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35+ Butler’s pantry ideas – kitchen pantry cupboards, small butler’s pantry designs

By Elise Hodge

Updated: May 2nd, 2022

Enjoy extra space with a handy place to prepare drinks and store your linen, glassware and cutlery!

Butler’s pantries used to be a luxury reserved for the ultra-rich. Think waitstaff, polished silverware, fancy serving pieces – basically something out of Downton Abbey. And in fact, the butler’s pantry was originally introduced as a place where the butler would sleep to guard expensive pantry items against thieves.

Butler’s pantries have come a long way since then. They’re no longer a status symbol for the elite but a practical addition (read: must-have) to a lot of modern homes. They are usually positioned just beside the kitchen or dining room and are used to prepare meals, as well as to store extra kitchen items.

Inside, you’ll generally find a countertop and cabinets for holding serving pieces, as well as tableware, wine glasses, linen, candles, and other decor items. Sometimes, butler’s pantries can include an additional sink, dishwasher or refrigerator. And they can even be transformed into laundry spaces. There are just so many uses and that’s why I’ve put them all in the one spot for you.

Types of butler’s pantries

You may be surprised that there are so many different types of butler’s pantries and the type you choose will depend entirely on what you are trying to achieve with your space and your home’s style. One of the most popular types is the walk-in butler’s pantry, which you can construct by enlarging an existing food pantry.

Another option is to convert a small hallway between your kitchen and dining room into a practical pantry. If you want privacy, you can create a butler’s pantry with swinging or pocket doors, a screen, or sliding panels. You can even hide your butler’s pantry by creating a false back wall in your kitchen or dining area.

So if you’re thinking of adding a handy butler’s pantry to your home, I’ve done the digging for you and found ## butler’s pantry ideas – we’re talking kitchen pantries, small butler’s pantries, handy privacy hacks and more. Read on to be inspired!

1. Make the most of your space

A butler’s pantry is the perfect example of a room that needs to use every inch of space to its advantage – no corner should be spared! Optimal use of space is exactly what you want to achieve when you create a butler’s pantry. Think plenty of closed cupboards, floor-to-ceiling open shelving, a handy chalkboard for displaying a calendar and weekly chores, a mounted holder with space for important documents, a hook to hold reusable shopping bags…keep things neat by ensuring everything has its own designated space.

2. Go for open shelving

While cupboard doors are great for hiding any mess or mismatched items, it can be frustrating when you can’t see what’s inside them! But in a butler’s pantry, your items are out of sight in another space anyway. So this is the perfect room to completely fill with open shelving. With an open shelving design, you’ll be able to see exactly where your coffee, tea, fruit, flour, snacks,  bottles of wine, and kitchen appliances are, which makes it so easy for entertaining!

Source: Photo by Rachel Claire from Pexels

Because a butler’s pantry can be a unique size, it’s a good idea to look into custom shelving professionals who will be able to help maximise the space that you have available.

3. Display your glassware

Butler’s pantries are the perfect place to store your precious glassware because when they’re hidden behind a door, they’re out of sight from tiny hands that might try to pull them down! And the last thing you want is a crashing glassy mess on the floor. Instead of taking that risk, display your wine glasses, tumblers and other glass serving items on open shelves in the safety of your butler’s pantry. They’ll not only sit safe, but they’ll also look beautiful too should any guests wander in!

Source: Photo by Prydumano Design on Unsplash

4. Hidden behind a door

Keep your butler’s pantry completely separate from the rest of your kitchen by hiding it behind a door. This allows for extra privacy. This is especially handy when you’re entertaining. If you have a mess, you can simply shut the door and keep people out!

5. Baskets

There are few things more frustrating than a messy pantry full of random items. This not only makes your kitchen feel drab, but it makes it really difficult to find what you’re looking for when it comes to cooking time. Keep everything organised with handy steel baskets. And arrange your open shelving by sections. In other words, dedicate each section to a different category of food – be it pasta, breakfast items, rice or spices. Arrange your pantry this way and you’ll feel instant relief!

6. Classic grey

You can’t go wrong with a grey kitchen and butler’s pantry. It’s a safe choice that’ll never date and it looks lovely paired with white and neutral shades.

Source: Photo by Callum Hill on Unsplash

7. Lines and shapes

Your butler’s pantry should be a place where you can have fun with your design. Play around with interesting shapes, colours, patterns and textures!

