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  • Writer's picturePJ Burns Builder

Pantry Perfection: A guide to designing for functionality & Style

A well-designed pantry can make all the difference in keeping your kitchen organized and running smoothly. From practical storage solutions to stylish design elements, the options for creating your perfect pantry are endless. But where do you begin? In this guide, we'll take you through the key considerations for designing a pantry that functions as well as it looks.

Storage Capacity

It is so important when planning and designing your pantry in a new home, to consider 'what you actually need'. It is so easy to get swept up in the excitement, and this is great, but it is also easy to loose sight of the context of your needs in a space.

  • Firstly, remember that the smaller, the better, cheaper, and quicker to traverse. If you dont need to fit 3 refrigerators in you pantry, then dont try - but if you know you have, say, 6 appliances, and you may possibly need 3 more in the future take that into account and size your spaces accordingly. Do you need a small prep area? is a second one essential? etc.

  • Make a list of the things that you need to have in your pantry (and thing about what is need vs. want). This list may include the number and sizes or appliances, freezer, number of prep spaces, a bin and/or a sink, root vegetables, cans, bread, jars, grains and legumes, opened but unused taco kits etc.

  • Have a think about ways that your pantry-stock can be organized to minimize wasted space. Also think about which appliances can be tucked away and which need to be readily accessible. Also think about what foods are accessed frequently (for example spices), and how you can get to the less frequently used items without knocking absolutely everything over. Jars, Pullout baskets, carousels etc are great for this.

  • Think about vertical storage as-well as deep storage, and how this may aid accessibility

U-Shape PJ Burns Builder Pantry Design
U-Shape pantry design - PJ Burns Builder

Layout & Organization

  • Do some zone planning. When you know how big your pantry should be, think about how you might be able to break it into separate zones. and then; Which zone should be closest to the entrance? Which zone should be next to the prep area etc.

  • Consider the flow of the space, and how you may need to move between the kitchen, the fridge, the spice rack, the bin etc. Allow clear pathways and clear space to pick up and then put down. Try to keep as few steps as possible, and even better, no steps at all.

  • Try not to only think about the space like a floor plan (looking down from above), try to also consider the height of the space, what you see when you walk into the pantry, and where it would be easy to reach. If a space would be difficult to access, is there a cabinetry solution that may eliminate the hassle such as a swinging rack or a drawer (do you need to consider corner drawers). Also think about how high should different items be and how to avoid high items being difficult to see or access (shallow taller shelves for example)

  • Make sure to consider the sizes of different food containers or appliances. You ideally want to be able, when you walk in the door, to see everything, reach everything. There is no point having tall flour jars if you are forced to put food that might expire behind them, or having small items down where you have to bend over, but instead keep the appliances and bulky items below or at bench height.

Walkaround galley Pantry by PJ Burns
Walkbehind galley pantry - PJ Burns Builder


  • Don't rely on a single down-light. Try to have 2 lights in a small pantry and a minimum of 3 in a larger pantry. There are alot of dark spaces and harsh shadows. Having a light pantry will also help motivate you to reduce clutter, keep it clean and ready for your next meal.

  • Is it possible to have a window? It goes without saying that a window is mostly beneficial for a pantry for passive diffuse lighting (but avoid excessive lighting or direct lighting at all costs - UV and Heat will reduce the lifespan of your pantry stock. This is one of the reasons why at PJ Burns we are such big fans of the walkthrough-to-laundry style of pantry; because not only is the laundry in a quiet out of the way place that can be closed off from the pantry when needed, but when the laundry is not in use there is a quality soft light through the laundry from the laundry door with a cool breeze.

  • Task lighting? That is lighting that is dedicated to a task in the kitchen or pantry, for example led strips under the overheads. Do you intend on doing food prep in the pantry? If so it may be a great idea to get some quality LED strip lighting over your workspace. This is especially important if there is little passive lighting or if the pantry is a smaller space as you dont want to be trying to work around your own harsh shadow.

Walkthrough pantry in a PJ burns Builder home
Walkthrough galley pantry - Pj Burns Builder

A pantry in a PJ burns Builder home
Walkthrough galley pantry - Pj Burns Builder


  • Don't forget to make your pantry look good! This plays in to the organization in a lot of ways. Having a pantry that looks good also helps motivate you to keep it organized.

  • The fun one is to get some really nice, easy to clean jars for your grains! Make sure they seal really tight - the party is all over when your grains start getting eaten. Play with labels and colours, different shapes of container too. Show off your farfalle, rice varieties and different coloured lentils - they look great!

  • Keep it easy to clean. If you organize your pantry in a way that is easy to clean, you will be more compelled to keep it clean regularly and this generates pantry pride. There is nothing more satisfying than a clean pantry.

  • Embrace the imperfections in your pantry it is all a part of the personality of the space.

  • Decor is easy to forget in the pantry - it doesn't need to be much. A whiteboard for meal planning, a handwritten sign and vase is plenty!

Case Study

This is an example of a pantry design for a client in 2020-2021. This home was a mid-range home; slightly larger than average and a little more in the fit-out. This pantry was just plucked out of our archive for the sake of showing an achievable pantry - it may not be a perfect design it but it is typical of a typical mid range home.

  • As you walk into this pantry, straight ahead is the busy area with a sink on the offhand and a wide cutting area.

  • All around the pantry is high shallow open shelving perfect for storing food. You can see it all as soon as you walk in and it is all within a step of either the door or the pantry workspace. This is except for the right hand side which still has shelving but there are doors to close the shelving off.

  • There are benchtops all the way around the pantry for working, appliances and sitting items close to where they may be stored.

  • Below the benchtop there is deep shelving to the left where appliances can be stored. to the front and the right there is a combination of doors and drawers for all types of overflow storage, and a deep corner which is not as easily accessed but would be suitable for rarely used items to keep them out of the way.

  • Surfaces are long and clean. items dont need to be packed in too tightly and when a shelf needs cleaning it items are easy to move onto the bench out of the way.

  • The pantry here may not be overly suitable for kettles etc due to having overheads all of the way around (it is best to avoid heat and steam onto the underside of cabinetry). But mixers, blenders, sandwich makers etc should be fine. Luckily over in the kitchen there is a nice place for the kettle and toaster or maybe an airfryer.

  • There is a nice little bit of clear wall space as you walk into the pantry to the left where a stick vaccum could be placed. Also a great spot for a white board or pin board for housekeeping.

A pantry design in a PJ burns Builder home
A pantry in a PJ burns Builder home - Pj Burns Builder

Our consultants are ready to help!

Our consultants are all very experienced with custom design - our in-house designer is more than happy to help you get the most from your pantry space too and we also give our an entire day for colours selections too. We much prefer that you have the time to nail your specification just how you want it!

Get on the bandwagon and construct us now to book your initial consultation - make your dreams happen! Book An Appointment 0741247333

3 Tee Way, Urraween QLD Just off Boat Harbour Drive in Pialba


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