Pantries are a dream addition to a kitchen, allowing for a larger space to store food, small appliances, extra bowls - the list is endless. However, if a pantry has not been thought out properly it will become a closet to keep piling items in instead of a place of organization. To get the most of the space you have here are some tips and tricks for good kitchen pantry design.
In every home design project, planning is the important first step. List out the things you want to store in your pantry. Measure the boxes and cans of food and paper items you have in order to check how much space they need. Make an estimate of how many of these items you might want to store at any one time.
Your mission will be to create a pantry closet design that wastes no space. If your shelves only need to be eight inches high for canned goods and they are spaced at ten inches, you won’t be able to fit in as many shelves. You’ll rob yourself of a valuable additional shelf or two.
Some things you may want to store in your pantry might be quite small. Consider including a few drawers for smaller loose items. You may want a few mini-shelves or racks for spices. Of course, pantries are good places to store bulkier items, like paper towels and plastic storage containers.
List all of this in your plan. That will give you a target for how much shelving you’ll need to fit in to get everything you want. Use this list as you yardstick to evaluate your kitchen pantry design as you develop it.
- Storage Gadgets
There are many storage gadgets and devices that make your available space go farther. A Lazy Susan or two can help with access to corner areas. Pull out shelves let you access the back area of deep shelves. Bins can help keep loose items together and organized. Research what devices are available and plan on including some of these in your pantry closet design. But don’t get carried away. The cost of these clever storage items can add up fast.
- Eliminating What You Do Not Need
An important part of pantry closet design is deciding what you don’t need.Think about what you could store farther away from the kitchen but still be convenient enough to use. House cleaning items, extra bulk paper items, light bulbs, and things you only access once a week or less could be stored in the laundry room or garage instead of taking up valuable space in your kitchen pantry.
- What Type of Pantry Works For You
Depending on how much area you have to work with, decide if your pantry closet design will be walk-in or not. We all love the concept of walk-in closets and pantries. But the floor space you will be walking on might be space that would better serve you as shelf space. Remember, the primary objective in a pantry closet design is to waste no space. Some pantries are extremely functional without being the walk-in variety. They might be a closet that is only a couple of feet deep, but reasonably wide. A closet like that can yield just as much linear footage of shelf space as a walk-in.
Another alternative to an actual pantry closet is to use tall pantry-type cabinets that go from floor to near the ceiling. These cabinets can store a lot of items, particularly if they are equipped with pull out can racks, shelving on the back of the doors, and built-in bins. However, they won’t work as well for storing bulky items as a full walk-in pantry will. Even if you have the space to make a walk-in pantry, you still want to use the available space wisely. Too many times shelving is too deep. We’ve all had the experience of cleaning out a cabinet and finding things we forgot we even had, with expiration dates from the last century. This topic leads us to:
- Avoid the Traps of Clutter
When kitchen pantries have deep shelves it magnifies the problem of forgetting the cookies from 2 years ago. Your pantry closet design should avoid deep shelves if possible. A U-shaped design with shallower shelves along the inside walls of the pantry and a deep self at the middle of the U can be a more practical design. The shallow side shelves are perfect for soup cans, bottles, boxes, and such. The deeper shelves at the back are great for bulky items like cases of drink bottles, big boxes of cereal, and bulky packages of paper products.
- Tricks that Make Your Pantry a Dream
Little places of storage are gems in a kitchen pantry - don’t forget the back of the pantry door. This can be a great place for a rack to hold small items or even hang a broom. There are even very innovative pantry doors to put on the outside of the door which allows for even more storage.
Shelves are critical in kitchen pantries however, wire shelves tend to allow small items to fall through and are not so sturdy over time. Shelves are best made from solid wood or even countertop material secured with shelf brackets. You can load them up with heavy cans and they won’t bend out of shape. This allows your shelves to not only be strong but look more uniform, plus the best bonus it provides you with more space to store your items.
If you have planned your pantry before the walls of your pantry is Sheetrocked over you can even choose a hidden bracket which will go in before Sheetrock goes up!
These hidden shelf brackets allow for the appearance of floating shelves. The hidden shelf brackets below where used in a bathroom to hang a vanity but using them in kitchen pantries would work as well.
A pantry needs good lighting. There is nothing worse than squinting in dim light while trying to read the tiny print on a label or read an expiration date. Simple fluorescent lights work well. They throw light in a wide pattern, they use less electricity, and do not generate as much heat as incandescent lights. Just be sure to use “full spectrum” fluorescents to let the colors of everything look right. Ordinary fluorescents are too cool. The light is bluish and reds and warm colors don’t show correctly. Food does not look as appealing under cool fluorescent lighting. If wiring has not been done for lighting in a pantry another great alternative is a LED touch light that allows you to tap the light on and off.
One last tip is to install at least one electrical outlet in your pantry. With more and more rechargeable items in our households, like electric brooms or flashlights, it’s nice to have a convenient place to store them and keep them plugged in and charged up.