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Here are ten ideas to create an enviable butler’s pantry


Butler’s pantries track back to the days when stately homes had actual butlers and it was their domain to watch over. We’re going to assume that the vast majority of our readers aren’t living in Buckingham Palace (hello to the Queen if she’s checking in) and therefore don’t have a butler at their beck and call. But you don’t have to have someone waiting on you hand and foot to make the most of this versatile space.

Now a staple in the vast majority of new homes, butler’s pantries and the creative ways in which you can organise them are gaining traction. If you’re looking to create a Pinterest-worthy pantry, Metricon’s Studio M Manager Marissa Bonacci is here to offer her top ten organisational tips to achieve pantry bliss.

Plan ahead

The whole point of a butler’s pantry is about keeping your kitchen more organised, so take a little time out to figure exactly what you want from it. “Some people use the space purely for groceries, while others utilise cabinetry for appliances and cookware,” Marissa says. Or, maybe you want both? After all, the butler's pantry offers more flexibility than a traditional kitchen pantry, and even a walk-in pantry. They have more storage space and bench space, plus the added powerpoints allow you to use toasters and other small appliances and the countertops let you complete your food prep from behind close doors. Guests in the dining room won't be able to see the chaos (unless you opt for stylish glass doors!)

Keep it simple

The smartest way to organise your pantry is the simplest way too, Marissa says. “Grouping food into categories helps.” If you throw things in haphazardly, you’ll spend way too much time hunting for them. So group all the spices together, then all the tinned food and the baking goods and so on. Keep pots and pans in their designated areas. And think about where each group lives too. “Have the items you use daily closest to reach for easy access."

Organisation station

The best way to achieve an aesthetically pleasing (and functional) pantry is to invest in some good quality storage containers. Reduce your waste and store your cereals, pasta, rice, spices or baking products in glass or plastic jars and containers. The added bonus to using plastic or glass jars to store pantry items is they turn into a feature, and add to the overall kitchen design, especially if stored on floating shelves.

Sites such as Pretty Pantry Labels and Little Label Co offer bulk storage sets and have a range of options available that will be sure to cater to your pantry needs. Alternatively, you can find some great options at Kmart, Target or Ikea! Be sure to grab some small wicker baskets or wooden crates while you’re there, which are great for storing items like apples, onions or packaged snacks and enhance the styling of the space. “It’s easier to see what’s there with a quick rummage without sending them spilling all over the floor,” Marissa suggests.

Source: Ikea, Container Store
Source: Ikea, Container Store

Get stuck in

When it comes to having the best butler’s pantry in town, “It’s all about labels, labels, labels,” Marissa says. “For quick reviewing of what you’ve got, label all containers and have them facing forward.” Whether you pair a labelling gun with clear containers or hit up some local sellers on Etsy for personalised designs, there's a myriad of options to ensure your storage containers are on point and easy to manage. This is an easy and rewarding DIY project that won't take too long and brings your kitchen storage game to the next level. Don’t forget to note use-by dates!


Bird’s eye view

Installing stacking drawers is a brilliantly easy way to maximise your pantry space. Not only is it an economical storage solution, but the very act of pulling out a drawer also gives you a great aerial of what’s in there. “You can see at a glance what you’ve got and what you’ve not,” Marissa says. Built-in pull-out drawers are also a great option for storing countless spices. You can easily source exactly what you need without needing to rummage through overcrowded shelves or kitchen cabinets.

I’m hooked

If you’re finding your butler’s pantry is on the smaller side, don’t be afraid to buy some contemporary or statement hooks and make a feature on a blank wall. Use woven or netted bags to store fruit or other supplies, or to store away grocery bags as they multiply notoriously. “Attach one sturdy bag to a hook and make sure you pop all the others inside it as soon as you’ve stacked your groceries,” Marissa says.

Source: Ikea KUNGSFORS (left), Ikea LUSTIGKURRE (right)
Source: Ikea KUNGSFORS (left), Ikea LUSTIGKURRE (right)

Step right up

Butler's pantries tend to accumulate canned goods. It’s great to have handy staples like beans, sweetcorn, coconut milk and chopped tomatoes on hand. But sometimes, when they stack up one in front of the other on open shelving, they can be easy to overlook. That’s where installing affordable, slot-in tier shelving to sit on larger shelves does the trick. “If you use a can tier shelf, it’s so handy to see what you have,” Marissa notes.

Make a list

This one isn’t just for Christmas. While butler’s pantries are great for making sure you have everything you need at your fingertips, you can end up with way too much of everything. “It’s worth doing a quick stock take before you go on a big shop,” Marissa suggests. “That way, you always know what you have, what you need, and you’ll cook up accordingly.” If you notice you’re short mid-week, consider jotting down on a pantry chalkboard.

Keep it clean

Despite the best intentions of great storage systems, chances are little spillages will happen from time-time-time (we’re looking at you, manuka honey). And if goop gets into the joinery, on the edges of your open shelves or caked onto the splashback, it can get pretty icky over time. “It’s worth giving all the surfaces in your pantry a wipe down regularly,” Marissa says. Cleanliness will also ensure the longevity of your products, and hygiene for your family. Just because these benchtops are hidden away from the main kitchen doesn't mean they should be out of sight, out of mind!

Stay Safe

We often keep bulky items or heavy-duty kitchen appliances in our butler’s pantries. But take a moment to think about it from a health perspective. “Reaching for something heavy from a top-shelf can be a risk,” Marissa says. “Keep the items that are the hardest to handle low and easy to reach by bending your knees. And don’t overload shelves.”

It's worth considering lighting too - you don't want to be reaching around the pantry in the dark. Natural light is best, and if you can install a skylight, we say go for it! If not, LED strip lighting is a great feature, and adding task lighting over the counter space will allow you to see better while prepping for your dinner party and potentially save energy by only lighting the kitchen area you're using.

You can read more about why butler’s pantries are so popular here, or to take a look at some of Metricon’s beautiful display home pantries, head over to our Image Gallery. For more design ideas, check out Metricon's blog Home Truths for home design and interior design tips!