7 Tips to Design the Perfect Butler’s Pantry

Butler’s pantries might have been kept out of sight in the past, but now they serve as a charming showcase for dishware or an elegant wet bar for evening cocktails.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or redoing an existing pantry, you’ll want to keep the area functional and organized. If you’re building a new butler’s pantry, HomeAdvisor can help you pick the perfect spot in your client's home that’s close enough to other appliances without running into cross traffic.

Start with the Cabinets and Countertops

Begin with a color scheme and surfaces that will function best in the space. To make it feel like a hideaway next to heavy kitchen traffic, consider using darker quartz colors like Caesarstone’s Jet Black or Piatra Gray countertops. Light counters, cabinets, dinnerware, storage and tools give a clean slate a larger-than-life look.

Light it Just Right

Lighting is key to a pantry transformation. Replace an old fixture with a vintage chandelier, focused recessed lighting or industrial style pendants. Whether you choose to embrace the size of the pantry or make it feel bigger or more secluded, lighting will help finish its full aesthetic. Just make sure that important areas are lit comfortably and complement the pantry’s contents or features.

Make Room for Functional Food Prep

If your client loves cooking and hosting dinner parties, the pantry can become the perfect spot for completing food prep and adding the finishing touches to any meal.

Install a roomy farmhouse sink so the homeowner can rinse and wash as they go. This can also become a temporary hideaway for dirty dishes especially if there's an over-the-sink cutting board in the plans.

Native Pantry Décor

Add to the sense of natural ambiance with transparent jars of oats and oils. If there has been talk of an indoor herb garden, this could be the perfect spot for it if there’s a window in the space. Using shelving, hooks and glass cabinet doors, turn earthy ingredients into natural décor.

Show Off Wine and Cocktails

Why not transform an unused pantry into a functional wet bar? You won’t need too much counter space for this, but you will need enough room for a handy cocktail shaker and stand-by liqueurs.

To save space for cutting garnishes and pouring drinks, create dedicated wine storage above or below a Caesarstone quartz countertop. You can even opt for a stylish wine refrigerator.

Keep Its Character

Seek out a vintage serving tray to add another touch of character. Vintage glassware, especially thrift champagne and martini glasses, are especially inexpensive and attractive. An heirloom crystal decanter also makes a nice decorative touch.

Art deco or mid-century modern looks can bring the space to a more modern era without losing its characteristic appeal. Dark wood cabinetry and shelving, paired with modern metallic hardware and repurposed glass doors can offer a butler’s pantry some flair.

Make Old Storage New

Bringing a recycled hutch into the home is an easy way to create an eco-friendly butler’s pantry—no new wood materials required. The right antique hutch can be refinished to offer floor-to-ceiling storage space.

You can also refinish existing shelves and cabinetry. Because these pantries are usually small, they can be a great spot to play with unexpected color. A bright backsplash, colorful dinnerware stored behind glass cabinet doors or vintage-inspired wallpaper can make a tired pantry seem brand new.

Whatever you choose, remember that a butler's pantry doesn’t have to be standard or dull. It can be modified to fit your client's lifestyle, design style and needs. 

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