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Pantry room entrance door, yes or no?

Pantry room entrance door, yes or no?

“To door, or not to door, that is the question:”

That’s Shakespeare (well, sort of). I think Hamlet’s contemplating suicide in this scene, which is definitely not the topic today, so I changed it. Poetic license.

This is about whether or not you should have a door to your new walk-in pantry.

If you’re sitting on the fence about it, do not fear. By the end of this post you will have made up your mind (let’s hope so anyway).

Why would you ever put a door on this pantry? It's truly beautiful, it should be shown off. | home owners:  EmersonMade

Why would you ever put a door on this pantry? It's truly beautiful, it should be shown off. | home owners: EmersonMade

Most people will know the answer to this question straight away. But for some, it becomes a real stumbling block.

Walk-in pantries often blur the line between food pantry, china cabinet, drinks bar, coffee station, prep area, washing up zone… the list goes on. These days, even cooking might happen in a pantry.

Visually, there’s some things you want to show off and have on display. And there’s some things you just want to hide and forget they’re there. Here lies the dilemma about if, where, and how to put a door to your pantry.

A stylish way to use a curtain as a door. The fabric drapes nicely and softens the look. | Sandy Maruca Design |  source

A stylish way to use a curtain as a door. The fabric drapes nicely and softens the look. | Sandy Maruca Design | source

spacious designs

Open plan living is what we’re all trying to achieve these days. Incorporating the kitchen, especially. Kitchens are usually completely open to the dining room, living room, and (in Australia) the alfresco too.

Kitchens are utility spaces. However, they’re not only used for cooking but are the central hub of the home. We spend so much time in them, they have to be beautiful spaces to enjoy.

Therefore, there’s a need to have a closed off space, like the pantry room, to hide mess.

Interior designers and architects are always finding solutions for closing off utility spaces, while at the same time, keeping everything looking spacious and gorgeous.

As we know, kitchen design is very personalised, and so it should be. Everyone’s requirements are different.

Mostly it comes down to privacy versus practicality. You need to decide which design works best for you and your family.

This Georgian style "joinery wall" of dark doors and glass, separate the pantry from the kitchen but creates a very elegant feature. | designed and made by  Humphrey Munson

This Georgian style "joinery wall" of dark doors and glass, separate the pantry from the kitchen but creates a very elegant feature. | designed and made by Humphrey Munson

To door, or not to (have a) door

Next, I’ll be discussing the benefits of having a door to the walk-in pantry. Showing you some fantastic ideas and beautiful doors you could use in your own design.

Keep scrolling after that to read the benefits of not having a door. I’ll follow it up with images of pantries that succeed without doors, and the reasons why.

Reasons to have a door:

It hides the total chaos that’s inside

You don’t want your home to look like a supermarket.

Keeps the little beasties out - bugs, mice, and even your own pets.

Keeps things clean and fresh and there’s less dusting to do

Helps to keep an ideal temperature for food storage

A dark(er) room is beneficial for food storage too

You think it looks cheap, without a door

If you have a dishwasher in the pantry, a door could dampen the noise.

If you have mostly open shelves inside, a door is vital.

This shows a pantry full of cupboard doors, no open shelves at all. The homeowner says she has cats and doesn't "do well" with open shelves. | blogger:  Life on Virginia Street

This shows a pantry full of cupboard doors, no open shelves at all. The homeowner says she has cats and doesn't "do well" with open shelves. | blogger: Life on Virginia Street

All open shelves

If the pantry entrance is closed with a door, you might not need to worry about having individual doors on your cabinets. You could have all open shelves inside.

It means you’ll have easy access to everything and you’ll see it all with a quick glance. Which is handy for when you’re writing a shopping list or deciding what’s for dinner.

Sliding barn doors are perfect for a farmhouse style kitchen. Why not make them a double and it becomes a nice wide opening with easy access. |  source

Sliding barn doors are perfect for a farmhouse style kitchen. Why not make them a double and it becomes a nice wide opening with easy access. | source

Create a statement piece

We know in fashion, that a statement piece is the first thing we notice about an outfit. It could be the earings, the shoes, the bag... The same goes for interiors. You’ll want to create a focal point in your kitchen design. It’s interior design school 101.

When you’re viewing the kitchen from the best angle, create one focal point that draws you in. It’s good to start the process with this exercise because usually the remaining design decisions are easy. Everything else complements the main focal point in the room.

You could use a pantry door statement piece to achieve this.

