A closet pantry is the most common type of kitchen pantry. It serves the broadest segment of homeowners and apartment dwellers and is the most budget-friendly to build. A large majority of the population is not concerned with long-term food storage or preserving food or having a large pantry.
Even so, groceries must go somewhere. Closets, cabinets, and drawers can get the job done. If not, alternative storage is located under stairs and other rooms of the house. For others, a big pantry makes sense for practical reasons.
Other people just want a beautiful, walk-in pantry. Just as there are “trophy” kitchens, there are trophy pantries. That segment is increasing over the last couple of decades. Adding a pantry to a new home has been elevated to a status symbol. Building or remodeling a pantry is an opportunity to incorporate a super-efficient pantry that adds a touch of distinction to the kitchen.
A pantry can have many different forms and labels. There is a pantry that works for everyone! The following list is an overview of pantry types. Most certainly, there is a pantry that’s right for you!
Looking for pantry measurements? Visit our Walk-in Pantry Dimensions page.
*Pantry closets in some countries may also refer to free-standing units/cabinets such as a metal pantry cabinet.
Examples of Pantry Types
Corner Pantry Closet
A corner pantry closet layout locates a closet in the corner of the kitchen design. The minimum for a corner pantry to fit is four foot of wall space; this will allow for only a 24″ door on the angle (but adequate enough space to reach in). Viewing our floor plan, you can see that this allows for adjacent 24″ deep cabinets next to a corner pantry design.
Corner pantry closets fall into the category of “step-in” closets because you can step into them (but not walk into them like a walk-in closet). As stated before, the one commonality of these closet pantry types is that it has a door to close.
This article features an example of a closet pantry.
Freestanding Pantry Cabinet
Freestanding pantry cabinet means a pantry standing unsupported or without attachment. Pantry furniture would fall into this category. A pantry storage cabinet is a free-standing units/cabinet that can be set into a kitchen in addition to existing built-in cabinets. Pantry storage cabinets can be very simple, or a design accent piece in the kitchen. Pantry storage cabinets can be wood, plastic, or metal and offer the consumer an economical way to add more storage to their kitchen.
If you have a wall that defines one side of a hallway or walkway, you can decrease its width by 10 to 12 inches and add a pantry. This can provide efficient food storage in a small amount of space. Just like the name says, it is a “hallway pantry.”
Open pantry design allows the most easy access to the user. An open pantry is shelving without doors (such as a hallway pantry) or closed within a closet (open shelves vs closed cabinets). The examples to the right show how this can be simple yet attractive.
An open pantry can come from reclaimed space, such as closing in a doorway, or locating a pantry between studs of a wall. Such strategies provide precious additional storage to small kitchen owners.
A pantry cabinet can be any humble kitchen cabinet, or a crafty engineered marvel such as a Cook’s Pantry, “Batwing,” or fold-out pantry. New kitchens may include a wall of floor-to-ceiling cabinets for pantry storage that can have just as much space as a walk-in pantry (without the delegated traffic space). This can be an efficient solution when there is no nearby pantry space. In addition, roll-out shelves can be installed for further convenience.
*Note, in some countries, a pantry cabinet is referred to a pantry closet.
It’s common to see pantry drawers for fruits or vegetable storage. The inclusion of pantry drawers in walk-in pantries is trending for snack, dish, and food storage. Some pantry items are ideally suited for drawers and give a cleaner, organized look to a pantry.
An L-shape pantry is a variation of a walk-in pantry. This often pertains to storage on only two joining walls of the pantry.
The room itself could be in an L-shape formation and shelves could cover all surface walls.
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A reach-in pantry is a closet that when you open the door, you remain outside of the storage space, while reaching in with your hand to retrieve items from shelves. Reach-in pantries average 12″-20″ deep and rectangular in shape.
Reach-in pantry makeovers are very popular to share on social media sites. Transformations are really quite amazing. Decanting food items and lining them up in an orderly fashion is very thrilling for pantry enthusiasts (decanting is removing food from the box/container it comes in and putting the contents in a glass or plastic container)! Taking pictures of the pantry owner’s organizer solutions, along with gorgeous labeling, all contribute to great photo opportunities.
A step-in pantry is a small closet big enough to step into, and backing out is your exit strategy. Unlike a walk-in closet, you cannot walk into it or turn around. Unlike the consistent shape of the corner pantry, a step-in pantry can have unusual layouts. This is the result of whatever leftover space is left to carve out in a remodeling or new home design.
Corner pantries are versions of step-in closets. Often, a step-in pantry will be the best compromise to provide a decent amount of pantry space, but still allow for an economical floor plan in new home construction.
A step-in pantry and a walk-in pantry can have the same dimensions, but different shelf depths – thus dictating if you can turn around in the pantry.
Twelve inch deep shelves in a small pantry will allow more floor space to move than deeper depth shelves.
A walk-in pantry is a pantry that you can walk-in, turn around, walk out, and bend down and look into shelves to retrieve items.
The lines can be blurred between “closet” and “room” since walk-in pantries can be as large as a room. It is helpful to note that in building codes any storage and utility room that is 50 square feet or larger must be equipped with a lighting outlet controlled by a switch, as defined by the National Electrical Code (NEC). Flipping on a switch and walking into a lighted room feels like a good definition of a walk-in pantry, although walk-in pantries can be smaller than 50 square feet.