Kitchen pantry ideas: 12 designs totally worth copying

Whether it's a walk-in or standalone DIY addition, it's totally worth carving out a little space for the best pantry ideas. Sure to transform your kitchen for the better.

colourful kitchen with patterns, black and white floor, black cabinetry and red walk in pantry
(Image credit: Maestri Studio/Stephen Karlisch)

A kitchen pantry was once something most houses had, and in the days before refrigerators, this spot was where you'd keep food cool and store all manner of cooking essentials.

Then they lost favor a little as our kitchens got larger and we all had plenty of cabinets to keep things in. But now kitchen pantry ideas are, once again, hugely desired features for homes, and believe it or not, they suit any sized kitchen... As surprising as it may be, you don’t need a separate room for a pantry if you simply don’t have the space...

Kitchen pantry ideas for essential storage space

Susan Serra, CKD, CAPS and founder of Susan Serra Associates explains:

‘A pantry doesn’t need to be a walk-in type, it is very convenient to have a cabinet pantry that blends in with the surrounding cabinetry and has easy accessibility when you need items quickly.'

‘Customers love including a pantry or larder in their kitchen design as it harks back to more traditional values in living, especially with the current trend for home cooking and growing your own food. Big or small, a larder is the perfect space in which to create and store homemade jams, pickles, cakes and drinks. It makes it easy to see and access ingredients as well as being able to shut them away neatly when guests arrive,’ says Melissa Klink, head of design at Harvey Jones

1. Use a mixture of open and closed storage

pantry and shelving ideas for kitchen storage, open shelving and closed

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

As with any room, there are elements that you wish to hide, and those that are pretty enough to have on show. This is the same in this area where refined pantry organization is key. Items that you use often are best for keeping on open shelving as that ensures they’re easy to grab. Other pieces like preserves, stock items, and spares can be hidden behind doors – we love these doors with their detailing at the top of each one.

It would also be a smart idea to invest in some clever pantry organizers to help you make use of every inch of space in this area of your kitchen. 

2. A pantry can be as simple as a few shelves within your cabinets

kitchen pantry within cabinets, green painted units

(Image credit: Olive & Barr)

Incorporating a mini pantry into an existing cabinet – a few key shelves in a U-shape will be all you need for those essentials like dried goods and spices. 

The bottom half here could be used to house the coffee machine and a chopping board – ideal for drink prep when you have guests over.

3. Opt for a bespoke design

built in kitchen pantry with dark wood interior, white painted exterior, lilac kitchen island, wooden floor

(Image credit: Harvey Jones)

This bespoke option ticks all of our boxes and can be integrated into your kitchen design, as Melissa Klink, head of design at Harvey Jones explains:

‘With the demand for intelligent storage increasing, rooms like the kitchen must employ multifunctional design and innovative ideas to utilize all space available. Work closely with your kitchen designer to introduce ingenious space saving solutions to answer every storage requirement.’

4. Invest in a freestanding pantry

orange painted freestanding kitchen pantry, white kitchen, colourful blind, stone floor

(Image credit: Harvey Jones)

More of a larder style option, this freestanding idea will give you oodles of pantry storage space. Vary the heights of the shelving so you can keep taller things together and vice versa, and leave a space at the bottom for baskets. 

We love how this design has been painted a vibrant shade, be bold and make a similar statement in your kitchen. 

5. Go super slim in smaller kitchens 

pull out kitchen pantry, white kitchen, wooden floorboards, tiled area near back door

(Image credit: Life Kitchens)

Like we said, there’s no kitchen too small for a pantry – and this neat idea with its pull-out drawers will have you wondering why you never installed this in the first place!

Neat and tidy, once you’ve chosen your cooking items you can close the door and it will all be hidden from sight, ideal if you love a more streamlined, sleek feel. 

6. Super organized? Choose open shelving

open plan kitchen with open shelving unit, stone floor, exposed brick, kitchen island

(Image credit: The Main Company)

If you love being neat and tidy then an open kitchen shelving pantry will be for you. Of course, that can be a downside – everything on show – but it can work really well if that’s your kitchen’s style. 

You don’t have to use it for storing food items either, cooking utensils, mixing bowls, baking trays and decanters can make shelving a visual feast of various shapes that will enhance your kitchen. 

