Difference Between Butlers Pantry vs. Scullery (Explained)


The difference between butler’s pantry and scullery is often confusing, especially for new homes owners and those who want to upgrade or renovate their homes. Hence, the common question regularly asked, especially for home developers, is between butler’s pantry vs. scullery, which is better? 

But at the first mention of names scullery or butler’s pantry, you remember a victorian style homes instead of the modern style construction even though they are both rooms with roots in History as a traditional style home.

Believe it or not, these traditional old fashion style of building has fully come back; they are becoming ever popular and increasingly on-demand during the design process. It is so because butler’s pantries and sculleries provide the kitchen items’ practical convenience and organization. Which brings us to the main topic, butler’s pantry vs. scullery; what is the difference? But first

What is the History behind butler’s pantry and scullery?

Both scullery and butler’s pantry have been around since the middle ages and used as storage pantries. From storing bread to storing other items like meat and grains, the pantry gradually moves to more necessities like china. Then, in the butler’s pantry, you would find a staff member who uses the room for storing china, polishing silver, and other entertainments like wine. It is also common for butlers to sleep in the pantry room for the safety of the items. 

For scullery, the maids used it instead of the central kitchen for much of the hard labor like cleaning and food preparation, and usually, it is the lowest ranking housemaids or staff who use it. 

What to note about the butler’s pantry and scullery area, the pantry housed china, entertainment essentials, storing food items, and boarded the highest-ranking butler. The scullery was the primary kitchen used for cleaning and food preparation and housed the lowest ranking maids. 

But as the years went by, these pantry butler’s and scullery maids began to fade away as their lifestyle and purpose changed. But today, there is a booming resurgence for them as a practical storage option for pantries and entertaining prep spaces for sculleries. 

What is a Butlers Pantry?

A butler’s pantry is a small room used to store extra dishes, snacks, and entertaining essentials, located near or off the kitchen. Like a pantry in the house, a butler’s pantry is used for food storage and as a workspace for entertaining gatherings. 

Some of the things found in a butler’s pantry include a cabinet and counter, a more oversized butler pantry will have a fridge, coffee machines, and a slight/bigger pantry sink. 

What is a Scullery?

A scullery is a medium or small kitchen used for food prep and cleaning. The purpose of scullery is to function as an extra space or small or spare kitchen that is used for entertaining and gets dirty instead of the central kitchen. 

In addition, the scullery serves as a space for hiding away dirty dishes, cleaning dishes, and preparing food served to guests in the central kitchen. The kitchen is larger than the scullery but usually large enough to contain a counter for prep, sink, storage cabinet, dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator, and small appliances. 

Butlers Pantry vs. Scullery

What is the difference between butler’s pantry vs. scullery?

From the definition of butler’s pantry and scullery, the difference is becoming more apparent on what they are. But when applied to the modern-day applications or uses of the butler’s pantry to the scullery, the difference is: the butler’s pantry is a dry area or room used for storage. On the other hand, the scullery is a wet area used as an extra kitchen for food preparation and cleaning dishes and utensils. 

In a contemporary home or modern home, the butler’s pantry is more familiar with most practical uses incorporated into the design plans instead of a temporary fixation.

Designing Butler’s Pantry or Scullery 

At any point you decide to add a butlers pantry or scullery to your home, consider these factors;

For home renovations, adding any of them requires space. It becomes more challenging if you use the old floor plan of the house. When you renovate and add a butler’s pantry, it is much easier to covert a walk-in pantry to a butler’s pantry. 

The things you can add to the butler’s pantry include a counter, cabinets, and a fridge. The standard option for renovations and scullery is to divide the kitchen space, either with a partition or an addition.  

The primary purpose of adding these spaces is to assess your needs fully. For example, a small butler’s pantry can serve as an additional storage space with counters that can transition. Transitioning counters can offer or accommodate your daily needs like a coffee bar and then party prep. 

A large scullery will benefit a lavish entertainment. In addition, it will serve as a second kitchen so that catering staff could have a free and easy workflow. When designing a scullery, another option for couples would be to use it and create their own space by creating a separate own kitchen space

But before your start with designing a butlers pantry or scullery;

  • Make sure to have a good lighting design.
  • Create space for adequate storage facilities according to your needs or even extra.
  • Make sure the finishing is spot on as there will be more eyes on it.
  • A professional kitchen designer will do a better job of planning, implementation, and organization. 

Which is better between the butler’s pantry and a pantry?

A butler’s pantry is better if you want your pantry to perform similar functions as your kitchen. A pantry is better if you’re going to store food. A pantry is a room or space for dry food storage, while a butler’s pantry has similar functionality as a kitchen. A butler pantry will have a sink, coffee machine, microwave, and worktop. 

What is the difference between scullery and kitchen?

The difference is, the kitchen is an area or room in the house for food preparation, while the scullery is a smaller room or space next to the kitchen for washing up and carrying out other household chores. Therefore, the scullery is smaller than a kitchen. 

Does a butler’s pantry add value?

A butler’s pantry can add value if done in the right place. However, it does take up floor space and costs as much as a scullery and a kitchen. Therefore, a butler’s pantry is familiar within large homes or new modern homes integrated into the floor plan. 

Can you cook in the scullery?

The scullery is not the kitchen; the scullery is for washing up dishes and cleaning; while the kitchen is central, where the cooking takes place. So the scullery helps to ease the burden from the kitchen to reduce dirty dishes lying around. 

Do you need a sink in a scullery?

Yes, it would help if you had a sink in the scullery because that is where all the washing and cleaning takes place. Without a sink, the scullery is not complete. 

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