Pullout Pantry Shelves

Compact Pull-Out Pantry Shelves: Save Space in 8 Steps

Pull-out Pantry Shelves

Have a hard time reaching through food inside your pantry cabinet? Then improve your current pantry storage system by making pull-out pantry shelves!

This storage idea is most especially suitable for people who have deep pantry cabinets with fixed shelves.

Having a lot of space dedicated for food storage is great but it can be inconvenient if you can’t easily see or access everything in it.

OK, hands up all those who have ever pulled a packet from their pantry only to discover the ‘use by’ expired months or even years before! I have and I think every friend I have has as well!

The owners of this featured pantry have too so they decided it was time for a better system. Enter the pantry makeover!

Now they can easily access and check all their food supplies, shelf by shelf! No more pulling the entire pantry out just to find a single item. Hopefully no more expired goods, too ;)

Pullout Pantry Shelves

You can learn more about their pantry storage project by heading over to the link provided below!

Making Pull-Out Pantry Shelves

Is this the kind of pantry storage system that you need?


  • Plywood
  • Timber (1×2, 1×4, 2×3)
  • Heavy-Duty Drawer Slides
  • Oil-based Enamel Paint
  • Nails and Screws


  • Measuring Tape
  • Circular Saw
  • Spirit Level
  • Cordless Drill
  • Paintbrush
  • Sander
  • Hammer


Step 1: Measure and Plan

  • Measure the internal dimensions of your pantry where you want to install the pull-out shelves.
  • Decide the number of shelves and the spacing between each shelf based on your storage needs.
  • Sketch a rough layout including the width, depth, and height of each shelf.

Step 2: Cut the Materials

  • Using the circular saw, cut the plywood to the desired shelf sizes. Ensure each piece is uniform to avoid issues during assembly.
  • Cut the timber to create frames for each shelf. Use 1×2 timber for the frames and 2×3 timber for supports if needed.

Step 3: Assemble the Shelf Frames

  • Lay out the timber pieces to form the frame around the edges of each plywood shelf.
  • Secure the frames to the plywood using screws and the cordless drill. Ensure the frame is flush with the plywood surface.

Step 4: Sand and Paint

  • Sand all surfaces of the shelves and frames smoothly to prepare for painting. This helps the paint adhere better and ensures a smooth finish.
  • Apply a coat of oil-based enamel paint with the paintbrush. Let it dry completely, then apply a second coat if necessary.

Step 5: Install Drawer Slides

  • Attach the heavy-duty drawer slides to the pantry walls according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the spirit level to ensure they are perfectly level.
  • Attach the corresponding parts of the drawer slides to the sides of each shelf.

Step 6: Mount the Shelves

  • Carefully slide each shelf into its corresponding drawer slide in the pantry. Check the movement and make sure each shelf slides in and out smoothly.
  • Adjust if necessary, ensuring each shelf is stable and level.

Step 7: Final Adjustments and Cleanup

  • Once all shelves are installed, pull each out and inspect for any rough edges or misalignments.
  • Make any necessary adjustments to the drawer slides or the shelf placement.
  • Clean up the workspace and remove any excess materials or debris.

Step 8: Load the Shelves

  • Begin using your new pull-out pantry shelves by organizing your items. This setup allows for easy access and visibility of all stored items.

Click on any image to start the lightbox display. Use your Esc key to close the lightbox.8-)

You can get more step-by-step instructions here

Customization Tips for Unique Spaces

Pull-out pantry shelves are an excellent solution for maximizing kitchen storage and efficiency. However, not all pantries are created equal. Homes with unique or awkward spaces require a bit more creativity to ensure that storage solutions are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. 

Below are several customization tips for incorporating pull-out pantry shelves into unique spaces effectively.

Utilize Vertical Space

In narrow but tall pantry areas, pull-out pantry shelves can be designed to extend vertically. Use taller shelves with less depth to maximize the space without making items hard to reach. This design allows you to store more items vertically, making use of every inch of available height.

Corner Solutions

Corner spaces are often underutilized in kitchen designs. Pull-out pantry shelves can be customized to fit into corners using a carousel or lazy Susan design. This allows the shelves to rotate, making it easy to access items stored at the back. For a simpler solution, angled pull-out shelves that slide out individually can efficiently use the corner space without complex mechanisms.

Under-Stair Integration

For homes with stairs near the kitchen or pantry, the under-stair space can be transformed into a useful storage area with pull-out pantry shelves. Custom-fit the shelves to match the sloping design of the underside of the stairs. This not only optimizes space but also adds a unique element to the home’s design.

