Minimum size for walk-in pantry

jenswrensJuly 16, 2010

For those of you with walk-in pantries (open food storage - not a decorative butler's pantry), what would you consider minimum size needed?

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I think that's a little hard to say because shape makes a difference. I'd prefer wider to deeper, for instance. Also, of course, family size and how you plan to use the storage make a big difference. I grind my own flour, so I need space for bulk grain storage that other don't, but some people don't have much kitchen storage and small appliances, bakeware, cookbooks, etc. need space in the pantry with the food.

My pantry is 48" wide by 45" deep. I really wouldn't want it any smaller, and could definitely use it bigger...but I'd be happy to have one 3 ft wide if it was all I could have.

Did you see the pantry thread in the gallery section of the forum? All sorts of different ones to see there.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pantry thread in the gallery

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 10:30AM
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Thanks rhome! I remember that thread - don't know why it didn't show up in my search.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 10:43AM
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At only 42" wide, mine is on the narrow side. It's 69" deep but because it fits under our stairs, it's not full height (9') for the whole depth. It's about 4' or so at at the end. It's not as large as others have but ever since we installed Elfa shelving system from Container Store, it holds a lot of supplies for us, half again as much as it did with the builder-installed shelving we replaced. On one of the long sides, the shelves sit 13.5" from the wall. On the other, we added shallow spice racks (3" or 4" deep) and hooks to hold the step stool, aprons, extra oven racks and reusable grocery bags. This leaves us with 25" between shelves and wall racks. It's narrow but it's definitely manageable for us. Unless, that is, your son and his *big* friends are standing in the pantry trying to figure out what snacks they want to eat!

If it were 6" narrower (3' wide total), we'd have to forgo the spice racks and storage hooks and I'd really miss that. That said, if my space was full height from front to back, I should have other options for these items so a narrower space might not be an issue after all.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 1:02PM
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I have a corner pantry. Its interior dimensions are 41" wide on one side, 52" on the side perpendicular to the first side. While it's smaller than I'd like, it still holds quite a bit. The shelves on the short side are 15" deep (I had hoped to put a MW on a shelf there, but it didn't work out); the shelves on the long side are 12" deep.

With the exception of my toaster oven, all my small appliances fit on the 12" deep shelves. (My KA stand mixer is on the counter b/c I don't like lugging it around plus I actually like it there, but it would fit in the pantry on a 12" deep shelf and does go there when I have a big party.)

Seldom-used items (like coffeemaker) are in the deep corners or on the floor.

My pantry is linked below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread: Sharb-inspired Pantry Done!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 1:39PM
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I'm a little confused by your "interior" comment, buehl since I don't recall ever seeing people post room size by exterior dimensions. Cabinet dimensions are posted by cabinet size not interior space and that can get confusing if someone needs a certain amount of interior width to store items. But since the OP asked about a walk-in pantry, I assumed they were talking about a room not a cabinet.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 1:57PM
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I'm not sure I ever did get my old pantry in Rhome's pantry thread. It was a horrible suck of space. The shelving was in a U around about two steps (not strides=yards, but steps=big feet) of floor space. It was so inconvenient that I didn't use it for food storage, except for soda pop and similar bulk items.

Long, narrow pantries are also inconvenient as well as claustrophobia causing.

I tend to favor L shaped shelving in a pantry, with possible hooks, pegboard or narrow shelving (3"-5") on remaining walls. Minimum size, about 6'x4' interior, or 4' square in a corner pantry.

In the new kitchen, I turned it inside out, and gained 60" of floor to ceiling pantry cabinets, along with a whole butler's pantry.

By telling you this, what I mean is that the pantry design and location is just as important as the size. My cousin built a can pantry between the studs in his kitchen corridor. It's GREAT! Shallower shelves or ROTS (roll out shelves) make it much easier to see and reach your things. Hardware bins make organizing things in bags, like beans and pasta, much easier. Risers help organize and display cans.

When storage is tight, any storage is good storage, but with the care you're taking, I'm sure you can make it convenient storage as well.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 2:45PM
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I've been thinking long and hard about this question too. Rhome & Beuhl's measurements between shelves are helping a ton and I am using a variation of their spacing. My pantry is in an odd corner of the kitchen and we are just now fleshing it out. My interior walking area will be a little larger than 43" by 48". The front and back walls are parallel, but the other walls are shaped to get the most usable room possible. Shelving will be 20" from the floor then 15", 15", and then 10" repeated to the 9 ft ceiling.

