Ever since we moved into our new build, I have wanted to replace our wire pantry shelves. They were sturdy enough, but small items fell through the holes, and narrow cereal boxes would not stand up straight. I researched several pantry storage systems and decided on affordable track shelving with laminated wood shelves. This is a relatively easy DIY project that can be completed with just a few tools and a free afternoon. Let’s replace wire pantry shelves on a budget!
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The Before: Wire Pantry Shelves
Here is our pantry before. It was a decent size, with four wire shelves. But I knew there were easy ways to make it more functional (and pretty)! These were my goals:
- Replace wire shelving with wood or faux wood shelves
- Choose a middle of the road option that is sturdy but affordable
- Increase number of shelves to five or six
- Bonus if shelving is customizable / easy to adjust height of shelves
Options for Replacing Wire Pantry Shelves
I am someone who likes to do a lot of research before starting a project, so browsed pantry inspiration on Pinterest and weighed the benefits of different options. In the end I felt that I had three choices…
- DIY option: custom wood shelves
- Investment option: high end pantry system
- Affordable option: track shelving
I love the look of DIY wood shelves, and they can be very affordable. But I do not have a mitre saw, and I wanted something a little easier.
I also considered an Elfa pantry system from The Container Store. Elfa shelving is customizable, high quality, and easy to install. But in this case I just needed basic shelving, and preferred to invest in pretty food storage containers and baskets to organize the pantry later.
So, it had to be option 3!
What I Chose: Affordable Track Shelving
I wanted to go ahead and show you the “after” so you can decide if this is the type of system that would work for you! Here are some thoughts.
- Track shelving is relatively affordable (especially compared to an Elfa pantry)
- There are different shelf colors to choose from to match your decor style
- The shelving is sturdy since the uprights are screwed into wall studs
- You can easily adjust the height of the shelves anytime
I’m really happy with our new pantry setup! Keep reading for product links and installation tips. Side note: the wall paint color is Village Green by Behr.
Pantry Track Shelving Cost Breakdown
I ended up purchasing everything from The Home Depot which was convenient and affordable. Here is what I ordered:
- 70 in. White Twin Track Upright, $14.98 x 3 = $44.94
- 11.5 in. White Twin Track Bracket, $5.98 x 15 = $89.70
- 12 x 48 in. Organic Ash Laminated Wood Shelf, $12.98 x 5 = $64.90
- #12 x 2-1/2 in. Phillips Flat Head Wood Screws, $8.98 (for studs)
- 3/16 in. x 3 in. Phillips Toggle Bolt Anchors, $8.48 (for drywall)
So, the total cost of our new pantry shelving was $217 before tax. For comparison, the Elfa pantry I considered was over $1,400!
How to Replace Wire Pantry Shelves
And now for a step by step tutorial on how to replace wire pantry shelving. Let’s do this!
Step 1: Remove the Wire Shelves
Unscrew any small plastic brackets attaching each wire shelf to the wall. Then, carefully lift each shelf out of the pantry.
Use pliers to pull out the metal pins. You should be able to pull out the larger metal brackets that were supporting the shelves by hand.
Finally, use pliers to remove any large plastic brackets on the sides of the shelves. I was able to do it by wiggling the bracket back and forth until it came loose.
Step 2: Patch the Wall
Apply spackling to the hole with a putty knife. For slightly larger holes, you may need to wait for the spackling to dry and apply a second coat to make sure the hole is completely filled and flush with the drywall.
Finish up by gently sanding with a fine grit sanding block.
Here are detailed instructions on how to patch drywall holes.
Step 3: Locate Studs and Drill New Holes
You will want to install the track uprights into studs with wood screws if possible. I was unable to hit a stud for one upright so I used toggle bolts, which are much stronger than a plastic drywall anchor.
Used a magnetic stud finder to locate the studs in your wall. For reference, studs are typically 16 inches apart. Mark the studs with a pencil.
Finally, drill pilot holes for your screws / toggle bolts. Note that the pilot hole for a toggle bolt must be large enough for the wings to fit through. Here are detailed instructions on how to use toggle bolts.
Step 4: Install Track Uprights
Screw uprights into the wall. Double check that they are perfectly level, as it is easy to get a little bit off with such a long piece. You can always back out your screws and nudge them over just a little.
Step 5: Install Brackets and Shelves
The easiest step of all! Now that the track shelving uprights are installed, all you need to do is hook on the brackets and place the shelves on top. You can easily adjust the shelf height whenever you would like!
You don’t need to attach the shelves to the brackets as gravity with hold them in place.
Wire Pantry Shelves vs Track Shelving
Here is a before and after of our pantry! I am planning to completely revamp our food storage and will share a full reveal soon, but it already looks so much better with the track shelving. We have more storage with five shelves vs. four, and my kids can reach two shelves instead of just one!
I hope you found this post inspiring and helpful if you would like to replace wire pantry shelves for something more functional and pretty, but still affordable. XO,