth in the kitchen and in the garage before getting started for easy cleanup.

Step 3: Cut the Kitchen Wall

Use a hammer to knock an exploratory hole in the kitchen wall. Re-check the measurements from the plan and use a straight edge to outline the desired hole on the wall. Use a utility knife — again guided by a straight edge

Step 4: Remove the Garage-Side Wall

Position a drill with a long bit against one of the corners of the hole in the kitchen wall and drill through the entire wall. Repeat for all four corners to transfer the corner points to the garage wall. On the garage side of the wall, use a straight edge and utility knife to connect the dots, then carefully cut and remove the drywall from the garage side. Also remove any insulation in the wall.

Step 5: Cut the Studs

Use a jigsaw or reciprocating saw to remove the wall studs flush with the hole in the drywall.

Step 6: Frame the Opening

The pantry needs a sturdy frame for support — especially since it's cantilevered over the washer and dryer in the next room. To frame, cut blocks from 2x4's to fit between the nearest studs to the wall opening. Position one block at the bottom of the opening with the ends snugly against the full studs still inside the wall. Nail the block to these studs, and to the cut studs in between. Repeat at the top of the opening. To frame the sides, cut blocks from 2x4's and attach them to the nearest full studs. Build up layers of these blocks until they are flush with the sides of the opening. This will give sturdy attachment points on all four sides of the pantry.

Finally, add shelves and, if desired, cabinet doors.

Learn how upgrading the kitchen pantry can increase your home's value at HGTV's



    • How to Build and Install a Compact Kitchen Pantry

    • How to Build a Compact Pantry Opening