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Portland Design Build Remodeling Blog

15 Kitchen Pantry Storage and Design Ideas

Posted by Lane Cooper on Sep 8, 2020 6:06:00 AM

If you’ve got the space, and the stuff to fill it, a walk-in pantry is a nice luxury to include in the remodel of your Portland kitchen. But there are lots of other pantry design ideas that can make your kitchen work smoothly. Here are 14 designs to consider:

Space to Spare

Let’s start with that spacious walk-in pantry. We’re told that some luxury homes have pantries that approach the size of an entire kitchen, with shelves to contain appliances, cookware, and food stores of every kind. Keep in mind, though, that the more space you have, the more you’ll have to keep organized and clean.

  • If your pantry shelves go all the way to the ceiling, consider a rolling library-style ladder. This cuts down on the space needed for a step stool.

  • If you’re not sure how you will use the pantry over time, install adjustable shelving. This makes it easier to adjust the height of each shelf, so that it continues to work well for you as long as you have this kitchen design.

  • Often a wine cooler is placed below the countertop in the kitchen island or among the cabinets, but if you have a large walk-in pantry, you could keep the cooler stashed in there.

  • A sliding barn door for the pantry gives a country feel to your kitchen. You can build a pocket door in a nearby wall to increase your access to the pantry and decrease the dings on your cabinetry.

  • On your pantry shelves, focus on organization, using labeled glass jars, labeled open-top baskets, and other easy-to access containers. Tools that stack or focus on a modular layout will give you the most storage space possible. Keep in mind that round containers can be harder to grasp and will lose some space around the edges.

Download our eBook about the design & build process, and to get ideas for designing the ideal kitchen.

Free-Standing and Built-In Pantries

If your homes footprint can't accommodate space for a walk-in pantry, think about dedicating a wall or a corner in your kitchen area to one or more tall cabinets that serve as a pantry, with either open shelving (neatly organized, of course) or cabinet doors. Free-standing cabinets can also be an alternative to built-ins. Consider a variety of height and width options. This gives you all the space you need to keep small appliances, food items and kitchen tools hidden and off your countertop.

The market is full of creative built-in pantry cabinets that combine pull-out, swing-out, and rotating shelves. Custom pantries have the advantage that they take up all the available space, without annoying gaps to trap clutter or debris. This could be a great option to combine with a bump-out. That way, you can still get the pantry of your dreams without having to decrease the walking space or countertop room in your existing kitchen layout.

Pantries on the Move

If you’re looking for a way to maximize your storage options and you have several stations in your kitchen, consider a portable pantry. These are storage cabinets that will literally move, as they are generally on wheels. Keep in mind that portability depends somewhat on weight, so this probably isn’t the best choice to hold all your grains or cast iron.

Most options come about waist height with a countertop you can use for preparation. This makes it much easier to keep the tools you need on hand and place your kitchen island in exactly the right spot. You can also find options that are nearly as tall as your upper cabinetry. This gives you a ton of additional storage, but you don’t have to keep walking back to get it.

Storage Tricks

To supplement your walk-in or cabinet pantry, you could incorporate these ideas into your remodeled kitchen to keep certain items close at hand.

  • Install a slender pullout “pantry” in space that normally would be wasted, such as between the refrigerator and the wall, or the oven and a cabinet. In that little space, a pullout rack will hold (and hide) kitchen towels, and a hidden knife block will keep your cutlery out of sight but right where you need it.

  • Here’s a clever use of space that no one thinks of using: Install a pullout drawer in a cabinet toe-kick to hold your pet’s food bowl. Drawer slides out, bowl is filled and dropped into the space for it, Fido chows down, bowl is taken away, and drawer slides out of sight.

  • Customized drawers and pullouts have become all the rage, replacing lower cabinet shelves that are hard to reach or see into. Deep drawers can hold larger pots and small appliances or inserts for dishes, silverware, and baking sheets; and a pullout can contain trash and recycling containers or shelves for food storage.

  • Corner cabinets have been rescued from dark, inconvenient obscurity by new takes on the traditional Lazy Susan such as corner drawers, rotating recycling bins, and rotating hanging racks for pots and pans.

Butler’s Pantry

You don’t need a butler to enjoy the benefits of a butler’s pantry. This room or hallway off the kitchen serves as a food-prep space and storage area for dishes and small appliances.

  • Depending on the setup of your kitchen, the butler’s pantry can double as a bar. You can add a small refrigerator, microwave and drink setup with a blender and other tools. This makes it easier to mix drinks without messing up the rest of your kitchen.

  • A pass-through opening into the kitchen or dining area eases the transfer of prepared food. This is an important choice if you use your kitchen for a home business or entertaining.

  • If you’ve got the room for it, a small desk, built-in or not, gives you a place to sit and do paperwork without cluttering your kitchen area.

An Extra Kitchen

What’s the biggest benefit, and the biggest drawback, of open-plan layouts? It’s the openness of it all. That means any clutter or mess in your open kitchen is visible from anywhere else in your kitchen-dining room-living room-family room acreage. That’s why high-end homes are now being built or remodeled with a new room called a “messy kitchen.” It’s a second, hidden kitchen where you can prepare the bulk of your meal, leave appliances out on the counters, and keep your open kitchen gloriously uncluttered when entertaining guests. The messy kitchen comes fully equipped with its own countertops, cabinets, sink, dishwasher, and refrigerator.

It is an important tool for anyone who has a variety of people in the house at any one time. Tired of the kids always messing up the kitchen and failing to clean it up? Send them to the smaller pantry kitchen, where they don’t have as much space to spread the wrappers and spills. Do you find that your kitchen just is not giving you enough workstations for your creations? Are you constantly dealing with residual heat from your oven or stove when what you need is cooling? A second kitchen makes a great place for preparing hot dishes in one, cold dishes in the other.

Kitchen Design Guide from COOPER Design Build

Topics: Kitchen Remodeling, Remodeling Ideas, Planning a Remodel, Kitchen Design