DIY IKEA Pantry Cabinet Using Hemnes

How to turn an IKEA Hemnes cabinet in a freestanding IKEA 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 as a freestanding pantry cupboard!

IKEA pantry cabinet using hemnes units

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.

Update: See how we organized our freestanding pantry cupboard here.

organized IKEA freestanding pantry cupboard

Why an IKEA Pantry Cabinet Might Be Your Best Solution

Our kitchen was in dire need of better pantry storage, so I decided on a do-over.

If you have very limited kitchen cabinet space or are living without a pantry at all, this IKEA pantry cabinet solution does the trick.

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.

kitchen pantry cabinet organized with IKEA organizers for food storage

Using IKEA Organizers as a Kitchen Cabinet Food Storage Solution

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

After a year, it still wasn’t working.

kitchen pantry cabinet

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.

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

coffee bar using a thrifted buffet

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?

DIY IKEA Pantry Cabinet

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

Assembling IKEA Hemnes cabinets to make a DIY pantry

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.

Assembling IKEA Hemnes cabinets

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

Assembling IKEA Hemnes cabinets

The key is definitely a good primer like Kilz Adhesion.

Painting IKEA furniture and making it stick using KILZ Adhesion

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

IKEA Pantry Cabinet Painting Tip

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.

painting IKEA furniture Sherwin Williams Billiard Green

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.

antique mirror 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.

applying antique mirror film by spritzing with water in a spray bottle

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

apply antique mirror film to glass

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 pantry cabinet using the IKEA Hemnes line

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.

freestanding pantry cupboard painted green with brass knobs and antique mirror glass in a kitchen

IKEA Pantry Cabinet Storage Solutions

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 painted green with brass knobs

Update: This now organized IKEA pantry cabinet looks so good! I can’t begin to explain how nice it is to open these doors and drawers to find exactly what you needed.

pantry organization in an IKEA cabinet hack
pantry organization in an IKEA hemnes cabinet

The Final Pantry Cabinet Results

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).

They look downright fancy for IKEA, huh?

Kitchen cabinets painted Sherwin Williams Billiard and Benjamin Moore Simply White
antique mirror window film on an IKEA Hemnes pantry cabinet using Sherwin Williams Billiard

The Rest of Our Budget Kitchen Refresh

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. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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.