do you like you kitchen pantry cabinet?

mdlnDecember 15, 2013


Have small galley kitchen, trying to decide to put in pantry cabinet w/ pull out drawers (24"w x 24"d x 96"tall) - OR - use the space for drawer base & ceiling to counter top (60" tall) wall cabinet.

Concerned pantry cabinets waste a lot of space (due to design of pull out drawers) and upper shelves become an abyss of hidden & not easily accessed stuff.

Thank you.

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We have a small galley kitchen we updated last year. We put in a cabinet pantry with pullout shelves. Ours is also 24x24. Have about 4-5 of them (too lazy to go look) and fixed shelves above. I just said to DH this week that I really, really loved the pull outs. I can see everything and they hold quite a bit.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 11:56PM
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This is a good post as I was thinking the same thing if my pantry closet was worth having again in my new kitchen but maybe I just need pull-out shelves! Thank you gardenpea!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 12:08AM
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Love ours, but the tippy top section (without the pull-outs) is a bit of a wasteland and because there is no counter there, I can't climb up to access it. But I would never want to bring an upper down to the cabinet because the LAST thing I would've wanted to do would have been to lose counter space!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 12:35AM
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@Olivertwist - I would actually be ADDING 12" x 24" of counter space, if I changed the pantry cabinet to an upper that went down to countertop. Thank you for the pic.

@gardenpea - thank you for your comments.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 1:05AM
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We aren't having deep shelves - everything is a roll out, even up top. Cabinet maker and various others that we talked to said that we shouldn't have roll outs at the top because, "You might pull it out and have something fall on your head." To which I countered, if it's deep and a fixed shelf, I'm going to be pulling more things off the shelf to access the stuff in the back and I'm going to be reaching further back (it's a 24" deep pantry) where I can't really reach easily anyway, so I thought that pull outs the entire height was best. Ultimately, they agreed with me...sometimes things get done certain ways because "that's the way they are always done", not necessarily because it's the best solution.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 7:29PM
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@ andreak - that is exactly what they told me when I said that I wanted 8 roll-out shelves, 5 on bottom & 3 on top.

Then even with the discussion they only put 4 into the design.

Thanks for the comment; if I go with the panty I will insist on the additonal roll-outs.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 7:47PM
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I love, love, love my tall pantry with pull-outs! Even though it is not very wide, I can store so much stuff in there and it is all so easily accessible. Since I can pull the shelves out completely, I can really pack things in there without having to fight to find things or remove them.

I have five pull-outs on the bottom that are all devoted to food storage, and the upper, fixed-shelf area is devoted to rarely used items such as vases and pitchers. Yes, I do have to use a stool to get to the uppermost regions, but since I don't use those items very often, it's not a big deal. I just keep the most frequently used things at the front of the bottom shelf.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 7:59PM
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I have a tall pantry with fixed shelves, no pullouts. I don't miss them at all. The stuff on the top two shelves would require me standing on a chair no matter what and I've relegated infrequently used things (similar to jellytoast) up there.

The top shelf in the lower half is perfect for holding food (cooling cookies, appetizers, casseroles) that I want to hold at room temp but protect from my marauding cats.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 8:04PM
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I have two pantry cabinets. One is the type with rollouts below and shelves above. The other is a narrower pullout tower. I really like them both and find that I can keep things more organized and easily accessible in them that in our previous pantries.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 9:30PM
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I'm not sure I can envision how making a tall pantry cabinet means you are adding countertop space.

I got rid of a pantry closet to gain a mudroom and a small broom closet. I have a large kitchen so I use one set of cabinets uppers and lowers as the pantry. The upper shelves are pretty empty and since I'm short, I essentially can reach two shelves on the top. The first holds cereal and often used stuff and cooking oils/vinegar. But I don't think it is very deep because I can usually get to the few things I have in the back. It's about 13" deep. The shelf above it holds less used smaller things like my stash of chocolate bars, more cereal, pancake mix, etc.

I have a wide drawer under the countertop and I lay the cans down there as you would for spices. I actually love this a lot because it maximizes space and I can see everything that is there. Then I have two pull-outs below that for dried goods like pasta and rice and heavy jars of tomato sauce, etc. I use the bottom pullout for things I don't use much like cans of juice/water. I think it all works really well! Admittedly at first, I was worried about having to bend too much and the loss of the space right in front of one's arms because of the counter space. But that's hasn't been a problem. I do keep a step stool around the kitchen for when I need to reach the higher end shelves but that isn't pantry specific. MIght it have been nice to have a pullout on top? Maybe but I seem fine without it. I also asked for a pulldown but they didn't have that. You might want to inquire about that with your cabinet line. One caveat is that we don't like to keep too much in the pantry to start and like buying fresh fruits and veggies and meat.

I originally had asked for some sort of pull out pantry where the broom closet is and was hoping to squeeze in a very thin place to hang the broom on the side wall of the kitchen but the KD said even though it looks like there is room, there really isn't when you add in the thickness of the dividing wall, space I need next to the oven, etc. And now my broom closet holds many other things like the vacuum cleaner, swiffer, long broom, short broom/dustpan extra bags, etc.

Also, my pantry, refrigerator and island make a sort of triangle so it is easy to dump the groceries on the island and then put away things in the refrig and pantry in the same location.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 10:00PM
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@CT_Newbie - sorry for confusion, the pantry cabinet would NOT add counter space, the wall cabinet to counter would.

