Perfect Pantry Styles for Your Kitchen Design

July 26, 2023

Today’s kitchen is a busy space at the heart of the home, where we do everything from preparing food to dining, entertaining, working from home, relaxing with a cup of coffee, and more. The focal point of kitchen life is still food – food storage, food preparation, eating, and cleaning up. Whether you have a busy family where you cook daily or only occasionally cook when the mood strikes you, food storage is essential to maintain a clutter-free, organized kitchen. 

Pantry storage can take many forms, depending on your storage needs, lifestyle, personal preferences, and available space. From pantry cabinets to butler’s pantries, there is an ideal food storage solution for your needs. Start by assessing your requirements, then explore the different options available to find the perfect solution for your home. If you are starting a kitchen remodel, this is the ideal time to create your perfect pantry. Read on to learn more!

What storage do you need for your home and lifestyle?

The first step in planning a pantry for your kitchen design is to consider how much space you need for storage. Since every household is unique, you must look at your own family, household (including looking ahead for the lifetime of this kitchen remodel), cooking style, and dining preferences. 

Pantry storage forms an integral part of your kitchen design storage plan and should be formulated at the beginning of the design process. Your kitchen remodeling expert will guide you through this, help you understand your storage needs, and recommend creative ways to build a complete storage solution for your new kitchen. 

Before meeting your kitchen designer, it helps to think through these requirements yourself. Start by asking yourself:

When answering these questions, make sure you examine your household requirements not just today, but for the lifetime of your kitchen design. Look at how you use your kitchen and consider what food items and cooking tools you need to access daily vs. those you only use infrequently. 

Where is the best location for your pantry?

Now think about where you want to situate your pantry and how much space you have to accommodate your pantry storage.  First, look at what you like and dislike about your current pantry storage setup. If you like your existing walk-in pantry or pantry cabinet location but need a style and storage accessory update, then it makes sense to keep your current pantry location. If you are not happy with your existing pantry, then decide what you would like to change. 

Next, examine your available space to find the best position for your kitchen pantry. Use this opportunity to reassess your kitchen layout, style, and storage. If you are redoing your layout as part of a kitchen remodel or first-floor re-design, you can create the kitchen layout you always wanted. Include workspaces for cooking, baking, beverages, and more, along with pantry storage positioned where you need it. 

If your kitchen is too small to accommodate your preferred pantry storage, you could look at expanding your kitchen footprint by knocking down or moving a wall, or even by bumping out a wall to create a larger kitchen. You might also look to other spaces adjacent to the kitchen to create a spacious pantry, which eliminates clutter in the main kitchen. An alcove near the kitchen could be converted into a pantry with customized shelves or cabinetry. A hall closet or laundry room could be moved to another location, freeing up precious real estate next to the kitchen to create your dream pantry. With a full kitchen remodel, the possibilities are endless!

What are the main types of kitchen pantries?

There are several kitchen pantry styles, and which one is right for you depends on your specific requirements, personal preferences, and available space. Let’s explore several pantry styles to see which one is right for you.

Butler’s Pantry

Traditionally, a butler’s pantry was positioned between the kitchen and dining areas. It served as storage for tableware and serving dishes, and also as a staging area for food before serving it. Modern butler’s pantries can be situated wherever you have a suitable and convenient space next to your kitchen. They act as a mini-kitchen and typically include cabinetry, a countertop workspace, a sink, and sometimes an extra refrigerator, freezer, or dishwasher. 

Depending on the size of your butler’s pantry and how you prefer to use it, you could employ this space to prepare dishes before cooking and serving them, or even to stage platters of appetizers or desserts during a dinner party. They also come in handy as a place to stow dirty dishes, particularly when you are entertaining, as you can stash them out of sight until after the party. This can be a game changer with today’s open-plan kitchens, as it offers a closed-off space to contain the mess while you maintain a clutter-free area for entertaining. 

Install cabinets that match your main kitchen cabinets to unify the two spaces or give your butler’s pantry a distinctive flair with a different cabinet style, finish, or hardware. This small, enclosed space could also be the ideal place to experiment with a bolder color choice than your main kitchen or an eye-catching tile backsplash. 

