I have wanted to replace our wire pantry shelves ever since we moved into our new build. The wire shelves were sturdy enough, but small items fell through the holes, and narrow cereal boxes would not stand up straight. So, 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. Keep reading to learn how to replace wire pantry shelves on a budget!

In addition, here are more posts about our pantry:

This post may contain affiliate links.

The Before: Wire Pantry Shelves

pantry before photo

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 the number of shelves to five or six
  • Bonus if shelving is customizable with easy to adjust shelf height

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:

  1. DIY option: custom wood shelves
  2. Investment option: high end pantry system
  3. 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

how to remove and replace wire pantry shelves on a budget, affordable pantry shelves, upright 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:

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

how to remove wire pantry shelves, uninstall wire shelving in closet

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

patching the wall with spackling

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

how to remove wire pantry shelves, install track uprights

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.

Hold the upright to the wall where you marked the studs. Use a level or laser level to make sure it is perfectly vertical. Mark the holes with a pencil. Set the upright aside.

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

how to install upright for track shelving

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

how to remove and replace wire pantry shelves on a budget, affordable pantry shelves, upright track shelving

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 (Update: DIY Pantry Makeover), but it already looks so much better with the track shelving. We have more storage with five shelves instead of 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.

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  1. What is the height between each shelf? Looks really nice. I have been considering doing DYI wood shelves.

    1. Thank you Abbey! There are 13 inches between each shelf πŸ™‚

  2. What is the paint color ? Looks beautiful

  3. Lisa Lemma says:

    I am so bummed! Was about to buy this Rubbermaid system but I need 16”D shelves and they don’t offer this. 12”D is too short. πŸ™

  4. This is such a financially lifesaving option. I had been dreading paying someone $5000 to redo my pantry. And your DIY is right my little DIY alley! Thank you so much for this!!

    1. I’m so glad you found it helpful Tracie! πŸ™‚

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