Planned well, a pantry can become not simply a place to tuck away excess food and utensils, but an Aladdin's cave of beautifully presented produce which provides a calming moment of reprieve from a bustling family kitchen. 'Bulk buying, hoarding your jars of preserves, fermented foods and bottled vegetables from the summer garden are all things that become much more achievable with a pantry,' notes deVOL (opens in new tab) Creative Director, Helen Parker.
In the pantry above, this is done with simple but stylish shelf supports, and dry goods displayed in neat glass storage.'
This is where space-enhancing pantry door ideas can really come into their own, making room for otherwise awkward to display items, such as spices – best stored in alphabetical order for ease of access – and taller bottles that don't fit conventional shelving heights.
Otherwise, making use of specially-designed pantry organizers might be your best bet — to help maximize the space that you are working with. 'If your pantry ideas don't yet include color, now is the time to consider it because its simple addition can make what is a purely functional space feel more curated and elevated,' comments Sarah Spiteri, Homes & Gardens' Editorial Director.
However, it is possible to ask your kitchen designer to create a piece that looks exactly like this but is split in half – pantry one side, refridgerator the other. A pantry doesn't have to be designed with streamlined cabinetry, practical but personality-free flooring and no decorative elements at all. Bring a touch of farmhouse chic to your pantry with a gorgeous tongue-and-groove door style, featuring a cross-cut grain, clean lines.
Take a contemporary approach to this pantry idea with brass handles and a striking black color-stain finish. For a totally bespoke feel, the stain is applied in contrasting shades on other standalone pieces such as an island and sideboard units, for a scheme abundant in personality and interest. It opens to reveal a host of built-in features – pull-out trays, spice racks, and a counter for small appliances.
But it's that stunning rich wood interior that steals the show, and ensures the piece looks as good open as it does when closed. Meaning that any space and style of home – period or contemporary, rural or urban – can be catered for, both realising aesthetic dreams and ensuring everything has its place. ‘Architectural framed glass draws attention to the interior, creating a feature that’s as valuable aesthetically as it is practical.’ 'For a walk-in you are really looking to be able to step into a 60cm square to be to turn and reach for items,' advises Alex Saint, Design manager, Kitchen Architecture (opens in new tab).
Make sure the door is considered – it may well need to open out or be a sliding mechanism in order to work with such a tight space.' ‘Larders give you the flexibility of choosing storage ideas and options that work for you, whether that might involve more drawers, an emphasis on shelving, or multiple spice racks, all orderly contained behind beautiful cabinetry,’ enthuses Tom Howley, design director, Tom Howley (opens in new tab).
Do supply exact dimensions of frequently bought food packaging – a bespoke maker can tailor shelves to match. But remember that pantries don't by any means need to be large – for example, a narrow box room with no natural light can be transformed into an ideal place to store food. If you comfortably can fit a pantry it really can be the dream scenario as it will leave you space in your kitchen to keep things clear, clean and uncluttered.
'With a greater shift towards keeping countertops clear of clutter, to give a more minimalist feel and allow for more prep space, the pantry serves as an excellent solution for concealing appliances.'
deVOL Creative Director, Helen Parker also notes that some people desire the uncluttered look that a pantry can build so much that they 'will create their own by sectioning off a small part of their kitchen and incorporating it into the final look of the room with beautiful joinery and metalwork.' A large larder can be dominating when part of a kitchen, so soften its impact by finishing it either in the shade also chosen for your walls, or a complementary tone from the same segment of the color wheel.
Both grown-up and sophisticated, dark shades deliver a sense of calm and reassurance – just the tonic in a busy multi-task zones such as kitchens. ‘From bespoke mosaic floors and specialist lighting to cast iron shelf brackets and marble slabs for cheese and butter, the creative opportunities are endless.’ Alex Main, Director at The Main Company (opens in new tab), comments: 'With the recent rise in awareness for sustainability and eco-conscious materials filtering through to design, reclaimed wood is a great option that not only considers the environment but also introduces an authentic charm to the kitchen.' Repurposing timber not only provides the material with a new lease of life but also introduces a rich design history to a pantry, whatever its age. A slimline design comes with its own benefits, leaving you with more room for manoeuver, but also providing easy-access features, like wine racks. Calm and collected on the outside yet brimming with storage architecture on the interior, this particular design from The Cotswold Company also includes shallow drawers you won't need to rummage through, and a generous amount of shelving space.
'Effective storage is of course the primary function of the pantry, this comes down to not only the internal working of the cabinet but also where to incorporate it into a kitchen design,' says Tom Howley. 'Where possible it’s always useful to keep the pantry adjacent to your fridge, meaning that your food storage is all zoned in one area and it also looks neat.' ‘This pantry was fully loaded with a second refrigerator, sink and drinks' bar, all within reach of the main kitchen,’ explains Richard Mason, owner, The Secret Drawer (opens in new tab). ‘Installing stone countertops and full-height tiling behind the shelving is a great design feature that also helps keep the interior temperature down, taking pressure off the fridge.’
