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The Butler’s Pantry: What You Need To Know

We’re so excited to renovate with you as we exit out of lockdown and welcome loved ones back into our homes. As you gear up to entertain let’s start with your kitchen and its lesser-known little sister: the Butler’s pantry.

The Butler’s Pantry had once been a forgotten utility room, but now it’s a must-have for homeowners renovating their kitchens. To make sure you get everything you want from your Butler’s pantry, there are several key things to consider. In this post, we will share our Interior Designer’s expert tips for designing the perfect butler’s pantry – so you can start planning yours!

Find The Purpose

Historically, a butler’s pantry was used to store food and other goods and was managed by European butlers who had the duty to take care of the silver. Today, butler’s pantries are present in many modern homes – but the European butlers are long gone! Instead, butler’s pantries have become a practical and elegant addition to modern households, providing anything from seamless storage solutions to a way of decluttering your kitchen space.

The purpose of a butler’s pantry has changed over the years, so there’s no correct way to utilise this pace. However, we can safely say that storing food, serve ware, and kitchen appliances is one of the pantry’s primary purposes. But it doesn’t stop at storage; there’s a lot more this space can offer.

Often, you can use the butler’s pantry to prepare small, quick dishes like snacks, canapés – or mixing drinks. What’s more, butler’s pantries are convenient when it comes to hosting events, as they keep all the clutter and mess of food prepping out of sight while you enjoy the time with your guests.

Butler’s pantries are also a great area to dedicate to daily chores like doing dishes. As a result, many homeowners opt for installing a dishwasher and sink in their butler’s pantry. This is especially useful when all the serve ware is also stored in the butler’s pantry, as it makes for an easy workflow: chuck your dishes in the dishwasher and keep your items in the adjacent drawers and shelves. And what’s best, it all happens out of sight of the main kitchen and living area!

Plan your Storage

When organising your pantry, consider the space needed for the appliances you use the most. After that, you can start evaluating the amount of space you need for other items. Butler’s pantries are great for storing and using appliances, or even just for keeping those oft-forgotten gadgets that seem like such a good idea when you’re buying them. Waffle toasters, cocktail slushie makers, fondue sets, popcorn machines.

Remember to include as much bench space as possible in your designs. These are useful for unpacking groceries, doing food prep and stacking cutlery and plates you bring out of storage for large parties.

Another idea is to extend the shelves up to the ceiling. Then, you can organise their content in terms of frequency of use, with your staples occupying the lower shelves and drawers. Drawers are a great inclusion to any butler’s pantry, as they are an excellent way to organise the small and big items you want to keep handy.

To avoid your items falling into places that are hard to reach, there are plenty of innovative storage solutions you can include, but they usually come at a price. Another great option is to have shallow or u-shaped shelves, which help tremendously with organisation.

Location, Location, Location

The ideal location of a butler’s pantry is always adjacent to the kitchen. If your kitchen is located very far from a butler’s pantry, you might have to carry items quite a distance that is impractical and can be messy.

Another thing to consider is how much you want your pantry to be on display. You can easily keep this space out of reach simply by installing a sliding door. This is a practical solution, particularly as it doesn’t impede foot traffic. If space allows, you can have two entrances: one that opens into the kitchen and connects it with other areas in the house.

Let There be Light

Planning the lighting in your butler’s pantry is an important aspect. Butler’s pantries are usually small or narrow spaces, so you want to make sure everything is lit correctly.

For practicality, we recommend using a ‘micro switch’ (one that switches on the light when the door is opened) rather than a manual light switch. Microswitches not only save time but are also handy for when your hands are full, e.g., carrying dishes or grocery bags.

Besides adequate lighting, you should also include plenty of power points and an exhaust fan, just like you would in your kitchen. It’s also a clever idea to have USB ports and charging stations if you want a hidden place to charge all your devices!

Splurge and Save

While you might be tempted to go all out with materials and finishes, it’s a good idea to consider keeping the budget low. The butler’s pantry is an area that will not be on display, so you can opt to reduce the costs of the materials you use .For example, an engineered stone benchtop would be an excellent choice for this space, as it’s less expensive than natural stone and more hardwearing. Going with a durable laminate would also make sense for your pantry, especially for those shelves housing small appliances.

One aspect we wouldn’t skim on is smart storage. If budget allows, including plenty of drawers and smart solutions like built-in rubbish bins are great options, especially if you’ve installed a sink and dishwasher in your butler’s pantry.

If you don’t have the space, don’t fret!

Keep in mind the amount of space you need so that your butler’s pantry does not interfere with your home’s accessibility and flow. If having a full butler’s pantry means accessibility might be compromised, then we wouldn’t recommend including one. 

A small space doesn’t mean you can’t have a super functional and roomy pantry to make your life easier. For example, our Coastal kitchen comes with a beautiful pantry complete with shelves 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 brekky station, 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!

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