Adjustable Height Shelves

For spaces where storage needs may change, adjustable height pull-out pantry shelves are a great option. These shelves allow you to modify the spacing between them, accommodating items of varying sizes as needed. This flexibility is particularly useful in family homes where pantry items and storage requirements can frequently change.

Slim Vertical Pull-Outs

In kitchens where space is at a premium, consider installing slim vertical pull-out pantry shelves on either side of appliances or in narrow openings. These pull-outs can be used to store cooking oils, baking sheets, or cleaning supplies, making them an efficient use of slim spaces that might otherwise go unused.

Integrated Lighting

Adding integrated lighting to pull-out pantry shelves can dramatically improve visibility and accessibility. This is especially helpful in deep cabinets or corners where it can be hard to see stored items. LED strip lights or small puck lights can be installed on the underside of each shelf, providing bright, focused light on the contents.

Multi-Level Pull-Outs

For deeper pantry spaces, consider multi-level pull-out shelves that offer two or three tiers of storage. These shelves can slide out independently, allowing easy access to all items without having to move things around. This setup is ideal for storing a variety of goods from bulk staples to daily-use ingredients.

Custom Inserts

Custom inserts can be added to pull-out pantry shelves to organize smaller items more efficiently. These might include spice jar organizers, utensil holders, or even divided sections for snacks and other packaged goods. Inserts help keep items secure and prevent them from shifting as the shelves are moved.

Shallow Spaces

Sometimes, the available space may be shallow, not allowing for standard pull-out pantry shelves. In these cases, consider ultra-slim pull-out shelves that can fit into smaller spaces. These shelves are perfect for storing spices, cans, and other small items. They make excellent use of narrow gaps, perhaps between appliances or in small alcoves.

Considering your space’s specific challenges, pull-out pantry shelves can be adapted to meet various storage needs, ensuring functionality and accessibility in even the most unusual kitchen layouts.

Accessibility Features

Integrating pull-out pantry shelves into your kitchen not only optimizes space but also enhances accessibility, making it easier for everyone to use. Whether accommodating family members with limited mobility or planning for long-term ease of use, these accessibility features ensure that your kitchen is welcoming and functional for all.

Easy-Grip Handles

When installing pull-out pantry shelves, choosing the right type of handles can significantly enhance usability, especially for individuals with limited hand strength or dexterity issues such as arthritis. Easy-grip handles are designed to be larger, allowing for a better grasp. 

They are also more ergonomic, which reduces the strain on the hands and wrists when pulling or pushing the shelves. For added practicality, opt for handles that have a stark color contrast compared to the cabinetry. This not only adds a design element but also improves visibility for those with visual impairments, making the handles easier to locate and use.

Soft-Close Mechanisms

Integrating soft-close mechanisms into pull-out pantry shelves offers a dual benefit. Firstly, it prevents the shelves from slamming shut, which is crucial for safety. This feature ensures that fingers, especially those of young children or the elderly, are not at risk of being pinched. 

Secondly, the soft-close technology enhances the usability of the shelves by ensuring they close smoothly and quietly, a necessary feature for those with sensory sensitivities or in households where noise reduction is important. This mechanism involves hydraulic or pneumatic dampers that catch the closing shelf and gently bring it to a halt, combining functionality with safety.

Lower Installation Height

The installation height of pull-out pantry shelves plays a critical role in their accessibility. By installing these shelves at a lower height, they become more accessible to wheelchair users, children, and others who might find higher placements challenging. When planning the installation, it’s essential to consider the average reach range of all users in the household. 

This customization ensures that everyone can access the shelves comfortably without stretching or bending awkwardly, which can discourage use or lead to strain injuries. This thoughtful placement contributes to a more inclusive kitchen environment where accessibility is a priority.

Pull-Down Shelf Mechanisms

For higher cabinet spaces, pull-down shelf mechanisms can be installed, allowing the contents of upper shelves to be easily accessed without the need for reaching or stretching. These systems are particularly useful for allowing users to independently access items stored higher up.

By focusing on these accessibility features, pull-out pantry shelves become a practical addition to any kitchen, accommodating the needs of diverse users and enhancing overall functionality.


Building pull-out pantry shelves enhances kitchen functionality and organization, making every item easily accessible. Customizing these shelves to fit unique spaces and incorporating features like easy-grip handles and soft-close mechanisms ensures they meet the diverse needs of all users. Investing in such tailored storage solutions significantly improves the overall efficiency and safety of kitchen activities.

For more shelf ideas, check out our floating shelf with a hidden storage project!



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