If you are deigning your own kitchen and are trying to decide what kind of kitchen cabinetry or kitchen furniture you might want, one class of cabinetry you must include in your plans is a pantry cabinet. Pantry cabinets are kitchen cupboards designed to hold canned goods and other dry foods for storage purposes. Some homeowners also use their kitchen pantry to store paper products or certain small kitchen appliances as well. But overall, most people use the pantry cabinet to store food. There are several attributes that make a pantry cupboard a pantry rather than just a large kitchen cabinet.
First, pantry cabinets will have many shelves rather than just one or two. You might find that the space in between pantry shelves is not very large because canned goods or most boxed foods are not very tall. Any clearance above the stored food is just wasted space. Another attribute of pantry shelving is that the shelves will not be very deep or if they are deep, there will be a way for you to reach the back of each shelf easily such as having the pantry shelving on casters so it can be pulled out or installing Lazy Susans. Pantry cabinets might also include pantry organizers like spice racks or baskets for easier organization of your dry foods. And, while it is not essential for a cabinet to be classified a pantry cabinet if it is not tall, most pantry cupboards extend from floor to the top of your upper cabinets. It is very rare to find a pantry cabinet that is only on the bottom or the top with counter in between.
Reasons to Have a Pantry Cabinet
Many homeowners may be wondering why they need a specialized kitchen cabinet called a pantry cabinet for their food. Can’t you just store your foods in a regular cabinet? Of course you can, there are no rules that say dry foods and canned goods must be stored in pantries. In fact, at the end of this article are some tips on how to make regular kitchen cabinetry into pantry cabinets. But, there are several benefits to using pantry cabinets over regular cabinets.
First, the ways pantry cabinets are organized make it easier for you to find food quickly. In addition, food does not get lost in the back of cabinets because you cannot readily see it. The shallow shelves make it easy to find the food you are looking for without having to move things out of your way or dig deep into a dark cabinet. In addition, the many small shelves and storage areas make it easy to organize your food. When your pantry cabinets are organized, it makes creating your shopping list easier each week.
However, another advantage to storing food in a kitchen pantry is that you can store more food than you might be able to otherwise. By shopping in bulk and storing canned goods and nonperishable foods in your home, you are able to save both time and money while you are food shopping. You will have several options for meals even if you have just come back from a trip and there is no fresh food in the house.
Another reason it is a good idea to store your food in a pantry cupboard is that it frees up your regular cabinet space for larger items that need the room. When you store canned goods on a shelf in your regular kitchen cabinets, there are several inches of dead space above the canned goods that you are not utilizing. Large pots and pans can be stacked there or small kitchen appliances stored and both of those options use more of the available cubic feet of space.
Finally, pantry cabinets are preferable to storing your food on shelving in the garage because food should be stored in cool, dark, and dry places as much as possible to preserve it for as long as possible. In addition keeping the food at a constant temperature is important. Therefore, a close pantry cabinet where the food is not exposed to sunlight or the temperature fluctuations of an unheated garage is the better choice.
Styles of Pantry Cabinets
Even though most pantry cabinets share the attributes we discussed at the beginning of this article, there are many different styles of pantry cabinets for the kitchen. The first pantry cabinet style is the plain pantry storage cabinet. This cabinet can be part of the rest of the kitchen cabinet design, or a separate piece of kitchen furniture that sits apart from the rest of your cabinetry. It will most likely have one door and several pantry shelves inside. The advantage of having the pantry storage cabinet separate from the rest of the cabinets is that you can have the piece of kitchen furniture be relatively shallow so it is easy to find things inside the pantry. When the pantry is built in with the rest of the cabinets you are locked into the depth dimensions of the rest of your cabinets, which is usually too deep for a standard pantry storage cabinet. You need to think about some of the more unique pantry designs.
One such unique design is the swing out pantry unit. These pantry cabinets usually have two doors complete with shelves on the inside. Behind the door shelves is a second set of shelves that are usually installed on a hinge that swings out so that you can access a third set of shelves behind the swing out units. All three shelf levels will be relatively shallow shelving units for the pantry, but this will ensure it will be easy to find the things that you want. Since the shelves move in this pantry cabinet, it is common to see raised edges on each shelf or wire guards at the edge of each shelf to keep items from falling off the shelves. The swing out pantry unit can be a tall cabinet going from the floor to the top level of cabinets as shown in the ad to the right, or it can be a half cabinet that is only under the counter. The smaller version of this type of pantry cupboard is harder to get into because you have to be down on your knees to move the shelves, etc..
