Having adequate and organized storage space in your kitchen is crucial for keeping it clutter-free and functioning efficiently. While built-in cabinets have traditionally been the norm, stand alone pantries have soared in popularity thanks to their versatility and flexibility. From gleaming stainless steel models to classic Shaker-style wooden versions, today’s stand alone pantries allow you to add stylish and functional storage precisely where you need it most. Read on for our complete guide to selecting the ideal stand alone pantry to transform your kitchen.
Types of Stand Alone Pantries
Stand alone pantries come in a range of shapes and sizes to suit nearly any kitchen layout and storage requirements. Consider the footprint of your available space as well as your own lifestyle needs as you compare the primary styles.
Freestanding Tall Pantries
Vertically oriented, floor-to-ceiling pantries deliver serious storage capacity while occupying minimal floor space. The thin profile, typically under two feet wide, enables installation even in tight spots like corners or next to doors. Interior adjustable shelves further optimize organization. On the downside, the deep shelves can make retrieving items in the back more difficult. These taller units also have a larger visual presence, which may or may not suit your aesthetic tastes. Overall, freestanding tall pantries excel at packing in provisions, equipment, or dishware in kitchens where square footage is at a premium.
Freestanding Base Pantries
For those seeking a more furniture-like look, base pantries about three feet high provide an appealing alternative to their soaring counterparts. Ranging from two to four feet wide, they still offer abundant storage via cabinets and drawers, just in a more compact silhouette. The shallower storage spaces are easier to access. On the flip side, base pantries have a wider footprint, so they require more open floor area for placement. Matching them in size and style to other lower cabinets creates a streamlined, built-in look. For smaller kitchens, a base pantry on casters can simply be wheeled wherever it’s needed.
Extra Wide Pantries
Some standalone pantries extend to widths of three feet or even four feet to enable truly expansive storage capacity. A pantry 36 or 48 inches across can swallow up everything from overflow dishware to bulky small appliances to entire grocery hauls. Large families or avid home cooks will appreciate the ample real estate. Just confirm you have adequate open space to situate such a substantial piece. Islands, corners, and other out-of-the-way spots are ideal. The major width also allows for smart divisions like cupboards up top and open or closed shelving down below.
Popular Styles and Finishes
Stand alone pantries today are available across a spectrum of decorative designs suitable for any kitchen’s style. Consider colors, finishes, and accents that complement your existing decor.
Shaker Style Pantries
A perennial favorite, the Shaker style is characterized by its clean, simple lines and traditional charm. Wood choices like oak or maple paired with a painted or stained finish make a welcome addition to kitchens with Shaker cabinets. For a cohesive custom look, select a pantry in the same finish as the other cabinetry. Or add charming contrast with a color like navy blue, pale yellow, or sage green. Beyond wood, many companies now offer Shaker-style standalone pantries in durable thermofoil or PVC as budget-friendly options.
For more modern kitchens, a sleek and streamlined standalone pantry introduces useful storage without disrupting the vibe. Stainless steel pantries with recessed handles provide an ultra-modern industrial touch and are easy to wipe clean. Glossy laminates in tones like bright white, jet black, or cool gray complement the minimalist aesthetic. Metallic hardware and matching metal or glass shelves amp up the glamour. Incorporating floating shelves, creative shelving configurations, and LED lighting enhances the contemporary appeal.
Nothing evokes cozy farmhouse charm better than a traditional wood pantry distressed by wire brushing, rasping, or sponging on layers of milk paint. Fun colors like barn red, celery, and robin’s egg blue are Farmhouse favorites. Open shelving up top provides character while the lower cabinets hide away clutter. For added rusticity, look for styles with X supports, rough-hewn planked doors, and wrought iron hardware. Weathered, vintage-style pantries add a warm, welcoming touch to any country kitchen.
Materials and Durability
Carefully constructed from quality materials, today’s stand alone pantries are designed for longevity. Assess the construction, hardware, joinery, and finish to determine which will withstand your household’s wear and tear.
Solid hardwoods like oak and maple deliver attractive visual grain and stain well, though they’re prone to expansion and contraction with humidity. Plywood offers greater stability at a lower price but doesn’t have an exterior-grade face layer. Both MDF and Thermofoil are very stable, affordable options perfect for painted finishes.
