There are several key elements to consider when planning your butler’s pantry, from functionality to aesthetics and everything in between. To help you make sense of it all our Interior Design team share their expert tips and ‘must have’ inclusions when planning your butler’s pantry to get the most out of your space.
Once a forgotten utility room to store food and other goods, the butler’s pantry is now present in most modern kitchen renovations and homes. They’ve become a practical and elegant solution to decluttering your kitchen space, providing seamless storage solutions with purpose. There’s endless possibilities to your pantry space can offer day to day or when hosting guests or events in your home, from its obvious purpose of storing food and serve ware, to its less obvious purpose to house small appliances, prepare small quick dishes like snacks, canapes or mixing drinks, to keeping clutter and mess from food preparing out of sight when those unexpected gests come knocking. Butler’s pantries are also a great area to dedicate certain daily kitchen daily. More and more, homeowners are choosing to install the dishwasher and a sink in the butler’s pantry. This makes the kitchen workflow easy if you choose to keep all the serve ware in the pantry too in adjacent drawers and shelves. And what’s best, it all happens out of sight of the main kitchen and living area!
Consider how the space and the storage will best suit the needs of you and your family. Will you be including appliances? How much space do you need for pantry items? Will you have a coffee and breakfast station within your butler’s pantry? Don’t forget about those less frequently used items such as the waffle toaster, slushie makers, fondue sets and popcorn machine they all need to find a home within the butler’s pantry too. Maximising your bench space to allow for unpacking the groceries, food prep and stacking crockery is a must. It makes sense to always extend the shelving up to the ceiling in the butler’s pantry to make use of every bit of storage space. Then you can organise your pantry content in terms of frequency of use, with your regular items at easy access level which is often the lower shelves and drawers. Talking of drawers, they are an excellent way to organise the small and big items you want or need to keep handy. There are now plenty of innovative storage solutions you can include to avoid your items falling into places that are hard to reach. Another great organisational option is to have shallow or u-shaped shelves for easy access and to help with the ergonomics of the space.
So what’s the ideal location of your butler’s pantry? It’s in the kitchen of course. This may seem a silly question and yet if your kitchen is located far from your pantry, then it’s very impractical and frustrating when you’re constantly carrying items over a distance, your pantry is there to make your kitchen life organised and ease. This leads to how much your pantry is on display and its accessibility. If space allows you can have two entrances: one via the kitchen and another connecting another area of the house. Installing a sliding door is the popular and practical solution as it doesn’t impede on valuable floor space.
Lighting your butler’s pantry is an important aspect during the planning and design phase. As pantries are usually small or narrow spaces, you want to make sure that you can see everything easily. This may come in the form of ceiling down lights, or strip lighting on the underside of your overhead cabinetry, or a combination of both. We recommend that your pantry uses an automatic switch (when the door is opened, the lights come on) rather than a manual light switch, to increase ease within the space particularly when your hands are filled with grocery bags.
As we’re entered the realm of multiple electronic devices, you should ensure you include plenty of power points for your small appliances and include a few USB ports so you can have a charging station for the families’ devices. Additionally, including an exhaust fan (such as the one you have in your bathroom) can be a life saver. In small or narrow spaces while preparing food, spills can occur, accidents can happen and it’s great to know you can extract odours as needed.
The butler’s pantry is an area that will not be on display, so it makes sense to consider keeping the budget low on selection to reduce the costs of the materials you use. For example, an engineered stone benchtop, or even a laminate benchtop is an excellent choice for the pantry, as it’s less expensive than natural stone and more hardwearing. Using durable laminate for those shelves housing small appliances always makes sense and again presents good value. Once area we recommend splurging on is smart storage. Include plenty of drawers and smart solutions like built-in rubbish bins, (especially if you’ve installed a sink and dishwasher) to make your life easier.
It’s important that your butler’s pantry does not interfere with your home or kitchens accessibility and flow. If having a full butler’s pantry compromises accessibility, then we recommend not including one. A small kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t have a functional and roomy pantry to make your life easier. You can include a bifolding pantry, complete with a benchtop for your breakfast appliances, u-shaped shelves for your essentials, and plenty of modern drawers to store food and other items. When open, it acts as a small small butler’s pantry, and when closed, it blends in seamlessly with the rest of the cabinetry.
At smarterBATHROOMS+, our expert Interior Designers will work with you to understand your space, needs, and preferences so you can make the most out of your home! To begin your renovation journey, call us on 1300662838 to speak to one of our award-winning Interior Designers or book a FREE virtual consultation today!