Walk-in pantries, which offer some of the best kitchen storage, gave way for the breakfast nook some time ago, but many think it’s time for a comeback. Popular in large houses with big kitchens, they are also an excellent solution for kitchens where space is an issue. A beautifully-designed, functional walk-in space means fewer upper and lower cabinets and superior storage options.
That breakfast-nook trend takes up a lot of square footage that sacrifices storage space. A pantry brings flexible storage to your kitchen, and it’s easier to keep up with what you have. Let’s explore why a walk-in pantry is in demand for both new construction and existing kitchens.
Walk-In Pantries are Becoming More Popular These Days
Guess which amenities home buyers look for the most when searching for their new house. No, it’s not a fire pit or a hot tub. And it’s not a bonus room or home office. The answer might surprise you since it’s a feature that’s mostly faded into history: the walk-in pantry.
NAHB (The National Association of Home Builders) recently completed a survey titled “What Home Buyers Really Want.” They surveyed those who recently bought a home or plan to purchase one in the next three years about what features they most desired. About 83% said a walk-in pantry is either desirable or a must-have.
A walk-in pantry beat out a double sink, a central island, and granite countertops. But why are walk-in pantries so popular? Well, people are doing a lot more home cooking these days, so they love having more storage for food supplies, a large pantry where it’s easy to find things, and ample counter space for food prep.
And you can have a walk-in pantry even in a small space. All you need is five feet in width, and the depth can be whatever space you have.
There’s also the “wellness connection.” A well-designed pantry can bring a sense of order and organization and a feeling of abundance. And being able to find everything you need easily brings a natural flow to your kitchen work.
Enjoy the Additional Storage Space
Your walk-in pantry will give you lots of room to store non-perishable items like pasta, cereal, and canned and jarred goods. That means fewer trips to the grocery store. These pantries also are great for storing kitchen gadgets for easy access, including blenders, air fryers, pressure cookers, and slow cookers.
By storing small appliances you use only occasionally in your pantry, you free up the counter space in the main kitchen area as well as in kitchen cupboards. You’ll have less clutter and more room to cook. To make things even easier, you’ll want to ensure you have the right features in your pantry.
Kitchen Features for Your Walk-In Pantry Space
Today’s kitchens are as much social spaces as they are cooking spaces, so today’s kitchens are designed to be welcoming and free of clutter. This is where a walk-in pantry really shines, providing easy access to everything you need in one place instead of scattered about your kitchen.
These pantries can be just a simple food storage room, but to get the most out of them, you’ll want to add counters, shelving, and cabinets. If you plan to use your pantry for food preparation, you’ll also need a sink, plus water and electrical connections. You’ll also want to take into consideration the overall aesthetic of your pantry so that it matches the rest of your kitchen when it comes to cabinets, countertops, and shelving.
Matching the Pantry Doors to the Kitchen Cabinet Doors
A walk-in pantry should enhance the look of your kitchen, not detract from it, so you’ll want to ensure the pantry door match the kitchen cabinets, including the door to the pantry and the cabinets and drawers inside.
Custom cabinetry can make your pantry look like it was there from the very beginning, seamlessly blending into the rest of your kitchen to provide a cohesive, elegant aesthetic. You can even conceal it with a door that looks just like a tall cabinet, so only you know it’s there.
Countertop Options for a Kitchen Pantry
There are several of countertop options for your walk-in pantry, including granite, marble, and high-end laminate. Each has its own look, and whatever you choose should either match or complement the counters in your kitchen. Maybe it’s time for a whole kitchen makeover?
Let’s take a look at all of the countertop options so you can select what’s right for you.
Granite countertops have been popular since the late 1980s and are still incredibly desirable. It might just be the perfect material for the counters of your walk-in pantry:
- Granite countertops are beautiful. Every slab is unique, so your pantry will have the swirls, flecks, specs, and veins that create this stone’s distinctive look.