Stainless steel, a top choice for contemporary pantries, resists rust, stains, and fingerprints. Tempered glass adds lightweight elegance. More budget-friendly metal versions mimic the stainless steel look at reduced cost.
Whichever material you select, applying a durable, protective finish is key. Polyurethane resists heat, chemicals, and scratching. Conversion varnish cures harder than poly for enhanced moisture protection. And penetrating oil finishes, like tung oil, don’t fade or form surface films that can chip.
Beyond the materials, inspecting joinery and hardware also gives insight into a piece’s durability. Dovetail joinery prevents sagging. Undermount drawer glides enable smooth motion. And soft-close hinges prevent slammed doors.
Storage Solutions and Organizing Features
The storage design you choose should directly correlate to your kitchen items and daily workflow. Analyze how you use your current storage to determine the best standalone pantry layout. Some highly useful options include:
- Adjustable shelves – Let you customize space to fit various heights.
- Pull-out drawers – Provide easy access to contents in the back.
- Spice drawers – Keep spices organized and easily accessible.
- Wine storage – From racks to refrigerated units, keep bottles stored or chilled.
- Stemware holders – Securely stores delicate glassware.
- Appliance garages – Hide small appliances when not in use.
- Waste bin compartments – Discretely stash trash and recycling.
- Slide-out baskets – Pull baskets fully out for unobstructed access.
- Interior lighting – Illuminate dark corners and see contents clearly.
Take measurements and assess your typical storage volume to select the configurations that make the most of your available space.
Shopping for the Perfect Stand Alone Pantry
With an endless array of styles and price points to suit any budget, you can shop for your dream pantry from big box stores, boutique shops, and custom cabinet makers. Consider the following when making your selection:
Cost – Pre-assembled big box store pantries allow easy installation at lower prices. Semi-custom boutique versions add personalized options. Full custom provides complete design flexibility at premium prices.
Quality – Assess materials, joinery, hardware and finishes. Test doors, drawers and shelving. Higher cost often denotes better quality.
Sizing – Take detailed measurements of the space and of any existing cabinets or appliances. Leave ample clearance space.
Expert Assistance – Work with kitchen designers to optimize layout. Visit showrooms to view options in person.
Finding the perfect balance of aesthetic appeal, utility and affordability may take some diligent deal hunting. Don’t rush into a purchase until you locate “the one” that checks all your boxes.
Arrangement Ideas and Placement Tips
Strategic placement and creative styling enables your new pantry to enhance both form and function in your kitchen. Consider these arranging approaches:
Practical Storage – Position your pantry near food prep zones for efficient cooking and baking. Place frequently-used items at eye or waist level.
Kitchen Island Addition – Flank a large island with two matching pantries for expansive storage capacity.
Room Divider – Situate the pantry between kitchen and dining or living spaces to delineate open concept rooms.
Focal Point – Make the pantry a statement piece by centering it on a wall or floating it on a room divider.
Accessible Storage – Ensure the pantry is easily accessed by all household members, including those with physical limitations.
Install interior organizational systems to keep the contents in place once arranged for efficiency. Place frequently-used items in the most convenient spots.
Transforming Your Kitchen with a Stand Alone Pantry
A stand alone pantry allows you to add stylish, functional storage to almost any kitchen layout. Consider how this versatile furniture piece could enhance your culinary workspace.
Update an outdated kitchen – Freshen up old cabinets and appliances by adding a contemporary standalone pantry.
Rental-friendly upgrade – Easily install a standalone pantry without permanent kitchen remodeling.
Revamp kitchen workflow – Strategic pantry placement can optimize efficiency.
Gain extra storage – Alleviate a cramped, cluttered kitchen with expanded storage space.
Improve accessibility – Adjustable pull-outs and drawers make items easier to reach.
From a sleek stainless steel unit to bring in modern flair to a reclaimed wood version radiating rustic charm, the right pantry can both enhance your storage and upgrade your decor.
The versatility, flexibility and style stand alone pantries offer makes selecting one a smart upgrade for many kitchens. Keep this comprehensive guide on hand as you begin your search for the perfect pantry. Browse showrooms and stores to view options in person. And work with kitchen professionals to accurately measure your space and map out the optimal configuration. With some thoughtful planning and smart shopping, you’ll soon be cooking and entertaining in a kitchen upgraded with your dream pantry.