Top Tips for Modern Pantries

Pantries help you declutter, organize, plan, and store. What more could you want, especially at this time of year with the harvest foods jamming the markets, and the holidays fast approaching? Here are some popular pantry design features and ideas for what to put into your pantry, from the new book from publisher Gibbs Smith, The Pantry.

Pantries of today are recollections of earlier pantries or are equally practical spaces that use modern materials like chrome and specialty woods. The pantry hasn’t changed much over its several-hundred-year history except in the use of materials. Most pantries are small rooms with shelves and cupboards and are recognizable as such.

Design Features
Your own collections and preferences will help inspire the ear or design of your pantry. Here are some design features that would be welcome in any pantry:
Open shelving, often with wooden brackets or hardware.
Painted or stained surfaces for a vintage look.
Chrome or stainless steel for a modern look.
Complementary hardware (whether reproduction, historic, or modern, the hardware should be practical and not overwhelm the look of your pantry).
Cupboards below countertops for storing large items.
Vertical or horizontal slots for platters and large items.
Divided drawers for linens or silverware.
Scalloped shelf paper (attach to the edges of cupboards or shelves for a traditional look. This is a fussy but attractive holdover from the Victorian period).
Vintage collections, old labels, or decals on pantry items, such as jars, tins, and canisters.

What to put in your pantry
Pantries can be devoted exclusively to food, china, or antique collections or may include a combination of everything. Here are some ideas to inspire your own pantry creations:
Hidden bins for staples like flour, rice, or dog food.
Baskets or metal bins for food storage.
Large vintage or modern tins and canisters.
Glass jars for foodstuffs like dried peas, pasta, beans, chocolate chips, etc.
Spice jars and canisters with old or new labels.
Canned goods and gourmet foodstuffs.
Dishes combined with food storage.
Everyday dishes or antique collections.
Cookbooks–well-loved favorites or your grandmother’s special heirlooms.
Antique linens or piles of colorful assorted dish towels and tablecloths.
Shaker pegs or cast-iron hooks for your vintage aprons (even if you never wear them, they look great hanging up!).

Adapted from The Pantry: Its History and Modern Uses, by Catherine Seiberling Pond (Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2007).


Caroline B.
Caroline B2 years ago

great ideas!

Sue H.
Sue H5 years ago

Good article, but again, why are we unearthing 2008 posts? Are people not contributing enough new articles?

Kristina C.
Kristina C6 years ago

Thank you. I love a well organized and practical pantry.

Please sign my petition:

Jennifer C.
Past Member 6 years ago

Amazing! Thanks for sharing.

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Robert O.
Robert O7 years ago


William P.
Past Member 8 years ago

Love it! My roommate never closes the door to the pantry, so this is the solution – just make it look so nice I would never WANT to close it. Thanks!
nintendo ds Autoladegerät

Elizabeth Gooding
Past Member 9 years ago

wow... so many ideas that would have never even crossed my mind while trying to decorate my itsy bitsy kitchen. Your suggestions are so doable! Thank you for posting this!

Bradley H.
Bradley H.9 years ago

cool article