The longest wall will have shelves only 10" deep, which is what you can barely see on the right in the photo. Then the deeper shelves are around the corners. I am planning on putting a corian counter on the left to put my coffee pot and toaster on. Hopefully it will not be too claustrophobic. (I plan on extending the counter in the back so as not to have that acute angle, which is not a very convenient space.)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 4:44PM
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If I had a walk-in patry, I would want it to be big enough to include a place for hanging up the broom, dustpan, etc...kind of a pantry with a broom closet :)

I worked in an old B & B that had a big pantry/closet like that and it was so handy. The broom, dustpan, etc. was tucked behind the door and there was a shelf over them for a couple of baskets for everyday cleaning supplies (one for the bathrooms, one for dusting, countertops and windows). It was probably at least 6' or 7' x 5' or 6'. Sorry, it was years ago, but if you have the space, I'd say make it bigger than you think you'll need!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 6:47PM
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That's why I find L-shaped shelving helpful...So I can hang things on the wall to one side of the door, and I have room for that in my smallish pantry. I still don't have the hangers up, but my floor steamer and small step stool lean against that wall. (Used to have the broom and dustpan there, but they now have their own home in the narrow space beside the fridge.)

Well, I have to admit that that's the 2nd reason I prefer shelves in an L instead of a U. The 1st and biggest reason is because corners are big caves and not very helpful for storage. One side is OK and can serve for less often used and awkward things, but 2 would be too much.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 10:04PM
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Rhome- I like L-shaped shelves, too. It's okay to have brooms, stools, etc. behind the door, but I wouldn't want to have to work around the door to get to food. I guess the door could open out, but then it's usually in the way of something in the kitchen!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 11:29PM
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I agree that I wouldn't want to work around the door to get food, and my pantry is too small to work around it to get a broom, etc, which, I think, is your point, Lavender Lass. My door opens out. :-)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 12:19AM
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ours is 6' by 7.5' I love the size of it. we have wire shelving on 2 walls from floor to ceiling(the long one for all our food, the shorter one for all the large appliances). the door takes one wall and the other long wall I have a rolling butcher block cart (IKEA) for all the kids crafts/bins and our coffee maker. We have our step ladders and brooms etc behind the door. HTH

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 9:10AM
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Has anyone seen dinobambino or Mariab 10 on here lately? I wanted more information on their pantries. Doing a search hasn't produced anything.

Thanks if anyone knows where their Kitchen/pantry specifics are!

Rhome, is your pantry in the "cove" where your Ref/Freezer are located? Do you have a landing space in there?


    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 4:36PM
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Susied3,Yes, the pantry is across the aisle from the fridge and freezer in the little alcove. No landing space outside the pantry...Just the shelves inside it. For fridge landing space, I have to make it to the island. I could go around the door to the counter to the right of the fridge (just outside the alcove), but I don't think I ever do that. It's a straighter path to the island and that's where the prep sink is anyway.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 6:31PM
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Hi All,

I just wanted to chime in on my new pantry! We just moved in 6 days ago so I haven't used it long, but I love it. And I have to say, I love the U-Shape shelves!! Perfect for me! My pantry is 57 inches deep looking straight on and 82 inches wide. I purposely made my pantry more square so I could do the u-shape and I'm so glad I did. I love how useful it is for storage and that I could do a counter in there for more prepping space. I do not have deep shelves -- many are 8 inches or less. I have one deep shelf for storing large appliances under the counter and several that are 12 inches deep but the majority of food storage is not deep at all. So I don't feel like things get lost in the corners at all.

Looking straight on:

Can Storage:

Door closed:

OP: I just wanted to say that to your original question, a minimum size pantry for me would be about the size of my current cleaning closet. It is 42 inches by 42 inches. You can definitely walk in and you could get good deep shelf storage on the back wall, hanging room on one wall and maybe even narrow can storage on another side wall.

My vacuum is not in here, but you get the idea:

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 10:22AM
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This is great stuff. Thanks to posters. More images to come?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 11:22AM
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Shelly_k, Glad you're moved in and loving your pantry! I love your counter area. I couldn't have mind like yours, as a lot of the stuff I have in my pantry wouldn't fit on 8" shelves, so it could never look that neat and tidy. But that's why we're all show different ways of doing things for different lifestyles. Be sure to post on the pantry thread in the gallery!

Florantha, Have you checked out that thread? With it and all the links, you could spend the day looking at pantry images. ;-)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 1:46PM
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shelly k,
You've got a really nice pantry space. I am hoping my space turns out with enough room for a counter similar to yours. Mine is an odd shape, so I will find out this week. I will have 2 walls of 10 inch deep shelving.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 3:36PM
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My pantry is approximately 9' X 8'. Gray cabinets and marble counters. I love how it turned out. Even with less space you could modify my design and stil have so much storage area. Here are the before and afters.

Here is a link that might be useful: willows butler's pantry

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 7:22PM
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Glad to find all this great info on walk in pantries. I'm working on one, too, in our new build. I found a lot of useful information on clearances, shelf dimensions, etc at the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Everything pantry design help

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 4:33AM
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