What is a butler’s pantry?
A butler’s pantry is a second kitchen space, a working area for preparing food and cleaning up. They are normally able to be hidden from view, so that your primary kitchen can be used mess-free, as part of your open plan living and entertaining space.
A butler’s pantry can be designed as a full-size kitchen or the concept can be adapted to suit your space and budget.
If you have the space for a full-size kitchen as your butler’s pantry you can read through my list of 30 design tips for kitchens to see what you would like to include. If you have the space, the more cooking that can happen in your butler’s pantry the better and it would be ideal to include a dishwasher and fridge if you have the room.
If you are working with a more limited space the top 7 essential items are below.
Butler's Pantry - 7 Essentials
1) Doors - Sliding or Bi-fold doors
To keep your butler's pantry out of sight, sliding or bi-fold doors are recommended to give you the most space. If you don't have room for a larger traditional walk-in butler's pantry you can also consider having a section of your kitchen hidden by bi-fold cupboard doors - this section would operate like a butler's pantry when open and when closed looks like normal cupboards, similar to the concept of hidden laundries.
2) Bench space
Maximise your counter space with full-size benches if possible, if space doesn’t allow consider reducing the depth of your counters to around 500 mm.
3) Open drawers and shelving
Make everything very easy to see and access, as this area is able to be closed to public viewing there is no need for solid doors and it will save you time during food prep to be able to quickly see and access everything you need.
Utilise your floor to ceiling space to maximise your pantry storage and keep the items you use infrequently in the higher shelves.
5) Powerpoints for small appliances
Consider all the small appliances you want to store in here, ideally kept on the counters and plugged in for instant access and make sure you install enough powerpoints. Items used regularly like kettles, toasters, mixers, coffee machines and microwaves can all be placed in the butler's pantry, freeing up space in your kitchen.
6) Deep sink
Install a deep sink if you can to make it easy to clean items like saucepans and oven trays in the butler's pantry and opt for a double bowl option if space permits.
In many cases there may be no natural lighting and your ceiling lighting may not be enough. To ensure there is quality lighting for food preparation and cleaning by day and night, consider installing lighting under your over-counter shelves or cupboards as well.