Lack of sufficient storage is a common kitchen shortcoming. A well-designed pantry is a design item that can positively impact your life on a daily basis.

The pantry is a coveted function in any home. Lack of sufficient storage is a common kitchen shortcoming. A well-designed pantry is a design item that can positively impact your life daily.

However, adding a pantry will take space away from other functions in the kitchen, so it is important to consider the needs of the overall household while planning for a new pantry.

If you set a goal to add a pantry to your home, begin by determining the best location and placement for your pantry. Obviously, the most functional place for a pantry is in close proximity to the kitchen. Adding a pantry into a kitchen will require some adjustments to the existing cabinetry, at a bare minimum. If you do not want to alter your kitchen, you will need to look for space to usurp from surrounding areas, such as a hallway closet, the garage, or possibly in a mud room or laundry room.

Once you choose the location of your new pantry, it is time to customize the storage potential. Determine what you routinely want to store. Cleaning supplies, jars, cans, large bulk items, and No. 10 cans all have different measurements and shelf needs. Shelves that are too short for tall olive oil bottles or too shallow for cases is aggravating when you are trying to use them in real life. Therefore, make sure you have adjustable height shelving. Measure the items you want to store and customize the pantry accordingly.

The best pantries also allow for visible storage. If you can see what you are storing, it makes it easier to use the items before they expire and easy to create a grocery list. This requires narrow shelves (no deeper than 10-12 inches) or pull-out shelving so you can see and access the back half of 24-inch deep shelves.

You can add fun design elements to your pantry with pre-fabricated items as well. Wall racks, movable bins, sliding and adjustable shelves and drawers all can enhance your pantry and give you storage ideas and solutions. It is amazing what the manufacturers have come up with in way of pre-fabricated storage solutions these days.

Lighting is another design element that is important in the pantry. Make sure you have good lighting to be able to see everything you are storing. Another critical element in a pantry is air circulation. Plan for passive ventilation in the pantry to keep the area cool and fresh. Cool air helps prevent the food from going bad or getting stale. You will also want to keep the area dry. Humidity is not a pantry’s friend. Make sure you consider temperature as you plan your pantry. Try to locate it away from heat- and humidity-producing appliances like the stove, dishwasher, or washer and dryer. With that said, you want it close enough to the kitchen to make it functional and easy to use, but far enough away that such appliances don’t impact the climate in the pantry too much.

Remember, a pantry is one of the most sought-after elements in a home design. If you add a pantry to your home, it will benefit your life and will be a selling point if you ever decide to sell. If it is done right, it is a home remodeling win-win.

Ann Robinson and Annie V. Schwemmer are the principal architects and co-founders of a residential architectural firm focused on life-changing remodeling designs at Send comments or questions to

Renovation Solutions: What to consider when adding a pantry