Another style of pantry cabinet is one that utilizes common storage technique to maximize the amount of cabinet space you have access to. The Lazy Susan is a great tool that lets you store things deep in a cabinet but still gives easy access to the items with the turn of a wheel. There are entire pantry systems based on the idea of the Lazy Susan. You open up a single cabinet to find a stack of Lazy Susans from floor to ceiling. Each shelf is a rotating wheel that allows you to utilize a deep cabinet effectively. Most pantries with Lazy Susans have each of the round shelves mounted on a center pole that is attached to the floor and ceiling of the cabinet. The main advantage of this kind of mounting system is that you can move the Lazy Susans up and down as much as you like. If one shelf has canned goods you can make the next shelf closer to it than you might if the shelf held tall boxes of cereal. If you have a Lazy Susan pantry cabinet, you will probably also have some shelves attached to the inside of the door or perhaps a spice rack. Just like with the moveable shelves in the swing out pantry cabinet, both the Lazy Susan shelves and the pantry door shelves should have tall sides to prevent items from falling off the shelves.
A fourth variety of pantry cabinet is one that pulls out like a drawer rather than having a single or double door. Pull out pantry cabinets are usually thin and accessible from both sides. Just like with any other moving pantry cabinet, the pull out cabinet will have high sides on each of the shelves to prevent spills. As with all pantry cabinets many shelves is more likely than just a few. It would be a waste of space to have just a few pantry shelves with lots of dead space in between. The unique characteristic of pull out pantry cabinets is that they need not be cabinets at all. Instead, you can have a thing pull out unit that fits in between cabinets or between a set of cabinets and an appliance. The pantry shelving unit could stand entirely on its own, but t just looks better if you can hide t in a small nook in the kitchen. The main difference between a pull out pantry cabinet and a pull out pantry shelving unit is that the cabinet will probably move on a set of drawer rollers and the shelving unit will move on casters.
The last style of pantry for your kitchen to consider is the open pantry. This pantry style is nothing more than shelving units that are open to the world. Everyone can see exactly what you have stored on your shelves at all times. You must be able to stay organized so that your pantry shelving units do not look cluttered and as a result make your entire kitchen look messy. Some pantry shelving is simple and made of some kind of metal with no embellishments. However, there are units that are made of wood or have tile accents to make the shelves fit in with the rest of the kitchen décor better. For example, if you have accent tiles in your backsplash that match cushions in your breakfast nook, you might want to continue the trend with accent tiles in the back of a shelving unit. Alternatively, you can choose pantry shelves that have no back so the kitchen wall is visible through the shelves. If you want open shelves but do not want to show the contents to everyone, you could cover the front of the pantry shelving unit with a curtain that matches your window valances in the breakfast nook.
How to Convert Kitchen Cabinetry into Pantry Cabinetry
If you already have a fully stocked kitchen and cannot find room for a dedicated pantry cabinet, you might want to consider converting on e of your other kitchen cabinets into a pantry so you have a cool, dark and dry storage place for your canned goods and other dry foods. The key to creating your own pantry cabinet is organization. There are several products that you can buy that will help organize your cabinets and make them efficient pantry spaces.
First, you can purchase tiered shelves to put in a cabinet so that you can see the items in the back more easily. If everything is stored at the same level, you will not be able to see the cans in the back without moving everything in front. Since most kitchen cabinets only have one shelf in the center, there will be a lot of wasted space above the food if you do not find a way to utilize the vertical space.
Another helpful organizing tool is a rack or shelf that s installed on the back of the cabinet door. You often see spice racks installed this way, because they are not very deep and will generally fit in the space between the back of the door and the shelves inside. Nevertheless, if there is enough room for it, you should install other shelves or racks on the backs of doors to store anything from paper products to condiments.
There are other kinds of storage racks that might be helpful including under shelf racks that are installed on the underside of a shelf and where you can slide items in for easy storage in some of the dead space. Or, there are can storage racks that are designed especially for canned items like soup or canned vegetables. They are designed to work such that the next can rolls down to the front once you remove the first can. These are probably only a good idea if you store multiple cans of the same item at any given time.
Perhaps the best thing you can install in a regular kitchen cabinet to make it an effective pantry cabinet is storage units with rolling shelves or drawers. The biggest problem with using regular kitchen cabinets as pantry cabinets is that they are so deep and it is difficult to see the items in the back. If you shelving units pull out like drawers, you will not have any wasted space. Another helpful tool, especially in corner cabinets is the Lazy Susan.