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walk in pantry layout

Becky Richardson
October 4, 2018
I'm struggling with layout plan for my walk in pantry & would really appreciate any advice. measurements are 8'x8' with a 4 & 1/2' x 2& 1/2' entry. Entry door is 2'8" & swings in to the left side. I think there is enough room for an appliance counter on three sides (already have plugs installed) but not sure how deep it should be or how high above counter should first shelf be. The wall on right side of the doorway is 16" so thinking that on that side of pantry countertop 16" deep and shelves above 12" deep. On back wall & wall to the left counter could be deeper. Small area (behind refr/freezer ) could be just shelves for large stock pots & large seafood cooking pots ...I live in South Louisiana and we cook a lot of boiled seafood! I don't know how high off the floor the first shelf should be nor how deep it should be. Perhaps a good place for baskets of stuff. Budget doesn't allow for slide out shelves so may add those later. Meeting with our contractor tomorrow to go over closet layouts which they will start building out next week. They'll just have to wait for pantry layout till I get it right. Ceiling in pantry is 10'. Hopefully someone will be able to help me out as I've spent way too many hours on this and still not satisfied. Thanks

Comments (21)

  • PRO

    I know a couple of people who have all their small appliances in their walk-in pantry. They appear to like it. I would not. To me, a pantry is a place to store less used cookware and lots of non-perishable stables, plus paper goods.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    Also, try searching the Kitchen forum for "pantry planning", which turns up these various threads,


  • Amy Gonzalez
    I'm wanting to have all the small appliances in the pantry too. I can't stand to have the toaster on the counter out in the open. I'm thinking the regular distance you have from the counter to your upper cabinets would be sufficient space for your small appliances. I want storage space in the pantry underneath the counter for dog food bins too.
  • Mrs Pete

    I'd do something like this:

    - Pegboard next to the door. This'll be your least deep item, and it'll give you a place to hang cast iron frying pans, rarely used kitchen gadgets and BBQ tons. Spices, if you like to keep them in the pantry.

    - Next, on your right, 10" deep floor-to-ceiling shelves for cans. This'll allow you to store them 2-cans deep ... deep enough for efficiency ... not so deep that things'll get lost.

    - A lazy susan in each corner. Don't bother with fancy built-ins from Pinterest ... instead, just get the nice ones from Bed, Bath & Beyond. Don't go with the BIG ones ... things can get lost in the middle of them. Ask how I know.

    - On the back shelf -- your longest shelf -- put deep 14" shelves (with baskets) on the bottom. this'll give you a space to store your baking good and large food items -- for example, bags of flour, 2-liter sodas, and chips. Above these deeper shelves, go with 12" deep shelves for boxed goods like cake mixes and augratin potatoes.

    - The around-the-corner wall is a little less convenient than the other shelves, so I'd use it for cookware. If you want a shelf for appliances to be used IN the pantry, this is your space. You might also leave a space here for a shelf to be used for unloading groceries.

    - Behind the door I'd place hooks for your aprons.

    - Up top -- above all of this -- I'd put in 12" deep shelves that can hold 12" square baskets. You can organize occasionally-used cooking items into these baskets /bring out those things all in one fell swoop. For example, one basket could hold cookie baking goods ... your rolling pin, cookie cutters, sprinkles. Another basket could hold the things you put out on your table for Easter: your pastel tablecloth, bunny-shaped S&P shakers. These baskets -- or boxes -- will keep things organized, but since they're not all-the-time stuff, they'll be up high. They don't deserve at-your-fingertips storage.

    - With such high ceilings, consider a space to store a stool.

    I'm wanting to have all the small appliances in the pantry too. I can't
    stand to have the toaster on the counter out in the open.

    I think a perfect kitchen includes an "away cabinet run". Kind of like the popular concept of an "away room", an "away cabinet run" would be a small cabinet run placed outside the main work area. It'd be a place to store the coffee pot, a cake under a dome, a bowl of fruit, and -- yes -- the toaster. You need these things, but you don't need them in the middle of your main work area.

  • PRO
    Jeffrey R. Grenz, General Contractor

    A couple of mods:

    We lift our first shelf off the floor approx. 4" with a toe kick.

    The end wall or the left wall could be as deep as 24" shelves, at least up to counter level for larger objects.

    This pantry will hold more than many kitchens without pantries.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    Well...I guess the first place to start for an answer to your question is...what do you plan to use your pantry for?

    You have plenty of room to do most anything. You can have deep shelves; you can have narrow shelves. You can have lots of things. Do you know what you really want to do?

  • fuzzy wuzzy

    Things I use daily (toaster, coffee, etc), on the countertop. Things I use occasionally (waffle iron), in a cabinet. Things I rarely use (hand mixer) in the pantry.

