What You Need to Know About a Butler’s Pantry

January 13, 2015
Entertaining guests at a formal dinner party may seem like a custom stuck in the past, but it has enjoyed a resurgence recently. With the rise in popularity of shows such as BBC’s Downton Abbey and a renewed interest in Victorian Era history and customs, butler’s pantries are coming back into style. Here’s what you need to know about a butler’s pantry:

What is a Butler’s Pantry?

A butler’s pantry was a utility room that was used to store serving items as opposed to food, as you would typically see in most pantries. Traditionally speaking, it was used to store things like silver, a wine log, and merchant’s account books. In the days when butler’s pantries were aptly named for the butler who did their work there, this is where the silver would be counted, cleaned, and stored, as the silver was considered a highly valuable thing in the home.
Situated between a kitchen and a dining room, this type of pantry was historically used to facilitate the flow between cooking a meal and serving it to guests. No food would be stored there; that was for the traditional pantry. All of the fine china, silverware, and glassware would normally be stored there to effortlessly mesh with a dinner service. The cooked meals would then be either carried or carted into the formal dining room by the footmen.
In these cases, the traditional pantry usually stored dry goods and other things that you would need to have access to from your kitchen, but you wouldn’t typically need on an everyday basis. The exception to this was wine. Once the wine had been selected and brought up from the wine cellar, it would be stored in the butler’s pantry in order to be easily accessed during mealtime.
Essentially, a butler’s pantry was a secondary pantry with easy access from the kitchen and the dining room that stored serving items and helped make the transfer from the kitchen to the table smoother for attendants and guests during mealtime. 
The modern butler’s pantry, also sometimes referred to as a serving pantry, is a space situated between a kitchen and a dining room that can serve a wide variety of uses. 

2 Big Benefits of a Butler’s Pantry

Butler’s pantries are proving more and more useful—even in today’s households. Here are just a couple of benefits of a butler’s pantry:

1. Extra Storage

One of the biggest benefits of this type of pantry is the extra storage. Traditionally, a butler’s pantry is a relatively small space that uses a system of shelves and drawers to store plates, glasses, silverware, and other necessary mealtime items. It’s a great addition to a kitchen design that provides extra storage space without taking up too much additional space.

2. Make Parties Easier

For individuals or couples that entertain often, storing items in a butler’s pantry certainly beats storing all of the necessities in the attic, basement, or garage. Everything you need for a formal affair is on-hand and easily accessible. You can even use the butler’s pantry as the dedicated appetizer and snack space for your party.
This keeps the party drinks and snacks in one area and helps contain foot traffic to a specific area and out of the rest of your kitchen. This can be helpful if you’re making a big meal and need to keep extra people out of the main cooking area. A butler’s pantry can help make party planning and the party itself a much easier and smoother process.

4 Useful Butler’s Pantry Ideas

In a modern home with a butler’s pantry, you have a space situated between your kitchen and dining room that you can use for whatever you want. Here are just a few butler’s pantry ideas to inspire you:

1. Use it to Store Tableware

You can always use the butler’s pantry for its traditional purpose and store any tableware there. It’s a great way to keep table linens and coverings, serving pieces, and other items out of the way and stored in a dedicated space.

This can be particularly useful if you have special linens and tableware for certain holidays that you only use certain times of the year. A butler’s pantry keeps these close to the dining room while also keeping them out of the way of daily kitchen use.

2. Create a Staging Area

You can use the countertops and shelves of a butler’s pantry to create a staging ground for serving meals. You can also set it up as a dedicated storage and prep space for coffee and tea. It’s a great way to store mugs and all the necessities for hot drinks in one space.

Plus, you have room to prep your drink there too, which doesn’t take up valuable cabinet or counter space in the kitchen.  This is why using a butler’s pantry is one of the best coffee station ideas.

3. Build in Adjustable Shelving

As with any other storage space, it’s easy for a butler’s pantry to become cluttered and disorganized. One way to help avoid this and make sure everything has its place is to design your butler’s pantry with adjustable shelving.

This allows you to move shelves as needed and customize your storage space for effective storage for everything you need to keep there. Plus, it gives you the flexibility to change the storage system over time to meet your changing needs.

4. Make it a Prep and Cleanup Space

This type of extra pantry can also be turned into a meal prep and cleanup space. You can have extra counter space to add more prep space to your kitchen. You can also add a sink to make a dedicated cleanup space that doesn’t interfere with cooking in the main part of the kitchen.

The modern butler’s pantry provides attractive and elegant storage to a kitchen without taking up too much additional space. They can be a great addition to the kitchen in your custom home design. If you’re ready to bring your dream home to life, contact Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090 to get started on the path to your custom home!