7. If you have the space, go for a walk-in style pantry

colourful kitchen with patterns, black and white floor, black cabinetry and red walk in pantry

(Image credit: Maestri Studio/Stephen Karlisch)

A walk-in pantry can be created by cordoning off a section of your kitchen as can be seen in this cool kitchen space. We adore the bright coral interior as it contrasts with the monochromatic floor and exterior cabinetry, and certainly has a treasure trove appeal about it.

The floor flows through from one space to the other – a stunning design feature in itself and the gold detailing gives it a glamorous edge. 

8. Match a standalone pantry to the rest of your scheme

industrial style kitchen with industrial freestanding pantry, metal units

(Image credit: The Main Company)

This floor to ceiling pantry mimics the rest of the industrial feel that flows throughout this kitchen space. With a front that allows you to peek at the contents, you can be sure to find everything you want instantly.

Going up to ceiling height allows you to utilize every inch of the space which means you pack alot on the shelves. 

9. Use every inch of space

grey kitchen, grey kitchen island, wooden floor, open door to pantry, unit on the door, pendant light

(Image credit: Roundhouse)

Attaching a spice rack on the back of the door will give you that extra bit of storage space that’s often needed in a smaller kitchen. 

Being able to close the door behind your pantry can be useful, especially when the rest of your kitchen design is modern with sleek push-to-close cabinets. 

10. Choose bright white tiles when light is lacking

walk in pantry, open shelving, drawers underneath, metal shelves, pendant light

(Image credit: Mel Bean Interiors/Laurey Glenn)

Walk-in pantries can often be housed in a windowless space, to combat this, as well as having a pendant light, it pays to choose light tiles or paint to help to bounce the light around. 

Mel Bean, creative director at Mel Bean Interiors explains:

‘Custom pantries are great, but you can do a lot even in a small space and without spending much money. Look for sleek hanging shelves and clear glass containers to store food items. The symmetry and organization make for a beautiful and organized space.’

11. Use a mix of materials to create a stylish spac

walk in kitchen pantry with all open blue shelving, countertop and basin

(Image credit: Roundhouse)

If you’ve got enough space for a countertop and basin then go it, being able to use the space for food prep will help no end, especially if you love entertaining. 

100% open plan shelving can be your best friend, and in a walk-in pantry it’s the best option so you can really see what you’ve got and where it is. We love the use of the blue in here, it looks great with the marble countertop and backsplash. 

12. A built in option for modernistas

pink kitchen with glass fronted kitchen pantry

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

This clever kitchen pantry idea utilizes the awkward space within this kitchen. The result is a gorgeous on-display pantry that ensures you can see everything. It also means you don’t need wall cabinets – ideal in a dark kitchen. 

The black glass framed doors tie in with the windows and oven, always look for ways where you can carry on an accent color, it will make your kitchen look and feel more cohesive.

How do I style a pantry?

Styling a pantry doesn't have to be boring – think about the enviable gourmet markets and seek inspiration in pictures and visits. Use baskets to store small pantry items in and paint the walls of your pantry a fun color to add life to it – the ceiling in a glossy finish and don’t forget the floor, patterned tiles would look amazing.

Add some decorative items interspersed within the pantry if room permits such as large vintage metal pitchers, a pillow to add a surprising touch of softness or any other vintage pieces picked up from a flea market to add a touch of soul,’ says Susan Serra, CKD, CAPS and founder of Susan Serra Associates.

How should you layout a pantry?

You want the layout of your pantry to be organized and easy to use. Deep shelves and pull out drawers can help with this. It’s usually a good idea to leave some open floor space at the bottom of your pantry shelves so you can just slide heavy items like cases of food or water on the floor. Keep the items you use most often within easy reach and reserve the top shelf for items you only occasionally use.

Most pantries are placed near the range, sink, or refrigerator. The main thing is to place your pantry somewhere that is convenient and easy access,’ advises Priscilla Moiseoff, Lead Stylist and Interior Designer at Walker Edison Furniture

Does a pantry have to be walk-in?

‘No – walk-in kitchen pantries are very popular, but a lot of people will opt for a smaller pantry or even open concept shelving instead of the traditional walk-in pantry. Both of these options can be tastefully styled and functionally organized,’ says Priscilla Moiseoff, Lead Stylist and Interior Designer at Walker Edison Furniture

Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 22 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor of indie magazine, 91, Sophie trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for the modern bride.