Walk-in Pantry

A walk-in-pantry is also a larger kitchen pantry that allows you to enter the space to find what you need. Unlike a butler’s pantry, the walk-in version is typically just used for storage and does not include countertop space and other extra features. Think of this as the equivalent of a walk-in closet, but for your food essentials, where you find what you need and take it into the main kitchen workspace to use it. 

To make the most of the space and allow you to easily stow and find what you need, it usually follows a U- or L-shaped layout. The perimeter of the pantry is outfitted with shelves that are adjustable to meet your needs. It could also include some built-in cabinetry or even a wheeled trolly used for storage and moved around when needed. The shelves usually extend to the ceiling, so you should carefully consider how you will use this storage, especially if you have limited mobility. You could store less frequently used items on the higher shelves, such as holiday baking supplies or party decorations and tableware.

Reach-in Pantry

If the walk-in pantry is like a walk-in closet, then the reach-in pantry is the equivalent of a hall closet but for storing your food items. This pantry works well where you have more limited space and can’t fit a walk-in or butler’s pantry. It simply requires a shallow space, enclosed by standard or bi-fold doors, behind which sit shelves ideal for keeping nonperishable food items stowed and easy to access. 

You can also use containers to group items together, but make sure you carefully label everything (and note expiration dates if you decant contents into another container for storage). Your storage containers offer an opportunity to accent your design style, so select containers that are not only practical but also work with your design aesthetic. You could choose clear glass or go for ceramic containers in an accent color. Add texture to your design with rustic crates, industrial metal boxes, or woven baskets. 

The reach-in pantry is typically not suitable for storing larger countertop appliances, but it can be handy for gadgets and small appliances. For example, a hand mixer could be stowed in this area, but a heavy stand mixer, food processor, or ice cream maker would be better kept in cabinets with rollout shelves that make them easier to access.

Pantry Cabinets

Pantry cabinets are a popular choice for today’s kitchen designs. They keep everything you need within arm’s reach with customized cabinet storage solutions. Incorporate pantry storage into one area of your kitchen design or divide up your storage into sections based on your kitchen zones. For example, if you love to bake, include customized storage for your baking ingredients, cake decorating supplies, cookie cutters, and more. Add a mixer lift for your stand mixer and you will save your back every time you need to retrieve it to whip up your favorite treats. 

With pantry cabinets, you can customize your storage to your needs to make sure every item is neatly stored, always visible, and easy to access. Pull-outs, rollout shelves, drawers outfitted with peg organizers or dividers, and much more are all ideal pantry cabinet storage accessories. You can also include drawers of various sizes or adjustable shelves to keep pots and pans, kitchen gadgets, and cooking tools organized. Add a vertical tray divider to fit your cutting boards and baking trays.

One of the best things about pantry cabinets is that they can fit anywhere and be customized to your storage needs. Narrow pull-outs can be installed between a refrigerator and the wall, on either side of a range, or at the end of an island. An experienced kitchen design expert can help you find the perfect kitchen cabinet storage solutions and help you make use of every inch of your kitchen layout. 

How to choose the ideal pantry style for your kitchen design!

If you are embarking on a kitchen remodel, now is the perfect time to assess your pantry storage requirements. When planning your pantry be sure to consider extra options that enhance your pantry’s functionality and style, such as lighting, cabinetry, and stylish accessories. Every pantry needs sufficient lighting so you can easily see the contents. In addition to essential task lighting, you could add decorative light fixtures to a butler’s pantry to accent your style. Pantry cabinets also benefit from internal lighting so you can easily see the contents when you open the cabinet. 

The right pantry for your home depends on your household, lifestyle, cooking preferences, available space, and budget. There is a pantry solution for every home, that is sure to keep your food essentials organized and your kitchen clutter-free. Personalize your space with storage accessories designed to meet your needs and give your pantry a unique flair with a color scheme or decorative accents. Our team can help you create your ideal kitchen design, including the perfect pantry!