Post by Stacey Walker. Stacey mostly works behind the scenes for Walker Woodworking, managing day to day operations, and marketing. Stacey has helped many clients create their dream space.

Why have a Walk-in Pantry?

Kitchens remain the central hub of the home, the place where we gather to eat, grab a quick snack, make a cup of coffee, or complete homework. This has seen a shift in the way it is designed including an area that is often forgotten, the pantry. Once viewed as an extra, it has shifted to a must for many homeowners now as cooking at home and stocking up on surplus food supplies is trending. There are many types of pantries but one in particular is rising above them all, the walk-in pantry. This option is more than just a place to store food, it has evolved into an area to store larger items, create a coffee bar for the morning, and even function as a second kitchen. As the kitchen design continues to shift in the design needs such as more light to let the sunshine in and open spaces, the call for a separate storage and prep space has created the new walk-in pantry as the must-have item for today’s homeowners. Let’s talk about what it is, the benefits it provides, and the things that need to be included in the design.

What is a walk-in pantry?

Whenever we talk about a pantry, the walk-in is what typically we are describing, a designated room near the kitchen that stores extra food and even supplies. Often called a butler’s pantry, the idea was to create a space in the home that allowed you to have the extras you needed like prep space or storage without encroaching on the kitchen space or hinder its flow. Historically it was the area where many of the valuable items such as silverware and china were kept under lock and key. Over time it evolved into a pass-through in the home and eventually into a closed area. Of course, there are still butler pantries as well but many have adapted their design or even merged. A walk-in pantry is an actual area, typically near the kitchen that acts like a second space to accomplish similar tasks as the kitchen along with creative storage solutions to things like dishes and large items. To be considered a true walk-in pantry it must be an actual area you can walk around or into, not just a large cupboard or cabinet designated for food items.

Benefits of a walk-in pantry

There are multiple benefits to having a walk-in pantry located near your kitchen including:

  • Additional storage space
  • Beverage center
  • Prep space
  • Extra appliances.

While cabinets are wonderful for storing items and keeping everything organized, a walk-in pantry provides a dedicated area to truly have enough space for everything you need in your kitchen. This is the place where you can incorporate more cabinets, drawers, and shelves to accommodate larger items such as crock pots, stock pots, and those dishes you use at holidays. Depending on the size, you can even include an extra sink and countertop to give you more prep space when cooking for guests or larger parties. A walk-in pantry is also the perfect area to include some extra appliances like a toaster oven or even have a second refrigerator for overflow items like leftovers or condiments. You can expand your organization to include paper supplies like napkins and plates so that your kitchen cabinets can hold the more immediate and everyday items for your family. The walk-in pantry was designed to give homeowners the space they need to have ready access to items that are helpful but not used everyday. 

Designing a walk-in pantry

When it comes to designing a walk-in pantry there should be several things factored into the decision process such as:

  • Location
  • Storage needs
  • Extras

Knowing the answers to this will help your designer create a tailored plan just for you. Location is key to the design since it is important to have quick access to the walk-in pantry especially if you choose to use it as an extension of your kitchen. You can choose to have a door put in place or just utilize a simple open archway that leads into the walk-in. A glass door is also a great choice since it allows you to have the best of both. Storage is a critical part in creating a functional walk-in pantry. Think about built-ins, drawers, and shelves. These elements will enable you to maximize your space, make it simple to organize things, and have plenty of options for everything you need to put away in these spaces. Your walk-in pantry is also one of the best areas to include the little extras that make life easier for everyone including the children. Want to install a coffee bar or beverage station? This is the place to do it. You can add a special cabinet with pocket doors that allow you to store cups, sugar, and even creamer neatly away but available for those hurried mornings. If you are looking for a special way to create a snack area for the kids when they come home from school or any time they get a craving for something before dinner, having special drawers or cubbies filled with snacks just for them is the perfect solution. This also can help you stay in control of what they eat since you decide what goes inside these drawers. You can limit the sugary food items by placing them in higher areas. Extra drawers are also good to include in the overall design since the are a versatile element that can store everything from food to supplies plus it is often easier to lift up from a drawer than it is to lift out of a cabinet. Spend some time browsing different inspiration sites like Houzz and Pinterest so you can show your designer exactly what you want to accomplish with your walk-in pantry.

Why have a walk-in pantry?

From a bonus space to added organization, there are so many reasons to include a walk-in pantry in your kitchen renovation. It allows you to have a functional addition to your home that is more than just a place to store canned goods and baking supplies. The walk-in pantry is a hidden asset for your home that has the greatest potential to serve your family. If you have been looking for a way to maximize functionality in your kitchen the walk-in pantry is the answer. Take inventory of your needs, write down what you will need it to accomplish, and gather some inspirational photos before going to your next design meeting. A good designer can help you take those ideas and turn them into an amazing walk-in pantry that you have been dreaming about for years.