We’ve embraced ‘open-plan’ as a way of life with combined living, dining and kitchen areas. But what to do when a stack of dishes start piling up halfway through a dinner party? The emerging solution is a butler’s pantry.
This entertainer’s dream can be used to store appliances, prepare food and stow away mess mid-dinner party. Read on for our tips to create a hardworking space to suit your needs, where practicality reigns over luxury finishes.
1. Consider how much space you can allocate to a butler’s pantry and how it will be utilised. As a general guide, the width of the walkway should be at least 1000mm, then add another 600mm for benchtops. Consider L-shaped cabinetry, as seen in this Interiors by Darren James design, for a modest pantry; allow a minimum area of 1.6m x 2.2m. For a pantry with a double sink, dishwasher, microwave, fridge and bench space, allow upwards of 2.4m x 2.8m.
2. Keep costs down by opting for inexpensive materials, as this area won’t be on display. Laminate benchtops are a fraction of the cost of other finishes and can be closely colour matched to your main bench, ensuring continuity of style.
3. Opt for open shelving over cupboards to stretch your budget further. If you prefer cupboards, try melamine door fronts, which are cheaper than laminate, polyurethane or timber veneer fronts.
4. Pack in the storage by taking shelving to the ceiling and organising the contents by frequency of use. Glass jars or stackable square containers with locking lids are ideal for bulk foods like cereals and pasta, wire baskets are good for under-bench storage and tricky corners can be utilised with pull-out cupboard systems such as Blum’s Space Corner.
5. Keeping your pantry off-limits is as simple as installing a door. A great space-saving option is a cavity sliding door or a bifold.
6. Map out your storage needs. To prevent losing items at the back of the pantry, opt for a U-shaped design with shallow shelves. For smaller items like herbs and sauces, aim for a shelf width of 200mm. Open shelving is a great option for condiments, salt and pepper, which can be seen at a glance for easy access.
7. Good task lighting is a must. Consider using a ‘micro switch’, where a trip catch attached to the door frame turns the light on when the door is open.
8. Find the right sink. Factors such as cupboard placement and pot size will help you determine the most suitable one for your space.
9. Create a list of must-haves. Allocate a spot for regularly used appliances within the pantry and calculate your space requirements.
10. Little extras make all the difference. Install hooks and rails to hang tea towels, utensils and reusable shopping bags and utilise wall space.