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Design Inspo

Kitchen Pantry Ideas for All Sized Pantries

Find out how to make your kitchen pantry function flawlessly and create an aesthetic that’ll have any interior design lover swooning.

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If the kitchen is the heart of the home, the pantry is what keeps that heart beating.

The pantry is more than just a place to forget about all the cans you panic purchased at the start of the pandemic. (Consider this your reminder to donate those if you aren’t using them!) It’s the place that keeps our days running and late-night snacks available — and it deserves to be as charming as the kitchen.

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Pantry Organization Ideas

Nothing is better than walking into or opening the sliding door of your kitchen storage area and instinctively knowing exactly where everything is. The trick with kitchen pantries is that they are deeply personal to how you use a kitchen, your kitchen design layout, and your personal needs.

No pantry will be identical to anyone else's, often due to size constraints and the personal factors mentioned above.

Storage Ideas for Small Pantries

Wicker baskets are great storage solutions for holding pantry staples that already come in their own packaging, like candy and chips. This extra storage space is best placed in the bottom drawers of your pantry for easy access. This tip is especially helpful if you have a small pantry or your pantry doubles as your laundry room or linen closet.

Storage Ideas for Larger Pantries

Tall glass canisters don’t have to only be used for cereals; they are a fantastic form of food storage to help you free up pantry space. Use them to store foods like pasta, flour, sugar, rice, etc. Make sure to use waterproof and smudge-free labels so they can be more easily cleaned and wiped down.

If you have a handful of go-to recipes for meals that you consistently cook, batch ingredients together in clear containers with labels. This simple organization trick will cut your prep work time by quite a bit.

For extra flair, use tiered stands for cans and spices for better visibility and to take advantage of all the shelf’s height. Place taller glass jars and larger canned goods or dry goods in wire baskets for more support and stability.

For smaller condiments, use lazy Susans for clutter-free access to pantry items, and so you can also bring the container out to the dining table or breakfast bar all at once.

Storage Ideas for Walk-In Pantries

If your pantry has a full-sized door, take advantage of the space that would have gone to waste by adding a hanging organizer for smaller things like spices. Make sure you secure it carefully; you don’t want things flying all over the place because your kid opened the door too quickly. You’re supposed to season your food — not the floor!

Lighting for a Pantry Makeover

Have you ever tried sneaking a snack in the middle of the night, but you didn’t want to turn the lights on? We know we’re not the only ones. Remember how hard it was to see anything in your pantry?

Let’s figure out a way to make your storage bright and beautiful.

Lighting for Larger Pantries

Lights integrated into the sealing and sides of your pantry instantly elevate the interior. Well-placed lights transform a space that would be dark and spooky into something you can show off.

Recessed Lights

While you typically want to use warm lighting in the home, colder lights with blue tones can make food item identification easier. Recessed lights are fantastic for larger pantries with higher ceilings.

If possible, install lights that turn on and off when you open and close the pantry door so that you don’t have to use a switch manually. For an extra touch of class, choose light bulbs with an automatic dimming capability so that the lights slowly turn on and brighten up when opening the door.

Lighting for Smaller Pantries

Light Bars

Light bars also make a statement by adding a modern and almost futuristic aesthetic to a small space. A free-standing light bar can really set off a corner of a walk-in pantry when installed vertically. Smaller light bars could be slid underneath each shelf for that modern boutique feel.

If you walk into your pantry and it feels like walking into an Apple Store, you’re on the right track. Brightness and vibrancy make a kitchen pantry feel inviting, but if your pantry is well-lit enough, a dark internal accent wall could look nice.

Integrated Light Strips

Light strips are easier to DIY install. They look great throughout the entire kitchen — not just the pantry. Put them underneath the pantry cabinets but then take this lighting motif to the kitchen. Install some integrated light strips directly above your backsplash to illuminate the countertops or mount them beneath kitchen cabinets.

Light strips integrated into your cabinetry will make the entire space so much brighter (and maybe even encourage you to keep the whole kitchen cleaner because of the extra visibility). Many of these units have all kinds of customizable settings for brightness, colors, and tone – perfect for those with light-sensitive eyes.

Design Ideas Colorways and Materials

Your kitchen pantry design merits as much attention as the rest of your home — not only because you’re going to be repeatedly looking in it, hoping new snacks magically appear every day. If the old adage “You eat with your eyes first” is true, then the pantry is basically the first plate your food rests on.

Designed by Kelli Ulrey in Spoak

Built-In Pantry Shelves: Glass or Wood?

To that question, we say … Is it too much to ask for both?

Frosted or clear glass shelving doesn't just exude class and elegance; it’s also incredibly practical for being able to see everything in your pantry at a glance. Although you can’t install light strips underneath the open shelving without looking a bit odd, you can install light strips behind the edge of the glass to light up the entire pane.

Spoak can help you figure out the best configuration for shelving and what materials might look best. Take a break from sketchbooks and strips from magazines and actually visualize what your kitchen can look like at its finest by creating digital mock-ups in Spoak’s interior design visualization tool.

Think about how amazing it would be to open your doors and be welcomed by a warmly-lit and neatly organized pantry fitted with warm wood paneling and glass shelving. Everything has its designated space that is clearly visible, and you can feel like you can show it all off to your friends (instead of worrying about what your guests will find in there).

Brightness and Contrast

A pantry’s interior should balance colors and contrast. It’s easy to avoid making the space too dark and dingy, but you also want to avoid making the inside of your pantry too bright and visually loud.

Keep Smaller Pantries Brighter

You’ve probably heard that small kitchens benefit from white cabinets, and while this is true, people have been branching out. Non-white colors like pistachio or a pale strawberry on pantry cabinet doors can feel just as bright and airy. A frosted glass door can also help usher in some much-needed natural light.

Go Dark With Larger Pantries

Darker wood paneling can look exquisitely dramatic when paired with bright light strips, but if your walls are mostly white, you may not need as many lighting features as you think.

Like other areas of the home, like the living room or the bedroom, avoid a matchy-matchy aesthetic to mix things up for some visual spice.

Say Goodbye to the Paltry Pantry

Don’t be afraid to be bold with your pantry; make a statement with materials that speak to you and lighting that fits your needs. Adding simple things like wicker baskets and organizers can completely transform how your pantry presents.

Before we go, we want to say that design advice, like a cookbook, is there to serve as a starting point. Only you can truly bring your pantry to life, and sometimes that means creating your own recipe.

Photo Credit: (Left) Sheer Luxe


Matching Furniture Sets Are Horrible: Opinion | House Beautiful

How to Organize a Pantry | The Spruce

​​How to Organize Your Pantry | The Family Handyman

How to Install Recessed Lighting | The Spruce

The Real Reason the Lazy Susan Got Its Name | Family Handyman

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Date Posted
April 27, 2023



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