Pantries are having a moment. The reems of Instagram reels and Pinterest boards showcase meticulously organized and fully stocked rows of dry goods, herbs, and spices and some even have their own coffee stations. Organizing our external spaces serves more than a functional purpose, the very act of organizing and cleaning can prove to be calming for some whereas others may find a well-organized kitchen to be a serene and welcoming space.
“I think pantries are popular because they are just so good, whether it’s a cupboard or a room, it just makes life so much easier. Having everything in one place, well laid out and easy to access, in my opinion, is absolutely the most important part of any modern kitchen,” explains Helen Parker, Creative Director of deVOL Kitchens.
Designers and their clients are pushing the limits when it comes to what a pantry can be but what if you’re working with a smaller space? For those living in flats or smaller homes, tearing down the kitchen wall to make a traditional larder may not always be possible but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a pantry moment. Creative solutions like utilizing your shelves, adding storage to your island, or opting for a freestanding pantry unit offer all the benefits of a traditional pantry but at a fraction of the cost and space. We’ve spoken to interior designers and kitchen experts to reveal the dos and don’ts of pantry making. Each shares their advice for crafting a pantry that feels connected to your kitchen but still lets you sit back and admire your canned goods and perfectly filled pasta jars.
1. UTILISE YOUR ISLAND FOR EXTRA STORAGE
Hidden in this charming French apartment is a clever storage solution for those looking to introduce a pantry that is beautifully functional. By utilizing the space under this peninsula-style kitchen island, the shelves offer the perfect hiding spot for your pantry items. By keeping the shelves facing the kitchen, this feature feels part of the space but also keeps your pantry items hidden from view in the open-plan interior.
“We used a low wall to separate the kitchen from the living room in this small apartment. This solution allows us to avoid enclosing space, provides additional storage in the kitchen, and provides a shelf in the living room to place a few books and beautiful objects,” says Parisian interior designer, Marianne Evennou. Adding a charming chair and table in front of this pantry island further showcases its versatility in a small kitchen, a truly inventive solution that we are sure to see more of in the future.
2. CREATE AN ELEGANT PANTRY CABINET
Designed for their newly opened showroom, this copper-colored kitchen from deVOL features an elegant glass cabinet that would be the perfect place to create a pantry for smaller goods like herbs, spices, oils, sauces, and condiments. Not only does the glass let you find everything you need faster, but the positioning also keeps all your commonly used items within arm’s reach.
'Wall cupboards are always up for discussion, but I would go for slim, glazed, and big, as a good starting point. Stubby, deep ones can be quite ungainly and look a little top-heavy. Use your wall cupboards as statement pieces, maybe vintage, but always pretty or elegant rather than functional”, says Helen Parker, Creative Director of deVOL Kitchens. Parker’s advice is good to bear in mind, larger pantry goods can be like your dried goods and heavier cans can be kept in lower cupboards to ensure your cabinet always feels elegant and enticing.
3. OPT FOR A FREESTANDING PANTRY UNIT
If you’re seeking a pantry solution that is going to deliver instant benefits and doesn’t lead to any structural changes, then a freestanding pantry unit could be the answer. This traditional pantry cupboard from deVOL offers plenty of storage space and would add color and charm to any kitchen.
'For a quick solution, we would always recommend a proper classic pantry cupboard, vintage or new they are perfect. If budget is tight, then have a hunt on eBay or at an antique fair, it may take a while to get the size you want but it’s worth the wait. Paint it inside and out in your favorite color, you can be a bit daring with a pantry, try something bright and bold. Source some beautiful old knobs or use the same as in your existing kitchen to give a link. Then attach some run-of-the-mill spice racks on the door, even cheap ones look better painted. Then spend some time finding old boxes, cutlery trays, and baskets to put on the shelves and on the top of the cupboard, a satisfying way to create a whole new place to store things,” says Helen. Taking Helen’s advice on board, you can turn your pantry into another space for creative expression.
4. SHOWCASE YOUR SHELVES
The traditional approach to kitchen cabinets is the assumption that your entire kitchen should be covered in them but being more selective with your cabinets can actually create a more open and free-flowing space. Marianne Evennou demonstrates this with a clever collection of shelves and cabinets in this Parisian kitchen. The shelves painted in blue feel part of the matching cabinetry below but allow the clients to create a pantry system that is easy to navigate and built into their kitchen.
“For this kitchen designed as a workshop for a brother and sister living together and always having a lot of friends around, we decided to leave the utensils and cookery visible by playing with the shelves. Unpretentious and informal spirit that invites friends to participate in the preparation of meals. Easy to see all the objects and to give a hand,” reveals Marianne.
5. CREATE A SECRET PANTRY
Creating a secret pantry offers more than a few benefits. Your items are all within easy reach and you can create a designated coffee and breakfast station for your family and conceal any clutter for any unexpected guests. This tall pantry is featured in San Francisco-based studio, Marea Clark Interiors and effectively stores a variety of appliances as well as dried goods and tableware.
“We designed the pantry to fully blend in with the rest of the cabinetry, with doors that retract all the way - making it easy for them to access anything they may need while cooking,” says Marea Clark. You can even decorate your secret pantry to add a pop of color or print to your kitchen. Alternatively, highlighting the natural beauty of a material like oak or beech makes for an easy neutral that feels calm and clean in your kitchen.
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Writer and design expert Faaizah Shah is the founder of The Interiors Consultancy. She has worked with designers such as Staffan Tollgard and design houses such as Sanderson to help them understand and communicate their narratives. She is known for crafting engaging stories and imaginative content, and understanding great decor from her years alongside some of the best creatives in the industry. She is also a contributor to Livingetc.
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