If you’re building a new home, I’m 99.99% sure your including a butlers/walk-in pantry. Senior Writer Georgia Madden from Houzz Australia spoke to three experts about how to design a well-functioning butlers pantry. See below for their do’s and don’ts for a little help behind the scenes.
Somewhere to store appliances, stow away mess and prep meals – a butler’s pantry is the ultimate workhorse. To get the most from this hardworking space, you’ll want to plan it to meet your individual needs while factoring in traffic flow, visual connection to your main kitchen and more. Here, two design experts share their dos and don’ts for getting it right.
1. Do Consider What You’ll Be Using The Pantry For
A butler’s pantry can take various forms and perform different functions, so make sure yours delivers exactly what you need it to. At the planning stage, work out what you want to use the space for and any activities you plan to do there so you can work on the layout and inclusions accordingly. Ask yourself, will the space just be used for food storage or will you be prepping meals in there too? Do you need to include a sink? A second dishwasher? Do you have enough benchtop space and power points to leave appliances out so teenagers can make an after-school snack without messing up the kitchen?
2. Do Think About Functionality
Before you automatically allocate a task or function to your butler’s pantry, consider whether it makes practical sense to do so. Some commonly used food items, such as oils and spices, are better located near the cooking zone in your kitchen. Do you really want to be preparing tea and coffee in the butler’s pantry when you have guests over or would you prefer to do it in the kitchen? And while it’s great to wash (and hide) dirty dishes at a sink in the pantry, how far would you then have to walk to put them away? On the other hand, large pots and serving platters might be better stored in the pantry if they are not used often.
3. Do Opt For Adjustable Shelves – But Don’t Go Too Wide
Having several sets of narrow adjustable shelves makes it easy to store items of different heights and sizes in your pantry. It also allows you to easily sort items of different sizes into categories, such as baking goods, tins and snacks. But be aware that if shelves are too wide they can bow when filled to capacity. If you don’t like the look of holes in adjustable shelves, remember that most will be hidden when the shelves are filled.
4. Do Spend Wisely On Materials
A butler’s pantry should put practicality first and looks second. But that doesn’t mean the space has to be unsightly and utilitarian. Laminate benches and open shelves are hard wearing and practical, and won’t break the budget. They come in a vast range of colours and finishes so you should be able to find one that matches the colour of your kitchen materials in order to create a seamless look. You could also use laminate (or paint) in the butler’s pantry to have a bit of fun with colour.
5. Don’t Forget The View From The Kitchen
Even if there is a door between the kitchen and butler’s pantry, it will probably be left open a lot of the time, so the space will be in view of your kitchen. Because of this, you’ll want to find ways to prevent your butler’s pantry from looking cluttered and untidy. While shallow open shelves make access easy and allow you to see what you’ve got at a glance, they can look messy from an open door. An easy and affordable way to make them look neat is to store items in matching containers on shelves. If you have the space, specify drawers and closed cabinets under benches where you can conceal pantry clutter. Just remember this may not work well in a small pantry, where open drawers and cupboard doors can create visual clutter. If you prefer, you could have closed cabinets near the door and open ones in out-of-sight parts of the pantry. When specifying drawers, bear in mind that styles with low fronts are easier to see inside.
6. Don’t Forget The Electrics
Specify plenty of power points in your butler’s pantry so you can leave small appliances plugged in and ready to go. And look to create a pleasant and practical lighting set-up. Most butler’s pantries don’t have windows and just rely on a single ceiling light, which can be harsh and make it hard to see to the back of shelves. Create a more functional and visually appealing scheme by adding LED strip lights under shelves. Install a dimmer switch so you can alter lighting levels to suit the mood and function.
7. Do Get Your Measurements Right
For overhead cupboards, a depth of between 350 and 400 millimetres is ideal as it creates generous storage while still being shallow enough to allow you to reach right to the back. Allow between 1,000 and 1,200 millimetres of space between benchtops so you can move through the pantry comfortably or accommodate two people side-by-side in the space. Overly narrow benchtops won’t provide enough space to prep and store small applicances; too deep and they’ll be tricky to clean. Aim for a sweet spot of between 600 and 700 millimetres depth for benchtops.
8. Don’t Underestimate The Importance Of Natural Light
Drawing sunlight into the pantry makes it feel bigger, brighter and more welcoming. I love to bring natural light into a butler’s pantry through splashback windows or a skylight. Strategically positioned mirrors within your joinery can help bounce light around further.
Here at Hurst Homes we offer complete customised homes that can be as individual as the owner. We guide your through the entire process including your selections to ensure you create your dream home. Just another reason why we are considered Waggas best builder. With over 30 years in the industry as a Wagga Builder you can trust Hurst Homes with your dream home. For a free no-obligation preliminary estimate contact us today on 0438 692 962 or fill out the contact us page on our website.
For more tips and tricks from the Houzz experts visit Houzz.com.au