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Your Guide to Butler’s Pantries & Kitchen Cabinets

Just like ensuites took a while to catch on in the 20th century, the butler’s pantry (or second kitchen space) is slowly becoming a popular addition in modern kitchen designs.

Part preparation space, part hidden room to whip away dirty dishes, part storage solution with extra kitchen cabinets – it’s not hard to see why the butler’s pantry is an appealing option.

With more of our designs featuring butler’s pantries, we’ve put together some of our top tips to incorporate this design feature in your kitchen.


1. Get it right from the entry

A good butler’s pantry is easily concealed when you need it to be – and a good door is key for this.

The best door for a butler’s pantry is one that’s easy to move in and out of, and that doesn’t visually detract from the rest of the kitchen. Consider that you might have your arms full with dishes or groceries when entering your pantry, so fiddling with the door will be the last thing you want to do. 

Consider whether a sliding door or traditional door would work better in your space. If you go for the latter option, opt for a door that opens into the pantry rather than into the kitchen to preserve your workflow and precious space.


2. Apply design principles

We’ve written before about how principles like the golden triangle can help improve functionality in your kitchen, and a butler’s pantry works much the same.

Of the elements you’re going to place in this space, imagine how you’ll be using them – this will impact the placement of these items.

For example, if you have a second sink in your pantry, you’ll want the dishwasher close by to stack those dishes after entertaining and keep them out of your guests’ view. This should also be adjacent to your kitchen cabinets, so it’s easy to then put your dishes away.

If putting one of your main work triangle elements in the butler’s pantry – like the fridge, for example – ensure it’s still within reasonable walking distance from the other two elements.


3. Maximise space

It’s a no-brainer, but when it comes to a butler’s pantry, every inch of space is crucial.

Swapping out the doors on your kitchen cabinets and pull-out drawers for open shelving can help reclaim some extra room, as you’ll no longer have to account for swing-out room.


4. Make it practical

While picking the aesthetic of your butler’s pantry is an enjoyable part of the process, it’s important that functionality is at the forefront of your butler’s pantry design.

Install a window to help keep the space ventilated, particularly if you’ll be doing any food prep in this smaller enclosed space. Motion sensor lighting could also be a handy addition, particularly if your hands will usually be full when going in or out.


5. Remember – it’s a pantry

While being a very practical addition that adds value to your home, a butler’s pantry is ultimately an optional kitchen storage solution. If you’re compromising on too many elements of its design, or taking too much space away from your main kitchen in order to work it in, consider whether that space may be better used as part of your main kitchen area or for a generous walk-in pantry.


If you’re thinking about incorporating a butler’s pantry as part of your kitchen renovation or new home, our award-winning designers will be able to help you determine the right kitchen design solution for you.

The Apollo Kitchens Design Principles eBook has everything you need to know for your upcoming renovation. Download now to learn more.
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