In recent years, old world butler’s pantry ideas have undergone a big revival. The open floor plan concepts that have been so popular in the last two decades left little room for butler’s pantries. But that is changing.
Today, people are rediscovering the enchantment, practicality, and beauty of this neglected space. Soon, it may be as indispensable to modern life as a kitchen!
The Butler's Pantry at the Governor's Palace in Colonial Williamsburg, VA
What is a butler’s pantry?
An old fashioned butler’s pantry (also known as a scullery) was a place to store valuable silver items and fine china. Historically, butlers often slept in these rooms to protect expensive heirloom items from theft.
A modern butler’s pantry definition
Today, a butler’s pantry can take many forms, but they still generally are near the dining room and serve the purposes of storage, meal preparation space, and more.
Interior designers usually place these pantries between the kitchen and dining room. Often it is a hallway that functions as a pass through as you can see in the pictures of a butler’s pantry above.
6 reasons to have a butler’s pantry today
We can think of many fabulous reasons why people would want to include a butler’s pantry in their new custom home design. Here are a few of our clients’ reasons for loving this beautiful space...
1. A beautiful place to store and display treasures on open shelving or glass-front cabinets.
- Fine china, extra sets of dishes, holiday dishware, heirlooms, and other treasures
- Serving pieces, serving dishes, fine silverware, and table linens
2. Additional storage for things that you want to hide from guests in solid cabinets.
- Small appliances (bread makers, blenders, coffee makers)
- Dry goods (if your food pantry is overflowing)
- Pet feeding station, bags of pet food, and medications
- The family’s medicine cabinet
3. Extra counter space near the kitchen for dinner parties and entertaining.
- A coffee and dessert bar
- A buffet for a serving line for guests
- A place for extra serving dishes of food with warming plates
4. An extra place for meal prep — or even a hidden prep kitchen
- Additional countertops
- Extra cabinets and drawers for storage
- Another sink for washing fruits and vegetables
- Cutting board
- Mini-kitchen (make your space a designer’s kitchen)
- Additional refrigerator or freezer
- An extra dishwasher
5. A beautiful home bar space for making drinks while entertaining guests.
- Wet bar (with a sink) or dry bar
- Wine storage racks or a wine cooler
- Beautiful stemware storage
6. Greater home value for future buyers and higher resale value for you
- A fantastic place to use natural stone where it won’t be abused
- Practicality, flexibility, and functionality almost any future buyer would adore
- High-end luxury space
- A favorite for real estate agents to wow their discriminating clients
Our favorite butler’s pantry Ideas
Butler’s pantry designs cover a wide range of options. You can have a room off of the kitchen or a walk-through hallway. Or choose an alcove, nook, or closet style. Whichever type of butler’s pantry you choose, we know you’ll love it!
Small butler’s pantry/closet butler's pantry
If you don’t have much space, you can still have a butler’s pantry as a built-in hutch, nook, or closet in or near the dining room. Include beautiful solid cabinets on the bottom and glass-paneled cabinets on top with a counter and you’re set. It can take the place of a china cabinet while adding an air of formality and beauty to your home.
Walk-in butler’s pantry or hidden butler’s pantry
This is not the same thing as a walk-in food pantry. You are going to want one of each.
Butler’s pantry vs walk-in pantry
A “walk-in food pantry” is a large closet with wooden or wire shelves for dry goods like cereals, cans, jars, bags of rice/potatoes, paper towels, and sometimes cleaning supplies.
A “walk-in butler’s pantry” is a room accessed just off of the kitchen that has cabinets, wooden shelves, and counter space. It’s primary purpose is generally to store china, silverware, fancy platters, and table linens.
The butler’s pantry also has counter space that can be used for some degree of food preparation. It may also house small kitchen appliances. Some people design a butler’s pantry with a sink for ease of food prep or if it also serves as a wet bar.
Butler’s pantry vs. scullery or prep kitchen
A scullery (or prep kitchen) is a small kitchen that can be used for food preparation and even cooking. Having an additional kitchen space with sink, dishwasher, counter space, and storage is perfect for those who often entertain, have large families, or have two adults who like to cook and have their own cooking stations and space.
The scullery is also growing in popularity for those who don’t want guests to see a messy kitchen in an open floor plan.
Standard modern butler’s pantry
Most modern butler’s pantries are a pass-through hallway between the kitchen and dining room.
While it should complement the kitchen, many homeowners and interior designers choose different colors or types of wood for the cabinets for the butler’s pantry to distinguish it and make it look more formal than the kitchen.
White is a classic color for a butler’s pantry. Other popular options for cabinets include darker wood or dark gray, dark green, or dark blue painted cabinets
This is the perfect place to show off gorgeous counters like quartz, quartzite, butcherblock, or natural stone counters.
Butlers pantry with a bar
If you’d like to store china, silver, and linens but also have a wet bar or dry bar for entertaining, the butlers pantry is the perfect spot for liquor storage, wine storage, and pouring drinks for guests. Just add a wine cooler or wine rack, a small sink, and a place to store your glass stemware and voila! You have a fantastic butler’s pantry/home bar combination.
Ready to build a beautiful butler’s pantry with a custom builder in Lexington, SC?
At Blythe Building Company, we specialize in building award-winning luxury homes. Many of our beautiful custom homes in recent years have had built-in butler’s pantries. It’s one of our favorite luxury features.
We would love to help you build your dream home in the Lexington, SC area.
Please contact us today.
We build in amazing neighborhoods and areas all over the Midlands of South Carolina like Chapin, Lake Carolina, Irmo, downtown Columbia, Pine Ridge, Forest Acres, and more.
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