Designing the perfect Butler's Pantry

By Zephyr and Stone

The Butler’s Pantry. It’s fast becoming a must-have when designing a new kitchen - and for good reason.

This workhorse can handle all the messy tasks once reserved for it’s better looking sister, the kitchen - all while remaining out of sight of your guests who just popped in unannounced. Brilliant.

Designing a butler’s pantry from scratch is a fabulous opportunity to create the ultimate solution for yourself. Get it right, and your new pantry will make everyday tasks a breeze. But get it wrong, and you might actually create more work for yourself. Let’s take a look.

The Stables

The Stables

Step 1

The first decision you need to make when designing your new butler’s pantry is to decide exactly what you intend to use it for. Sounds simple enough, but the clearer you get about what tasks you want the pantry to tackle, the more you can refine your design to ensure it fulfills this purpose without skipping a beat.

Hecker Guthrie

Hecker Guthrie

It takes two, baby

Remember, your butler’s pantry is still that - a pantry. One of the most common mistakes people make when designing their pantry, is they unknowingly design a second kitchen. Then they find themselves continually walking back and forth between the two.

Your pantry should be a natural extension of your kitchen, to allow for seamless workflow. It does not need to perform every task currently undertaken by your kitchen, only those tasks you want it to. Enjoy cooking in your kitchen? Ditch the second cooktop. Hate clutter on benchtops? Your pantry can fix that. Got it?

Hecker Guthrie

Hecker Guthrie


Show me the money 🤑

Now that you’ve got your list of tasks, you’re ready to start designing your pantry. Remember to think each decision through carefully to ensure you get the most bang for your buck. Minimising inclusions you don’t need leaves more cash for those inclusions on your wish list. Now that’s smart design.

So let’s look at the main points you’ll need to consider as you design your perfect butler’s pantry.

The Stables

The Stables

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

The ideal location for your butler’s pantry is directly off your kitchen. The closer and more accessible it is, the better. Decide whether you want to hide the pantry behind a door, or leave it open. If opting to close it off, ensure any doors can be kept open if required, as opening a door continually may wear thin very quickly.

NTF Architecture

NTF Architecture

Does Size Matter?

There are no rules when it comes to the size and shape of butler’s pantries. You may be restricted by an existing footprint if you’re renovating, or limited by budget and block size if building. The perfect size for your pantry will largely be determined by what you intend to use it for. The one guideline you will want to follow is to allow a minimum of 1000mm for your walkway, or up to 1200mm if space allows.

Moloney Architects

Moloney Architects

On the Surface

Benchtops should ideally be at least 450mm deep, or 600mm deep if you’re planning to include a sink or dishwasher. Ensure you allow for clear benchtop space for food prep and air drying dishes out of sight, as well as space for small appliances which you access regularly.

• Z + S Tip • If you’re opting for natural stone benchtops in your kitchen, a low maintenance, easy-to-clean surface may be a smart investment in your pantry.

Three Birds Renovations

Three Birds Renovations

I’ve got the Power

Include 3 to 4 double powerpoints so that appliances can be plugged in ready for use. You may also choose to charge phones or small devices in your pantry, if so consider the best location for this power source.

Mim Design

Mim Design

Storage is King

Consider including a range of drawers, cupboards and open shelves, ensuring there is adequate storage for large appliances and serving ware. Any overhead shelving or cupboards should be at least 300mm deep to ensure they are functional.

• Z + S Tip • Drawers are the best solution in a pantry, allowing you to access the items in the back easily. They are also more costly than cupboards, so consider the cost versus the benefit to find a happy medium.

Nicole Hollis

Nicole Hollis

Let there be light

Ensure your pantry has adequate lighting, and include a source of natural light if possible. LED strip lighting installed to the underside of overheads provides fabulous task lighting for meal prep. Also ensure you allow for adequate ventilation, particularly if including a dishwasher, cooktop or oven.

Heartly Design Studio

Heartly Design Studio

Turn me on

Consider including a fridge or microwave and allow for power and water if required.

A sink and dishwasher are the ultimate inclusions in your pantry, but only if you need them! If you’re installing either, consider where you will store items that have been washed. If cutlery and crockery are stored in your kitchen, you may find yourself walking back and forth to your kitchen when unpacking every load. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Three Birds Renovations

Three Birds Renovations

Those Little Extra’s

It’s the little things that will take your butler’s pantry to the next level. You’ll never regret including a rubbish bin concealed within the cabinetry, while a whiteboard or pinboard for notes and shopping lists may prove to be one of your favourite inclusions.

Zephyr and Stone • Scandi Micro Butler’s Pantry

Zephyr and Stone • Scandi Micro Butler’s Pantry

Small but Mighty

Short on space but want to keep your appliances out of sight and benchtops clutter free? An integrated Micro Butler’s Pantry may be the perfect solution. In this micro butler’s pantry, we included pocket doors, which slide into their own custom cavity when open - yet can be closed to hide away mess and clutter when entertaining.

Zephyr and Stone • Scandi Micro Butler’s Pantry

Zephyr and Stone • Scandi Micro Butler’s Pantry

So there you have it. No matter the size, a butler’s pantry can be designed to meet your needs perfectly. Just remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, as everyone uses their kitchen and butler’s pantry a little differently. Spending the time to consider and design your new pantry will pay off every day in saved time and more efficient workflow.

Zephyr and Stone