We had shelves built for the kitchen that will serve as an open pantry. They are 1' deep and 2' wide, and will be placed where I've indicated in the attached photo with the rectangle on the floor (except, of course, parallel to the wall). There is a crawlspace access panel under the paint stuff, so 2' wide is all we can do. We may also hang a curtain diagonally from the left side of the shelves to the far side of the window to further block the furnace and hot water heater from view.
My dilemma is how to finish the shelves. I had planned on painting them white (BM Chantilly Lace, the same color as our new trim, which will replace the wood trim you see in the photo), but now that I see them finished I'm having a hard time committing to painting all the nice wood. I am now considering staining the outside of the unit and the fronts of the shelves, and painting the inside, but I can't decide if that will look nice or weird. I would probably go with a fairly dark stain, but I think using it on the whole unit would darken up the space too much. I've also considered using a grayish whitewash-type stain. If I end up painting them, should I do the whole thing white, or paint the back of the shelves the wall color (BM Revere Pewter)?
There will be an assortment of items on the shelves, but most of our pantry stuff I have organized in mason jars.
Oh, and we're mid-remodel, so the house, and, to a much greater extent, the garage, are a mess! Please don't judge. And thanks in advance for your help!