Walk-In Pantry Dimensions & Layout Guide (with Photos)
A pantry is a highly coveted area of storage in most households. You don’t know how much you need one until you don’t have one. The value of a pantry has become more popular over the years, with multiple designs and layouts to choose from.
The average pantry dimensions are 5 feet by 5 feet, but this varies depending on the size of your home and the amount of storage you are aiming for. There should be a minimum aisle width of 44 inches to easily move around the pantry.
Walk-In Pantry Basics
A walk-in pantry is usually a closet or a room located within the kitchen or near it. You can use this small room to store any kitchen goods.
A walk-in pantry has several benefits. It typically includes shelving, which creates space in kitchen cabinets and on the counter. The most beneficial aspect is that it is entirely customizable in shape and size to fit your kitchen’s needs. A standard walk-in pantry is typically 5 feet by 5 feet and U-shaped; however, this is not set in stone. A minimum aisle width of 44 inches is recommended for a walk-in pantry.
Many people prefer rectangle-shaped pantries, as these are an easy addition to the home. A smaller pantry with storage on one side should be a minimum of 60 inches. A larger pantry with storage on both sides should be a minimum of 76 inches.
A corner walk-in pantry should be at least 27 inches deep with a 45-degree angle doorway, which ranges in size. The door swing can increase clearances required for minimum 36-inch walkways. Keep the door swing in mind as it could also decrease counter space size by six feet. Here you can read more about how to organize a corner pantry.
Video: Building a Walk-In Pantry
Laying Out Your Walk-In Pantry
If you want to keep a clutter-free kitchen, a pantry is essential in your home. Before you choose the layout of your pantry, determine the space available in your home. Once you know where the pantry will go, think about the details.
Consider what you will store in your pantry and how you will store it. Furthermore, determine which aspect of the pantry is most important to you. Is your ability to adjust the pantry, look of the pantry, or the pantry’s functionality most important?
Shelving in Your Pantry
Before you choose the pantry layout, you need to ensure that you have enough room to incorporate storage space. After all, storage is the primary purpose of having a pantry, so keep these dimensions in mind.
Ideally, your bottom shelves should be 16 to 18 inches deep. Each of these shelves should be spaced 18 to 24 inches apart. Shelves at eye level should be 12 to 14 inches deep and spaced 14 to 16 inches apart. Shelves for spices and cans need no more than 6 inches front to back.
When planning your shelving, include two inches of vertical space so that you can slide items in and out easily.
Measure Well to Organize Your Walk-In Pantry
If you’re lucky enough to have a walk-pantry, you’re going to want to keep it organized. The first step is to set up your shelving. Some people choose to have a few running shelves, while others select shelving from floor to ceiling.
No matter what style of shelving you go with, leave ample floor space. There should be at least 40 to 44 inches of free space in the middle of a walk-in pantry. After you have figured out the pantry shelving and layout, it’s time to organize.
How To Organize Your Pantry and Keep It Functional
Step 1: Clean Out Your Pantry
You want to start with a clean slate if you’re organizing your walk-in pantry. Dispose of anything expired and that old bag of tortilla chips that no one is going to eat!
Step 2: See What You Have
Now is the time to take inventory of everything you have. This list will be beneficial later on when it is time to purchase storage containers. You want to make sure you get the right size.
Step 3: Determine the Location for Your Pantry Items
Determine a location for the goods you want to keep in your pantry. Shelf size and spacing is an essential factor in this step.
Rarely used items will go on the highest shelf, at least 18 inches tall. In contrast, larger goods like cases of water will go on the floor or the lowest shelf. This shelf or floor to shelf area should be at least 18 inches.
In the middle shelves, you can separate cereal and grains onto one shelf at least 15 inches high. Jars and cans should go on another shelf at least 6 and a half inches tall. Baskets, containers, and other organizational items can go on a different shelf at least 8 inches high.
Step 4: Categorize Pantry Items
Categorize items that are alike. When you do this, it makes it easier to find what you need quickly.
Step 5: Use the Right Containers
Store food in containers to save space. Bulky or odd-shaped boxes can cause a pantry to become disorganized. Purchase clear plastic or glass food storage containers.
If you want to go a step further, label the containers. Each person in your home will know where everything goes. This makes putting groceries away a breeze!
Keep in mind shelving and floor space when planning your pantry. Here are five items that can help maximize your storage in your pantry, with approximate sizes:
Mason Jars: Mason jars are a cost-effective and practical option to store pasta, beans, rice, and baking materials. You can find a pack of 12 on Amazon for about $25.
The average 16-ounce mason jar has a height of 4.75 inches and a circumference of 3.25 inches.
Baskets: Utilize baskets of different sizes to organize small, loose items. Basket sizes will range, but the most common are long, rectangular baskets and square utility baskets.
The rectangular baskets should be roughly 16 inches in length, 6 inches in width, and 16 to 18 inches tall. These baskets work well for fruit and veggie storage.
The utility baskets can come in a variety of sizes and are perfect for stashing individually wrapped snacks. A medium-size utility basket is roughly 12.5 inches wide,11 inches deep, and 8 inches tall. A large utility basket is about 16 inches wide, 13 inches deep, and 10.5 inches tall.
Shelf Dividers: Large pans and cookie sheets can become a disorganized mess. Use shelf dividers to store these in your pantry.
