DIY IKEA Pantry Cabinet using Hemnes

How to turn an IKEA Hemnes cabinet in a freestanding pantry cupboard and give it a custom high-end look with antique mirror window film.

We are so relieved to finally have our food storage situation under control since adding this IKEA pantry cabinet situation in our kitchen!

Kitchen Pantry 2.0

That should really be the title of this post. I know the minimalist lifestyle is cool and all. And half of the world lives with probably a quarter of the size of our kitchen with no problem.

But y’all! I don’t know how they do it. Our kitchen was in dire need of better pantry storage, so I decided on a do-over.

Maybe it’s because we entertain a lot and cook 95% of our meals at home. We’ve made it work up until this point by stuffing chip bags, canned goods, and ingredients on two little shelves in our laundry room cabinet.

I even came up with a handy dandy storage system in an upper kitchen cabinet.

DIY IKEA Hemnes Pantry Cabinet | blesserhouse.com - pantry cabinet organization

After a year, it still wasn’t working.

DIY IKEA Hemnes Pantry Cabinet | blesserhouse.com - pantry cabinet organization

And the more we thought about it, the more we realized this coffee bar on the far wall of our kitchen really wasn’t being utilized to its full potential.

DIY IKEA Hemnes Pantry Cabinet | blesserhouse.com - coffee bar

So… plot twist! We hauled that baby outta here.

Also, spoiler alert: If something isn’t functioning well for you and your family in your home, don’t be afraid to change it. What’s so great about something looking pretty if it’s wasting space?

On to Plan B, which entailed putting together a bajillion and a half IKEA pieces to build two IKEA Hemnes cabinets.

UPDATE: See our finished IKEA pantry cabinet and how we organized it!

DIY IKEA Hemnes Pantry Cabinet | blesserhouse.com

DIY IKEA Pantry Cabinet

Supplies Used:

(Some affiliate links are provided below. Full disclosure here.)

  • 2 IKEA Hemnes glass front cabinets
  • Kilz Adhesion Primer
  • Cabinet/trim enamel paint in color of choice (We used Behr Marquee enamel satin paint in the color Sherwin Williams Billiard to match our lower kitchen cabinets.)
  • Paint brush (I prefer 1 1/5″ angled Purdy brushes)
  • Masking liquid (optional but highly recommend)
  • Antique mirror window film
  • Spray bottle with water and 8 drops of dish soap
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie
  • Credit card or squeegee
  • X-acto knife
  • Paper towels or clean, dry rags

The Steps:

1. Find someone who will geek out at putting the cabinet together for you. Just kidding. Kind of. Robert loves putting together IKEA furniture, and I think he’s a total weirdo for it. 😉  According to him, they’re like giant LEGO. Whatever you gotta tell yourself, man.

DIY IKEA Pantry Cabinet | blesserhouse.com

2. Follow these steps for painting IKEA furniture to prevent scuffs and chips. Laminate is tricky business to paint.

DIY IKEA Hemnes Pantry Cabinet | blesserhouse.com - cabinet before

The key is definitely a good primer like Kilz Adhesion.

DIY IKEA Hemnes Pantry Cabinet | blesserhouse.com - How to paint IKEA furniture

3. Once the primer and paint dried on the cabinet, I did the same thing on the glass front cabinet doors.

BUT little tip that I wish I hadn’t skipped:  Brush masking liquid on the glass before painting. I’ve used it for painting French doors before (you can see the how-to here) and it makes painting around glass so much easier and faster.

Just peel the masking liquid off of the glass once it’s dry, and the paint pulls right up with it.

I painted the glass doors thinking I would just scrape up the paint on the glass with a razor later for a clean edge. Nope! That stuff was on there.

(This is why I’m the guinea pig, y’all. Taking one for the team here. Welcome to life as a blogger making it up as we go.)

So I had to do the next step with dried paint still stuck on the glass, and it made the job a tad tricky.

