Butler's Pantry Ideas

kitchen sink with overhead wine glass storage
Photo: Jean Allsopp

Whether it's a simple task sink or a space large enough to serve as a catering station, butler's pantries are a luxury that has made a resurgence in home design. If you already have one, you're lucky. If you don't, here are a few to inspire ideas to dream on.

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Light and Airy

Glass-Front Cabinets
Jeff Herr

Pretty details define this white butler's pantry. Diamond shapes on lower cabinets are repeated in crisscross mullions on upper cabinets. Other cabinets are open for display. A wood cornice introduces a feminine curve. A window, situated above the sink, follows traditional placement. Historically, windows were placed over sinks so they could draw out steam generated from hot washes.

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u shape nook butlers pantry
Tria Giovan

Simple, streamlined cabinets in a matte pewter finish, a plank wood backsplash, a wooden countertop, and stone pavers lend contemporary cottage style to this task area situated along a single wall. The efficiently designed space holds a bar sink, wine fridge, and a rack holding wine glasses above.

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Simple Purpose

marble kitchen countertop with open shelving
Helen Norman

This butler's pantry offers cottage character with its wood-bracketed shelves and clean-line cabinetry. A farmhouse sink offers plenty of room for cleanup while an L-shape countertop provides an area for tasks. Simple appointments include white tableware and a counter stool. A collection of glass cloches suggests that this space may also be used for tending houseplants.

04 of 16

Open Shelving for Pantries

For a smart storage option, see how open shelves offer plenty of versatility in a pantry.

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Fine Finish

dark wood butler's pantry
Emily Minton-Redfield

Handsome finishes, such as the dark wood cabinets and sleek backsplash, define this butler's pantry. Lower cabinets offer storage in pullout drawers. Upper glass front cabinets display glassware. A wine refrigerator puts the owner's collection on display. Deep drawers below are suited to dry storage or extra refrigeration. Stone surfaces include granite countertops and a warm gray tile diamond-patterned backsplash.

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Nice and Cozy

gallery-style butlers pantry
Werner Straube

This galley-style butler's pantry offers plenty of serving space. Below the white marble countertop, cabinets and drawers offer storage while a wine refrigerator stands stocked, ready for guests. Upper cabinets are set back from lower cabinets, breakfront style, so as not to hinder the workspace. Deep enough to hold glasses, the cabinets showcase frosted glass doors with wire inserts. The backsplash tile showcases a caramel and white motif.

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Big on Style

honey finished cabinetry
Ed Gohlich

Grand in size, this country French butler's pantry is both functional and pretty. An open hutch with a warm honey finish displays serving pieces. Wide flat drawers below are suited to placemats and linens. Lower cabinets line a second wall, offering storage and a wine refrigerator. The countertop enjoys a window view. On each end of this work space, glass front cabinets add architectural interest. As a bonus, this butler's pantry features a Dutch door.

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Silver Linings

butlers pantry with dark wood countertops and white cabinets
Casey Sills

Sunlight filters in to this butler's pantry illuminating polished nickel and silver finishes along with gleaming white cabinetry. Simply styled cabinets and a tongue-and-groove-paneled backsplash puts the attention on drawer hardware and the silver sink.

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Fun and Fanciful

wet bar with white cabinets
John Gruen

This butler's pantry, while small, is richly appointed with an under-counter refrigerator and hardwood countertops and backsplash. A gooseneck faucet conserves space. Upper cabinets are hand-finished to match the patina of the zinc bar sink. Wallpaper makes a whimsical impact with oversize drawings of fruits and vegetables while small touches, such as the Greek key molding and copper and glass knobs, add fine detail.

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Cottage Notions

cottage style butlers pantry with olive green cabinets
Jean Allsopp

Cottage details bring casual style to this U-shape butler's pantry. Finishes include a moss green glaze on cabinets, tongue-and-groove wainscoting on walls, and a stone countertop. Upper cabinets are open, stocked with all-white serving pieces and table matters. Far cabinets with windowpane glass fronts hold stemware. A small window brings in natural light brightening the small nook.

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All in One

built in hutch kitchen cabinet
Gordon Beall

Similar to an early 20th-century Hoosier cabinet, a stand-alone kitchen cabinet touted as a pantry and kitchen in one, this handsome built-in hutch offers plenty of storage and work space in one neat cabinet. Here, a countertop doubles as a buffet or bar during parties. Shelves in varying heights display pretty crockery. Glass paneled doors above store stemware.

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Room for More

dinnerware storage built in
Ed Gohlich

Traditionally situated in hallways or ancillary spaces, butler's pantries offered overflow areas for food prep and storage. This hallway offers a built-in hutch with ample counter space for service, along with drawers and a plate rack for storage.

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Pretty Addition

barrel-vault ceiling modern butlers pantry
Jon Miller

Modern butler's pantries are often as pretty as they are functional. Natural extensions of the kitchen, the rooms maintain the same level of cabinetry and design, often introducing an additional element for a bit of distinction. Here, a barrel-vault ceiling and gleaming white cabinetry with a thick crown gives pause before seguing into the dining room.

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Distinguished Character

traditional butlers pantry with chandelier
Alise O'Brien

This galley-style butler's pantry offers refined character befitting a manor home. Historically, a butler's pantry provided a place for domestic staff to secure the family's silver under lock and key. This room offers a walled cabinet for storage on one side, and sink for cleaning silver opposite. Distinguished from the kitchen by cabinet color, the room still maintains an affluent look with custom cabinets and a crystal chandelier.

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Reflective Quality

kitchen with stainless cabinets
Werner Straube

This U-shape butler's pantry employs smart ideas to brighten and visually expand the dark space. Maximizing the natural light from the skylight, the designer used materials such as stainless-steel cabinets and a mirror backsplash to reflect light around the space. Glass front upper cabinets are wired for spotlights to showcase the contents.

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History Repeated

u shape nook butlers pantry
Tria Giovan

This U-shape nook maximizes its small footprint with floor-to-ceiling drawers and shelves. Glass front upper cabinets keep things in plain view. A sink offers a place for quick clean up. Plate racks, originally designed as drying racks, have become more of a decorative, historic architectural detail.

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