That said, under stairs pantry ideas can be equipped to be incredibly space efficient if storage planning is done well in advance and with a great deal of forethought. Shelving – whether in walk-ins, pull-outs or counter tops – is one of the most important pantry design considerations, being where you are literally keeping the food.
'Don’t be tempted to go too deep with the shelves, you may think you are getting more storage but in reality things become harder to reach and get lost at the back,' warns Alex Saint of Kitchen Architecture (opens in new tab). 'If you are really tight on space, I would suggest going for a 23in-deep unit,' says Amy Stoddart of Day True (opens in new tab). 'This is essentially half a standard size but will still provide space for pan drawers, shelving units and a door rack for storing spices and oils.'
One option, ideal for a built-in unit, is to make the space work harder by creating a breakfast nook. 'This hidden prep pantry [pictured] is a great place to gather small appliances that take up counter space, such as coffee machines and toasters,' says Amy Stoddart of Day True. And although you may lose some countertop space, you’ll gain more storage overall,’ explains Rebecca Nokes, kitchen designer, John Lewis of Hungerford (opens in new tab).
Right at the top, neatly packed boxed of seasonal decor, crockery and ingredients can be tucked away until they're needed. 'We tend to keep things simple in pantry areas with shelved storage so everything is visible immediately as you walk in,' says Alex Saint, Design manager, Kitchen Architecture. This allows the storage of larger sacks or crates but keeps them off the actual floor assisting with any cleaning or mopping.
In terms of literal decorating, remember that an enclosed pantry offers the perfect opportunity to be adventurous without overwhelming a scheme. Tom Howley also suggests we 'choose finishes for the external and internal cabinetry that work together to create a contrast, whether subtle or striking. If your cabinetry is deep green or black a la moment, choose a smoky wood finish for the internal shelving for a stylish edge.'
Marble on a countertop or shelf gives a beautiful luxurious touch and nods to the traditional storage of cheeses on these cool surfaces. It's important to remember that the kitchen is the heart of the home, and it's an area that buyers will fixate on if it's not right, as they expect to spend a lot of their time there, and having the 'dream' boxes, like a pantry, already there, could potentially be enough to tip the balance towards a sale.
For a classic scheme that honors traditional craftsmanship and quality materials, take the modern country route with a Shaker kitchen design piece that will stand the test of time.
Channel this philosophy with a beautifully understated larder that’s big on functionality and innovative joinery – mortise and tenon joints?
Just being in a dry, cool, dark space will usually be enough for jar storage, sealed bags and hardy fresh fruit and veg such as potatoes, onions and apples when stored appropriately. If next to an external wall, consider adding a small mesh-covered window or an airbrick; you could also add a ducted ventilator fan such as you would have in a bathroom.
If space allows, a spacious walk-in larder or pantry is the ultimate kitchen storage solution and is often top of the list for people that love to entertain. A marble cool shelf is a great place to store eggs and cheese and willow baskets keep vegetables fresh,’ adds Richard Moore.
If you don't have the space for a walk-in pantry then consider incorporating a tall, slender larder unit as part of a fitted kitchen.
‘With a bespoke kitchen designer, you will be able to design floor to ceiling units that give maximum storage as well as being able to tailor the internal components to your storage needs,' says Tom Howley, founder of Tom Howley bespoke kitchens (opens in new tab).
Painted in Charlotte’s Locks from Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab), this bespoke larder by Harvey Jones brings zest and warmth to a classic cream kitchen and is guaranteed to put a spring in your step. Purpose built to fit snuggly into this tall alcove, the larder really makes the most of the height of the room to give maximum storage.
If you are planning to have a bespoke larder unit with an over country storage cabinet then consider factoring in a larger area flush with the work top that can be used to hide appliances such as toasters, blenders and mixers. ‘With a greater shift towards keeping work surfaces clear of clutter, to give a more minimalist feel and allow for more prep space, the pantry serves as an excellent solution for hiding appliances.’ If you don’t have space for a walk-in larder consider incorporating a sliding storage door into your design.
Practical spaces such as pantries can sometimes be boring, so why not inject a playful with vibrant cabinetry and patterned tiles between the shelves?
Adding a sink into a walk in pantry is a brilliant kitchen idea for washing vegetables and preparing fresh produce. It is primarily a space to store goods, keeping things in the 'cool, dark' spot foodstuffs so often require.
'it is one of the quintessential parts of a Classic English Kitchen, it is so practical and so easy to manage,' adds Helen Parker, Creative Director of deVOL (opens in new tab). More than just perishables, pantries can house kitchen appliances and gadgets, freeing up the precious real estate of the countertop. A small pantry built into cabinetry can even work as a breakfast nook, too, perhaps holding the kettle, coffee machine and toaster. On a more emotional note, cookbooks are often stored inside pantries, including precious handwritten or annotated family versions, as well as heirlooms such as silver teapots or antique wedding china, which are seen as 'too good' for everyday usage. Larders, meanwhile, were cold rooms dedicated to the storage of perishable goods, like fresh vegetables, meat and dairy products. So today the words pantry and larder have become interchangeable terms for food storage areas close to or within a kitchen.