Planning a Butler’s Pantry

July 28, 2015 by Belinda

It seems as though a Butler’s Pantry is high on the list in most new builds these days. Having never had one, I feel as though it is a splurge but am excited about the prospect of additional kitchen storage. Here are some things to consider when planning a butler’s pantry.

1. Decide How You Will Use It

I think I have quizzed everyone I know who has a butler’s pantry on exactly how they use it. Responses included: storage, food preparation and baking, a place to hide dirty dishes after a dinner party, and wine! Obviously budget comes into consideration but a pantry does not need to be large. I am a big fan of shopping in bulk at Costco and storage will be my number one priority.

Planning A Butler's Pantry


Planning A Butler's Pantry

Caden Design Group

2. Design A Space For Everything

Write a list of all the large and odd shaped items such as appliances and platters (how many) that you plan to store there. That way you can ensure everything has its own home. This pantry has the larger appliances covered with a built-in microwave, wine fridge and bench space for the toaster and coffee machine.

Planning A Butler's Pantry


This cleverly designed space enables storage of items such as platters and chopping boards so they are easily accessible.

Planning A Butler's Pantry

The House That A-M Built

3. Plan For Uniformity

Glass jars, canisters or plastic containers allow items to be found easily. They also look great when massed together. I am a self-confessed Tupperware addict and can’t wait to put my collection of Modular Mates on full display! Ikea also stock a wide range of affordable containers that are perfect for a well-organised pantry.

Planning A Butler's Pantry

Neat Method

Planning A Butler's Pantry

East End Country Kitchens

4. Consider Lighting

To include a window allowing natural light is ideal but usually the butler’s pantry is surrounded by internal walls.

Planning A Butler's Pantry

Jillian Harris

Don’t forget to factor in task lighting if you plan to use the pantry as a work space.

Planning A Butler's Pantry, Gallerie B


Or a feature chandelier!

Planning A Butler's Pantry


5. Add Colour

Give the butler’s pantry some personality by using coloured cabinetry.

Planning A Butler's Pantry

Andrew Howard

Planning A Butler's Pantry


Or my favourite, a feature wallpaper wall.

My tips for what to consider when designing a butler's pantry.

Gallerie B Interiors

6. Make It Beautiful

Consider whether the Butler’s Pantry is visible from the kitchen. If yes, then show it off with a continuation of beautiful joinery, hardware and glass cabinets.

Planning A Butler's Pantry

Caden Design Group

Planning A Butler's Pantry

DeGraw and DeHaan

Planning A Butler's Pantry

Murphy and C0

If you have a butler’s pantry, I would love to hear how you use it.

For more tips about designing an organised Butler’s Pantry and home, head to my post (here).

Belinda XO




36 thoughts on “Planning a Butler’s Pantry”

  1. Hi B, wow, serious butler pantries going on here! We have a long narrow one (you should come over and see it) with a dedicated appliance bench where we stowe our toaster, coffee machine, jaffle maker and Kitchen Aid (since the thermie has taken it’s place in the kitchen). We have a skylight for light and a bar fridge in there as well. Despite it being quite large, it is still full although it does house the craft, picnic baskets, party supplies and other bits and pieces as well. I don’t think a sink is necessary (I’d rather the bench space) particularly if your dishwasher is in the kitchen. x

    1. Your pantry sounds perfect! I am re-thinking the sink so it is great to hear that feedback. I’m not sure we will need one in there, and you are right, I think I will appreciate the additional bench space.
      Thanks so much x

  2. It’s a great space for guests to get their coffee and tea in the morning but stay out of the way of the chef in the kitchen cooking breakfast!

  3. Bench space is king. We have a large kitchen with plenty of bench space but still find ourselves all hovered over the same spot where the toaster and coffee maker is. A butler’s pantry is such a lovely addition if you have the space. These are seriously swoon worthy ones!

