Your Organized Kitchen: Clever Pantry Design Solutions for Every Space

Brian Hogan
Jul 24, 2021 8:30:00 AM

Your kitchen may have high-end countertops, custom cabinetry, a bespoke backsplash, and luxury appliances, but no modern kitchen is truly complete unless it has a dedicated pantry.

Modern Kitchen with dual islands and drum pendants. Featuring white cabinetry and countertops with contrasting gray island bases. Features a large beverage fridge  along with stainless steel appliance and range top hood.

Having a separate place to keep dry goods and everyday staples makes a world of difference when it comes to creating an organized kitchen that’s a pleasure to use and easy to keep tidy. Luckily, pantries come in a wide range of sizes and styles designed to fulfill an equally diverse range of storage needs. 

Whether you’re making simple organizational upgrades, renovating your entire kitchen, or building a new one from scratch, storage is never in short supply when you include a pantry that fits your space. Let’s explore the various options available today:

Main Pantry Options

Although pantries come in an array of styles and sizes, most primary pantries qualify as one of the following basic types:

Walk-In Pantry

If you have a large family to feed and major kitchen storage needs, a full-size walk-in pantry is almost always the way to go, provided the layout of your space (existing or planned) is roomy enough to accommodate it. 

Walk-in pantries often take the form of large closets positioned near the main cooking and food prep areas, but they may also be built as a small adjoining room just off the kitchen. 

In the past, these generous pantries typically contained fixed shelves, a set of drawers, and a small countertop area; today, custom adjustable shelving and organizational systems make it possible to create virtually any storage layout. 

The average walk-in pantry has enough room to store all your non-refrigerated foodstuffs and much more, including cookware that doesn’t fit in your cabinets and small appliances you don’t want to leave out on your countertops.

Pull-out shelves and drawers keep everything accessible and within reach, while a built-in workspace transforms the space into a multi-functional zone that doubles as a butler’s pantry. 

Transitional white kitchen featuring a walk-in pantry behind the stove wall. Kitchen features white shaker cabinets and quartz countertops, large stainless pendants and appliances and wide plank wood floors.

Cupboard Pantry

As its name implies, a cupboard pantry is a pantry that’s contained within a single cabinet. It may be a built-in cabinet that’s centrally located near the main food prep area, or it may be a freestanding cabinet that stands along a stretch of open wall space. 

In a small kitchen that serves the needs of an individual or couple, one wall or base cabinet is often all it takes to create an orderly cupboard pantry for a more organized space. In a larger kitchen designed for a family or an amateur chef, a tall, floor-to-ceiling cupboard pantry has a lot more to offer.  

A deep cupboard pantry is best fitted with pull-out shelves, particularly in the bottom half of the cabinet where it’s harder to see the items in the back. Uniform storage bins, clear labeled containers, and turntables help keep bulk foods and dry goods visible and well-organized. 

With their shallow shelves designed to keep each item front and center, reach-in cupboard pantries keep everything in view and readily accessible. Cupboard pantries can also be built as sleek, modern pull-outs that conveniently extend from their case as a single unit. 

Bonus Pantry Spaces

Having a primary pantry helps you stay organized in the kitchen, but having a bonus pantry can make your kitchen more streamlined and a whole lot more enjoyable:  

Butler’s Pantry

A butler’s pantry — also known as a serving pantry — was traditionally used to store china, serving pieces, and silverware, often under lock and key. Located between the kitchen and the dining room, it was also used as a prep area for food and drinks during dinner parties. 

Today, homeowners are embracing the idea behind this versatile storage space and putting it to work in entirely different ways. The modern butler’s pantry is still centrally located between the kitchen and dining room, but its function is no longer strictly formal. 

If you love to entertain, a butler’s pantry is still ideal for storing glassware and serving pieces; it also remains the perfect food prep or staging area for multi-course meals or large parties. But it makes a wonderful coffee, espresso, tea, or specialty drink bar, too. 

With its cabinets, countertop, and nook-like feel, a butler’s pantry also makes an excellent wine bar, especially if it has a built-in wine cooler. A butler’s pantry makes it easy to cater to the kids, too: simply set up an easy-access snack drawer in a lower cabinet.   

Cold Larder

If you’re planning to build a new house or remodel your existing kitchen in the near future, you might want to think about making space for a cold larder — especially if you’re a “foodie” who loves to cook and bake with high-quality ingredients. 

Larder is simply another word for pantry in many European countries. A cold larder is a large cupboard (or small walk-in room) that uses outside air, adjustable vents, and cold-stone slabs to cool and air out temperature-sensitive food products naturally. 

The vent system expels warm air and draws cool air up through the foundation of your house and into the larder where foods that prefer gentle cooling over intense refrigeration (such as meats and cheeses, eggs, spices, and bread) sit on stone shelves that stay perpetually cool.  

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