Designing our butlers pantry

Two of the things I am most excited about having in our new house are walk in robes in all the bedrooms and a butlers panty. Phil and I have always lived in older houses and apartments, so walk in robes have never been part of the floor plans and I can’t wait to finally have somewhere to properly store and find all our clothes. And as for a butlers pantry, well until recently they were only something seen in the mansions of the super rich! However they are quickly becoming a standard inclusion in new home designs and renovations, as we’ve seen in the latest series of The Block, so a butlers pantry was definitely something we had to have in our dream home.

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This butlers pantry is stunning, but ours probably won’t be this formal. Although, it is so gorgeous…


Chris and Jenna’s butlers pantry on The Block Glasshouse. This one is more like an extension of the kitchen than a pantry. Lovely though.

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Dea and Darren had open shelving in their Block Glasshouse butlers pantry. Which doesn’t look as pretty in photos but is probably more practical.

The only trouble is, as I’ve never had one before I’m not sure what to put in it and each time I ask someone’s opinion I get a different one! Some people who already have them swear by having another sink, and even dishwasher, in there. Others think a sink is wasted and more bench space is a better feature. I do know it will be the place I store all the appliances we use regularly but don’t want displayed, like the coffee machine, toaster, sandwich press etc. but whether extra bench space for preparation or an extra sink is more useful I don’t know. Usually I know exactly what I want, but not in this case!

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A great example of a practical yet stylish butlers pantry.

I like the look of closed cupboards to store all the food as it looks a lot neater, but open shelving is probably easier to use. After all, it is a pantry so is supposed to be user friendly rather than pretty. But I definitely want lots of deep drawers for pots, pans and platters underneath the benches. So it’s mostly just the sink v bench space I’m not sure about. Oh, and whether we want a wine fridge, do we have the same bench tops as in the kitchen or cheaper ones and does the microwave go in there or in the main kitchen…Decisions, decisions!

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This is how I dream my shelves would be arranged…

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But it’d be more likely to be like this. On a good day.

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This is pretty close to the dream…

I’d love your input, especially if you have a butlers pantry, on what works and what doesn’t, so any comments are much appreciated. Also, I will be overseas for the next few weeks so not likely to make any posts until I get back, but then we will have our final design to share and I can’t wait!

Amity xx


  1. says

    Hi Amity – we have just completed building our dream home and included a butlers pantry – its around 2 metres by 4 metres long with bench space and open shelving to the ceiling. You can see our journey of our build here It has a ton of room for all the small appliances and basic mess that normally takes up space in the kitchen. We also included a extra sink and space to make tea/coffee etc with cupboards underneath. I just love it and it means my dream kitchen stays relatively tidy at all times – I just close the door and the mess is out the way!

    • Amity says

      Hi Louise, thank you for your comment, I know your kitchen well! I found it on a blog search and am in love with it! Your house (and blog) is beautiful. I will have another look at the pantry on the link, thanks for sharing and lovely to have you sharing our Hamptons dream house build as well. Amity x

  2. Bron says

    Amity, I have a butlers pantry. I have a big one and a half sink in it and I do all my washing up in it (pots and pans etc) then I can leave it al to dry so it gets put away in the morning. I love it this way. I have a small under bench mounted sink in the actual kitchen which is good for hand washing and general kitchen use too. It give me all the space for preparation out in the kitchen area. I also have my coffee machine and kettle in the pantry and use slow cooker, ice cream maker etc in there. We have our stand alone fridge in kitchen but stand alone freezer in the pantry. It all works really well. Hope this helps.

  3. Lorrie Murphy says

    You could always put in the sink and have a cover to utilise it as bench space when not needed as a sink. There are quite a few of these on the market. I prefer open shelving as you can always close the door on the pantry if you wish to hide any mess. Enjoy your new home.

  4. Julie says

    Amity after living without any pantry or kitchen cupboard for 15 years I thought about this dilemma intensely. We moved into our renovated home 9months ago and I have to say the pantry and kitchen area are the most functional. I did not listen to advice from my builder and architect and I am glad I did my own thing. My pantry has open shelving for all my storage of food/snacks and drinks etc. I have closed under bench cupboards for all my electric items I don’t use often. My microwave is in here as I only use it a few times a week. I have a sink with drainer and that is where we do our nightly dishes – dishwasher is in main kitchen. I also have a bar fridge for the Sav Blanc and bubbles. The pantry also has an exit door to our drive way so when I come home with the groceries it is straight in the door on to the pantry shelves. I decided to have a lesser cost bench top and cupboard but it does blend well with the main kitchen. I love this space and it works so well.

    • Amity says

      Hi Julie, your butlers pantry sounds PERFECT and I think the idea of having a door to the driveway is genius! Unfortunately our floor plan is finalised now so I can’t copy it. But we do have our garage leading into the laundry and mudroom, so we can drop coats, bags and muddy shoes, so I’m happy with that too. Thanks for your comment, I will definitely be referring to it.

  5. Jakki says

    Hi Amity,
    We are currently building down at Meadows and have changed the plans-the formal dining is becoming a walk in store room and a pantry. The pantry will be 2.2×2.4m. The fridge and freezer are going in the pantry-can’t wait to have a lovely white kitchen without a fridge in it! We aren’t putting a sink in the pantry as I kind of feel for us it would be a waste. I would rather the bench space. I’m putting the microwave, coffee machine etc all in there-the only appliance that will be in the kitchen is my thermomix.
    We are fitting out the pantry ourselves and using ikea base cabinets and benchtop as it’s cheaper.

    • Amity says

      Hi Jakki, that sounds great. I think you will get way more use out of a butlers pantry than a formal dining. Good thinking and thanks for your comment!

  6. Gene says

    hi Amity……I did my Reno some years back and have a “butlers pantry” (which is also my laundry)…… I do have a sink (very deep double actually) which I would say would be a must, and do make it big and deep for those bigger dishes and pots to be washed……it is good to “get rid of dishes etc when you have a pile (as in visitors for dinner barbecues etc)……my microwave, toaster, kettle etc is housed in roller door, so they also get “hidden” in pantry……
    Not sure how big butlers pantry is, but would consider pullout drawers possibly for below bench top and mix of open and cupboard for overheads…..dust will collect whether we like it or not, and who wants to be doing that much extra cleaning (aside from my girlfriend Jane, who is a “neat freak”, love her)…….
    Think your blog is going to be followed with great interest, and I will be one of those…..
    Enjoy the journey……

  7. Sally says

    Hi. I’m currently designing my new house and came across this whilst looking for what to put in my butlers pantry. I’m wondering does it need a door? Open or closed shelves? And sink or not?
    Wondering what you decided to do with yours and if you are happy?!!
    I always said I would never build – I should have listened to myself!!!

    • Amity says

      Hi Sally, I don’t have a door and think it’s probably best without one. I have closed cupboards where you can see them from the kitchen and then open shelves for food etc around the corner, so you can’t see that part unless you’re in the butlers pantry. If that makes sense! I will post photos when the kitchen is finished. I personally didn’t want open shelves where you can see it from the main part of the house because it would look messy, so that was the reasoning behind that. I did put a small sink in there and also a dishdrawer (I have a full dishwasher in the kitchen.) It all just went in last week so it’s very new and obviously I haven’t used it yet, but so far I am very happy! Hope this helps. :)

      • Sally says

        Thanks – that’s a great help. I am information gathering so this all helps. I tend to agree with the no door thing – I wonder if I would ever shut it even if I had one.
        Can’t wait to see the photos.

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