Pantries are fast becoming a highly sought-after feature in any modern home, much like the coveted utility room. As many of us spend more of our work and leisure time in the comfort of our own homes, having creative, space-saving storage solutions like a walk-in pantry can be invaluable for keeping our interiors tidy, organised, and free of clutter.
If this sounds like something your home could benefit from, in the guide below we’ve compiled some of our favourite pantry design ideas to help you get inspired. We’ll cover all the essentials, including:
- What is a pantry?
- Where to install a pantry
- Designing a pantry
- Pantry storage ideas
What is a pantry?
A pantry is an extra addition to your kitchen that helps to maximise the storage space you have available. While most of your perishable food will still need to go in the fridge or freezer, here you can store everything from tinned food and dried goods to spices, wine, appliances, and kitchen utensils. This way, installing a pantry will free up space in your cupboards, which can in turn make your cooking experience simpler, tidier, and more ergonomic.
Designs can range from large, walk-in pantries to compact models incorporated into smaller kitchens, existing utility rooms, or even under the stairs. So, despite having a relatively small footprint, a well-designed pantry can help you get the most out of your interiors and give you valuable space you never realised you had. This ability to maximise kitchen storage is one of the reasons behind their resurgence in popularity, along with the recent revival of open-plan living, which requires ample storage to keep clutter to a minimum. Check out our in-depth guide to open-plan kitchens and living rooms for more top tips on how to execute this chic, modern approach to interior design.
Where to install a pantry
Where you decide to build your pantry will depend on the space available within your home. However, as well as the size, the layout and configuration of your kitchen will also have a large bearing on what you can and can’t add in terms of pantry storage. So, be sure to give this full consideration before making any installation plans. If you’re unsure of where to start or what the best course of action is for your kitchen, we run through a host of top tips and practical advice in our comprehensive kitchen design guide.
Read on to find out more about some of the most popular pantry designs you can use to transform the look and usability of your kitchen.
Walk-in kitchen pantry
If you have the space, adding a walk-in pantry is an excellent way to instantly elevate your kitchen. In fact, the food storage experts at Kilner recently revealed that a pantry room conversion is such an attractive feature for prospective homeowners that it can add up to 5% to a property’s overall value. With the amount of space offered by a walk-in design, you can comfortably incorporate features like floor-to-ceiling shelving to store a huge amount of kitchen essentials that you and your family make use of every day.
If you want to create a rustic, farmhouse aesthetic in your home, installing sliding doors onto your walk-in pantry is a great way to ensure practical usability while also making a style statement. Alternatively, you may opt for a simple set of double doors, or even leave your walk-in storage space with no doors altogether — this creates an informal, open-plan look that helps your pantry feel light and airy. Below, we discuss the importance of lighting when designing a large walk-in pantry, to provide you with enough visibility to find the ingredients, appliances, or cooking utensils you need to make delicious meals at home.
This ingenious design can turn an area of unused space into a fabulous home feature you’ll love. While spaces under the stairs are often assigned as a coat or shoe cupboard, moving your family’s belongings to a rack elsewhere can open up a huge realm of storage possibilities — specifically, creating your pantry.
When converting the cupboard under your stairs into a pantry, it’s important to start by measuring every dimension you can, to see what you can feasibly fit in. This includes measurements like how far any doors or drawers will swing out into the hallway, as well as the number of pantry shelves you can install with a sloped ceiling. Similarly, make sure any important maintenance features like gas or electricity meters are still within reach and aren’t disturbed by your renovations.
As these under-stairs pantries tend to be on the smaller side, you may choose to turn this into a mini breakfast station that houses the toaster, kettle, condiments, and coffee and tea supplies. This works particularly well in open-plan living spaces that are designed to be versatile and multi-use. However, if your stairs aren’t close to the kitchen or dining area, it’s best to store food or appliances that you use less often here and leave everyday items easily accessible in your kitchen cupboards.
You’ll be glad to know that even if your home can’t accommodate a full walk-in pantry conversion or doesn’t have viable space underneath the stairs, you can still experiment with this sought-after kitchen feature. Many homeowners simply clear out a full column from their kitchen cupboards and use this to construct a pull-out larder unit that uses the space they already have. This is an excellent option for homes with less square footage, as it makes the most of vertical storage solutions that can maximise the overall storage capacity of your pantry cupboard.
Make sure to install this kind of built-in pantry in a convenient location in your kitchen, to guarantee that your cooking space remains ergonomic and user-friendly. Often, the best position is within arm’s reach of where you prepare food, so you can easily grab a jar of spices, a bottle of olive oil, or a jar of rice while you cook your next meal. You may also choose to add task lighting with motion sensors to elevate your small pantry cupboard and help you find the dried goods, herbs, or utensils you’re looking for. Some people opt for cupboard doors with glass fronts to display their pantry items, and these look even more impressive when paired with accent lighting on each shelf.
