Butler’s Pantry Ideas: 10+ Beautiful And Functional Designs

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Find my own butler’s pantry makeover and 13 other inspirational scullery and butler’s pantry ideas in this post!

Big news: the butler’s pantry is finished!!

A little makeover with wallpaper, painted countertops and new knobs finished out my small pass-through butler’s pantry room and I’m thrilled with how it turned out!

I’m sharing all of the details of the third part of a makeover series, but stay tuned through the end of the post for tons of butler’s pantry and scullery inspiration below!

beautiful scullery and butler's pantry ideas

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My Butler’s Pantry Makeover

Once upon a time, I set out to makeover my dining room, laundry room and butler’s pantry which are all connected between the kitchen and entryway. I can see both the dining room and butler’s pantry from my front door and my office. And I can see all of the rooms from my kitchen. So, it was important to me that they coordinate and “speak to each other.”

I hired a designer, Sydney Collins, to help me choose some of the wallpapers, fabrics and paint colors that would create a color story between all three rooms.

Where it Started

Here’s where the butler’s pantry started:

It definitely screamed The 90’s with yellow walls, hunter-green countertop and bronze knobs!

I shared my original plans for the space in conjunction with the laundry room makeover plans.

Original Laundry Room Design Board

Originally I planned to paint the cabinets the pretty blue “Little Falls” color. But in the end, I painted the laundry room a lighter shade of that blue paint color (Blue Heather) and left the cabinets the original cream color. I may paint them white down the road, but for now, I’m good with them.

Butler’s Pantry Reveal

And here’s how the butler’s pantry looks now!

I painted the countertops with a faux marble look, which I also used in the laundry room. And I wallpapered the walls with a beautiful geometric paper that has iridescent dots on it. It’s so pretty!

marble countertops with blue and white goemetric wallpaper on the walls.

The new octagon glass knobs were a later decision that I made, after I had already bought new brass knobs for the space. I decided I wanted something a little fancier, and I found the perfect accessories. I love how they repeat the glass curtain rod finials in the dining room.

octogonal cabinet knobs on glass front cabinets

Now it’s a much prettier view from the dining room and entryway.

The blue colors in the butler’s pantry coordinate with the blue fabric on my dining chairs, the blue pleated lampshades, and the blue trim on my dining room curtains.

And it is the perfect progression into the laundry room, as well.

butler's pantry with blue and white wallpaper walking into a blue and white laundry room.

Now I enjoy this view from my kitchen into all three rooms that all work so well together! I love how they really make a statement together and apart. The funny thing is that I never considered the laundry room floor pattern and how it would relate to this wallpaper before I installed it, but they are both perfect on the diagonal!

Butler's pantry view into a formal dining room and laundry room space.

It’s safe to say these three spaces are currently my favorite part of the house, which is good because I walk by and see them all day every day!

Now that I have shown you the big reveal, let’s learn more about a butler’s pantry and discover even more inspiration!

What is a butler’s pantry?

A butler’s pantry is simply a dedicated space where you store and organize serving pieces, glassware, silverware, and other items you use to set a table and serve meals. They often include countertops for staging food before serving, cabinets for storage, and sometimes appliances.

The purpose of a butler’s pantry is to make serving meals easier and more graceful with a seamless transition from the kitchen to the dining area, which is why you’ll usually find them between those two spaces.

Traditionally found in large homes, they’ve made a resurgence in recent years even in smaller homes. As you will see in this post, you really don’t need a ton of space to create one. And they don’t have to be perfectly positioned between the kitchen and dining room.

Perfectly small butler's pantry in a traditional home.

In my home, our butler’s pantry is a tiny little space, but we love having a drink station in our butler’s pantry when we’re hosting. Eventually, I’d like to add a mini fridge or ice maker in place of some of the lower cabinets. We also use it to store serving dishes and place food items out of the way of the kitchen.

Is a scullery the same thing as a butler’s pantry?

Although people often use the terms “butler’s pantry” and “scullery” as the same thing today, they originally meant different things. Traditionally, a scullery is a small room adjacent to the kitchen for sometimes noisy or messy tasks like dishwashing and food preparation. They truly are like secondary kitchens or wet bars and usually have sinks and other appliances.

A fully equipped scullery is most helpful in homes with open floor plans where the kitchen and dining area blend into the gathering space for guests. Having a small room with extra counter space for food prep and cleanup keeps your primary kitchen tidy for socializing.

A true butler’s pantry is mostly only for storage, staging, and organizing items used in dining and entertaining. Even so, as these spaces have made their comeback in modern homes, you’ll see spaces combining elements of both. Probably the most common crossover feature is the presence of a sink, even if only a small one.

What should be in a butler’s pantry?

A well-equipped butler’s pantry should contain items related to serving and entertaining, including:

  • Servingware: Plates, bowls, platters, and serving utensils for various types of dishes.
  • Glassware: Wine glasses, champagne flutes, tumblers, and highball glasses.
  • Silverware: A selection of flatware and utensils for both formal and casual dining.
  • Table linens: Tablecloths, napkins, and placemats for table settings.
  • Barware: Cocktail shakers, strainers, and other bar tools, along with a selection of spirits and mixers.
  • Storage solutions: Thoughtfully selected and placed cabinets, drawers, and shelving for efficiently organizing and storing these items.
  • Appliances (optional): Lesser-used small appliances can be stored out of the way, while others you use primarily for entertaining are intended for these spaces. Most often you’ll see a mini-fridge, a wine refrigerator, a dishwasher, a microwave, an ice maker and more.
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What are the most important things to consider when designing a butler’s pantry?

