Butler’s Pantry: Is It The New Kitchen Necessity?

Who needs a butler’s pantry? What is the use of another (very tiny) kitchen right next to a perfectly functional larger one?

It seems that everyone desires a butler’s pantry these days. What is the appeal? Do they really perform a function that is impossible in the main kitchen?

Clients with a variety of budgets request a butler’s pantry. They are as sought after in new homes now as frameless shower screens became ten years ago and alfresco dining areas in years before that. These days both are considered necessary, not just luxury inclusions. In years to come, will home buyers believe butler’s pantries are similarly indispensable?

Definition – Butler’s pantry: a service room between kitchen and dining room with preparation space, sink and storage for fine china and silver.

While this definition was an accurate description for the large homes of yesteryear, todays butler’s pantries go further.

The (not so) surprising utility of a butler’s pantry

With the rise in popularity of open plan kitchen/living areas, many have realised that while it is wonderful to feel a part of the action, the mess in the kitchen is definitely not a feature they need to be on constant display. Others have lamented the loss of the big reveal during a dinner party – with open plan kitchen/dining rooms, the magic is extinguished when guests can see your prep. And some families have teenagers and a Costco membership. Need we say more? So, how do you make the best use of a butler’s pantry?

The use of a butler’s pantry is not as mystifying when you ponder the pale substitutes that have been made over the years. Consider the chest freezer in the garage, the few shelves set aside in the laundry for non-perishables and the large serving platters under the bed in the spare room. The butler’s pantry brings all of these items together in one more effective, efficient and accessible purpose-built location.

Butler's Pantry - window splash and wine fridge

Wine cooler, filtered cold/boiling water tap, oodles of storage, power points and window as the splash back in this butler’s pantry.

Butler's pantry - feature door

This tactile recycled crate door leads into a well-designed butler’s pantry.

Butler's Pantry - sink

Small sinks can fit in the shallow benches often gracing pantries. Adjustable shelves allow tailoring as storage needs change.


Top reasons people love their butler’s pantry:

  • Keeps the mess out of sight
  • Enables a better design for a kitchen with fewer corner cabinets, which are tricky to access.
  • Allows storage in bulk (thanks Costco) without impeding access to everyday items.
  • Tucks small appliances away but ready for use – plugged in ready to go on a bench out of sight.

Your kitchen footprint does not have to be huge to accommodate a functional and effective butler’s pantry, you just need to be smart about how you incorporate it.

   While not strictly a butler’s pantry, this arrangement allows for swift concealment of dishes and mess behind bi-fold doors.    Butler’s pantry with power points for small appliances, ample shelving and drawers to maximise storage space.

Food for thought in all butler’s pantries:

  • Open shelving
  • Adjustable shelving
  • Shelving to ceiling
  • Bench space
  • Open fronted drawers
  • More cost-effective materials that still tie into the main kitchen
  • Power points for small appliances
  • Instant boiling/chilled water tap

Food for thought in a small butler’s pantry:

  • Bi-fold doors in lieu of a walk in space
  • Narrower bench-tops to save on space

Food for thought in a mid-sized butler’s pantry:

  • Sink
  • Microwave niche
  • Wine fridge/cooler
  • Fridge/freezer
Cleverly hidden butler's pantry.

Hiding behind this beautiful feature wall…

Butler's Pantry

..is this stylish butler’s pantry.

Masses of shelf and bench space in this butler's pantry.

Masses of shelf and bench space in this butler’s pantry.



Food for thought in a large butler’s pantry:

  • Full-width benches
  • Plate racks for fine china
  • Cooktop
  • Warming oven or second oven
  • Sink
  • Microwave niche
  • Wine fridge/cooler
  • Fridge/freezer