View these 20 beautiful and functional spaces to get all the Butler’s Pantry design ideas and inspiration you need. Applicable ideas to create a charming butler’s pantry that will offer you much needed food prep and cleaning areas with extra storage space for your finest dishes.
We have begun to design our very own Butler’s Pantry in our Pole Barn Home (or Barndominium) that we have built ourselves from the ground up. Not much is super big about this house, but we did frame out an extra large pantry space.
I’ve been searching far and wide for design inspiration. I would love to share with you my findings so that you too can be inspired to create a charming Butler’s Pantry for your home.
WHAT IS A BUTLER’S PANTRY AND HOW IS IT DIFFERENT THAN A REGULAR WALK-IN PANTRY?
Historically, a butler’s pantry was exactly as the name suggests – a place for the Butler or hired help of the house to prepare and clean up meals, and a place to house all the finest serving dishes.
Its primary purpose was to serve as an extra storage space that could be hid from sight of the main kitchen or entertaining areas. The history of these spaces can date back to the Victorian era, for the elite with a large home and where entertaining was expected.
You may be interested to contrast a traditional Butler’s Pantry with a Scullery Kitchen. Scullery kitchens were essentially small but full working kitchens that could be shut off completely from the main house, but used heavily for food preparation.
Today, butler’s pantries have morphed slightly but are becoming more and more common. You might think of them as a traditional walk-in pantry, with a little more oomph.
Traditional pantries are created for the purpose of storing food. Whereas a modern day “Butler’s Pantry” often has ample space to store food along with extra space off the main kitchen to store more dish ware, appliances and even provide more working kitchen space to prepare food and clean up after all the cooking. Think of it as a “serving pantry” with easy access from the main kitchen.
Decor enthusiasts often embrace the opportunity to show off lovely collections, decorations and linens in the butler’s pantry. The main kitchen doesn’t always have enough space for the extra decor if you are wanting to avoid the “clutter” feel inside of a busy kitchen.
Overall, a butler’s pantry could very well fit into your lifestyle and meet your decorating ambitions – if the space is available.
WHAT DO YOU KEEP IN A BUTLER’S PANTRY?
Here is a list of items that you could possibly keep inside the dedicated space of a butler’s pantry:
- small appliances (toasters, mixers, microwave, blenders, coffee makers, fridge, etc)
- serving ware
- wine glasses
- kitchen linens (napkins, tablecloths, etc)
- your fine china and fine silverware
- family kitchen heirlooms
- food storage
- kitchen decor
- mixing bowls
- canning and food preservation supplies
- rarely used pots and pans
- extra ziplock bags, garbage bags, paper towels, and other kitchen storage needs
DOES A BUTLERS PANTRY NEED TO HAVE A SINK?
Not all modern day butler pantries have a sink included, but this is a major perk if the space allows!
One of the best uses of the space is to stash the dirty dishes inside this space, while you entertain in your main kitchen. When your guests leave, you can use the extra sink for cleanup.
You may also wish to use this space as a food prep area, in order to keep the main kitchen cleaner while entertaining. Additionally, food preservation and canning always begs for more sink and countertop space. You may need to soak produce, but need your main sink to stay open.
The benefits to an extra sink are countless – especially in busy kitchens.
DESIGN IDEAS AND INSPIRATION FOR A BUTLER’S PANTRY
Let’s look at the most beautiful Butler’s Pantry spaces and evaluate what features they have that make them so great – for form and function.
1 – A BUTLER’S PANTRY WITH OPEN SHELVING
You MUST go click over to view every detail of this gorgeous French inspired pantry by James May Homes.
Having open shelves offers the prime opportunity to display beautiful serving trays, baskets, cookbooks, linens, and more. The balance of adding closed cabinetry as well allows a pantry to be beautiful and functional. Truly the best of both worlds!
2 – A BUTLER’S PANTRY WITH HIGH CEILINGS
If you have vertical space, use it all up! Installing a ladder can help you reach high items and add a ton of charm. I love this pantry from Hayburn & Co. You would of course need to consider the safety of kids in the house, but this could be super fun!
3 – A DIY BUTLER’S PANTRY TO STORE SERVING DISHES FOR ENTERTAINING
The clever home owners over at Sincerely Marie Designs created a lovely and useful Butler’s pantry out of a tiny nook in their home. Click over to see how they use this space to store so many useful entertaining items for their dining room such as, glassware, large serving dishes, table linens, cookbooks, and more.
4 – A BUTLER’S PANTRY WITH A WINDOW
If you are lucky enough to have natural light in a pantry, embrace that window and make it a focal point. This image from Megan Alexandra is my main inspiration for our own butler’s pantry, where primitive design is highlighted in the colors and textures of the space. We are lucky enough to have a window at the end of the hallway of the space too!
