My Favorite Room in the House: The Walk-In Pantry

By Jennifer Noonan | Updated Feb 18, 2014 6:16 PM

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Walk-In Pantry


When we lived in our tiny Manhattan apartment, we had 48 inches of total counter space and one 18-inch-wide pantry cabinet. Needless to say, food and supplies were stuffed into every conceivable space available—above cabinets, under beds and everywhere in between. Having come from such small urban quarters, maximizing space was our top priority as the floor plan for our new-construction home was being finalized.

My husband spotted an “Optional Storage” area in the garage, which could be put to good use as a mud room and expanded pantry (original floor plan detail below).

In cooperation with our builder, we adjusted the floor plan, first by pushing the entry stairs farther into the garage, then by swapping the position of the refrigerator and pantry. The result? A genuine walk-in pantry that’s bigger than the bathroom in our former NYC digs! I absolutely love this pantry; it’s got room to store everything and then some (revised floor plan detail below).

Having lived with my pantry for five months now, there are many things I’m happy we remembered to ask for, plus a few things I’d like to someday change or add on. Here’s what I’d recommend considering when planning a walk-in pantry space:

1. Make sure you have good overhead lighting.

2. Add an electrical outlet for a mini-vacuum, paper shredder or other small appliance.

3. Plan enough room to house your recycling bins. It saves a lot of trips to the garage.

4. Solid vs. Wire Shelving: It’s a personal choice, but if you plan to use wire shelving, make sure it’s installed with enough support to hold heavy cans, liquor bottles, cast iron pots/pans or multiple bags of flour and sugar. The longer the run of shelving the more support it needs.

There are improvements I’d like to make in my walk-in pantry in the future, but it’s still currently my favorite room in the house. Organizing and finding things is a cinch. It’s also a popular destination during our frequent after-dinner games of Hide-and-Seek with our two young girls. After living with a kitchen where there was absolutely nowhere to hide, it’s a very a welcome change.