Renovating Your Kitchen – Designing a Walk in Pantry
September 15, 2020
The kitchen is the hub of the house and the center of everyday life. Having a messy, cluttered and unorganised kitchen can often take the joy out of cooking and serving. If you want a kitchen that is clutter free and better organised, it is good to have a walk in pantry adjacent to the kitchen. If your house doesn’t already have one, you could consider renovating the kitchen to add a walk in pantry.
Most people look at pictures of walk in pantries and choose a design that looks good. But designing the perfect walk in pantry according to your own needs makes it much more special. Here are some things you will need to consider while designing the perfect walk in pantry.
The first and foremost thing to consider when you are thinking of a walk in pantry is whether you have space to add one. If there is enough space you could remodel your house and make space for a pantry by moving a wall or reducing the size of other rooms. While remodeling you would need to design in such a way that the whole house has a unified complete look in the end.
To decide the size of your walk in pantry, list out what you want to use it for. Do you want to store only food supplies or do you wish to keep small and large appliances, cleaning materials and pet supplies too? Do you intend to use the pantry countertop space for food preparation and using appliances? Deciding this will give you a fair idea about the size of the pantry you need.
Designing your Pantry
The walk in pantry should be a natural extension of your kitchen. Ensure that your design enables you to instantly see what you have and pick it effortlessly. Plan the layout of the pantry for optimal functionality. Select a pantry design that meets all your requirements. To ensure that every bit of space in your walk in pantry is used up, you can have shelves all the way to the ceiling. You could get a small fold up stool to help you reach the highest shelves easily too.
While choosing materials for shelves, countertops and fixtures, select matching materials that are similar to your kitchen. It is not necessary to use expensive stone or custom cabinets, you can find economical substitutes for reasonable prices that blend in well with your kitchen’s original design.
The shelves form the backbone of a good, functional and safe pantry. They need to be strong enough for the heaviest appliances and have an aesthetic look to match your overall design. It is good to use adjustable shelves so you have adequate space for all kinds of supplies. If you intend to use the pantry for food prep, countertops are a must. If you don’t want countertops, you could have built-in shelves from floor to ceiling. Make sure that each shelf is at least ¾ inch thick. If they are longer than 36 inches wide you will need to ensure that the shelves have additional support.
The shelves that are lower can be deeper in width as they are easy to reach. However the shelves right on the top will need to be shallow so that you can see and pick things out easily. It is advisable to keep the largest and tallest things below and keep the lightest and smallest things above. There are various types of shelves to choose from, they include open, pull-out, and closed cabinets. It is easy to locate things on open shelves, while pull-outs are good for displaying cookware collections and keeping appliances. Closed cabinets are perfect for things you want to hide or keep out of the reach of children.
Décor & Lighting
Find a décor that blends well with your home’s style. Depending on your home style, you could use paint, wallpaper or ceramic tiles to add character to your walk in pantry. Use attractive colours that bring your pantry to life.
Having good lighting is essential as it helps locate things easily. Choose fixtures that fit your house’s style and add vibrancy. There are various kinds of lighting you can choose from. LED lighting is flexible and economical while motion sensor LEDs automatically turn on when you walk into the pantry door. Strip LEDs are perfect for shelves and other areas where you require focused lighting. You could use dimmable task lighting in some sections and spotlights in areas that need more light. You could also use natural lighting through a window or have a skylight above.
The walk in pantry is a good place to keep your appliances, both small and large. Since it is an extension of your kitchen, it is a good space to embed large appliances such as your refrigerator, microwave, oven and dishwasher. Small appliances such as toasters, mixers, blenders, rice cookers and coffee makers can be placed appropriately to add to the convenience of use.
Organising your Pantry
It is important to plan the use of space and shelves in your pantry carefully. Assign areas for different types of things such as dry food stuff, canned food, snacks, cleaning supplies and long-term storage. Arrange your appliances well so they can be used without hindrance. Consider the space you need for food preparation, cleanup and storage while planning. Ensure there is enough ventilation and use fly-proof gauze on air vents to help keep bugs out.
In large pantries it is good to have table space where things can be unpacked before storing. You can use the table for food preparation and planning too. You could even install a sink if there’s enough space for it.
There are smart solutions available that help ‘stretch’ the space you have. For example, ‘Space Tower’ is a vertical set of shelves designed to make the best use of space. It is good to add extra power points for electrical appliances. You could also consider adding a wall-mounted docking station and USB power point to charge your mobile devices easily.
You could use open shelves, baskets and drawers with kitchen cabinetry or freestanding units, to ensure there is space for everything. Cabinets with glass doors give good visibility to valuable crockery and protect them from dust too. Trendy square or rectangular containers are easy to stack and optimise pantry space.
It is wise to arrange things in the pantry according to their expiry dates. Use your own labels or print and stick the use-by-date on each container. You can store sauces, packet mixes and oils in long narrow containers that use space efficiently. Another useful feature worth adding is a whiteboard, pin up board or chalkboard where you can write your list for replenishing or important reminders.
Renovating your kitchen and building your walk in pantry could look like a lot of work in the beginning. However considering the convenience it adds to your life and how it makes cooking, baking, planning, shopping, and entertaining easy, you will find it is worthwhile to go ahead and get one.