8. Keep everything organised

Because your butler’s pantry is out of view, it can be easy to let it turn into a big mess. Avoid making this mistake by storing all of your non-perishable items neatly displayed in glass or plastic canisters. This is not only practical because you can see what’s inside each one, but it’s also a really simple way to keep everything organised. So next time you purchase nuts, flour or any other pantry items, remove them from their packets and place them into see-through containers straight away.

9. Traditional timber

If you want to go for a really traditional butler’s pantry, then you can’t go wrong with classic timber. This timber shelving with its brick background looks gorgeous peeping through the open doorway in this home. Timber shelving is also a style that’s easy to pair with other elements and decor – so you just can’t go wrong with it!

Source: Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

10. Luxury finishes

Move over mediocre butler’s pantries – make a statement with a traditional and ornate style of décor with plenty of luxe finishes. Maybe it’s beautiful brass finishes, glass light fixtures, subtle patterned wallpaper, or super sleek kitchen cabinets.

11. Glass cabinet displays

If you’ve got the space, then why not add extra glass cabinets on the exterior of your butler’s pantry. You can do this by installing them on either side of the door. This is a great place for displaying treasured kitchenware or for putting decor on show.

12. Wall lamps

It can be easy for your butler’s pantry to turn into a dark hole at the back of your kitchen. Don’t let this happen! Install handy wall lights, like these sconces, to keep the light shining bright in your butler’s pantry.

Source: Photo by Jean-Philippe Delberghe on Unsplash

13. Strip lighting

Or, if you don’t have any sources of natural light in your butler’s pantry, you might like to light the space up by installing strip lighting underneath your cabinets. This will brighten up your bench space, so you can see what you’re doing while you’re preparing food.

14. Timber shelving

Create contrast in your butler’s pantry with gorgeous timber shelving. This looks especially great if you have an all-white background. Once you’ve got your shelving in place, fill up the layers with all sorts of things – from serving dishes and jugs to glassware to jars filled with non-perishable pantry items.

Source: Photo by Lasse Jensen on Unsplash

15. Wine holders

Your butler’s pantry is a handy spot to prepare for entertaining, and nothing makes it more practical than a dedicated space to store wine bottles. This makes life easy when it comes to entertaining. All you need to do is pull out a fresh bottle and prepare the drinks on your butler’s pantry bench.

16. Consistent style

If you want to create the same look and feel throughout your kitchen and butler’s pantry, then choose the same colours and finishings for both spaces.

17. Glass doorway

Instead of hiding your butler’s pantry away completely, keep it open by installing glass panels and a glass door. This not only looks interesting but it opens up your space to make it appear larger than it is.

18. Coastal white

Make your butler’s pantry light and bright with a white on white style. It’s a design that’s always fresh and beautiful. If you want to create a bright white space, start with white timber for your cabinets and walls, use marble for your countertop, and install white steel or timber open shelving for displaying your kitchenware.

19. Hide your appliances

A butler’s pantry is the perfect place for putting away your appliances and your extra mugs, cups and kitchenware that you don’t use on a daily basis. Where you may not like to keep your appliances on display in your kitchen, you can keep them out all of the time in your butler’s pantry, because the room is out of sight.

Source: Photo by Callum Hill on Unsplash

If you’re looking to tie in your butler’s pantry design with your kitchen cabinetry, here are some great kitchen storage ideas that may help in the design process.

20. Reflective tiles

When it comes to design, it’s important to optimise light – especially in a small space. Reflective tiles, mirrors and windows will allow you to do this. I love shiny tiles in this butler’s pantry – they bounce light around the room, giving the illusion that the space is larger than it really is.

21. Flooring

When designing your butler’s pantry, you can’t forget about the flooring. My favourite part of this space is the classic chequerboard flooring. It adds a lived-in farmhouse feel to this vintage style butler’s pantry.

Source: Photo by Chastity Cortijo on Unsplash

Just don’t forget that you should continue whatever material you have for your kitchen flooring into your butler’s pantry for continuity.

22. Contrasting colours and materials

If you prefer to create a clear distinction between your kitchen or dining room and your butler’s pantry, install statement doors, such as black steel ones. This is a really great way to use modern kitchen design flow through to other spaces. I love how they provide a stark contrast to the rest of a space which uses soft neutrals like grey, marble and white.

23. Install a fridge

If you have a large space for your butler’s pantry, why not add in a fridge? This is a great way to hide your fridge away from the front-facing area of your kitchen. It’s a useful addition to your butler’s pantry because it provides easy access to cooler products, which is handy when preparing food and drinks for your guests!