- Granite countertops increase the home’s value. Everyone wants granite, and if you doubt that, look at the disappointed faces of potential buyers on those real estate television shows when they don’t see it. You can expect at least a 100% return on your granite countertops.
- Granite countertops resist stains and etching, and you can even put a hot pan on them. They are easy to clean, and granite has a natural talent for preventing bacteria and mold growth.
- Granite is incredibly durable. It is a natural stone, after all. Appliances, pots, pans, and knives don’t faze it. Keep using cutting boards, though.
Black countertops are a timeless trend that can add stateliness and elegance to your kitchen and walk-in pantry. When you add marble to that equation, you’re displaying your exquisite taste. Its beauty aside, there are several advantages to marble countertops:
- As a natural stone, marble is durable. It is softer than granite. That works to its advantage, though, as design elements can be incorporated during fabrication.
- Marble countertops have a distinct look. While many have tried, no one has really been successful in duplicating that look in other materials. Each piece is unique, of course, and there’s always that gorgeous veining.
- Marble stays cool at all times, which makes it perfect for rolling out pastry. Just be careful with hot pans, though, as they can damage the finish.
- Marble can last forever. Think about all of those ancient marble statues in museums. When your marble countertops are professionally installed and sealed, they will last a lifetime and beyond.
High-End Laminate Countertops
These aren’t your grandmother’s laminate countertops. Today’s high-quality laminate countertops are beautiful and highly sought-after for the bright glossy white countertops that mark many a modern kitchen. They also have a lot of things going for them:
- Laminate countertops are one of the most economical choices you can make.
- Quality, high-end laminate countertops last. They also resist stains and heat. However, they do easily scratch, so use a cutting board.
- There are no more dark edges. Today’s decorative edges eliminate that ugly dark line.
- Laminate is maintenance-free. There’s no sealing or special care needed.
A Great Way to Store Small Appliances
We mentioned this before. If you’re tired of digging your blender or coffee grinder out of a bottom cabinet behind a bunch of other stuff, or if you have a narrow countertop, your walk-in pantry provides a great alternative. Have your chafing dishes stored in the basement? Move them onto a shelf or a cubby in your walk-in pantry, where they’ll be handy for your next get-together.
Your walk-in pantry is a great place to keep small appliances. Not only are they neatly hidden from view, but by storing them in the pantry, you’ll also gain countertop space.
Add a Shelving System to Your Walk-In Pantry
A shelving system adds beauty and organization to your pantry, and with white shelves, it will be bright and cheery. Customized shelving means there’s a place for everything, and it’s easy to keep everything in place. A purpose-built shelving system with lazy susans and partitioned make life and cooking easier.
The Kitchen Pantry Should Have enough Electrical Outlets
If you plan to use your walk-in pantry as a food prep area, you’ll need electrical outlets. And you should be sure you have plenty. Add outlets to open shelving for flexibility, and even if you don’t currently have plans to use stainless steel appliances in your pantry, you might in the future. Adding electrical outlets later won’t be easy.
Maximize the Space of the Walk-in Pantry with Tall Shelves
Tall shelves can add a lot of space to a small pantry. Small can be mighty when it comes to things like food storage. All of those cans you have just for an emergency? They can go on top. That huge roasting pan you only use every other year on Thanksgiving? That can go up there, too. When you don’t have a lot of square feet, tall shelves can make an otherwise cramped space seem much more spacious.
People Also Ask…
Adding a walk-in pantry is exciting. It adds storage space, organization, and a touch of old-world charm. Here are some answers to some most-asked questions about pantries.
How much space do I need for a walk-in pantry?
You’ll need a dedicated space for your pantry, either inside or just outside of your kitchen. The size of a walk-in pantry is an average of 5-feet x 5- feet, with storage on one side. If you want storage on both sides, your pantry will need to be 76 inches wide. Given that shelf depth is generally 14 inches, that will give you a four-foot walkway. If you must save space, you can reduce the walkway to three feet, but only one person at a time will be able to use the pantry.