DIY IKEA Hemnes Pantry Cabinet | blesserhouse.com - painted cabinet with Sherwin Williams Billiard

4. To hide all of the food that will be stored in the cabinets later, I found this window film that looks so much like a real antique mirror finish!

I knew it would tie in our stainless steel appliance colors on the cabinet with the rest of the kitchen as well as bounce light from the window on the opposite side of the room to brighten up this dark interior wall.

You can follow this video to install the film if you need a better visual.

DIY IKEA Hemnes Pantry Cabinet | blesserhouse.com - antique mirror window film

5. First, measure the width and height of the glass panel on the cabinet front and add 1 inch to each measurement.

6. Mark the measurements on the backside of the film with a Sharpie and cut with scissors.

7. Lay the film on a flat surface and slowly peel off the backing as you spritz the film with the spray bottle of water/soap solution. Fully saturate the film.

DIY IKEA Hemnes Pantry Cabinet | blesserhouse.com - antique mirror window film

8. Spray the glass on the cabinet door with the water/soap solution too.

DIY IKEA Hemnes Pantry Cabinet | blesserhouse.com - how to install antique mirror window film

9. Position your window film onto the glass and smooth out any air bubbles starting from the middle and working your way out to the edges with the credit card or squeegee.

DIY IKEA Hemnes Pantry Cabinet | blesserhouse.com - antique mirror window film and Sherwin Williams Billiard

10. Trim any excess film with a sharp X-acto knife. And wipe up any residual water/soap solution with a towel.

Ta da! All done.

DIY IKEA Hemnes Pantry Cabinet | blesserhouse.com - antique mirror window film and Sherwin Williams Billiard

I’m still working on getting food moved over from various places all over the kitchen into these cabinets so that it’ll all be in one place. And hopefully I’ll have a pretty organized system soon once I can wrap my brain around it.

DIY IKEA Hemnes Pantry Cabinet | blesserhouse.com - antique mirror window film and Sherwin Williams Billiard

It ties in with our kitchen cabinets so perfectly! And I love that one day when we have the funds to replace this flooring that we won’t have to demo these cabinets since they aren’t built in.

They are anchored though (which you should always make sure you do).

DIY IKEA Hemnes Pantry Cabinet | blesserhouse.com - antique mirror window film and Sherwin Williams Billiard

They look downright fancy for IKEA, huh?

DIY IKEA Hemnes Pantry Cabinet | blesserhouse.com - antique mirror window film and Sherwin Williams Billiard

UPDATE: See our finished IKEA pantry cabinet and how we organized it!

If you’re new around these parts and want to see more of our kitchen refresh from last year, you can check it out here.

Or if you’re an IKEA fanatic like we are, you can check out this post for all kinds of ideas to make IKEA items look designer-y.

So I’m curious, what do y’all do for your pantry situation? Got any great organizing solutions that work for you? The inside of these cabinets aren’t nearly as pretty as the outside at the moment, but we’ll get there.

If you want to save this post for later, you can pin it here:

DIY IKEA Hemnes Pantry Cabinet | blesserhouse.com - How to turn an IKEA Hemnes cabinet in a pantry and give it a custom high-end look with antique mirror window film.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you paint IKEA furniture?

You can see this post for the best method to paint IKEA furniture. The biggest key is using an adhesion primer.

How has your painted IKEA pantry cabinet held up over time?

Since we did this project two years ago, the mirror film has held up perfectly! In the places where we went through the additional steps of using liquid sandpaper and adhesion primer before paint, it’s held up well. But on the spots where we skipped the primer, we have regretted it as the paint did scrape off in a few places. Definitely do not skip the adhesion primer!

How do you organize a freestanding pantry cupboard?

You can see how we organized our IKEA pantry here. For the most part, two years later, it’s still working well for us with just a few minor adjustments.

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  1. Great looking solution to your storage dilemma! During a “work weekend,” I put together an IKEA bathroom vanity for my daughter and son-in-law. Directions weren’t too bad to follow; it gave a sense of accomplishment; and looked great too, as does your pantry cupboard! Another great share and lesson learned! Thank you.

