Butlers Pantry vs. Walk-in Pantry – Which Is Better?

Butlers Pantry vs. Walk-in Pantry

The phrase pantry might conjure up images of a dark, damp storage room, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Most people know a pantry as an exterior space located in the depths of the house, typically used to store canned and dry food. But there are other pantries, like the butlers pantry and walk-in pantry.

What is a butler’s pantry?

A butlers pantry is built for functionality with less emphasis on design flair. As the name implies, the butler’s pantry is a space adjacent to the kitchen that provides more storage than any closet or cabinet could offer. It is usually a small room within the kitchen, but it can also be a utility or storage area detached from the main house.

What is a walk-in pantry?

A walk-in pantry is usually where you want to go if you need to feed an army, as it’s typically a large space adjacent to the kitchen and may even have an outside entrance. These are popular in larger homes and are designed with extra cabinets and storage areas. Walk-in pantries are typically accessible from inside the kitchen via a low door or other barriers that don’t require bending over or walking into a dark room. For this reason, they are often built with electric or mechanical doors.

Shelving and storage options for pantries

If you are considering the design and construction of a pantry, you will need to choose the appropriate shelving and storage options for it to be functional. 

  • You’ll likely want ample storage and shelving space so that it doesn’t look like every nook and cranny is filled with canned goods or bags of flour. 
  • You should also consider features that will help minimize the clutter, such as deep drawers or lower, narrow shelves. 
  • If you plan on using this space as a food storage area, then you’ll need to build it in a way that allows easy access to items like foods with long expiration dates.
  • You might also want to consider features that will help control humidity and temperature, as these can be important if you store perishable foods. For example, a walk-in pantry may need a climate-control system to stay cold or dry, and a butler’s pantry may need to be ventilated or regulate its temperature. 
  • Another feature to consider is the pantry placement for the rest of your kitchen. If you don’t want anything too noticeable in your kitchen, then it’s best if your butler’s or walk-in pantry is installed off the center island at least two feet, so it doesn’t look like you’re keeping things secret from guests.

Butler’s Pantry designs

If you are designing and building a butler’s pantry, the space can be pretty much any shape or size you want. 

  • It can have three or four walls, with the fourth wall facing your kitchen. 
  • If you have a sizable area to work with and your style is more contemporary, a glass or metal wall between the kitchen and pantry with an open door would look very sleek. However, consider an exposed brick wall on one side of the pantry if you want a more traditional look.
  • You can also use the interiors of your walls to create an exciting design. For example, you could have one interior wall that is a concrete block and have metal or tile behind it. 
  • Another alternative is to use brick on one wall and tile or metal on the other three walls. 
  • If you choose to go with a hard surface, then be sure it’s something you’ll be able to clean quickly, like metal or tile, but avoid using anything that might break if banged into something hard enough, like glass or ceramic.
  • When building your storage areas within the pantry, remember a few things. You might want to use the top of a cabinet, as it will be easier to clean than the sides of it. 
  • If you want to store taller things in your pantry, like a massive block of cheese, you might consider installing open shelving instead of traditional closed shelves.
  • If you don’t have that much space, try using dividers or stacking baskets on raised pallets instead. 

There are many creative ideas for what to use in a pantry storage area. Even though you can use just about any shelving and storage options your budget allows, you might take some inspiration from these ideas when designing your own butler’s pantry.

Walk-in pantry designs

When designing a walk-in pantry, you probably want to choose a space with some extra square footage so you can get creative with the design. For example, developing a large island kitchen would be perfect for creating an entrance into your walk-in pantry. 

  • You could have a low door between the island and the pantry that is only slightly higher than the counters on either side of it. Then, your family members will be able to get anything they require without having to trip over each other, and they won’t just have to fumble around in the dark while they are in there either.
  • There are a lot of things you could do to make your pantry room look nice. For example, you could put a paneled wall on one side and then install wood-framed cabinets above it. On the opposite side, you might have a decorative brick or stone wall that is lighter in color than the paneling. Both sides of the pantry would have plenty of storage space, and you’d have easy access to anything on top of the cabinets or stored in drawers on either side.
  • You can also choose where to place your walk-in pantry for the rest of your kitchen and other rooms. For example, if you don’t want the kids to notice it too much, you could install a swinging door between the kitchen and another space
  • If you have an island kitchen with a walk-in pantry on one side of the kitchen and a dining room with a pass-through on the other, you can choose what to feature. For example, you could have large swinging doors leading into your walk-in pantry from your open dining room or opt for an open floor plan that features both areas equally. 

What is the difference between a Butler’s Pantry and a Pantry Room?

The magnitude of the dissimilarity is defining. Compared to a walk-in pantry, the butler’s pantry is much smaller and serves a different function. The walk-in pantry includes additional equipment (such as a toaster) and space to store groceries and frozen items. As you can see, this is the main distinction.                                                                                            

Having a room designated as a pantry is incredibly convenient. As you can see, this is one of those things that, before you have it in your home, you do not believe you want in a house but that you cannot imagine life without once you do have it.


When creating your plans and putting them into action, butler’s pantry, or walk-in pantry in general, you have a wide variety of alternatives. While some might think it’s unnecessary, a pantry can be a great way to organize your kitchen and keep everything where it belongs.


Charles is a kitchen enthusiast with a passion for well-organized pantries and the latest kitchen gadgets. His blog, Pantry Raider, explores the secrets of pantry raiding and culinary adventures. He's a wizard at maximizing space with creative corner pantry ideas and storage hacks. Charles also delves into the art of pantry painting, shares tips for Amazon Prime Pantry, offers kitchen storage solutions, and guides readers through practical cooking tips, outdoor adventures, kitchen gadgets, and the wonders of the microwave. Whether you're a pantry perfectionist, gadget guru, or outdoor enthusiast, Charles provides the knowledge to elevate your kitchen and pantry experience.

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