  • Becky Richardson
    Wow! What great advice! Taking all of your suggestions and applying them to my layout. Thanks to all for helping me out . Mrs Pete I so appreciate all the time you took with the details of each section. I'm overwhelmed with all the advice & anxious to finally be able to give my project manager a layout that will work.
  • nidnay

    Hi Becky.....Lucky you....8x8 is a great pantry space.

    We just finished our new build and we have a 14x12 scullery/pantry. These pics and some of the measurements might help you with thinking through your pantry layout.

    I too wanted a space to have all my small appliances set up and ready to go. I decided to make the counters that house them a little deeper than the normal countertop which would give me more workspace in font of the machines. The counters are 28 1/2” deep (normal is 24”). I also wanted to be able to access and use my tallest appliances without having to slide them forward, so the height from countertop to bottom of the upper cabinet (you would have shelving instead of cabinets I assume) is 22 1/4” (normal is 18”). This gives me ample room above all the appliances. I also lowered my countertop by 1 inch (normal from the floor to top of counter is 36”....I made mine 35”.....I am on the short side and lowering them enabled me to see to the bottom of my electric pressure cooker and other pots/appliances I might be using. Even with the extra height, I still didn’t feel comfortable using a toaster under the cabinets, so I have mine set up so there is nothing above it and also with enough space between it and the wall.

    All my shelving is adjustable (highly suggest this). It was WAY too difficult to decide before hand on the exact spacing fixed shelving should have (I ended up moving them around several times anyway to get things just right). Bottom shelf is 4” off the floor and all shelving is 12” deep (upper cabinets are 12 1/2” deep which I assume is standard).

    I have one very narrow shelf (which I love) that holds single cans. Depending on your needs, behind your pantry door could be a perfect place for something like this (the actual shelves are 3” deep). My builder AND the cabinet guy tried to talk me out of this (told me the shelves would be useless....they were completely wrong!). This narrow shelving would also be a great space for spices.

    My ceilings are 10 feet btw and from ceiling to the top of the crown where you see baskets stacked etc is 2 feet. I had them put an actual shelf up there on top of the crown (normally there would be a large drop/depression on the top of the cabinetry).

    I would make sure your electrical can pull several machines operating at one time without tripping a breaker. I had to make sure that my electricians understood I wanted to be able to use lots of them simultaneously. While we were building we were in a rental and I couldn’t use the toaster the same time as the electrical grill....breaker always tripped.

    If you can swing it, a water source would be a great asset...even just a tiny prep sink.

    We also have a dedicated shelf for a countertop microwave (another handy item). I made sure I had the EXACT measurements of the oven to give to the cabinet guy.

    I also planned a space for my trash can (which as you can see from the pic needs emptying :) ).

    We also added under cabinet lighting.

    Just to give you some perspective, from the center of the sink to the wall on the right is 8 feet, and from the end of the fridge to the left wall is 8 feet (and from the wall on the right with the shelving to the end of the toaster is also 8 feet).

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  • Becky Richardson
    Thanks for sharing photos and details. can't begin to imagine how long it must have taken to plan out such a perfect pantry.
  • nidnay

    Oh Becky....you have no idea! Complete brain drain....I’m glad it’s over!

  • zorroslw1

    In my walkin pantry I put my bottom shelves high enough to be able to put packs of paper towels and toilet paper on the floor under them. I made sure there was enough room between the shelves where I was putting my kitchen aid mixer, blender etc.. My husband made long wooden "steps" for the shelves where the canned goods go so the ones in back sit higher and are not hidden by the ones in front of them. Painted them white and they blend in with the wooden shelves. Great idea he came up with.

  • artemis_ma


  • Squirt

    The pantry in our last home was about the size of your, minus the entrance area. I had our trim carpenter build a table on the left wall, similar to a garden work bench. Had microwave, blender and toaster on counter, and room to place a plate or grocery bags/unload. Underneath was kept open (with a lower/full shelf) for baskets (water, drinks). Shelves above this and on back wall were only as deep as a cereal box. Right wall was deeper (and built around HVAC return) than it appears in photos. If the next person needed more room, they can easily add more shelves to back wall and below counter.

    These photos are from when we first moved in that house, 13yrs ago. I added more baskets. Since I couldn't reach, and didn't need top shelves, I displayed my birdhouses there. While the glass jars were pretty, they were not practical, so they were replaced later.

  • sail_away

    Given the age of this post, you've probably already designed your pantry. Assuming you will have shelves all the way up the walls. I've found it handy to have a place in my pantry for a lightweight folding stepstool that isn't blocking any of my shelves.

  • riverrat1

    I'm following too!

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    "Ceiling in pantry is 10'."

    Have a 24" walkway so you can use the shelves as a ladder with treads on opposite walls.

  • wysmama
    Here is an update pic from the OP
  • Becky Richardson

    I've received so many great ideas for our pantry design dilemma so thought I'd share photos of the progress so far. Brackets will be added after shelves are painted. Back wall is same 8' length as wall on right side by entrance to pantry. So grateful for everyone's help.

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