Don’t forget there are many different types of doors that could fit your purpose. Sliding barn doors, glass doors, antique doors, decorative doors… it’s only limited by your imagination.

Create impact with a black modern barn door. It's a sharp contrast with an all white colour scheme. | stylist & home owner:  Danika Rehfisch

Create impact with a black modern barn door. It's a sharp contrast with an all white colour scheme. | stylist & home owner: Danika Rehfisch

Antique doors in a fresh new kitchen, stunning. | designed by:  reDesign Home

Antique doors in a fresh new kitchen, stunning. | designed by: reDesign Home

Another remarkable yet recycled pantry door. It especially suits a farmhouse kitchen setting.  I couldn't find the source for this photo but didn't Joanna Gains from Fixer Upper start this trend?

Another remarkable yet recycled pantry door. It especially suits a farmhouse kitchen setting.

I couldn't find the source for this photo but didn't Joanna Gains from Fixer Upper start this trend?

This pantry door decal really pulls at my heart strings. For some reason, we humans love writing labels on things, even though we know what they are! It also feels like you're going into a nice boutique store in your very own home. |  source

This pantry door decal really pulls at my heart strings. For some reason, we humans love writing labels on things, even though we know what they are! It also feels like you're going into a nice boutique store in your very own home. | source

A porthole window in your pantry door is perfect for a nautical theme. Especially if you have a two-way swinging door, like in a commercial kitchen, and you need to see if someone's coming the other way. | designed & made by:  Edmondson Interiors

A porthole window in your pantry door is perfect for a nautical theme. Especially if you have a two-way swinging door, like in a commercial kitchen, and you need to see if someone's coming the other way. | designed & made by: Edmondson Interiors

What's behind those beautiful sliding doors? Ooh it's a walk in pantry! What a showcase. There's just enough vision through the glass to see what it is, but hide it at the same time. | interior design & styling by:  Larritt-Evans

What's behind those beautiful sliding doors? Ooh it's a walk in pantry! What a showcase. There's just enough vision through the glass to see what it is, but hide it at the same time. | interior design & styling by: Larritt-Evans

Copper door… fancy! Closed door or open, it looks fabulous both ways. An Adelaide residence (my home town). | designed by:  Enoki

Copper door… fancy! Closed door or open, it looks fabulous both ways. An Adelaide residence (my home town). | designed by: Enoki

Showcase what’s inside

If you have some beautiful items you want to show off, perhaps a collection of stemware, you’ll want a door to keep them dust free and in pristine condition. Glass doors are an obvious choice. They look nice too.

Don’t forget good lighting inside. It will take it to another level, especially in the evenings.

A grand butlers pantry, a showpiece really. Glass doors, white joinery and marble benchtops. Classic. | built by:  LunDev Custom Homes

A grand butlers pantry, a showpiece really. Glass doors, white joinery and marble benchtops. Classic. | built by: LunDev Custom Homes

Another beautiful entrance to a butlers pantry. This one is more of a showcase of what's inside, the marble and crockery pieces. It’s all lit up like a pretty jewelry box. | interior designer:  Rachel Deeks Design

Another beautiful entrance to a butlers pantry. This one is more of a showcase of what's inside, the marble and crockery pieces. It’s all lit up like a pretty jewelry box. | interior designer: Rachel Deeks Design

A secret door

There’s a trend towards integrating the walk-in pantry door with the kitchen cupboards, creating a seamless look.

I like this idea for modern kitchens. Here’s a tip: think about how the door will swing open. When it’s left open, it can block access to other things such as appliances and cupboards.

Surprise and delight. For a secret door to the butlers pantry, integrate it into your kitchen joinery. | designed by:  Minosa

Surprise and delight. For a secret door to the butlers pantry, integrate it into your kitchen joinery. | designed by: Minosa

Reasons not to have a door:

Have easy access.

You’ll probably forget to use the door and it stays open anyway.

It feels more open and spacious

Better traffic flow

It looks so nice, why close it away?

If you don’t want to wash up and prep food in a confined space, lose the door.

Your pantry cupboards all have doors on them, so there’s no need.

This sweet butlers pantry has no need for a door. I don’t need to explain why. | interior design by:  Martha O’Hara Interiors

This sweet butlers pantry has no need for a door. I don’t need to explain why. | interior design by: Martha O’Hara Interiors

Crisp white shiplap walls, styled with wicker baskets and timber shelves. Perfect. It would be a shame to close this off with a door. | location agency:  Shootfactory

Crisp white shiplap walls, styled with wicker baskets and timber shelves. Perfect. It would be a shame to close this off with a door. | location agency: Shootfactory

Easy access

Doors are an extra thing to navigate through when your hands are full. Unless you have a saloon door... yee-haw! (please excuse my cowboy impersonation, they remind me of country and western movies).