5 – FLOOR TO CEILING STORAGE IN A BUTLER’S PANTRY
Even if you only have a narrow wall space, I think it provides ample opportunity for display and storage. I love how Shira Gill shares this floor to ceiling shelving which can store food and dish ware on it’s narrow shelves.
6 – A BUTLER’S PANTRY FOR WASHING AND STASHING DIRTY DISHES
This gorgeous kitchen has the most clever little nook aside the main kitchen with a beautiful sink for clean up in the butler’s pantry. Click over to see the whole open floor plan layout and how this kitchen provides extra space for dirty utensils and more. If you have the space, you can even add a separate dishwasher in the butlers pantry!
7 – BOLD DESIGN OPPORTUNITY IN A BUTLER’S PANTRY
The butler’s pantry offers an opportunity for bold and beautiful design. No one does it quite as well as the designer Ashley Montgomery. This small space is full of texture, metals and lovely colors.
When designing a butler’s pantry, don’t be afraid of bold wallpaper, statement worthy paint color, and adequate lighting.
8 – EXTRA COUNTERTOP SPACE IN A BUTLER’S PANTRY
I don’t think any cook would complain about extra counter space in their kitchen! A Butler’s pantry can provide that and allow you more room for decor and function cooking needs. You can opt for stone or wood countertops for a primitive and European look to the space.
9 – AN ARTISTIC OPPORTUNITY IN THE THE BUTLER’S PANTRY
One of my favorite DIY couples over at Grit and Polish created a show stopping butler’s pantry with such beautiful details – like the uniquely cut marble backsplash and vintage art on display. Even a tiny space can provide a place for extra cabinet space, a tiny sink, and a place for garbage.
10 – A PLACE TO STORE MORE APPLIANCES IN THE BUTLERS PANTRY
The gal over at Design loves Detail created a beautiful space for all the bulky appliances – keeping her main kitchen design seamless. Imagine how you could stash items such as an oven, microwave, mixers, toasters, blenders and more – and keep the kitchen clutter free!
11 – STORING FOOD IN THE BUTLER’S PANTRY
Don’t think that a modern day butler’s pantry can’t store food! Whether behind cabinet doors or out in the open – this pantry can be beautiful even with all that food!
12 – MORE CABINET SPACE IN A BUTLER’S PANTRY
Maybe your goal for a butler’s pantry is to create a storage area with more cupboards. This is a great idea! It can be stunning and functional, adding much needed storage to your busy kitchen area. This kitchen is a must see!
13 – A BUTLER’S PANTRY FOR A COFFEE BAR OR BEVERAGE STATIONS
Deb’s pantry over Seeking Lavender Lane is bursting with European design and character. However, it functions well to provide a space for beverage making, snacks and more. I love the curtain on the lower cabinets!
14 – THE HIDDEN BUTLERS PANTRY
Maybe you don’t want to make an immediate statement . . . so hide our butler’s pantry! This a super smart use of space over at CC + Mike where the entrance doors look seamless with the cabinetry.
15 – A CHARMING BUTLER’S PANTRY ALL YEAR LONG
No one does charm quite like Inspired by Charm! The Butler’s pantry can change form all through the seasons and Holidays with simple decor swaps. You must see how his pantry looks during the Holiday season!
16 – EXTRA FRIDGE SPACE IN THE BUTLER’S PANTRY
If you have the space, throw in an extra fridge like Liz Marie! I know we could always use the extra fridge space, especailly when hosting. I love the retro style of this fridge as well.
17 – A BUTLER’S PANTRY THAT DOUBLES AS A LAUNDRY ROOM
I thought this was an incredible use of space – where the homeowner had to use her laundry room as a pantry as well.
18 – A BAKING STATION IN THE BUTLER’S PANTRY
Can you imagine to be able to do all your baking right inside a butler’s pantry? It seems excessive – but I wouldn’t complain (wink). This is the most beautiful pantry ever from designer Jaimee Rose with that marble sink, curved window, double appliances, tile wall, full size glass fridge . . . oh just beautiful!
19 – A MORE HISTORICALLY ACCURATE BUTLER’S PANTRY
Are you watching “The Established Home” on Magnolia network? Jean Stoffer is quickly becoming my favorite designer! Her reveal of The Woodward took my breath away. I loved hearing her talk about preserving this butler’s pantry to do what it would have traditionally done – store all the finest dishware. Her bold use of color was breathtaking!
20 – A SIMPLE AND CLEAN BUTLER’S PANTRY
If bold isn’t your thing, this beautiful very soothing space from High Street Home Design is lovely! It’s small and mighty – yet smart and simple. Very inspirng!
I hope you enjoyed this round up of butler’s pantry ideas! It sure has my juices flowing! Follow along on my Instagram account as I show updates of our process, and then hang tight for me to reveal our own butler’s pantry space.
Thanks for reading!