Source: Photo by Ceyda Çiftci on Unsplash

24. Interesting cabinetry

Cabinets are just cabinets – or are they? While they serve a practical purpose in keeping your glassware and plates and bowls safe, this doesn’t mean they have to be boring. In fact, you can make a statement with your cabinet design by choosing interesting, unusual ones. It’s ideal if your butler’s pantry isn’t hidden away behind closed doors.

25. Exposed brick

This kitchen is a mix of traditional and rustic styles. And exposed brick is all the rage right now. So, if you have it in your home – make the most of it by allowing it to shine as a feature wall.

Source: Photo by Maksim Goncharenok from Pexels

26. Butler’s tray

If you like a good breakfast in bed, then you should keep a butler’s tray handy at all times. This makes it easy for transporting food to the bedroom, or for carrying cups of tea and plates full of food to other parts of the house, without having to make multiple trips back and forth.

27. Deep teal green

If you want to choose a darker colour, then you should consider this deep teal green. It adds so much depth to your butler’s pantry. Plus, you can dress it up with touches of timber and brass lighting. It’s simply gorgeous!

Source: Photo by 43 Clicks North on Unsplash

28. Fun wallpaper

If you’ve always wanted to experiment with a fun print, your butler’s pantry is the perfect place to do this. It’s hidden away, so the design doesn’t have to match the rest of your house. Inject a whole lot of life into your butler’s pantry with a beautiful design, such as a watercolour-style wallpaper. The pastel shades will brighten up a simple butler’s pantry and add detail that’ll have your guests exclaiming “wow!”.

29. White and timber

This is my favourite design of all! As a colour scheme it’s pretty simple – keep everything white and add touches of rustic wood and brass where you can. Even better if your butler’s pantry has an exposed timber beam – this adds to the natural look and feel of the space.

Here’s another 100 kitchen ideas that will just send your creativity into overdrive!

30. Light it up

Make your butler’s pantry glow with built-in lighting in your shelves. This design incorporates handy strip lighting in the upper shelving to help you find your items, light up your space and provide much-needed ambience.

Source: Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

31. Tiny tiled splashback

Just as you can incorporate a fancy splashback in your main kitchen, you can also install one in your butler’s pantry. This splashback is the perfect choice for this dark butler’s pantry design, adding brightness.

Source: Photo by Christian Mackie on Unsplash

I think an eye-catching splashback can really make a room pop, so if you’re looking for some more inspo here are plenty more kitchen splashback ideas.

32. Grey and black

This is a timeless colour combination that will look great wherever you use it – whether in your main kitchen or hidden away in your butler’s pantry. I love how grey and black work so well with the blue kitchenware. So, if you’ve got a grey and black colour palette, fill your shelves with blue-and-white china and ceramics!

33. Scandi-style

If you don’t have a lot of extra room for an entire butler’s pantry, you can use clever custom joinery, like in the kitchen space of this revamped Scandi-style home. This creates a separate pantry nook and additional prep-space, which is handy for when you have guests around.

Source: Photo by Ярослав Алексеенко on Unsplash

34. Add a skylight

Let the light in with a stunning glass skylight. This is a great option for a hallway-style pantry or if you are using lots of dark timber and finishings which can easily make your pantry feel small and dark. But the addition of natural light opens up your pantry and makes it look and feel warm and bright.

35. Farmhouse sink

Make your butler’s pantry extra practical with a large farmhouse sink. This will perfectly suit your farmhouse kitchen as well and allows your interior design to flow through the home. If you intend to choose any luxurious additions to your pantry, you’ve got to choose a sink. This provides an extra place to wash up your dirty dishes, and to clean your hands while you’re preparing food.

36. Butler’s pantry meets laundry

If you have a small home, or if you live in an apartment, then you might want to consider merging your butler’s pantry and laundry. This is a handy use of space. You can display your washing machine and dryer, as well as kitchen appliances like your toaster, kettle and coffee maker. Inside the cupboards, you can hide away your cleaning products and kitchenware.

Source: Photo by Steven Ungermann on Unsplash

That’s the round-up of 35+ butler’s pantry ideas. I’ve covered everything from handy kitchen cupboards to small butler’s pantry designs to hidden privacy features and so much more. And I’ve shown you so many different types of butler’s pantries in a range of styles to suit your home design.

Comment and tell me which design was your favourite. And if you have any other ideas for butler’s pantry designs, comment and share them too!


Elise H

I've recently moved into a new home and I've been having so much fun decorating it with pretty wall prints and Scandinavian-inspired furniture. So as well as being a freelance writer, I'm always on the lookout for new design pieces for my home!

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