Designing a pantry
It’s likely that when you set out on the process of installing a kitchen pantry, you’ll have plenty of ideas to make your cooking and entertaining spaces more streamlined, stylish, and free of clutter. However, if you’re not sure what would be viable for your home or you need a little inspiration to get started, below are some of our favourite walk-in pantry ideas to help you design the perfect kitchen storage unit of your dreams.
It can be fun to go for bold colours in your pantry, especially if the rest of your home follows a more neutral, minimalist palette. For example, when installing an under-stairs pantry you can add a welcome pop of colour and experiment with patterns by painting the inside with vibrant paint or decorating it with bold wallpaper. Larger walk-in pantries can also be a great place to get creative with some deeper, richer palettes, while those on the smaller side may benefit from lighter shades to create the illusion of more space.
If you opt for an open-plan approach and don’t add doors to your kitchen pantry, it’s generally best to stick to similar colours for your flooring, cabinets, and worktops. This might not mean repeating the exact same colours used throughout your kitchen, but choosing complementary shades from a similar palette will create a more cohesive look that flows together easily.
When designing any element of your home, it’s important not to neglect the lighting. Not only is this an important practical feature to make your interiors usable, but lighting design also plays a huge role in how your home feels. For pantries, a combination of task and accent lights is often the best approach, but this will depend on the size and layout of your new pantry. For instance, in larger walk-in pantries that blend into the kitchen, you may have the freedom to get a little creative and install a pendant light to add some extra flair and style to your newest home addition.
Sensor lights can also be an excellent choice, especially for smaller under-stairs pantries or even pantry cupboard. These accent lights turn on when you open the pantry doors, illuminating the contents as and when you need them. This is particularly useful for darker kitchens with limited natural light — simply install them at the top and along the bottom of the pantry shelving, so that each shelf is illuminated. Seeing everything at a glance will not only make products easier to find but will also help you ensure that your shelves stay tidy.
Pantry storage ideas
Pantry organisation is now a hugely popular topic across the internet, where people are discovering and sharing more ingenious ways to reduce clutter around the home. And while some home organisation accessories can make great additions to your kitchen, investing in high-quality, well-designed cabinetry means you have creative storage solutions built-in from the very beginning. One way of doing so is with extending shelves that pull out as you open your pantry cupboard door. These will help you see all your spices or dried goods at a glance, and if you remember to make the drawers deep enough, you can incorporate accessories like clear labelled dividers later on.
Dividers are also an excellent way to store drinks bottles in your pantry. With a few simple pieces of wood, you can create an X-shaped shelf divider that stores your bottles in a safer and more aesthetically pleasing way. Those who are particularly proud of their pantry organisation may also opt for open shelving, which can showcase your favourite foods or appliances and indirectly encourage you to keep things tidy! If you like to keep your home tidy with labelled jars, colour-coded produce, and neatly stacked tins, be sure to check out our complete guide to kitchen organisation, where we share even more ways to declutter your pantry, utility, and kitchen cupboards.
Small walk-in pantry ideas
When you have plenty of space available — such as in a large walk-in design — your pantry can store a wide variety of items like blenders, mixers, or baking appliances and leave your kitchen cupboards and work surfaces even clearer. However, with smaller models, you’ll need to get a little more creative to use every inch of space. One tried and tested method for small pantry organisation is hanging shelving inside cupboard doors. This can effectively double the amount of storage you have available and is a perfect place to hang vertical spice racks to keep all the herbs, spices, and preserves that were previously cluttering up your kitchen. L-shaped cabinets and shelving units are a great way to get around immovable features in a small pantry, such as a boiler.
Similarly, alter your storage solutions depending on the dimensions of the space — for example, you may have a long yet narrow area you’re converting into a small walk-in pantry, which means you would rely heavily on vertical, floor-to-ceiling storage. Remember to have a ladder or have a footstool nearby if necessary! On the other hand, a low or sloped ceiling means your small pantry would benefit from staggered shelving and floor-level drawers or storage baskets.
We hope this guide has inspired you with some creative pantry ideas. If you’re renovating any other rooms in your home, we are proud to offer premium German kitchens from Schüller, as well as their statement designer brand next125. Here at InHouse you’ll also find high-quality Systemo worktops in a variety of styles and finishes, including ceramic, solid wood, quartz stone, and glass. Be sure to browse our Italian living room range Colombini Casa and our sleek Pelipal and Leonardo bathrooms, and we’ll help you find stunning interior design solutions for every room in the house.
For even more top tips and home inspiration, be sure to check out our blog where we publish detailed articles like our guides to German kitchens, home offices, open-plan living, and much more. Use our online portal to find an independent retailer near you, or arrange a visit to our impressive showroom in Hexham.