Shelf dividers come in several sizes, like 12 by 8 inches or 12 by 24 inches, among others. This wide range of sizes enables you to find dividers to fit a variety of shelves.
Ideally, the dividers you select should be the same depth as the shelves. They should also fit appropriately in the vertical space and not be too short.
Lazy Susan: Use a portable lazy susan turntable to organize similarly-sized cans and bottles. You can find lazy susans for under $20 on Amazon.
Lazy susans come in various diameters, such as 8 inches, 12 inches, and larger. However, it’s essential not to choose a turntable that is larger than the depth of the shelf. In fact, you should leave a 2” clearance for the lazy susan to turn easily and avoid tipping.
Stair-Step Shelf: Use a stair-step shelf to organize canned goods. This maximizes space on a deep shelf and also makes everything more visible.
These stepped shelves come in several widths with a depth of about 8 to 10 inches. Some models are extendable, so you can adjust the width accordingly to fit on your pantry shelf.
Step 6: Utilize Your Space
Make sure that you are utilizing all of the space in your pantry. If your walk-in pantry is on the smaller side, buy an over-the-door organizer. This is a good place for spices to go instead of taking up space in your kitchen cabinet.
Step 7: Creating a Kid-Friendly Area
If you have children, create an area that will be easy for them to access. You can do this by using containers and baskets for their snacks and treats. This can make packing lunches in the morning much more efficient.
Make sure these items are at an accessible height for your kids. Likewise, if there are certain foods you don’t want your kids to have, move them higher up in the pantry.
Step 8: Keep a List
When you have a larger pantry, it is easy for food to get lost or forgotten. To prevent this, keep a running list. When it’s time to head to the grocery store, grab your list and go!
Additional Types of Pantries
Although a walk-in pantry is ideal, it’s not your only option. Whether building a new home or adding a pantry to your current home, there are several types of pantries. Here are four other design options to consider.
A butler’s pantry historically was used to keep food and beverages out of sight during parties. The butler’s pantry often houses glassware, dishes, or utensils that you don’t use often. Also, the butler’s pantry can function as a bar area with an extra sink and dishwasher.
If you don’t have the extra storage of a walk-in pantry, a butler’s pantry can provide some of the same benefits. This pantry can supplement possible missing cabinet and countertop space in the kitchen.
A butler’s pantry should be a minimum of 5 feet 6 inches wide by 7 feet long. These dimensions will create a comfortable working area.
A slide-out pantry is a pantry built into your kitchen cabinetry that slides out to reveal shelving. They can house various items depending on the shelving height and are space savers in a small kitchen. If you don’t have a pantry but want one, this is a great option. It can come in a variety of sizes.
The most common dimensions for a slide-out pantry are 5 inches, 8 inches, 11 inches, and 14 inches wide. The height will depend on the cabinet height.
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, Amazon has several options for slide-out pantries that you can install yourself. The price can vary from $100 to $500, depending on the size pantry you’re looking for.
Built-In Cabinet Pantry
This type of pantry will give the illusion that it is cabinets, but it actually is a built-in pantry. A built-in cabinet pantry is customized to match the rest of your kitchen cabinets. This pantry can be designed to fit your individual needs and style.
The height and width will vary. However, you will want the built-in cabinet pantry to be at least 24 inches deep.
If you find yourself without a pantry, you still can have extra space! A freestanding pantry is a good option for you. A freestanding pantry is simply a stand-alone piece of furniture that you can use for kitchen storage.
You have several options when it comes to freestanding pantries. One option is to find or paint a piece of furniture that matches your kitchen cabinets. Another option is an accent piece that can add a “pop of color” to the kitchen.
Can I put my pantry in my laundry room?
Yes, you can combine your laundry room and pantry if you have the space. However, you want to be very careful. If you decide to combine your laundry room and pantry, it is important to purchase food storage containers. When food and laundry are in the same area, food tends to start to taste a little bit like laundry detergent. Therefore, never store fresh food in this room. Only store canned goods and foods that are in containers.
Can I turn a closet into a pantry?
You can absolutely turn a coat closet into a pantry. But, you should ensure that the closet is close enough to the kitchen before transforming it into a pantry. To maximize space in a small area, use an over-the-door organizer, baskets, and other organization items.
What if I don’t have a dedicated pantry or a closet that I can use?
If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have a dedicated pantry, there are plenty of pantry alternatives. Add extra kitchen storage to your home by repurposing an old bookshelf. The bookshelf can add character to your kitchen while creating the perfect amount of storage for your groceries. A standard bookshelf will be 36 inches high, 31 inches wide, and 12 inches deep. Using a pegboard with shelving as a pantry is a fun and unexpected way to store goods. You can find a pegboard in a variety of sizes at Lowes for around $20. Grab some shelving, hooks, and wire baskets off of Amazon, and you can create a pantry for under $100. A 32 inch by 32-inch pegboard should create enough space for a pantry alternative.You can also use floating shelves in the kitchen. Hang floating shelves for a place to store any kitchen goods you may have. You can find a set of 5 shelves at Target for around $40. When floating kitchen shelves, a depth of 12 inches is necessary. This size shelf is best as plates, cups, and bowls are typically 12 inches deep or less.
Looking To Add A Wine Rack Into Your Pantry?
Check out our article on Wine Rack Dimensions to help you choose the perfect wine rack to put inside of your pantry. Choose from several different options to make the most of your space.
Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.
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