Seriously though, wanting easy access to the pantry is the main reason for having open doorways.

No door and superb natural light, creating a spacious feeling and a place you want to be in. | designed by  Heartly

No door and superb natural light, creating a spacious feeling and a place you want to be in. | designed by Heartly

Sick of the nagging?

Think about whether your partner, your kids, or whoever, will remember to keep closing the door behind them. Particularly when they’ve finished and left the room.

If it’s just not gonna happen, no matter how much nagging, then don’t bother with the door. Think of another solution. Like cupboards in the pantry instead of open shelves.

This butlers pantry probably has a door but it could very well succeed without one. Looking in, everything is arranged perfectly and there's cupboards below bench. | designed by:  Jean Stoffer Design

This butlers pantry probably has a door but it could very well succeed without one. Looking in, everything is arranged perfectly and there's cupboards below bench. | designed by: Jean Stoffer Design

openness is top priority

That feeling of open space is a real luxury. Lofty high ceilings, lots of natural light and clean fresh air coming through large windows. These things are at the top of many peoples wish list when they’re designing their spaces. Often overriding other favourable aspects, such as privacy, coziness and noise dampening.

Room openings (without doors) help to create an open feel in the home.

I love the openness and symmetry of this pantry design. It's quite unique. | designed by:  Simo Design

I love the openness and symmetry of this pantry design. It's quite unique. | designed by: Simo Design

With the addition of a full height window to accentuate the tall ceilings in this apartment, it would have been a huge error if they had put a door here. The feeling of space is maximised because of it. | designed by:  Studio DB

With the addition of a full height window to accentuate the tall ceilings in this apartment, it would have been a huge error if they had put a door here. The feeling of space is maximised because of it. | designed by: Studio DB

Large families

When there’s a lot of people in the house, traffic flow is very important. Especially if there’s two or three cooks in the kitchen at once. Lots of open spaces and good access to the pantry is vital. A door might be too restrictive here.

The line of sight goes right into the butlers pantry from the living room. However the joinery makes it look nice and neat. It's acting as a service "hallway" to the kitchen, with plenty of access from both sides. | designed by:  Mim Design

The line of sight goes right into the butlers pantry from the living room. However the joinery makes it look nice and neat. It's acting as a service "hallway" to the kitchen, with plenty of access from both sides. | designed by: Mim Design

No door but obscured from view

If you don’t particularly want a door but are concerned with privacy, consider the line of sight from the main living area. It might be possible to obscure the view into the pantry, but still achieve that open space feel.

No entrance door in this pantry design, opens up the space and the kitchen feels bigger than it is. | designed by:  Austin Design

No entrance door in this pantry design, opens up the space and the kitchen feels bigger than it is. | designed by: Austin Design

Invisible doors

Cavity slider pocket doors: now you see it, now you don’t.

Technically it is a door but it becomes invisible when it’s open, so you get the best of both worlds.

It’s by far the most popular choice for a walk-in pantry door. Especially if it will stay open most of the time.

However, sometimes there isn’t enough room in the wall for it because of plumbing, or other obstacles. Also, doors that become warped over time are a problem. They don’t glide smoothly into the wall cavity anymore.

The large opening to this scullery has cavity sliding door access. Great traffic flow and no door to navigate around when it's open, the door tucks away nicely and neatly when it's open. This kitchen’s suitable for many cooks (and dishwashers) at the same time. | designed and built by:  Dan Kitchens

The large opening to this scullery has cavity sliding door access. Great traffic flow and no door to navigate around when it's open, the door tucks away nicely and neatly when it's open. This kitchen’s suitable for many cooks (and dishwashers) at the same time. | designed and built by: Dan Kitchens

What’s the verdict? Have you decided what to do in your design?

I went with a door on mine. In a style that matches the rest of the house. It’s a bit cumbersome but our pantry is the coolest room in the house. Which is what we appreciate, especially in the summer.

Also our dogs would go nuts in there, if they had free access. It would be like christmas day to them. Lots of presents to open!


Need more pantry design inspo and advice? Continue reading the Pantry Series:

62 tiled splashbacks you shouldn't be afraid to use in 2019

62 tiled splashbacks you shouldn't be afraid to use in 2019

Everything we hate about walk in pantries

Everything we hate about walk in pantries