I have in my head what my perfect pantry would look like. I visited Pinterest and searched “pastel pantry” This is it! I love the colours, the layout, how all the containers fit perfectly in the shelf space and the beautiful matching coloured notice boards, including a To Do List and Shopping List. Pantry Heaven for me, that is.

I must ask myself “Is this realistic, or achievable for me?”

I am sure all of us can picture the perfect pantry, wardrobe, or kitchen that we dream of.

My pantry does not look like this at all. It does have white walls, white shelves, and some pink and white baskets. That is about where it ends.

On the flip side, it is functional and seems to work for my husband and me. I will not mention our daughter though, who is quite happy to toss things in the general direction of where it belongs and does not bother her if a basket has not been pushed back fully onto the shelf.

So maybe the question should be “Is it functional?”

Let’s look at some of the questions to ask yourself when designing a pantry from scratch or working with an existing space.

Let’s look at some of the questions to ask yourself when designing a pantry from scratch or working with an existing space.

  • Is it easily accessible?

  • What existing space do you have?

  • What existing shelves/cupboards do you have?

  • Does the door hinder the kitchen space when open?

  • Can you make changes that will assist in the use of your pantry space?

  • What is your budget?

  • What exactly are you planning to store in your pantry? 

  • Are your shelves adjustable?

  • Are there accessories that make the use of your pantry easier?

  • How will I access the upper shelves/cupboards?

  • Will your most used items be accessed or seen easily?

  • Do you have a small cupboard or space near your kitchen that could be used as extended storage?

  • Is there a storage solution for space that is currently not utilised e.g. vertical space?

The number of accessories now available to make our kitchen/pantry, or for any room in our homes are numerous. Things that spin, rotate or slide!

Vertical Storage
Lazy Susan
Under Shelf Basket

As Plato said “Necessity is the mother of invention” or, as Agatha Christie said “I don’t think necessity is the mother of invention. Invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness – to save oneself trouble”.

If you are lucky enough to build a home from scratch you are presented with the perfect opportunity to design your pantry from the ground up, determining size, shelf height, depth and all the items that make a pantry function seamlessly. The one thing I would add to my current pantry, if possible, would be pull-out drawers.

I asked Robyn Hawke of Inspired Spaces what she would include when designing a pantry.

“Firstly, I would discuss with the client what their requirements are, what space is available, do they want a standard pantry or a butler’s pantry. We also need to think about what is going to be kept in the pantry. We do this to determine shelf height and allowing for storage of items. Take the time to measure pots, pans, bread boards, oven trays etc so space is allocated and designed accordingly”

The depth of shelves is also very important Robyn notes. “Any more than 300mm deep leads to items not being easily accessible and not seen. I don’t like corners either. They make accessibility difficult.”

“If a client wants additional appliances such as a dishwasher, oven or a kitchen sink, these also need to be taken into account during the design process” Robyn says. In a butler’s pantry Robyn prefers to have one side designated for floor to ceiling shelves and the other for appliances and prep space. A window, or skylight is also preferable.

Design by Inspired Spaces

“The same principles apply when altering or redesigning an existing pantry” Robyn says.

To see more of Robyn’s designs visit www.inspiredspaces.com.au.

For a free download on kitchen design click this link https://www.inspiredspaces.com.au/kitchen-guidelines/

Pink & White Baskets

As for my pantry, it will remain as is, and as time and budget allows, I might think about making some alternations. The only big change I have made to the pantry since moving into our home was to have the shelving altered. Originally, I did have triangle shaped corner shelves which drove me mad, mainly due to the difficulty of accessing and seeing items in the back corner.

This is my pantry! It’s not perfectly perfect and pretty as I would like but it’s functional!

The builders utilised the area under the stairs which is a great use of space.

Home-made labels
Labels attached to baskets