Kitchen Pantry Design Ideas & Tips

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Design Approach

Kitchen pantries are functional and aesthetically appealing storage solutions for everyday items that you use for cooking. Storing food in your kitchen is healthy and cost effective. It's also a practical habit that will keep your prepared for emergencies and natural disasters.

Without a pantry, your storage habits may make you feel disorganized, especially if you are cramming food into your cabinets. With a pantry, you can easily go from packrat to practical. Don't be afraid to buy in bulk or buy that awesome deal because you'll have plenty of storage space when you bring it home. A pantry will streamline your diet, lifestyle, and life.

Regardless of whether your kitchen is large or small, a spacious, well-designed, and planned pantry can help you make the most of your space. After all, your cabinets aren't big enough to accommodate all of your nonperishable foods. Don't clutter your space by leaving things on the counter or by shoving them in a refrigerator. Make life easier by building a pantry instead.

Freestanding Pantries

When remodeling your kitchen, you can choose to install a pantry as part of a system with the rest of your cabinets. If you are looking to make minimal changes to your kitchen, you can purchase a free-standing pantry that looks like a bookcase.

Even if you choose a freestanding structure, you can choose a wood, color, and finish that coordinate with your kitchen's décor and theme. While remodeling your cabinets can cost thousands of dollars, spacious and free standing pantries are available for under $100 from local retailers and home improvement stores.

You can even build your own free standing pantry using blocks of wood, hinges, and door handles. This option is ideal for people who have kitchens where a premade pantry may not easily fit. You can completely customize your kitchen's design to fit with the architecture of your kitchen.

Tips & Strategies

All kitchens vary in terms of their size and overall cabinet structure, and it's important that you construct a pantry that fits within the scheme of your unique architecture. For this reason, it may be difficult to find a free-standing pantry that works with your kitchen's overall theme, especially if you're spatially challenged. Smaller kitchens are more likely to require a custom design while medium to large sized kitchens will have the space to accommodate a free-standing unit.

No matter the size of your kitchen, a pantry is a worthwhile investment. With improved storage solutions for food, food preparation, and paper products, you'll be able to make your kitchen (and life) significantly more organized.

kitchen pantry design ideas kitchen pantry design ideas


Walk-in Pantries

If you have a large home or large kitchen, you may consider designing a walk-in pantry as opposed to a smaller cabinet. If you have a walk-in closet, you can convert it into a pantry, especially if the space is located in a room close to your kitchen.

If you cannot accommodate a pantry in your kitchen, consider installing a pantry in another space in your home. Common areas for pantries include hallway closets, garages, dining areas, and laundry room cabinets.

If you are building a walk-in pantry or food storage closet, be sure to install lighting and electrical fixtures so that you can turn on the lights for plenty of visibility.


If you are customizing your own pantry, make sure that you design your shelves so that food items are easily accessible. Don't make shelves too deep or too high so that you cannot reach the items that you need.

Store your items strategically, keeping items that you rarely use on the top and bottom shelves.

Arrange items in such a way that you can see everything at once. Oftentimes, people forget that they already have things that they need, so they will go out and buy more of the same stuff. By organizing your inventory, you can avoid the problem of accumulating too much stuff.

Pantries & Cooking

Pantries are ideal for chefs of all skill levels and will allow you to store basic nonperishable supplies that you may need for preparing a variety of meals. Example of common items that people store in pantries include jars of sauce, flour, sugar, salt, rice, juices, soups, pastas, and foods with long shelf lives. By keeping a supply of spices and cooking oils, you won't need to rush to the store every time that you decide to prepare a meal. Plus, if you buy everything in bulk, it may be cheaper.

You should use your pantry to store an emergency supply kit that includes an ample supply of water in addition to food that is easy to prepare without refrigeration and heat. Cereals, beans, and other prepackaged foods are examples of the types of food that you should include.

Usually, nonperishable items will last for at least for a few months or years. Eventually though, your food may become unsafe to eat. Just make sure that you monitor the expiration dates that are labeled on the items in your emergency supply of food. Replace expired food when necessary. As an additional tip, make sure that you also check the shelf life of your water since you may need to replace that too.

Food Safety

Most pantries are spacious enough to store enough food to feed a large family for more than one month. Some people can even store food for years, which is important - especially if you want to keep your family prepared for a natural disaster or emergency.

If you choose to store your food in a pantry, make sure that you take precautions to keep everything fresh. Throw out expired food, and keep your food sealed in airtight plastic boxes or bags. Otherwise, your pastas, cereals, and other grain items may become infested with tiny bugs.

Last Updated: January 25, 2012

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About Ritika Puri Based in California, Ritika Puri has worn a number of professional hats ranging from blogger to quantitative researcher, martial arts instructor, and cartographer. No matter what she does, she loves to write and specializes in topics related to home improvement, personal finance, and business. She writes regularly for's Financial Edge section, and her work has appeared on SF Gate, Yahoo! Finance, and The Chicago Sun Times Online. She holds a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and an M.A. in Demographic and Social Analysis from the University of California at Irvine.  

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