Home Kitchen Pantry Overview

Stylish Kitchen Pantry
Tommy Hein

For many homeowners remodeling their kitchens, incorporating a home kitchen pantry is half the reason for the undertaking the project in the first place. It's all about space.

But unless you're bumping out your kitchen by adding a legitimate addition, you're not really adding space; instead, you're making better use of existing space. A home kitchen pantry is one of the best ways to maximize space. The good news is that you don't need to undertake a major remodeling project to add a home kitchen pantry.

The Home Kitchen Pantry Defined

Kitchen pantries are separate storage areas primarily for non-perishable food (cans, pasta, oils, etc.) and for food preparation items such as foil, parchment, and so on. Because home kitchen pantries are often enclosed, they work well for storage of some perishable food such as potatoes and other root vegetables.

While not intended for this use, kitchen panties sometimes double as storage spaces for plates, stemware, glassware, and china.

Pantries: Bought or Built

The world of kitchen pantries is sharply divided between bought or built types. You can buy free-standing pantries from practically anywhere (online, Target, Amazon, etc.). These are in the $100 to $150 range and can either remain free-standing or can be repurposed into semi-attached units. These units are self-assembled and self-installed.

Or, you can buy stock or semi-custom kitchen pantry cabinets that are not sold individually but as part of a larger purchase of other cabinets. In this case, cabinet companies will assemble and install the pantry.

Prices leap when you hire carpenters or fine woodworkers to build kitchen pantries from scratch. While costs rise, so too does the level of craftsmanship and the practicality of the units. Expect to pay at least $850 for even the most basic 15" x 80" custom-built units. It is necessary to hire carpenters if your vision of a kitchen pantry includes a butler's pantry or corridor pantry.

Types of Home Kitchen Pantries

  • Free Standing Kitchen Pantry: 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 "free-standing," with enough support to keep these tall, narrow cabinets from tipping. They are sometimes called kitchen pantry furniture to reinforce the idea that they are not built-in. Typical dimensions for a free-standing pantry might be 24" x 14" x 71". In other words, tall and narrow.
  • Free-Standing-But-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 Pantries: These kitchen pantry cabinets come from established cabinet manufacturers like Merillat, Kraftmaid, Armstrong, etc. You will find a greater range of pantry units. 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 be pass-throughs between the kitchen and dining room or 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.
  • Corridor Kitchen Pantry: 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.