  2. After watching the glass film video, I saw that it says the water eventually evaporates out, so sorry for the previous question! But I do have another question, did you purchase the cabinet in white or in light pine finish? I was looking at the IKEA website and also your pictures and looks like you got the white one with stained top and shelves, is that right? I was wondering if the pine finish one would be easier to paint, or if the white one has a smoother finish without knots and grains for a better paint finish? The website doesn’t call the finish laminate, but I’m guessing the sealer they use is similar to laminate as far as how you treat it in regards to painting. I love the style of this cabinet!

    1. I got the one that had a white and pine combo. It’s a new finish of theirs, I think. I hoped I could get away with no primer on the pine pieces, but it still scratches off fairly easily just like it does on their laminate pieces, so I’d recommend the primer still.

  3. The cabinets look fantastic! Beautiful and practical. That film is a perfect match…what a great find! And don’t you have a mirror that you antiques somewhere in your house?

  4. The cabinets look really good, well done! Sure hate to see your coffee bar go…that was such a cute set-up but you have to do what you have to do! I like the looks of food stuff in containers but it really doesn’t work for me either, usually I really really need instructions. I started taping them to the jar lids and that looks awful so then I decided to put them in my recipe box and then I always forget they are there so I just stopped all of it! In truth, now I use bigger jars and put the whole dang bag in the jar.

    1. Lauren, girl, you are AMAZING!

      Seriously love this piece of furniture, and the purpose it will serve as well. Is there anything you can’t do? I am ALWAYS thrilled when a new post arrives in my
      e-mail because I know it’s going to be filled with so much decorative inspiration. And once again, you nailed it! But then again, you always do. Every. Single. Time.

      Deb 🙂

  5. These are so pretty! This is a great solution, and you made it beautiful! I’ve wondered what happens to the water and dish soap behind the mirror film, does it somehow evaporate, and how does it get out? Inquiring minds want to know! We don’t have an Ikea near us, but i’ve been to one on vacation, such a cool store! I have a small laminate two door storage cabinet in my
    laundry room that is just basic white, and I’m now inspired to maybe paint it!

  6. So beautiful! Your new cabinets look amazing. My hubby is a master at putting IKEA furniture together too – not that he likes it all that much but is a total PRO! Thanks for your inspiration!

    1. Thank you!! AND Bless those hubbies for doing it. I know it would not get done if it were up to me. Or, it wouldn’t look as nice. You are most welcome and thank you for your support and encouragement.

  7. What an amazing job! You have inspired me to do the same 🙂 I have a wall in my kitchen that i had tall narrow upper cabinets made out of antique windows. Bought a buffet to go underneath not realizing how close they would hit making the buffet top pretty much useless except for a decorative piece in the middle and areas to stuff junk! It does not work for us and i have just lived with it. Thanks for being the “guinea pig” here and paving the way!

  8. I had to laugh at your “after” organizing cupboard! Maybe a post on just what the heck one does with the LEFTOVER flour bag, or noodles??!! lol Pretty jars and baskets always look so nice, but never in my life have they worked. I get half the noodles in to fill up the jar, and have 1/2 left in the box. Now what??!! ha. Then, you need to have yet another cupboard to store those half empy/full boxes/bags/cans. I’m with you, Marty, I stack my panty like a grocery store and you truly save a ton of space and more usable shelve space that way. (as I said, i’ve done both!) Just glad my pantry has a door that you can’t see thru! hehe.

  9. Another winner. Looks terrific. How many extra pieces did Robert have when he got through putting the cabinet together?

  10. Just wow! You’ve got me ready to roll to IKEA. Hum….then again IKEA’s has the WORST set of instructions ever. You guys made it look easy!

  11. Absolutely clever and awesome! I love how it ties in to your kitchen, what a better use of the space too. Who knew they made window film that stunning!

  12. Love these cabinets. You will love having all that room. I have a walk in pantry and choose not to have a ton of baskets that still hide everything. I set mine up like a grocery store so it is easy to shop for anything I need. I love it.

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