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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

  • Claire Douglas

Pantry ideas: 16 ways to improve your kitchen storage

Updated: 4 days ago

Kitchen bespoke pantry
Image credit: Et Lorem

Looking for pantry ideas? Perhaps you have a pantry and want some inspiration for getting it whipped into shape and looking fabulous, or maybe you have a tiny kitchen but love the idea of a pantry or tea and coffee station and want help finding a way to squeeze one in. Whatever your situation, you’re going to love the walk-in pantry ideas, the small pantry ideas and the walk-in under-stairs pantry ideas - you get the idea! I can guarantee you a fix of pantry-related joy as we peruse the pantry ideas that others have turned from vision to reality. 

Fancy some pantry ideas?

Adding a pantry to your kitchen space is not a new idea, quite the opposite, in fact. According to Wikipedia, the word "pantry" as we know it “derives from the same source as the Old French term paneterie; that is from pain, the French form of the Latin panis, ‘bread’.” Pantries have been found all around the world for hundreds of years. Despite their age and history, there’s no denying that the humble pantry has been on-trend for ages. 

1. Upcycled pantry shelves

Upcycled pantry storage on open shelving

Back in 2021, I created a pantry of sorts with upcycled glass jars and open shelving. It worked really well and saved money on buying new stylish pantry storage, which can be quite expensive, and saved waste too. I love upcycling and repurposing and have an online mini-course dedicated to it, in case you’re interested! 

Here are the results of the DIY pantry storage project, pop over to the original blog post to get the step-by-step instructions. 

2. Open pantry shelves

open pantry shelving in kitchen
Image credit: Nkuku

If you don’t have space for a walk-in pantry or even a pantry cupboard, open pantry shelving can be a great compromise. It allows you to store and style your pantry goods to create a feature and is a handy way to improve your kitchen storage and organisation. The only downside with open shelving is that you have to arrange things neatly otherwise they will bring down the look of the whole kitchen. If you enjoy staging and styling this won’t phase you, but if you are more of a chuck it in the cupboard and close the door kind of person then perhaps swerve this pantry idea. 

I'm a huge fan of open shelving in a kitchen and wrote a post you might enjoy about why I think removing upper kitchen cabinets is a good idea.

3. Built-in pantry cupboards

Built-in pantry cupboard
Image credit: Benchmarx kitchens

This is one of the pantry ideas that you really need to come up with when you are planning a new kitchen or kitchen makeover. Although, you could retrofit a built-in pantry cupboard by reorganising the layout of an existing cupboard. The advantage to built-in pantry cupboards is that they fit neatly into your existing kitchen and you can close the door, meaning the contents don’t need to be aesthetically pleasing 100% of the time. 

4. Freestanding pantry cupboards

Freestanding pantry cupboard
Image credit: Cox & Cox

Freestanding pantry cupboards are ideal for kitchens that don't have worktop space to accommodate a pantry cupboard and where there isn't a cabinet or walk-in to use either. A freestanding pantry cupboard can be located in or adjacent to the kitchen to store dry goods and help with kitchen organisation.

5. A preloved pantry 

preloved pantry cupboard
Image Credit: Rehome

Buying a preloved item is a great way to buy better quality than you can usually afford. This principle works for clothes, furniture, cars and pantries too! I’m seeing more and more examples of places where you can buy whole kitchens second hand and it’s a great idea. The preloved pantry shown is one that was reinstalled at a new home by Rehome.

6. Large walk-in pantry 

pink kitchen with walk-in pantry
Image credit: Woodworks Brighton

The next of our pantry ideas is a dream for most people. If you are lucky enough to have a huge space or a whole separate room to dedicate to a pantry then you can really go to town on the storage and organisation. With plenty of space you can break down the storage into numerous sections giving the supermarket a run for its money. 

7. Small walk-in pantry 

Walk-in pantry
Image credit: Armac Martin

Despite its modest proportions, a small walk-in pantry is one of the pantry ideas that can make a huge impact on your kitchen space if done right. There are huge benefits to having your pantry items displayed in a dedicated space close to the kitchen; it’s easier to find things and manage stock levels too, so you don’t go to bake something only to discover you’re out of a vital ingredient. 

8. Glass-fronted pantry

glass-fronted green pantry cabinet by Lochanna kitchens
Image creditL Lochanna Kitchens

Glass-fronted pantries are great when you want to see the items you’re storing. Glass cabinet doors can make a kitchen feel more spacious as your eye sees through to the back of the cabinet. The glass can also cause light to bounce around somewhat, not as effective as a mirror, but better than a flat wooden door. 

9. Vintage pantry

Vintage pantry cabinet
Image credit: Scaramanga

One of the most characterful pantry ideas in the list, this vintage pantry cabinet has bags of charm. Being a cabinet is handy as it could be fixed to a wall of mounted on a worktop. 

10. IKEA hack pantry

I love IKEA hacks and have completed a few and written about hundreds. IKEA furniture lends itself to being customised and built in to look bespoke. You can use IKEA's iconic BILLY bookcase or their HAVSTA range to create the base for realising your pantry dreams. Follow my tips for making IKEA furniture look expensive if you plan to attempt a storage-enhancing DIY project anytime soon.

11. Backlit pantry

Double pantry cabinet with integrated lighting
Image credit: Olive and Barr

Having a pantry with built-in lighting is a great idea as it creates a feature in your kitchen. Integrated lighting has the advantage of making it easier to find what you are looking for and if you have fancy storage jars and containers these will look extra slick under the spotlight.

12. Pull-out pantry

Narrow pull-out pantry
Image credit: Benchmarx kitchens

Of all the pantry ideas, a pull-out pantry is probably the most common and is becoming a regular feature in most kitchen installations. The good news is that the pull-out mechanism can be retrofitted to your kitchen cabinets, making it a great way to optimise space in your kitchen. Retrofitting a pull-out pantry is a 1-hour DIY and features in my blog post about upgrading kitchen cabinets.

Pull-out pantries can be fitted to narrow cabinets, making the most of the space right to the back wall, but more importantly, making it visible and accessible right to the back, which is not the case with standard shelving.

13. Wide pull-out pantry

wide pull-out pantry
Image Credit: B&Q

This wide pull-out pantry is a great idea if you have the space for it. It incorporates all the benefits of the narrower version but in full cabinet-width glory! I like the trays in the model shown and the added advantage here is that the door opens independently so you can access the pantry from the front rather than the side which is common on the narrow version.

14. Folding door pantry

Folding door pantry cupboard
Image credit: Olive and Barr

If you are looking for pantry ideas that are super practical and functional then a pantry with folding doors is up there with the best. Folding doors are neat and compact, ideal for a small or narrow kitchen where you don’t want to be manoeuvering large cumbersome doors.

15. Under-stairs pantry

under-stairs pantry
Image credit: Sharps

I wrote a post recently about maximising that awkward under-stairs space as it’s an under-utilised area in many homes. The shape of the space can make finding off-the-shelf (excuse the pun) options unlikely and bespoke carpentry is out of budget for many. The under-stairs space is often where gas and electricity meters are located, making it tricky to develop too much without a costly meter move.

16. Walk in under-stairs pantry

Walk-in under-stairs pantries are suitable where you have a large under-stairs space which is not common in the average house across the UK. If you are lucky enough to have a space this large then you really need it to be in close proximity.  

Where next?


Kitchen recommendations - click to shop 

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