back porch shelves for drink storage
colonial farmhouse,  DIY

Back Porch Shelves for Drink Storage

Some folks build shelves for important things like books.

We build shelves for equally important things like drink storage.

Reading is important, but have you ever been dehydrated?

I rest my case.

After living in our home for a year we had a pretty good idea of its problem areas.

No, I’m not talking about the leaky roof, the rotting deck, or the oven that randomly switches the temperature display from Fahrenheit to Celsius. Do NOT get me sidetracked on the oven that is messing with me. We’ll be here all day.

Today’s problem area was the back porch where we stored all of our canned and bottled drinks.

back porch shelves for drink storage

Wait. Do you guys not store drinks on your back porch?

You’ve got to try it. Those drinks are downright frosty in the middle of winter.

In summer…not so much.

The reason the drinks are stored in this fully enclosed, but not insulated back porch is that we live in a ridiculously old house.

Old houses were not built with glorious, over-sized, walk-in pantries for storing things like all the flavors of sparkling water I’m currently obsessed with and the daily Diet Pepsi I need to avoid midday crankiness.

Old houses like ours were also not built with a garage. We do have a garage now, but there’s no direct access from the garage into the house, so why do we have it that’s not a convenient drink storage spot.

We could buy an extra refrigerator for drink storage, but we don’t even have a good spot in our kitchen for our regular ol’ refrigerator.

Now you can see why the back porch was a good storage option, especially since it is conveniently located near the kitchen.

back porch shelves for drink storage

The problem was all the drinks just piled up on the floor. This is a porch that, if I’m measuring generously and rounding up, is only 4 x 6 feet. Oh, and did I mention there are three doors opening into this small space? Yes, three.

It was a hot mess. Literally. Particularly in July and August.

This hot mess needed some shelves so it could be a hot organized drink storage area.

We started out with a wall that used to have a window and a dog door. We were leaving those things in place and building around them because we need to do a few hokey things around here you don’t open up a wall in an old house unless you are prepared to meet your worst nightmare.

I’m already dealing with a possessed oven. I don’t need any other nightmares.

I was reasonably confident the shelves would look fine when we were finished. If not, all of the imperfections character we left on the back wall would be covered up by drinks!

Normally, drinking does not solve your problems. In this case…

back porch shelves for drink storage

We used 1 x 12s for the shelves and shelf supports. We also used some 2x4s that we ripped to size for additional shelf support along the backs and sides of the shelves. Handy Husband designed these shelves for an elephant to sit on maximum drink load.

I wanted the shelves to look built-in, so we added trim pieces to the side and top of the shelves. We did not add trim along the right side of the shelves because the zig-zag of the exterior siding on that side of the wall just made it look funny.

I painted the wood floor that we found after pulling up five(!) other layers of flooring with black porch paint. I also painted the shelves with the same black porch paint.

If it’s good enough for the floors, it should be good enough for the shelves!

I did apply two coats of a clear poly to the shelves to further protect the black paint from scratching.

back porch shelves for drink storage

I love a good before and after view.

Don’t you?

I know you come here for the pictures, not the witty commentary, so let’s get to it!

Here’s the view from our pantry/laundry room into the back porch on the day we bought the Colonial Farmhouse in 2019.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you first.

BEFORE laundry room back porch shelves for drink storage

I apologize if that photo made your eyes bleed.

It was actually worse in person.

To answer the most important question: No, those are NOT our clothes hanging in the laundry room, but at least they washed them for us before we moved in!

Considerate, right?

Here’s that same view today with the completed shelves for drink storage.

back porch shelves for drink storage

Much better, right?

Much better is not a strong enough term.

That’s 1,000 times better.

Frankly, it smells 1,000 times better too.

back porch shelves for drink storage

I am not a person who runs toward open shelving with arms wide open. It is less about the dustiness of the shelf contents and more about the visual clutter to me.

I prefer to hide away the Diet Pepsi all the not so pretty things that are necessary for daily existence.

Our back porch was not a space that was conducive to adding hidden storage. There are already too many doors there and not enough clearance for additional doors to work effectively.

I’m embracing this uncomfortable feeling of having all of our beverages this visual clutter on display because it is outweighed by the SHEER GIDDINESS at having this back porch purposefully organized now.

I’d say NOTHING makes me happier, but you know I’m trying not to exaggerate. I’m sure Handy Husband would say our love and commitment outweighs an organized drink storage space with all the can labels turned just the right way.


He’s totally right.

P.S. In case you are wondering, I did keep one item of clothing that I found hanging in the laundry room on the day we moved in. It was an old man’s cardigan sweater. Do you know how comfortable those things are?

Oh, and I did find two really nice dish towels underneath the washing machine that I kept too. It only took me 8 months to find those dish towels, but don’t tell anyone that.

P.P.S. I glossed over the five layers of flooring that we found on that back porch before we got to the original planked wood floor. They were in order of removal: indoor/outdoor carpet, linoleum, glued down linoleum squares, plywood, more linoleum.

The original wood floor had previously been painted (more than once), so I opted to paint it once again. Since the wood floor in the connecting laundry room is also painted, this created continuity between the spaces.

back porch floor removing layers of flooring

Project Sources:

Behr Porch and Patio Paint: Low lustre, color black. If you are stressed out and can’t decide on a black paint color, you can just ask for regular ol’ black and there’s a formula for that!

Varathane Polyurethane – water based, satin finish. The satin finish almost perfectly matched the low lustre sheen of the porch paint.

Ceramic Crocks: Found in a previous home we owned. Similar ones can be found at thrift shops or on Etsy or eBay.

Rug: Factoria Nordic Beauty Rug Blue from Rugs USA

Basket: Thrifted

*affiliate links in this blog post*

Well, this has been fun! Do you like before and afters as much as I do? Here are some other posts I think you might like too. 

Scrap Wood Arrow (it made an appearance in the laundry room after picture)

Dining Room Built In Shelves (Time flies since 2015. This was four houses ago?)

Back Staircase Before and After




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