It’s important to note that if anyone in a wheelchair will be using the pantry, you’ll need a minimum walkway of 60 inches. This means you’ll need a minimum width of 88 inches.
Does a walk-in pantry add value?
Yes, a walk-in pantry adds value to your home. That is if you don’t build it yourself. Quality finishes and finishing is required, and amateur workmanship could actually mean the pantry decreases its value.
Walk-in pantries are popular. That 80% of home buyers who rate them a must-have will be rushing to look at homes that have them. They add marketability as well as value and are a necessity for homes at the median price or above.
The National Association of Realtors say that you’ll be able to recoup 52% to 67% of what you invest in your built-in pantry. This means you’ll get an ROI that is higher than a mid-range bathroom remodel.
What should be in a walk-in pantry?
It’s your pantry, so the answer to that is really: anything you want. But in practical terms, you added a walk-in pantry for a reason, so maximize its storage potential. We’ve already mentioned some pantry items to get you thinking about all that stuff you could put in there, but simply, your walk-in pantry should have in it whatever needs to be in it. Your pantry can be used to store paper goods such as paper towels, napkins, and plates, for example, as well as:
- Canned goods
- Cereal boxes
- Baking supplies like flour and sugar
- Spice racks
- Glass jars
Pots and pans that don’t get used often, picnic items, and extra flatware are also good candidates. And don’t forget about adding a wine fridge or chilled wine rack.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Walk-In Pantry?
The cost to build a walk-in pantry depends on the size of the pantry as well as the materials used. According to Home Advisor, a basic 5-foot x 5-foot walk-in pantry has an average price of about $2,900. For that, you don’t get custom cupboard doors, marble countertops, and custom pantry shelving, so what’s the point?
Remember, you’re going to get a good return on your investment, and the overall style and aesthetic should match the look of the rest of your home. While a walk-in pantry is demanded by homebuyers today, a lack of high-end finishes will turn them off and turn them away.
On the high end, the average price for a walk-in pantry is about $6,000 and up, but you’ll get the walk-in pantry of your (and future buyers’) dreams.
What is the Difference Between a Walk-In Pantry and a Butler’s Pantry?
We’re so glad you asked! We can build you a butlers’ pantry if that is your preference. Although some people use the terms interchangeably, they are really two very different things.
A butler’s pantry is an entire extra room that is essentially a kitchen extension, like a kitchen within a kitchen. They have counter space, appliances, a sink, and storage space. It’s generally much larger than a walk-in pantry, and most homes lack the room for a butler’s pantry.
Traditionally, homes with a butler would have a butler’s pantry where he could complete certain tasks. They kept busy butlers polishing platters and plates. Today, butler’s pantries, if they exist at all, are used to prepare food and clean up away from visitors’ prying eyes.
A walk-in pantry is more focused on storage but, as we’ve mentioned, is in the top tier of desired kitchen amenities. If you have the room, you can use your walk-in pantry as a butler’s pantry, but in general, pantries are a great place to store pretty much anything that’s not perishable and can become an essential part of your kitchen.
We Have Endless Pantry Ideas
At Baczewski Luxury Cabinets, we’ve been designing and delivering high-end custom cabinets for almost two decades. Our expert designers will fulfill your dreams of the perfect built-in pantry, complete with deep shelves where needed and spacious lower cabinets.
Our custom cabinets can be made to either match or accentuate your current kitchen, or we can incorporate your pantry into a complete kitchen remodel. Our luxurious and exotic finishes, including high-end laminate, granite, and marble, can make your pantry uniquely yours.
Visit One of Our Kitchen Showrooms Today
Baczewski has been in the cabinetry business since 2003, producing the finest quality cabinets. We pride ourselves on our customer service, which is why we provide unique cabinet-related solutions for your whole home. Visit one of our showrooms today:
7200 E. Hampden Ave.
Denver, CO 80224
804 W. Dallas St.
Conroe, TX 77301
Stop by, call for an appointment, or fill out our form. All consultations are absolutely free.