Let's Talk Butler's Pantries

While butler's pantries historically accompanied the employ of a butler, modern-day butler's pantries require no such employee fixture. Butler's pantries today now offer a wonderful space saving option allowing you to store your kitchen appliances, chopping boards, and Tupperware collections away from prying eyes and give you enough room to prepare your food without running out of bench space in the main kitchen. They tend to be the connection between the kitchen and the dining room and an area where you can just close the door, and worry about the cleaning up later.

Functionality first

The thing about a unique room such as a butler's pantry is that functionality must be foremost in the mind of the designer and builder. What kind of cooking do you do in your kitchen? Do you require the use of mixers, microwaves, rice cookers, juicers, ice makers and coffee machines on a regular basis? Do you intend to install a wine fridge and dishwasher or want the space to double up as a bar? Will you be using it every day or just on special occasions? Create a list of must-have requirements and then work out how much space you will need.

Power points

Modern kitchens use more appliances than ever. Therefore, power points need to be taken into account so you aren't dragging your appliances from one end of the butler's pantry to the other. It gets even trickier when it comes to the use of communication devices and the need to constantly access and charge phones, laptops and other devices. When in doubt, more power points over less are prudent in order to refrain from using extension cords which can prove to be a hazard in any room.

Practical lighting

Natural lighting is always best in any room if possible. Failing that, task lighting will be necessary to get things done, particularly in a working space such as a butler's kitchen. Recessed lighting, hanging pendants – there are so many options when it comes to lighting even the smallest of areas. A dull, unlit space is not practical for anyone, so give it some thought and shop around for multi-purpose lighting. Overhead lighting will be high on the priority list although you may want to consider installing under shelf lighting as well.

Out of sight out of mind

If you want to keep your butler's pantry hidden, then install a door. Make it clear to your guests that this room, regardless of how small or accessible, is not a part of your kitchen. Even a sliding door can be used to keep your pantry out of sight. With open plan living becoming the norm, don't forget that a butler's pantry tends to remain out of view of your guests. This is your private kitchen space used to dazzle your guests with your culinary achievements.

Shelving and drawers

What kind of shelving do you have your mind set on? Floor to ceiling? Open shelving for herbs and spices? Shelves with wooden doors or glass doors? Tall cubbies will be useful for vases and jugs and a myriad of hooks and wire baskets are invaluable to use the space wisely. Balance the shelving with drawers – again opt for a mixture of deep drawers, wide drawers and standard-sized drawers. Accessibility and storage are important; although, if you wish to showcase your favourite crystals and china in there too, then do that. Consider adding refrigerated drawers or warming drawers if entertaining is a regular event in your home.

Material and colour choices

While you may not wish to change up the flooring as it is an extension of the kitchen, you can mix up the colours or design so it complements your main kitchen space but retains its individuality. White cabinetry is a neat and tidy option, but don't be afraid to add colour or texture to claim the area as your own, too. Consider bursts of colour in the backsplash area through the use of tiles or coloured paint. As the area is generally not on display, laminate benchtops can work well, although remember that durability should be firmly at the forefront of your mind.

An extra sink

If you have the space, then you can add a hidden or hideaway sink to the grand plan. Bar sinks or laundry tub style sinks can be useful to rinse as you go and ensure that your main kitchen is not full to the brim with dirty dishes and utensils. Remember that a butler's pantry is a workspace, so keep it practical over pretty and make sure that everything is readily accessed and available. The pantry is perfect for prepping, cleaning and serving, so make sure that you have enough space to do it all, and more.