How to Choose a Kitchen Pantry

Stylish Kitchen Pantry

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For many homeowners remodeling their kitchens, incorporating a home kitchen pantry is a chief driver behind undertaking the project in the first place. For these homeowners, remodeling the kitchen is all about creating more space.

But unless you're bumping out your kitchen or adding a full-size addition, you're not really adding space. Instead, you're making better use of the existing space. A home kitchen pantry is one of the best ways to maximize space.

What Is a Kitchen Pantry?

Kitchen pantries are separate storage areas primarily for non-perishable food such as canned food, dried pasta, oils, and boxed or bagged food. Pantries also can hold food preparation items such as foil, parchment, extra pans, and serving ware.

Because home kitchen pantries are often enclosed, they even work well for the storage of some perishable food such as potatoes, onions, and other root vegetables. Larger kitchen pantries sometimes double as storage spaces for plates, stemware, glassware, and china.

The good news is that you don't need to undertake a major remodeling project to add a kitchen pantry. Kitchen pantries certainly can be as expensive and complex as room-size butler's pantries. But generally, kitchen pantries are smaller, inexpensive furniture units that install off to the side in or outside of your kitchen. We've pulled together a guide that explains the different types of kitchen pantries, the cost, and what to look for when buying one for your home.

Before You Buy a Kitchen Pantry

Upgrading your kitchen to include a kitchen pantry is to optimize storage space and have better organization, so when it comes to figuring out what is going to work best for a kitchen pantry in your home, you want to get it right. Look at how your kitchen cabinets currently are, what's in them, what you would want to move into the new pantry, and how you would like the pantry to function for you. Before you buy a kitchen pantry, make sure to cover all your bases and know what you want in one.

Buying Considerations for a Kitchen Pantry


Make sure you measure the space you have allotted for the kitchen pantry to know the amount of room you have for one before going shopping. Measure the width, height, and length of the space and have those numbers on hand as you look for a kitchen pantry.

Look at your floor space around the area also, as you will need to decide if you want to have a door that swings open or a folding or sliding door, instead. You might find that you don't have room for a door to open outward, as it might get in the way or not be able to open all the way. Some people prefer a pantry that doesn't have a door and has open shelving for easy access and convenience.


The style of your kitchen pantry should match or blend well with the style of your existing cabinets in the kitchen. You don't want to put a contemporary or modern styled pantry with traditional cabinetry as it will look out of place.

Just like you want to match the style, you should also try to match the color as close as you can. If your kitchen cabinets are fairly new, you can also check with the manufacturer of your current cabinets, as they might have a pantry option available.


Determine if you would like any special features in your new kitchen pantry. Some come with narrow shelving meant to store spices, larger cubbies, swivel/revolving trays, pull-down shelving, or pull-out baskets and drawers. Incorporating special features can help keep your pantry organized while giving you quick and easy access to items as your cooking. They can also be useful to accommodate larger items such as small appliances. 

Types of Home Kitchen Pantries

Freestanding Kitchen Pantry

A freestanding pantry is your quickest and often the cheapest route to a home kitchen pantry. Freestanding pantries usually come packed flat, necessitating assembly.

These pantries are often truly freestanding, with enough support to keep these tall, narrow cabinets from tipping. Most cabinets of this nature will come with restraint straps to install on the top of the pantry.

These pantries are sometimes called kitchen pantry furniture to reinforce the idea that they are not built-in. Typical dimensions for a freestanding pantry might be 24 inches wide by 14 inches deep by 71 inches tall.

Freestanding/Attached Kitchen Pantry

Freestanding cabinets can easily be attached to the wall for added safety. Two or three screws through the back of the pantry, straight into a stud, will keep the unit secure. However, to keep the pantry flat against the wall, you will need to cut into the baseboard. The best way to do this is to actually remove the existing baseboard and then install two new pieces on either side of the pantry.

Stock or Semi-Custom Kitchen Pantry

Stock or semi-custom kitchen pantry cabinets come from established cabinet manufacturers. Nearly every cabinet maker will offer at least one pantry unit or a similar narrow-but-tall cabinet.