The attached picture shows the 2 options I am considering. The 60" wall cabinets that extend to countertop (which gives me some additional counter space) vs the tall pantry cabinets.

Seems like everyone loves their pantry cabinets. That is reassuring...they are expensive.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 10:19PM
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Here's another configuration idea. Our entire pantry is 41" wide and is floor to ceiling (8ft ceilings). I know yours is narrower, but I'm just posting this to give ideas.

We have 2 deep drawers on the bottom for about 14", 48" of pullout pantry and then the top 27" is vertical storage for all our cutting boards, cookie sheets, and cooling racks. I measured, and each side of the pantry is 19" wide on the inside. Each pull out tray is 16.25" wide on the inside and 23 inches deep. They are full extension so things stored at the back are easy to get to. We measured the placement of each tray to maximize the space. The pullouts that have cans are just tall enough for the cans. You don't need that extra space on the top to 'pick up' the can like you would on fixed shelves because instead you just pull out the tray and have full access to the entire contents. That's why there's an extra tray on the right side.

At first I was going to have vertical storage above the refrigerator, but I'm short, and at the last minute changed the vertical storage from there to above the pantry. I'm so glad I did it, it's much easier to use the space. We used the area above the fridge as one huge empty box for big appliances kept in boxes, like our meat grinder, pizzelle maker, and slow cookers.

Honestly, this was one of the items that made me glad our custom cabinet guy did not itemize each piece. I really don't want to know what we paid for it. It's one of the most functional pieces in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 11:18PM
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Thanks everyone for your ideas & pics, they are SO very helpful. Glad I joined (have been a lurker for a long time).

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 10:18AM
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Deep upper shelves aren't necessarily an abyss. I have 20" deep shelves that house roasting pans, large mixing bowls, large trays. Everything can be reached from the front, because they are very large items. I wouldn't use that space for canned goods or smaller things that could get lost (though I recently realized it is a good hidey-hole for stashing Christmas gifts).

It was mentioned earlier in the thread, but bears repeating: extra shelves, so items don't have to be stacked, are fantastic. I maximized storage in my recent kitchen remodel by ordering extra shelves in most of my upper cabinets.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 10:41AM
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Now considering pantry cabinet that has drawers on the bottom (like base drawer cabinets) with the door portion on the top - something like attached picture.

Does anyone have one? Do you like it? Other thoughts?

Thank you!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 4:11AM
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Kathy Rivera

I love the idea/look of the pantry on top with the drawers below. I really wanted that but couldn't make it work in my space. So I turned my pantry cab so it opens into the attached dining room and made it 12" deep. It holds a surprising amount of stuff, I can see ever.single.item b/c nothing gets lost in the back, and it saved me the cost of rollouts. And I keep items I use a lot while cooking - pasta, rice, canned tomoates, etc in the upper by the stove.

But, here is a pic of the inside of a GWers pantry top/drawer bottom - look at all that stuff in there!!!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 8:17AM
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Anyone know where I can purchase those dividers like TexasPenny has for separating trays and cookie sheets in the upper part of the pantry cabinet?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 12:12PM
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Kathy Rivera

Probably got them with the cabs when ordered. However, I've read here about people just buying the folder dividers from Staples (or wherever) and using those. Pretty smart!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 12:53PM
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You can get a version made for kitchen cabinets that look somewhat like the staples thingie at Lowe's (Rev-a-Shelf). The wood ones are nicer, but I'm not sure where you get them.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 1:11PM
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Little did I know - I just googled "Wood tray dividers" and got a bunch of hits, including this one. Kitchensource is an excellent outfit.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tray Dividers

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 1:12PM
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Thanks, sjhokeyfan, I'll have a look at that!

annkh, I think you underestimate your kids ... there are no "good hidey-holes for stashing Christmas gifts." If you hide them, they will find them, though they will likely keep you in the dark about it until they are grown. :-)

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 2:20PM
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We're doing the same as Texas Penny, tray dividers for the top of the pantry. I measured how much space I needed to store the biggest stuff I have on its long side, installed a shelf to that height, then the tray dividers are on that shelf. That way there's no wasted space at the top and I get one deep eye-level shelf. No idea what to put there, yet!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 4:08PM
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i hate my pantry but the reasons are: rollouts come off the glides since it is crappy aristocraft( bottom of the line for them) and the top is one big open space, no shelves at all so waste of space. also i have a counter space shortage and wish i had more counter instead of a pantry.
but if you already thought about the loss of counter space and aren't going builder grade for cabs, then I'm sure it will be great.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 5:13AM
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mdln -- on the pantry cabinet with the drawers -- I really like the look. However, our architect had also suggested using drawers as the pantry base, but I wasn't sure. We have some drawers in our current kitchen, so I cleared them out and put pantry items in them to check it out -- I realized that it wouldn't work for us for the items we wanted to store there, it was too hard to see the items from the top (e.g., all the sup cans looked the same). I'm sure that drawers work great for certain products, especially ones that are not that deep. But I'd suggest trying it out for yourself to see how it feels to you.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 11:00PM
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@ hbrrbh - I think you may be right. Am already doing drawer base cabinets, probably best to vary the types of storage.

@ ardcp - thanks for the tip. I will aggressivesly test out the glides - before purchasing.

Thank you!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 12:01AM
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By the way, the wooden tray dividers in the above link are available at Amazon at a lower price, if anyone is interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tray dividers on Amazon

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 7:03AM
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Found another wooden tray organizer choice.

Here is a link that might be useful: kitchensource

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 4:23PM
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