Written by Paisley Tedder

How to create the perfect pantry

Instagram is alight with pantries, larders and kitchen storage ideas that dreams are made of, so how do you create the perfect pantry? We asked the experts…

Pull out pantry

Image: LochAnna Kitchens

A hidden cupboard or if you’re lucky, room for you to beautifully arrange your pasta, rice and cereals is something we’re all lusting after on Instagram and Pinterest these days. Searches for pantry inspiration have increased since the pandemic began, as we all stay at home and try to create a beautiful space for storing food and crockery. So, we decided to get the lowdown on how to create the perfect pantry, scroll down for everything you need to know!

Do I want a larder or a pantry?

With both of these terms almost interchangeable at this point, it’s no wonder many of us are confused as to which we want in our home!

Julia Trendell, design expert at Benchmarx Kitchens explains the difference: ‘Traditionally, a larder refers to a purpose-built, cool space for storing food that needs to be kept chilled, whereas a pantry tends to be a cupboard which can store anything from dried food to beverages. A larder is usually bigger, and sometimes in a separate room, whereas a pantry tends to be a designated space in the kitchens design.’

Lochanna Kitchens Snow Cloud Kitchen

Image: LochAnna Kitchens

Where do I start?

Clearing out the your cupboards, and making sure the space you want your pantry to be is clean and tidy have to be top of the list. Without making sure any out of date food, dirty shelves and broken crockery is dealt with, you have no chance of creating the organised pantry you want.

Whilst you do this, it’s a good time to consider the products you have, so you know what you want to store in the pantry.

I want to build a walk-in pantry as part of my kitchen, do you have any tips?

‘The golden rule is to think about what you want to store in there, if you want to tidy away fresh vegetables then consider basket storage while allows for easy access so runaway carrots won’t fester, and if you keep lots of spices, an integrated rack on the wall might be useful,’ says Julia.

‘Involving a kitchen designer early in the design process will help to identify your key requirements so you can make the most of the space you have.

‘Many people see a pantry as an afterthought, but if you consider it at kitchen design stage, it can become a chic extension of your kitchen. For a streamlined tidy look, you could even carry the same cabinets and work surfaces into the pantry to blend them together seamlessly,’ she continues.

If you don’t have the space to have a separate pantry though, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Plenty of people opt for a pull out storage solution, or make use of often-wasted corner space for their pantry. It really is up to you!

Image: Roux Kitchen

What kind of shelving unit should I go for?

Pantries, just like laundry rooms and other spaces are ideal for making storage infinitely easier. The right installation can mean your woes are solved, while some racks fit snugly inside or underneath a cabinet, other walk-in pantries may require a shelving unit of their own.

Kane Hughes, interior designer at myjobquote.co.uk said: ‘Built-in shelving in your kitchen pantry creates a seamless and mess-free look, but if you want a minimalist look use cabinets or drawers to keep food out of sight and clear of clutter.

‘Incorporating counter space into your pantry can make life much easier, as after a supermarket visit, you can place your bags on the worktop and pack them directly into their respective areas, and even utilise the countertops as storage space.’

Read more: 5 modern shelving ideas for style and storage

Is there a way I can make the most of my space?

However organised you are, a pantry can get messy very quickly if you aren’t careful. Whether you’re routing around for an item at the back, or just get a bit lazy putting items back, it’s easily done! Don’t panic though, making the most of the pantry space you’ve got can help keep your area neat and tidy.

Installing kitchen cabinets or a two-tiered Lazy Susan, allows for easy access to items thus reducing the chances of it all getting very messy all too quickly. Taking advantage of these options will also help keep items separate which is helpful when you’re trying to find something in a rush.

Lena Cottray, senior designer at Rigby&Rigby tells us: ‘A successful pantry is entirely dependent on optimised storage and a well thought out use of the space. Vertical pull outs are a good way of using leftover spaces in a cabinetry run. Or, if you want to have items out on display for your pantry’s style, consider open shelving and make sure you have containers for everything you’re going to need.

‘Long-term, to keep the space functional and flexible, it can be a good idea to use adjustable shelving and even an interchangeable labelling system, so that things can easily be changed for the functions you need.’

Walk-in pantry

Image: Lochanna Kitchens

How can I be creative with my pantry entrance?

A pantry door or entrance is something that you can have a lot of fun and be creative with, it’s your own space so why not? Even renovating the door of your existing pantry can give it a whole new look so we’d definitely recommend, especially while we all have time on our hands during lockdown!

Whether it’s small or a larger walk-in pantry, you’ll want to cover up the inevitable clutter that can occur behind the door. One idea is to turn the doors into chalkboards so family members can write notes to each other, or you can keep a shopping list. Another popular idea is a sliding door that gives it a cottagecore or farmhouse feel.

How can I keep my pantry cool in the summer?

While your pantry is great for storing vegetables and other items, it does need to be kept so things don’t get too warm in there! This can be challenging for many of us, but there are some simple steps you can take to ensure your food is kept chilled all year round.

Julia explains: ‘Firstly, ensure the room is well ventilated – while there may not be any windows, built-in ventilation will help keep the temperature down.

‘Secondly, store your fresh produce in wire baskets or hessian sacks, as this will allow the air to circulate around the food more efficiently. Benchmarx Kitchens offer smart features such as integrated carousels and pull-outs, which save time and keep cupboards neat.

‘Thirdly, there are many advantages to using stone surfaces in a pantry, one of them being the material is naturally cooling, even in hot weather. It is also durable and non-porous, meaning it is hard-wearing and doesn’t allow space for dust or dirt to hide.

‘Finally, when it comes to selecting the location of a pantry in your design, try and opt for a north-facing angle, as this will keep the doors away from direct sunlight for the majority of the day.’

Read more: 7 smart ways to keep your conservatory cool

What are the must-have items I should keep in my pantry?

Image: Benchmarx Kitchens

The really exciting part of a pantry, is getting to stock it for the first time! Personally, I’m really into my baking so I have a shelf dedicated to different sugars, flours and decorating bits, as well as shelves lined with essentials.

‘Garlic, onions and tinned tomatoes are my basic essentials,” says Julia. “These are versatile ingredients that at the basis of many tasty dishes, from bolognese to cottage pie. I also like to store plenty of different pastas as that’s a quick and easy dish that I’m always in the mood for!

‘I like to make sure I have a few bottles of wine in there, too, not only for cooking but also for a Friday night treat!’

How can I keep it organised?

This is where the labelling comes in! Every organisers dream, it’s not only about aesthetics but also about keeping everything clear and organised. It will save you oodles of time in the long-run, and make cooking simpler.

Vanessa Arbuthnott shares: ‘Handmade labels are best for helping your pantry to feel even more personal to you. Use regular, sticky white labels onto jars for a personal touch rather than just storing supermarket packets. Labelling recycled glass jars and containers rather than the plastic alternatives.’

If you decide early on what you want to keep in your pantry, you can make sure you have enough jars, baskets or containers to store everything and then either order your labels or create your own. If you decide to order them, independent companies like The Label Lady can make things easier, and even offer discounts if you bulk buy. Then you can start filling the containers with your goodies and start to utilise your pantry to its full potential.

Got any tips for organising the perfect pantry? Let us know by tweeting us @goodhomesmag or posting a comment on our Facebook page.

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