When it comes to your pantry design, you want it to be functional and attractive. Here are a few things that will help you meld both worlds for a pantry that fits your needs.
Evaluate the space you have to work with. If you only have a slim area between appliances, consider a pull-out pantry. If you have an unused kitchen corner, install a corner cabinet pantry with a Lazy Susan. If you have a large kitchen with ample space, build a walk-in pantry with multiple shelves.
What exactly do you need to store? Design your pantry around these items. If your shelves are too close together or spaced too far apart, you will waste valuable space. Keep the pantry functional by adding shelves that can be adjusted and adding drawers, hooks and hanging racks.
The physical space you have will be important in the design. If you have a very tall space, keep in mind it will be difficult to reach items on the upper shelves. You may need a step stool to hang on the back of the door. You also may consider adding hooks instead of shelves to the higher areas. It will be easier to grab a pot hanging from a hook than a box of cereal on the top shelf. If the space is very narrow, consider a pull-out pantry with shelves that roll on wheels.
Invest in a few storage bins that slide into shelves or hang underneath. These are ideal for awkward items that are hard to stack, like individual serving packets (powdered soup, hot cocoa) or long-lasting vegetables (potatoes and onions).
You can find behind-the-door organizers for narrow items like spices and salad dressings. Alternatively, build your own with a few hooks and a rod with adjustable baskets. These things are easy to install, usually requiring nothing more than a screwdriver.
One of the things people tend to overlook is lighting and electricity in the pantry. If you are designing a brand new pantry, include electrical wiring and a few outlets in the plans.
If electricity is not in the cards, purchase some simple battery-operated lights that you can stick inside the walls of shelves. This will encourage you to use dim space toward the back of the pantry, and it will make it easier to plan meals and unload groceries.
Consider adding a small counter directly inside the pantry. This will give you a place to set grocery bags while unpacking them or to keep sets of dishes for when you are entertaining. A counter with drawers can serve as a small mini-office or a place to store mail, your calendar, address books and other important documents that you may need in a hurry.