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An Introduction to Butler's Pantries

POSTED ON Wednesday, September 22, 2021 IN Kitchen

A Brief Introduction, to Butler's Pantries, their origins, and what they're used for today.

A Brief Introduction to Butler’s Pantries

A cozy Butler's Pantry

What is a butler's pantry? Where did the butler's pantry originate? How are Butler’s Pantries used today? We’ll answer these questions to help you make a better-informed decision of whether or not Butler’s Pantries are right for you.

What is a Butler’s Pantry?

The entrance to a Butler's Pantry

A butler's pantry, also known as a scullery, is an intermediary room, or area, between a kitchen and a dining room traditionally found within large homes but increasingly, more homeowners are opting for this smart storage solution. A butler's pantry serves two main purposes: storage and staging.

First, a butler's pantry can store any kitchen items you’d like to hide away from sight in your kitchen — especially in a home with an open floor plan. Think of silverware, fine china, platters, wine glasses, table linens, candles, and small appliances like can openers, blenders, and crock pots. In addition to traditional pantry staples, canned goods, snacks and baking supplies, a butler's pantry can store various other cooking and dining items all within one dedicated space. 

Secondly, the butler's pantry serves as a staging area for meals outside of the kitchen. Butler’s pantries often have usable counter space inside making it an ideal area for prepping meals. It’s also a place to put already finished entrees while waiting for the rest of your meal to finish cooking. This not only saves on precious counter space but reduces foot traffic through the kitchen. Furthermore, the butler's pantry can be a great place to store wine, as well as tea and coffee-making appliances giving you additional counter space within the kitchen area.

Where did Butler’s Pantries originate?

White Butler's Pantry

Sometime during Victorian Era England (mid-1800’s - early 1900’s), the butler's pantry fell into vogue among individuals with larger homes. At the time, particularly well-to-do families a butler in their employ, and at times the butler was given free boarding within the family’s home so that they would be available to cater to the family at all times. The butler’s room was often within the pantry, hence the name! 

In addition to serving as the living quarters for the family butler, as well as an additional prepping and storage area located outside of the kitchen, the butler's pantry also used to contain a logbook managed by the family’s butler. This logbook was used to keep an inventory of the family’s wine stock and keep tabs on who drank which bottle.

What are Butler’s Pantries used for today?

A Butler's Pantry in a Kitchen

Most families today with butler’s pantries do not have butlers, let alone butler’s who live inside their kitchen pantry. Yet that doesn’t mean butler’s pantries are a relic of the past! In fact, there is a resurgent interest in butler’s pantries in the marketplace, with over 60% of new buyers claiming they want the enhanced pantry storage space that a butler's pantry offers. 

While the butler's pantry may no longer serve as the living quarters for the family butler, or contain logbooks of every bottle of wine the family has in its possession, their original purpose to provide extra kitchen pantry and countertop space is still the main reason why individuals want them as part of their living arrangement. In the modern kitchen, counter space and the dedicated kitchen pantry can quickly become cluttered with the inclusion of modern appliances and amenities, such as coffee makers, electric kettles, air fryers, and more. With the inclusion of a butler's pantry you can keep your kitchen tidy and save the extra space for when you really need it. 

How to plan a butler's pantry in your new kitchen

Extra space in the Kitchen provided with Butler's Pantry

Butler’s pantries still have their place in many modern homes today, and serve much of the same purpose as they did nearly 200 years ago. A walk-in pantry that provides additional storage and counter space, allows you to divert foot traffic out of your kitchen and keep your kitchen less cluttered. It can also provide you with extra workspace to prepare meals and properly cater to your guests while giving you the space needed to relocate certain small appliances to ensure you have a more orderly kitchen. 

If you're interested in Butler’s Pantries, read up on other Kitchen & Bathroom Design Trends, such as How to Complement Your Kitchen. If you’re in the market for a butler’s pantry, find a showroom with a local kitchen designer and build a plan for a butler’s pantry into your home’s design.


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