Kitchen pantry organisation can definitely be challenging. If you are finding storage space a struggle, check out our top five mistakes to avoid in your kitchen pantry.

Kitchen pantries are an institution and a home is not complete without one. A pantry is a place designed to store your food items and preparation tools. But, there is so much more to a kitchen pantry than just food staples.

Designed properly, a kitchen pantry will provide smart storage solutions and advantages for entertaining. But, we have seen it time and time again; pantry spaces falling well short of their potential as a result of overlooked planning. In this article, we will tackle five of the simplest, yet avoidable, mistakes made in a kitchen pantry.

But, first let’s take a look at where it all started.


The history of the kitchen pantry

According to, the word pantry originates from the Old French word paneterie, meaning bread room an extension of panet(er) which means to bake bread.

In times of old, food and supplies were stored in various rooms. Meats were stored in a larder, alcohol was stored in a buttery, and bread was stored in a pantry.

A butler’s pantry was typically used as a place to store silver, serving items and other tools used in the kitchen. This kitchen pantry was under lock and key. It was rumoured that as the butler’s pantry kept the precious silver items, the butler would sleep in the pantry as a safeguard against thieves. Fast forward to modern times, a butler’s kitchen pantry is now used in homes as an additional storage and preparation area.

* Tip: read more about the benefits of a butler’s kitchen pantry here

In pre-war times in America, smaller houses did not have closets, cabinets or kitchen pantries. It was not until the early 1900’s when the Hoosier cabinet, made by the Indian company Hoosier Manufacturing, was introduced as an all-in-one kitchen pantry idea.

The majority of these Hoosier cabinets were about six feet tall, four-foot-wide and two feet deep. This kitchen pantry was perfect for smaller sized kitchens. The cabinet came fitted with in-built storage bins and containers that were used to house staples like flour, sugar, tea and coffee.

Here’s an example of a traditional Hoosier kitchen pantry.

Photo source: Ebay


Across the seas in Japan, the Mizuya Tansu cabinet was crafted for their kitchens. Much like the Hoosier, the Tansu included a combination of storage options and work surfaces. It too was a vertical arrangement to keep space it used minimal.

Photo source: Pinterest, Kikuimports










Nowadays, the kitchen pantry is typically a built-in solution, and I don’t know where I would be without mine!

Here are five mistakes to avoid when designing your kitchen pantry.


#1: Doors that open inwards

No matter how spacious, you need to capitalise on the space within a kitchen pantry. A pantry door that opens inwards makes it tricky to get items that are located behind the door and limits what you can store in that area.

To maximise on the space available, design a kitchen pantry door that opens outwards. A cavity slider might also be an alternative open for the pantry door if space is limited both inside and out.


#2: A kitchen pantry that does not work with the kitchen flow

Kitchen pantries should be part of careful planning, not an afterthought. As such, when designing your kitchen think about the traffic flow. What location is the best for creating the best flow from the kitchen pantry to benchtop and refrigerator?

If this is not considered properly you may end up dodging benches, tables, and cabinets while juggling an armful of goods from the kitchen pantry. Be sure to plan the kitchen pantry location thoughtfully.


#3: No electrical outlets

At this point, it may sound ludicrous to include power inside your kitchen pantry. But, think about how many small appliances linger within a kitchen itself. And, with the increasing popularity of chargers and docking stations, an outlet inside the kitchen pantry saves the mess of cords atop the kitchen bench!


A variety of appliances such as wine fridges, electric can openers or coffee machines can also be operated within a kitchen pantry; space permitting of course. You never know what gadgets you might introduce to your home in the future. There is no harm in planning ahead for some wattage.


#4: Only including shelves

When most people think about designing a kitchen panty they picture a big cabinet stocked with plenty of shelves. But, that is precisely where most people go wrong. Shelves are not the only option for storage in a kitchen pantry.

Plate racks, wine racks, lazy Susan’s, storage nooks, drawers and containers should all be considered.

When designing your kitchen pantry think about what type of entertaining you do, or are likely to do, and choose some storage solutions based around that.

What are your most common food items and how can you best display and store those in your kitchen pantry?


#5: Poor lighting

Proper lighting is very important in a kitchen pantry, after all you want to be able to see all of your of items. Choose functional, energy-efficient lighting. If your pantry is going to be excessively big, or a butler’s pantry perhaps, consider installing a skylight to help.


Other things to avoid

  • Don’t store fruit in the kitchen pantry. In my house if it’s out of sight it’s out of mind and just doesn’t get eaten while it is fresh. Fruit also tends to rot faster in warm, dark places. Use a decorative fruit bowl on the bench instead.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of using permanent labels on your food containers in the kitchen pantry. Label your trendy mason jars and containers with chalk labels instead. This makes it easier to change the contents around as fast as you change your mind!
  • Don’t forget to stocktake your kitchen pantry regularly. Stocktaking helps to avoid over-spending and food wastage. Remember to rotate items in your kitchen pantry.

No one has time for a poorly-planned kitchen pantry. Get the basics right and you will be sure to reap the rewards of an organised and well-planned kitchen pantry.

Need help planning your kitchen pantry – get our expert team on the job! Check in with our kitchen design teamhere.