Designing a custom pantry is a great opportunity to add storage and organization to your kitchen. From shelving and cabinetry options, to layout and lighting considerations, there are plenty of elements to consider when creating the perfect pantry space. Cormack’s home remodeling experts share design ideas and tips on how to make the most of this stylish and functional addition to your kitchen.

Map out your space.

Before beginning the design process, take a moment to plan out your pantry, keeping these questions in mind:

  • Will you be storing just food, or household staples too?

  • What are your storage preferences–open shelving, pull-out drawers, custom cabinets?

  • Do you plan on using the pantry for food prep? 

  • Will you need countertop space for appliances? 

  • Will you need electrical and plumbing work?

Answers to these questions will help influence your pantry design for optimal functionality and aesthetics. Other considerations include:

Making it accessible.

When designing your pantry, consider who will be using it and how they will access the space. If you have young children you may want to place frequently used items within easy reach. If you have mobility issues, you may want to consider installing pull-out shelves or drawers to make it easier to reach items in the back of your pantry. Our certified Aging-in-Place specialists can help you incorporate other features to improve accessibility. 

Optimizing storage with custom-built shelving.

For a truly tailored storage solution that fits your unique storage needs while complementing your personal style, consider outfitting your space with custom built-in cabinets and shelves. Custom cabinetry allows you to incorporate special features such as pull-out shelves, drawers, and bins, or even add a built-in desk or workstation for meal planning and recipe organization.

Getting the height right.

Setting the correct shelf height will ensure everything fits. Place larger, taller, and usually heavier items at your feet below, and leave smaller and usually lighter items at eye level and above. When planning for any item, add 2 inches of vertical space so you can tip or slide it in and out easily.

Pro Tip: It’s a common misconception that deep shelving maximizes storage. In actuality, narrower shelves are much more accessible. Scaling shelf depth depending on height is a good idea: the higher the shelf, the shallower it should be to ensure you have a clear line of sight. We recommend 16” deep shelves at your feet, 14” at eye level, narrowing to 10” above.

Creating zones.

Dividing up your pantry into specialized areas can help you maintain an organized system. Assign zones based on your storage needs for things like canned goods, snacks, dry goods, or pet supplies. Deciding what you’ll put where will impact the storage and shelf depth you choose, so it’s worth planning early on in the design phase. 

Organizational Tip: Storage bins of various sizes help keep items organized. Choose among a variety of containers in various materials to create a stylistic yet functional storage system. Add labels or color-code each section to make it easier to find what you need.

Strategically locate appliances.

Pantries are also the perfect place for small appliances like toasters, mixers, and coffee makers. Appliances should be strategically placed for use and convenience. Thinking this through ahead of time will help to ensure correct outlet placement. 

Adding plenty of lighting.

Proper lighting can help you see what you have and make it easier to find items. Work with your design team to choose the fixtures that look the best, fit the style, and provide vibrant illumination. Consider motion sensor LEDs that will automatically turn on when you open your pantry door and recessed lights for areas where you want focused lighting.

Making it personal.

Don't be afraid to add your own personal touch to the design. You can incorporate your own unique style through the use of color, patterns, and decor. Consider adding rounded shelves, a decorative door, or custom trim. Don’t forget to unify the pantry and adjacent space with coordinated finishes.

Home Building and Remodeling in NH’s Lakes Region, White Mountains, and Northern ME

The key to designing a functional and stylish pantry is to prioritize your needs and plan ahead. Excited to add a pantry to your kitchen? Contact Cormack’s design-build experts. Our home building and remodeling team can turn your vision into a reality!

Photo Credit:  Karolina Grabowska, Pexels

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