Walk-in pantry ideas to maximise your kitchen storage

What’s on your kitchen wishlist? If the answer is a walk-in pantry, you’re in the right place. No longer just a utilitarian space, the humble pantry has evolved into a home must-have.

Picture ample storage, colourful appliances, and labelled jars – all hidden behind steel-framed or fluted doors. Sounds like those stunning walk-in pantries straight off of Pinterest or Instagram, right? Well, fear not because today we’re helping you turn those aspirations into reality.

We’ve asked the experts for their top tips for designing a walk-in pantry and gathered plenty of inspiration – let’s begin, shall we?

dark kitchen with walk-in pantry in an alcove
For this design, instead of running the kitchen cabinets the whole length of the back wall, the natural alcove lent itself to creating a pantry with steel-framed glazing. The Shoreditch kitchen from Davonport starts from £50,000.

Where should I place my walk-in pantry?

You want your essentials to be easily accessible, so the most suitable location would be within or near the kitchen.

If you’re planning a walk-in larder as part of a kitchen extension or renovation, making space for it is much easier. “Look for unused corners or underutilised spaces that can be transformed,” recommends Dawn Filkins, head of creative at Smile Kitchens. However, it’s not impossible to transform an awkward alcove into a walk-in pantry after your project is done and dusted. Picture the unused space under the stairs – it can be redesigned for gaining extra storage.

Also, think about what you want to store inside the pantry – dry goods, spices, and cooking utensils? Or bulky appliances to free worktop space, spare crockery, and linen? “Consider the proximity to the main cooking area for convenience and once you have the space, focus on maximising storage,” says Dawn.

Nordic-inspired walk-in pantry with walnut doors and fabric skirt
Martina’s kitchen (@thevenetianpantry), designed by Bradley Van Der Straeten Architects, features a compact walk-in pantry behind deep walnut framed doors. The kitchen was built by Tekton Joinery. Photography: French + Tye.
blue walk-in pantry design with open shelving
Achieve a timeless look using modern shaker cabinetry such as the Arrington range painted in Slate Blue and Shell, price on application, Kitchen Stori.

How to design a walk-in pantry

The layout

First, assess how much space you’ve got available for a walk-in pantry. “If you’re planning for one for your home, the first port of call is to consider how much space can be allocated to it. This will determine the overall layout of the design – straight line, L-shape or U-shape,” explains Tom Howley, design director at the Tom Howley. “Walkway and appliance clearances should also be considered to ensure there’s plenty of room to manoeuvre.”

Whether you’re short on space or have ample room to host a grand walk-in pantry, there are clever ways of maximising every inch and achieving a pretty and practical design.

L-shaped and U-shaped layouts are popular choices for bigger kitchens as they provide plenty of cabinet and worktop space, and you can even squeeze in a wine cooling unit or an extra sink and tap. However, for more compact walk-in pantries, a single run of cabinets works well.

Don’t forget to pay attention to the entryway. For example, you can opt for no doors, so you can put your design on display (helps if you’re organised). Some stylish options are the popular steel-framed and fluted doors. “If you’re tight for room, opt for pocket or sliding doors, as this will maximise floor space and create easy access to essential zones,” says Tom.

Then, to best utilise the wall area, add extra cabinets or, the more sought-after solution, open shelving.

dark and timeless pantry design with jars in a mix of heights
Lewis Alderson redesigned the layout of this kitchen to improve the dark, slightly odd corner. Steel-framed glazing and a window create a view of the pantry from the kitchen and let in light. Lewis Alderson kitchens start from £35,000. Photography: Adam Carter.
pocket doors hiding a walk-in pantry
Walk-in pantry design by Schmidt. Kitchens start from £10,000.


A walk-in pantry is ideal for keeping dry goods on hand or housing bulky appliances. So, depending on your needs, you can include a mix of storage options such as ample units, deep drawers, open shelving, racks, and rods. “The addition of customised deep drawers in addition to more traditional open shelving gives you more options for storing multi-packs of food in ambient conditions,” advises Julia Steadman, commercial director at Brandt Design.

Open shelving continues to be a popular feature in many kitchens and pantries. What’s not to love? It not only looks great but it is also practical. “Features such as bottle or spice racks and floating shelves offer easy access without it becoming a cluttered space,” explains Elizabeth Sherwin, creative director at Naked Kitchens.

