While pantries have existed in one shape or form for centuries, it’s only relatively recently that they’ve been consistently incorporated with modern kitchen designs. Pantries are incredibly useful as they provide much needed storage for dry goods, oversized cookware and canned foods, among other items.
Here we examine some of the different styles of kitchen pantry designs used in homes today, as well as some tips to ensure they are functional for even the little ones in the family.
A wall pantry is a cabinet that is 24-inches deep. Whether above or below, it can be built with adjustable shelving, pullout doors or drawers. Often a wall pantry will be placed next to a fridge, wall oven or built-in microwave to frame the outer edges of the kitchen and to minimize countertop interruptions. Wall pantries are great because they can pack a large amount of items into a small area. Designs that integrate pullouts or drawers are the most functional as you won’t lose small objects in the back due to their pullout nature.
If there is food you want your children to have access to, be sure to store it at a reasonable height for them. Additionally, you can organize food types into open bins or containers so you know when you are getting low on specific items. The bottom pullout can be great for large baking items like stand mixers, sealable flour and sugar bins. In the top portion of wall pantries where you have adjustable shelving, consider placing sandwich bags, tin foil and parchment paper on narrow shelves where they’ll fit well. The very top shelf is great for items you don’t use all the time, like pressure cookers or large salad bowls. The key is to be able to see everything with ease and know when it is time to replenish the lunch-to-go items.
Corner pantries are framed in dry-walled spaces in the corner of the kitchen with an access door. Typically, a corner pantry is situated between a fridge and counter on one side, with a sink and counter on the other. Some disadvantages of this configuration are that they interrupt the flow of the countertops and take up a lot of square footage in the kitchen. However, they do provide great storage opportunities. Corner pantries usually have fixed shelving inside that can’t be adjusted for height. To increase the usability of a corner pantry, install adjustable shelving so you can customize it to your needs. Consider adding motion lighting to the inside of a corner pantry to help you and your family more easily find your favourite food items.
Organization is key inside a corner pantry. Ensure everything stored there is given a designated place so you and your children know exactly where to find items. This will also help keep things tidy. Consider food zones for organization. Zones can include: canned goods, baking supplies, beverage items, oversized extras, pastas, school foods and snacks. Decide on placement height based on who needs to access them.
Walk-in pantries are perfect if you have the space in your home for them. They don’t need to be huge to still offer optimal functionality. They do need to be placed so that they are accessible from the kitchen, without interfering with the kitchen’s workflow. They should also have countertop space and power inside for small appliances (placed at 36 inches in height from the floor to the top). These little spaces are a big relief for the main kitchen as they provide a place for small appliances to be housed without having to put them away to gain counter space. Consider leaving space for an upright freezer, an extra fridge or a small sink. Providing access from the garage through the walk-in pantry to the kitchen also adds to the convenience, especially when you need to unload groceries. Other must-haves for walk-in pantries are motion lighting, under-cabinet lighting, adjustable shelving and a door to close off entry.
Baskets, bins, jars and containers that can be labelled are great organization tools for walk-in pantries. Ensure that they are clear or easy to see inside so you can take stock of your pantry items at a glance. Another great tool to have in your walk-in pantry is a stool or stepladder to easily reach higher shelves. The countertop is perfect for having all your small appliances ready to go. The space below is ideal for ready-to-go kids foods and cereals.
Having a functional, organized pantry can make or break a kitchen space. With things like back-to-school season in mind, it is time to empty out your pantry, stock up on lunch and snack items and get organized!