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What is a Built-In Pantry?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 26 August 2016
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A built-in pantry is a wood or metal shelf area used to store food products and other kitchen items. It may be built right into the kitchen or in a separate space off of a kitchen. Built-in pantries may be as small as one shelf or as large as five or more shelves. The purpose of a built-in pantry is to provide extra kitchen storage space and allow easy access to food preparation items.

Typically, staples and other food items used often are stored in the middle, easy-to-reach section of a pantry. These may be placed in glass storage jars, bins or drawers depending on the exact item and the design of the built-in pantry. Some of these pantries consist of only stationary shelving, while others feature pull-out drawers and/or sliding shelves.

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Wood and metal are the two most common materials used to make built-in pantries. Wood especially is used by contractors to build custom pantries in small rooms or alcoves located off of a client's kitchen. Depending on the needs and preferences of the client, the contractor for a built-in pantry will make all of the shelving the same and evenly spaced or create storage of differing dimensions. Rows of small bottles used for spices would be stored on narrower shelves than those meant for large canisters of flour and sugar. Separate room pantries are often similar in size to walk-in closets, or even smaller, and may feature an entry door that is solid, glass, bi-fold or sliding in design.

Built-in pantries that are part of the kitchen space rather than located in a separate area may be featured in different parts of the room. For example, a narrow sliding pantry may be built to fit between the side of a refrigerator and a counter. This type of built-in pantry is typically tall enough to be as high as the top edge of the kitchen cabinet it's next to; its front is often made to match the rest of the cupboards. Inside, this kind of narrow pantry usually will have wire shelves made to organize small bottles and jars of condiments, sauces and the like.

Another common type of built-in kitchen pantry is a tall, fairly wide add-on to the side of an existing cabinet. Many of these built-ins feature wire or wood slide-out drawers that are either attached to the pantry's inner side walls or to the underside of stationary shelving. Built-in cabinet pantries can increase the storage space and accessibility of foods as well as cooking supplies right in the kitchen.

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