A butler’s pantry refers to the space between a kitchen and dining room. Back in the 18th century, these were common in traditional, palatial households as they served multiple purposes, such as storing valuable heirlooms like silverware and china. 

Over the years, this space has evolved due to architectural trends such as the open floor plan as well as the need to use space judiciously. 

 Unlike your regular pantry, where you stock boxes of pasta, pumpkin puree (which, let’s face it, you almost never use), and your favorite snacks, a butler’s pantry is meant to provide prep space and storage for silverware and barware. Think of it as a closet, prep-station, and home-bar all rolled into one (sans the bow-tie-wearing steward polishing expensive china).

Tips On How To Design A Butler’s Pantry

Designing your butler’s pantry could mean having a simple storage area with shelves, or it could be a more elaborate space with a wine fridge, dishwasher drawers, a sink and spacious countertops. The butler’s pantry can be open, sealed-off, or free-standing. It’s a truly versatile space and fun to design!

If you’re planning on including or adding a butler’s pantry in your home, here are my top five tips:

1. Keep It Classic

If you’re a fan of simple and minimal designs, keep your butler’s pantry light and airy with a classic white paint.  Yes – this is the “safe” way to go.

Photo courtesy of Amy Kartheiser Design

2. Pop Of Color

If you find neutral colors a tad boring, paint your butler’s pantry blue and add contrast with a white quartz countertop.

Or how about this high gloss forest green hue? So dramatic!

Courtesy of Housebeautiful.com

3. Backsplash Materials

Since the backsplash is a much smaller space than in your kitchen, this is the perfect opportunity to go all out.  Opt for bold statement tiles.  The reflective surface of a mosaic glass tile on the backsplashes creates a sparkle, reflects light and will brighten up the space. (See the entire project in our Bergen County Kitchen Project.)

Mosaic tile from Artistic Tile

4. Add Task Lighting

Recessed lighting (on dimmers) is always recommended. Recessed lighting that highlights the workspace will ensure that the proper areas are illuminated. Under cabinetry lighting is important If you’re planning to do prep work in your butler’s pantry. Don’t forget about the insides of the cabinets as well; interior cabinet lighting with glass fronts will draw you into the space and creates a dramatic backdrop.

5. Statement Pieces

​​A ceiling fixture will add another layer to this space. Choose a hanging vintage chandelier for an eclectic feel. (If it’s truly vintage, have it rewired of course!)

Courtesy of Rejuvenation.com

Bonus tip:

Don’t treat the hardware as an afterthought; it can make a statement on any cabinetry!

Leather wrapped pulls from Hardware Designs.

Final Thoughts:

If you’re thinking of updating or completely renovating your butler’s pantry, remember that this pass-through space oftentimes needs to connect visually with several rooms. Its style should complement each space – not visually distract from the surrounding spaces.  Have questions or comments?  Give us a call!  We’d love to chat!

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