Wider pantries are available, as well as units with more useful features such as slide-outs, pull-outs, and swing-outs.

Butler's Pantry

A butler's pantry is almost a mini-kitchen. Butler's pantries can any type of pass-through, of any size, between the kitchen and dining room. Or a butler's pantry can be dead-end rooms adjacent to the kitchen. These areas can include storage for food and cooking implements, as well as wine storage, counters for food prep, sinks, or even warming units.

Fun Fact

Butler's pantries traditionally were built in the homes of wealthy people as pass-throughs to hold china and silver, as well as acting as staging areas for food.

Corridor Kitchen Pantry

A corridor kitchen pantry is like a butler's pantry, but not as spacious. This can be as simple as a corridor between the kitchen and dining area with added pantry cabinet units. The point is that the pantry units are not in the kitchen but in a separate area.


You can either buy a kitchen pantry or build a unit that custom-fits your kitchen and your needs.

Freestanding pantries can be purchased online in the $150 to $500 range. These units come flat-packed and ready for self-assembly, often with cam-lock systems. Since pantries have few moving parts, they tend to assemble fairly quickly.

Alternatively, you can buy stock or semi-custom kitchen pantry cabinets as part of a larger purchase of whole-kitchen cabinets. In this case, cabinet companies will assemble and install the pantry.

Prices leap upward—but so too does the quality—when you hire carpenters or fine woodworkers to build kitchen pantries from scratch. While costs rise, so too does the level of attention paid to your particular needs. Expect to pay at least $1,000 for even the most basic 15-inch by 80-inch custom-built pantry unit.

If your vision of a kitchen pantry includes a butler's pantry or a corridor pantry, you may want to hire carpenters or a contractor.

How to Choose a Kitchen Pantry

There are several types of kitchen pantries available from which you can select. The style you like, what you can afford, and what will fit in the space you have, affects which pantry you can choose for your kitchen. Ask yourself these questions as you are deciding what will work best for you.

How Will You Use Your Kitchen Pantry?

Determining what you will be using your kitchen pantry for can help you select the kind that will provide you the storage you need. If you are planning on using it to put in extra plates, your good china or stemware, then you will want to look for a larger one. If it's for storing canned goods and other items, you probably won't need quite as big a one.

How Long Do You Plan to Stay Where You Are?

Do you have a long-term investment plan for your home, or are you planning on only staying there for a short time? Depending on your answer, you might want to consider what type of kitchen pantry you're putting in and how much money you're investing in it. Will it help with the sale of the home if you're going to move? Think about if you really need that more expensive pantry if you're planning on moving out in a few years.

Where to Shop

Kitchen pantries are available in many home improvement stores, cabinetry shops, and online. Spend some time browsing to get an idea of what you like, what the cost is, and if fits within your budget. Going into a store gives you the opportunity to ask the salesperson any questions you might have, and to carefully look at how the pantry is made. It gives you the advantage of pulling out any drawers to test how smoothly they work and see any other functionalities and options. Because of this, some people prefer going into the store rather than purchasing online. But don't hesitate to shop around, look in the stores, and then go check online to see if the product you like is available and the cost point. You just might save some money.

Wherever you decide to purchase your kitchen pantry, check on how they handle deliveries and the return policy if there's any damage or other issues.

  • When is the best time to buy kitchen pantries?

    Sales of kitchen pantries and cabinetry tend to be more prevalent around November and December around the holiday season. You might find sales on them during late spring, also.

  • Kitchen cabinet vs. kitchen pantry

    A kitchen cabinet is where you place dishes, glassware, pots and pans, and other cooking items. A kitchen pantry is designed to store food items, including canned goods, pasta, and spices.

  • What is the best spot for a pantry in the kitchen?

    Easy access to your kitchen pantry is important when you're in the midst of cooking and baking. A kitchen pantry that is placed near the stove or refrigerator is in a handy location.