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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: