It’s the sovereign of storage, the lord of the larder … the butler’s pantry may sound like an antiquated idea that has no place in a modern home, but for serious chefs and organizational addicts, this is a kitchen component you can’t do without. And in recent years, they’ve exploded in popularity. In 2021, the National Association of Home Builders reported that the kitchen-design feature buyers desired most was not granite counters or integrated appliances — it was (you guessed it) a walk-in pantry. Over 81 percent wanted one, and 34 percent of those consider it an “essential.”
Once a staple of Victorian-era kitchens, butler’s pantries were, in fact, used by butlers. And though wait staff aren’t common in today’s households, the functionality of these spaces has found a new following — particularly among homeowners who love to entertain.
A butler’s pantry can be integrated into a design as a pass-through between the kitchen and living or dining room or be annexed to the side or even behind the kitchen (this is sometimes called a “back kitchen.”)
While the primary purpose of an ordinary pantry is to stow canned and dry goods, the butler’s pantry also is equipped with cabinetry for displaying fine china and crystal stemware; countertops so that small appliances can stand at the ready or where meals can be served buffet style; and where amenities like an extra dishwasher, sink, ice maker or wine fridge can be accessed with ease.
If this is a design feature you fancy, thoughtfully consider how you’d like to use it. This will impact its size, location in the floor plan and the components you should incorporate, including number of electrical outlets, task and ambient lighting, cabinetry, etc. And you’d be wise to install a door (swinging and pocket doors are excellent options), so you can easily conceal any prep mess that’s made.