The height of your shelves can be determined by measuring the storage jars, oil bottles, cookbooks, and the other items you’d like to store in there in order to maximise your design’s potential. “Opt for a combination of both drawers and shelves, especially solid drawers as these have a better weight limit and storage capacity,” says Elizabeth.

And, if the space allows for it, go one step further and include an extra fridge-freezer to gain more storage –perfect if you’ve got a big family or like to bulk buy.

modern kitchen design with small walk-in larder hidden behind fluted doors
Small space? No problem! Get inspired by the Arbor kitchen, from £35,000, Harvey Jones. It features open shelving, statement surfaces, and fluted doors.
kitchen storage ideas with open shelving and deep drawers
Wood Works Brighton has created a bespoke walk-in pantry that makes the most out of an awkward space. It includes plenty of room for storage, open shelves, worktop space, and fluted glass doors. Price on application.
kitchen organisation ideas with open shelving and deep wood drawers
Mix and match storage solutions for a clean and tidy space. Brandt Heritage collection, from £25,000, Brandt Design.

Walk-in pantry styling ideas

When designing your walk-in pantry, think of it as an extension to your kitchen. You can match the cabinetry style to your existing units for a seamless link. To unify the look, opt for a similar worktop material. “A well-positioned quartz countertop can be a godsend, not only for storing small appliances but as a space to unpack the shopping and stash deliveries until they are put away,” explains Tom.

However, this is also a great opportunity to be bold and experiment with colours and patterns. “Consider adding a splash of colour, wallpaper, or decorative elements like cookbooks to bring in an even more personal touch,” recommends Dawn.

To take your design out of the ordinary, include decorative patterned tiles, brass fittings, and colourful small appliances. “If the pantry can be viewed from another room, it’s a good idea to include some attractive storage units such as plate racks, wine racks, and glazed units,” advises Josie Medved, design manager at Symphony.

Clear jars and containers are a go-to for styling open shelving. Make sure you label yours for ease and to get that Instagram-worthy look. As for the finishing touches, decorate with pretty crockery, colourful glassware, and chunky cookbooks.

blue walk-in pantry cabinetry with pink and white tiles, open shelving, and brass tap
Fit your walk-in pantry with luxurious materials and decorative finishes such as colourful units and patterned tiles. A pantry using Martin Moore’s New Deco kitchen starts from £10,000.
modern kitchen storage ideas with steel-framed windows and open shelving
The steel-framed glazing surrounding this compact walk-in pantry allows plenty of natural light inside. Herringbone Kitchens‘ Westgate range starts from £25,000.
kitchen organisation ideas with plate racks, wine bottle storage, and open shelving
Go all out with built-in vertical plate racks, wine bottle storage, and open shelving. Laura Ashley Kitchen Collection Aberford in Indigo by Symphony. From £10,000.
minimalist kitchen storage with open shelving and built-in wine rack
Stay organised with the help of open shelving and built-in wine bottle racks. Brancaster Marshes kitchen, price on application, Naked Kitchens.
small larder design accessories with jars, containers, and baskets
Ready to put your favourite dry goods on display? Small Clockhouse stool in Natural, £130; Audley storage jars, from £10, and Ravello vase, £32 for a large, Garden Trading.

Don’t forget…

One key element you need to keep in mind is ventilation, so you can reduce your food waste. “An often overlooked element is proper ventilation, which is crucial to keep the walk-in pantry fresh and prevent humidity spoiling ingredients,” says Dawn. “Consider installing a small window or an exhaust fan to circulate air. If this isn’t possible you could look at investing in a dehumidifier instead.”

Josie recommends considering good lighting, especially if you don’t have windows in the pantry, so you can read food labels. Also, make sure to include drawers to store linens such as napkins and tablecloths, and a step stool or ladder for reaching high units.

To sum up, with the help of clever design tricks you can achieve your dream walk-in pantry no matter the size of your space.

Enjoyed this post? Click here for more kitchen organisation ideas for a tidy space

Featured image: Hartford collection in Avocado, from £25,000, Tom Howley.

About Post Author

You Might Also Like


Want to get involved?

[email protected]

Sign up to our newsletter

Want the latest in your inbox?