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. I would love to know how the paint has held up Lauren – looking to upgrade my IKEA laminate if the kiltz primer and Behr paint have held up well!

    1. Where we used the Kilz adhesion primer and Behr paint, it held up beautifully! We didn’t prime on some spots and have definitely regretted it because it has scraped some. Don’t skip the primer and you should be okay! I would wipe it down with liquid deglosser before primer as a prep as well.

  2. For some reason, the Hemnes line has always spoken to me. I love what you’ve done with your set. The color you used, also? WOW! Sooo nice. And as much as I love and create antiqued or weathered pieces, it really appealed to me in its really pristine condition. You did a great job.

    I’m making something out of two, Craig’s List antique store cabinets, 104″ tall x 18″ wide. I built middle cabs between them to create a pantry like this. It’s not Hemnes, but it’s the storage I need! Moved a door to do I it, so you could also tell people not only NOT being afraid to change out your furniture? Don’t be afraid to move doors. It’s not for the faint of heart, but why not, right? 🙂

  3. What a transformation of space and function! The mirrored film is brilliant! Currently in a rental while our house is being built, I sprayed liquid starch onto our entry sidelight window then stuck sheets of tissue paper on top for privacy. Removes with water spritzing. Works, but not nearly has gorgeous as those cabinet door panels of yours! My pantry in the old house had almost everything in large mouth mason jars. OCD kept at bay.

  4. I love this! You are so very talented. This has me inspired to start some projects when my baby goes off to college this fall! 😉

  5. Did you spray paint the hardware that came with cabinets? If so what brand and color spray paint did you use?

  6. Wow! It really did change the look of the kitchen, love it! I agree with everyone else you guys make it look so easy! Hats off to Robert!

    I love the look of that film on the windows – it really makes a big change to the cabinets along with your paint choice!


  7. Amazing, i love it! Did you put a pine board on top of the cabinet? Or did it come with it?

  8. I’m guessing the wood at the top was additional but I didn’t see it listed in your materials list? Did that actually come with the IKEA furniture?!

    1. Hi, Alexandra! No, the piece at the top is a part of the cabinet. We just decided to leave it unpainted. It looks like it was added. You can see in the picture of the painting phase that we taped it off to keep from painting that section. 🙂

  9. Wow!! You are such an inspiration. I have used several of your ideas and this might be another I add to the list.

  10. What a wonderful pantry! You are just amazing to me 🙂
    I have a question: is the window/ glass film really $49 a foot? It seems like it is very wide, but this seems like an odd way to price it.
    I wonder if one could spray the back of the glass in the method that makes glass look like mirrored mercury glass. ( did that make sense?) I have used a mercury glass spray paint with a spritzer for water, with excellent results. I think the $4 spray paint might be more cost effective with similar results. Unless I’m missing something here…

    1. No, it’s a really wide roll, but you’re right; it’s still not as cheap as the $4 spray paint. I ordered 4 feet just to be safe and still had probably just enough leftover for one more panel. You could definitely try the spray method! I’m not sure how opaque that would be though, which is why I went with the film. It’s more expensive than the spray, but less messy and conceals everything.

  11. You either ‘speak’ IKEA or you don’t. We are finishing a room soon that will house all of my fabric, crafting supplies and some decor. I’m leaning towards similar tall cabinets on one wall without the glass. Because of past IKEA drawer issues my husband isn’t keen on them and wants better quality. Any thoughts about them as a long term built in?

  12. I wish I had a Robert who thought of putting together IKEA as Legos hahaha. My husband and sons always say why don’t they have better directions for these things or the directions are wrong. It takes a while but after lots of cussing and sweat they finally get it together (with no extra pieces leftover haha). You are a very lucky girl to have Robert as a partner in all of this, and I hope you let him know it!

    1. Lisa, I am certainly verbal regarding my gratitude for ALL of his hard work. I am so blessed. It sounds like you have a few handy fellas. Trust me, there are some frustrations through our process of putting these things together too. 🙂

  13. You really did it this time! Absolutely ingenious! Gosh, this turned out so well and I love that color!

  14. What an amazing job you and hubby did with that IKEA cabinet! It looks so nice and will definitely be a help to you in storing all your stuff! Lauren, you are always so helpful in giving us the info we need for our DIY’s! We thank you! Always enjoy your posts! Bless you!

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