Episode 49: Kitchen Design Essentials – Butler’s Pantries and Pantries

In this episode of the podcast, Frances discusses the key differences between Butler’s Pantries, Walk in Pantries, Pull-out Pantries, Appliance Cupboards, Cupboard Pantries and Step in Pantries. She also walks through the key components of a well-designed walk in pantry, and discusses some key questions relating to pantries – doors, cabinetry fronts, sinks and windows.


A walk-in pantry has become one of the must-have features within a home. However, if you are trying to create a home that doesn’t have a large footprint, perhaps a walk in pantry or butler’s pantry is not necessarily going to serve you as much as you think.

Butler’s pantry

Acts as a secondary kitchen that functions not only to store food but also serve as your food preparation area. A sink is the minimum for a Butler’s pantry with other appliances an option.

  • Sink + window
  • 2nd fridge
  • Sometimes dishwasher and oven – only if 2nd appliances not instead of kitchen

Walk in Pantry

A space to store food and small appliances such as coffee machine, mix masters, blenders, and microwaves.

Traditional Pantry

Usually a cupboard used for storing food but doesn’t have enough space to store your appliances. Traditional pantries are a good solution when you don’t have much space for a walk-in pantry.

Appliance cupboard

Can be used instead of a walk-in pantry to store appliances when space is tight. If it’s combined with your pantry space, it can reduce the amount of food you can store in your pantry.

  • It can have roller doors, bi-fold doors, retractable doors that go back into the wall, or hinged doors.

Step in pantry

To make good use of corners, we often design what we call a step-in pantry. It creates the illusion of a walk-in pantry and gives a bit of bench space where you can place your appliances, and also your food

Pull out Pantry

  • Items are not easily accessible
  • Sides are not always high enough to store tall bottles
  • Items tend to fall over if not packed in, which can be annoying
  • Wireframes are not great for visibility and holding items fixed

For a better solution, use a pull-out system with specially designed hardware that is designed much better. Companies such as Blum or Hettich have specially designed pull out drawer pantry systems.

A Butler’s pantry and walk-in pantry is an area where you can store things away. It is not an area that is meant to be revealed for guests.For this reason, I suggest the following;-

  • Items are visible, accessible because of its open shelves.
  • Drawers for cans, spices, small items – cake decorating stuff
  • Sliding door – to keep the space out of view
  • If doors are not possible, you may need to have cabinetry doors
  • Open shelves for platters can get dusty, but still allows for clear visibility of everything you store.
  • Allows you to store long and wide items or appliances that you don’t use all the time.
  • If you have the space, you may add a sink and a window for a natural lighting – really good for dumping dishes, coffee prep, baking prep
  • It may also be an opportunity for you to create a different Splashback- only needs to be 500mm high
  • Same benchtop as kitchen or opt for laminate top to save money

You can’t really design something until you know what you need. The functionality, your lifestyle, how you cook, how you prepare food, how are you going to use the space drives the design.

White Pebble Interiors will let you complete a deep dive need assessment (Clear Clarity Design Worksheet) to understand what you need and where you will be storing everything as part of kitchen design.

  • It allows you to think about what you need, instead of ‘just want a WIP’
  • That will determine if you need a WIP or butler’s pantry
  • What needs to go in one?
    • 2ndfridge – drinks fridge, entertaining fridge, overflow
    • microwave,
    • Daily appliance use: coffee machine, toaster, kettle
    • Dry good, appliances
    • Platters, entertaining items, cook books
  • How many of you are using that space (cooking and food preparation)?
  • How can you use that space in a better way?

A walk- in pantry can sometimes be as large as a bathroom – can you use that space in a better way in your home?

Available Services:


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Overwhelmed by the amount of decisions that need to be made when creating a stylish, functional and durable kitchen? What materials to select, what colours will co-ordinate together, what design is going to best suit the space, and your requirements.

We offer kitchen design packages that include joinery design and material selections for a complete kitchen design. Click the link here to find more.

Related Resources:

Episode 47: Kitchen Design Essentials – Key Kitchen Measurements

Episode 45: Kitchen Design Essentials – Internal Elevations & Joinery Design

Read our latest blog on Internal Elevations and Joinery Design here.

Episode 43: Kitchen Design Essentials – Flatpack Vs Custom Designed Kitchens

Episode 41: Kitchen Design Essentials – Cabinetry Materials 

Episode 39: Kitchen Design Essentials – Splashbacks

Episode 38: Kitchen Design Essentials-Benchtop Criteria and Materials – Part 2 

Episode 36: Kitchen Design Essentials – Benchtops part 1 

Episode 14: Forever Home LIVE- Joinery Drawings and Why Do Them Early On

Episode 30: Kitchen Design Essentials -Kitchen Design Layouts and Location

Episode 32: Kitchen Design Essentials – The Builder’s Insight 

How to Choose the Right Bench Top

Top 5 tips for selecting benchtops

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