  4. Michelle Thornton

    Great post! I am loving my butlers pantry and use it more than my actual kitchen! All the food prep happens in here at this point cos I am scared of using the marble bench top! And it’s also a great place to hide from children!! Lol

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  6. Any ideas on a laundry/ butler’s pantry?

    I have a 12×14 room w/half bath off from kitchen. Want a butler pantry but need my washer drier moved on level also.

  7. In the process of creating mine now…what a valuable and timely article …thanks !
    I will be putting a small sink in mine as I need it for food prep eg. Washing veggies and hands
    Nothing worse that trying to do that with dishes all over the sink area

    1. So glad my blog could give you some inspiration Lucy! Yes, I have gone with a small sink in mine too which I think will be handy. I am hoping the kids can use this space too and leave their mess ‘behind the scenes’! Good luck x

  8. I’m putting an offer in on a 1960s home with a butlers pantry. The whole house needs to be renovated and I’m excited to put my touch on all the decor. The butlers pantry comes with an outdated sink and a small dishwasher, a window, and lots of storage space. I’m renovating everything and I’ve never had a butlers pantry. I’m thinking of replacing and keeping a sink and tiny dishwasher. Does anyone find use of it?

    1. Hi Kinu, That all sounds very exciting. I have put a sink in our new butler’s pantry which I think I will get a lot of use out of. We didn’t include a dishwasher as my husband preferred to prioritise a wine fridge! We have several friends who have a second dishwasher in their butler’s pantry and have found it useful when they are entertaining. Let me know what you decide! x

    1. Hi Tracey, we are putting a wine fridge in ours but have placed our main fridge/freezer not far from the butler’s pantry. I do know people that have put a fridge in theirs but it is quite a large space that they almost use as their main ‘working kitchen’. Hope this helps x

      1. We have a chest freezer, a wine cooler , and a dishwasher & it has worked out real well. So much better that going to the basement for freezer items!

    2. We are building on To our house and have built a 19′ x 6′ butlers pantry. I have a stand up freezer and right now a mini fridge but plan to move a regular size fridge in at some point. I’m in love with it!

      1. Can’t believe that someone else is doing the exact thing we are. Building onto our kitchen and adding a 19 x 6 Butler’s pantry. I am afraid that the space may seem long and skinny and only be able to put shelving on one side. How did yours turn out? Does it seem cramped?

        1. I have shelving along one long side and a 6′ wall that are about 18″ deep and can stack 3 cans high, which is optimal. Perfect really. The wall across the shelves has two recycled buffets with drawers and essentially counters. I also have a standing deep freezer in the back. As long as you don’t go deeper than 18″ you could have two sides of shelving.

          try looking up shelving size recommendations as well.

  9. We are in the process of adding on to our home. This article was very exciting to have especially because it gave a name for a room we are adding. I need a large pantry (family of 7) but also wanted a place to store all the “stuff” that never has a home. I will be making a list as you suggested for when it comes time to focus on that named our butler’s pantry!

  10. Enjoyed the pics & the comments. We just finished building our house & loved our butlers pantry during the holidays! We have a dishwasher , wine frig and chest freezer in there, but no sink. If I did it again I would add a very small sink.But it has been fabulous with entertaining!

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  14. Our butler’s pantry is two-fold. “My side” is all dish and linen storage. Glass cabinetry on top for attractive viewing, and pull out drawers behind doors for easy access to larger platters and other party essentials.
    “Hubby’s side” is storage of glassware and liquor on top, also glass cabinets. The bottom from one side to the other is: wine fridge, beverage fridge, ice maker and single drawer dishwasher. There’s a nice counter space with a small coffee maker, and a small sink.
    It’s been a wonderful addition to our house!
    (We recently renovated our 1910 farmhouse, and added about 2,000 sf of space.)

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  17. Don’t have a Butler’s pantry -wish I did. ?. I envy those who do -I would use I even strictly for dish glass and serving piece storage – I have 10 sets of dishes. If it were really large I would include linens for my large linen collection!

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