The Perfectly Charming Pantry Substitute

The Perfect Pantry Substitute

*A special thank you to Better Homes and Gardens at Walmart for sponsoring this post! I’m such a fan! This post contains affiliate links.

I admit it, I covet a really great pantry space <Go ahead, insert dreamy sigh here>. I imagine, in my fantasy pantry the shelves would be lined with perfectly organized baskets and foods, oh and cookbooks! OW! Don’t pinch me, I’m trying to dream here. What do you MEAN that if I had a pantry my kids would always be in it, so it wouldn’t the crazy awesome fantasy with grocery-store-like shelves? …I don’t believe you. 😀 Aw phooey, well a gal can dream right?

I imagine, in my fantasy pantry the shelves would be lined with perfectly organized baskets and foods, oh and cookbooks!

None-the-less, I want a pantry. Just a little tiny one… and since that isn’t happening in this kitchen it occurred to me that a bookshelf in an open corner might just be the solution I need! A space where I can store my serving trays, cookbooks, and a few other pretty items I own. It would function like a little teeny mini pantry which is better than what I have now. (It’s ok to cringe at the scary before picture.)

Kitchen corner before

I picked up this gorgeous Better Homes and Gardens at Walmart bookshelf, because every kitchen needs a little bit of rustic charm! I almost went with the 3-shelf version from the same weathered Crossmill Collection so I could keep my chalk board above…but that would defeat the purpose of having more storage.

BHG Weathered Bookcase

The 5-shelf bookcase was way more storage than I thought a bookcase would be. Yaaay! However, I have way fewer pretty dishes than I thought… boooo. Turns out many of them were scratched or chipped. Of course, that means I finally have an excuse to buy more pretty serving dishes! Yaaay again! I do have a pretty great thrift store nearby with amazing dishes. I got some cute floral bowls for a dollar each at my local Goodwill.

Rustic charm bookshelf - flower dishes

White storage tins

Display Tips


Beautiful spring lanterns

I created a Spring themed foliage landscape to bring a little greenery (that wouldn’t require watering and wouldn’t be affected by my knack for killing all indoor plants) into the kitchen. It is subtle, but something pretty with foliage, florals, or seasonal decorations make quite the difference! 

Of course most important to me was a space for my favorite recipes. I had several cookbooks that were gifted to me that I haven’t even peeked in for the past 10 years. It was time to say goodbye and unclutter, but I did make provision for a few of my favorite cookbooks and magazines with frequently used recipes using magazine file holders.


Customized magazine holders

I love the acrylic file holders to be able to see what I’m storing…but I couldn’t help but modernize them even more with some white spray paint on the bottom front. I love that it takes the style up a notch!

Magazine and cookbook holder

DIY smear art and architecture print


I say every bookcase, whether it is in your living room, family room, bedroom, or kitchen, requires a little art! What else is the tippy top that is hard to reach good for? I printed out a nice little architectural photo, and this smear art is an easy paint piece I created last year.

It may not be a pantry, but wowza it is pretty, and it does a much better job than what the corner was previously being used for.

Eat-in Kitchen

I love that I get the benefits and rustic look of the wood grain, but without the splinters that would hurt my girls sweet little fingers, this is a much better solution!


No Pantry - Substitute a Bookshelf

Rusticly charming bookshelf



Lacking a pantry? Use the space you have, add a tall bookshelf and take back your empty spaces!

*I am honored (and excited!) to be part of the BHG Live Better network, and to share a few of my favorite things, projects, opinions, and my own original ideas with you. Thank you to Better Homes and Gardens for sponsoring this post. Follow BHG Live Better on  FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.

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18 Comments on The Perfectly Charming Pantry Substitute

  1. LZ [email protected] The Summery Umbrella
    May 18, 2015 at 10:13 pm (6 years ago)

    This is such a great idea! I lack pantry space in a terrible way, and find myself stuffing new groceries in already full cabinets. I definitely need to create one of these beauties!

  2. Sarah @ Just The Bees Knees
    February 16, 2015 at 11:06 am (6 years ago)

    Love this idea Ursula! And your styling is fabulous. Also love the spray paint on front of the acrylic magazine holders! Where did you find them?!

    • Ursula Carmona
      February 16, 2015 at 2:06 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks Sarah! I got the file holders at Target.

  3. Nancy
    February 16, 2015 at 8:59 am (6 years ago)

    I have this bookcase in my kitchen as well! I have to say that it is one of my all time favorite purchases. Mine looks more gray driftwood in color, but that might just be a photo difference. I have all my cookbooks and some pretty jars of jam etc on it. It holds a lot!

    • Ursula Carmona
      February 14, 2015 at 6:32 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you Liz! It just felt right. 😉

  4. Theresa Rayner
    February 12, 2015 at 10:05 pm (6 years ago)

    I love that bookshelf. I was shocked that it isn’t real wood. The grain looks so authentic! I love how you styled it too, you have a true talent!

    • Ursula Carmona
      February 13, 2015 at 8:10 am (6 years ago)

      Haha, me too! I sat and examined the pieces when I opened the box to assemble it…it is amazing! Thank you for the kind compliment!

  5. Nisha
    February 9, 2015 at 6:37 pm (6 years ago)

    How beautiful Ursula and so handy too. The foliage is so pretty, I have a knack for killing house plants too 🙂 … was wondering if you could share how you made it – if it is a DIY. Thank you.

    • Ursula Carmona
      February 9, 2015 at 8:34 pm (6 years ago)

      Haha, glad to know that I’m not alone! 😀 Thank you for the compliment! Yes, I did make my seasonal displays…keep an eye open in March for the full tutorial.

      • Nisha
        February 10, 2015 at 8:57 pm (6 years ago)

        Thank you, that is very kind of you. Will look out for it – Nisha

  6. Anna
    February 9, 2015 at 6:01 pm (6 years ago)

    It’s perfect! I love this collection, I bought the buffet last fall and it’s gorgeous! Pinned. 🙂


    • Ursula Carmona
      February 9, 2015 at 8:21 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you Anna! Oh yes, I read that post, it was lovely!! This is a fantastic collection…

  7. Debbie
    February 9, 2015 at 1:17 pm (6 years ago)

    Love the look of this bookshelf and what a great idea for extra storage!

    • Ursula Carmona
      February 9, 2015 at 1:49 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you Debbie! I love this bookshelf too…which for me is amazing since I usually go for the walnut hues. This just felt right in the space. 🙂

  8. Amy W
    February 9, 2015 at 11:40 am (6 years ago)

    So lovely, friend!

  9. Sarah
    February 9, 2015 at 11:05 am (6 years ago)

    So pretty! I’ve never had a pantry– and I wouldn’t even have space for a bookshelf since we turned the breakfast nook into the play area, but I’m still inspired to do something more with my teeny kitchen space.

    P.S. I love your site design– it’s so fresh and soothing!

    • Ursula Carmona
      February 9, 2015 at 1:47 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you! It’s kind of you to say!
      Yep, I’ve been there before! Eventually they grow up and we slowly take back our spaces…very slowly. lol! Glad I could at least offer some inspiration. 😉


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