Your butler’s pantry should be as unique as your hosting and serving needs. Here are the broader considerations to help guide a custom design that perfectly suits you and your home.

  1. Space and layout: While space can be limiting, just know that you can optimize even a tiny nook or convert a closet for a small butler’s pantry for your serving essentials. Perhaps you already have a basic walk-in pantry intended only for food storage. Can you imagine it reconfigured with countertops and cabinets?
  2. Storage needs: Evaluate what you need to store and stage in this space. Cabinetry can maximize a small space and add instant organization so everything has a designated spot.
  3. Appliances: If you want to include appliances like a sink, dishwasher or wine fridge, ensure there are adequate electrical and plumbing connections. Then take into account where they are located, because that will greatly impact how you configure the space.
  4. Lighting: Proper lighting is crucial for locating items and doing any food prep or staging. Consider task lighting under cabinets and any needed ambient lighting. If you have a window with natural lighting to work with, take advantage of the extra illumination for tasks that need it most.
  5. Style: Of course! While these spaces are highly functional, there’s no reason for them not to be beautiful. Have fun with the design to complement your home’s style and décor. Choose finishes, hardware, and materials that match your taste and create a cohesive look with your other lovely living spaces.

And on that last note, here are some absolutely beautiful butler’s pantry designs I have rounded up from different sources to inspire you. You’ll see all of the elements I have covered above, along with specific examples of how designers have addressed the aesthetic, storage and entertaining needs of different homes.

13 Butler’s Pantry Ideas for Design Inspiration

While this round-up consists of 13 butler’s pantry designs, if you’re like me, you’ll find hundreds of elements from which to pick and choose to suit your own unique needs and available space. I chose examples with a wide range of features and amenities, and I love every one of them for different reasons.

1. Entertainer’s Enclave

gorgeous pass-through butler's pantry in a New Colonial design style.
via Woodgrain.com/Thomson and Cooke

Even the beautiful flooring draws you into this elegant space done in a New Colonial design style. It’s perfect for cocktail prep and serving with a wet bar sink and glass upper cabinets for displaying glassware. Meanwhile, its enclosed, floor-to-ceiling cabinetry offers incredible extra storage space for serving pieces, small appliances, and more.

2. Finishing in Style With Luxury

white butler's pantry with subway tile backsplash, marble countertop, brasss faucet and small copper sink.
Anna Braund Design via Maison de Cinq

Since a small butler’s pantry is a fraction of the size of your kitchen, it’s the perfect place to splurge on hardware and finishes you might forgo in outfitting a huge space whether for expense or upkeep. This is a delightful mix of luxury marble, glass and brass with a tiny copper sink.

3. Pristine Prep & Cleanup

This scullery combines a perfect balance of open shelving, minimal exposed food storage and two spacious counters for tasks. The aspects I may love as much as the bright, clean look are the appliances, some obvious and others not. Besides a microwave and electric oven, the cabinetry includes a dish drawer and a cooling drawer, allowing for dishwashing and extra fridge space.

4. Cozy Coastal Hideaway

The cabinet color, natural light, natural woods and sturdy shiplap bring cozy, coastal warmth. This relatively small space packs a lot in while not feeling overwhelming thanks to the floating, open shelves and glass throughout—including the storage vessels and cabinet fronts. And that sunny view over a deep sink with beautiful brass fixtures would make washing dishes seem far less like a chore!

5. Serving Piece Showcase

This butler’s pantry feels most like a true serving pantry, emphasizing displays of beautiful serving pieces amid complementary patterns and colors. There’s still plenty of storage space for items to be tucked out of view and let the glass and china get the attention, plus a microwave and oven to extend your kitchen capacity. Pocket doors allow it to be fully concealed, yet with this view, I am not sure why you would!

6. So Fresh and So Clean!

The minimal, bright and open shelves with pops of texture in the baskets and other storage solutions are so inviting in this scullery. While the emphasis is clearly on artfully storing food pantry staples, there’s cabinetry for storing other serving items and a bright, sunny prep space, too.

7. Fancy a Cocktail?

dark green cabinetry and botanicla green wallpaper in a butler's pantry with marble countertops.
Design by Virginia Cheek via Atlanta Magazine

This butler’s pantry has such a lovely look overall, and the corner nook for cocktails and wine is so inviting. Perhaps it is the brass barware mirroring the hardware from the Matthew Quinn Collection within such a refined design and color scheme. The cool green-gray of Farrow & Ball’s Castle Gray, the Sandberg “Raphael” wallpaper, substantial marble countertops, and a lot of natural light make this feel like a fresh spring day.

8. Botanical Retreat

small butler's pantry with wood countertops, botanical wallpaper and blue cabinets.
Photo: Laurey W Glenn/Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller via Southern Living

While I don’t want to distract you from your butler’s pantry project, do take a look at this entire Southern Living Showcase Home, which is an interpretation of the circa-1810 Grassmere Historic Home in Nashville built about 35 miles south in College Grove. There’s so much to love about it!

At the same time, I can stay on point with this adorable butler’s pantry within the home. The cabinet color is beautiful, and the vintage floral botanical prints add a touch of whimsy with a nod to the early 19th-century-meets-modern style.

9. Green With Envy

green cabinets in a butler's pantry with white shiplap walls and dark wood floors.
Photo by Jeff Herr via HGTV

With this butler’s pantry, I was immediately drawn to the green color and beautiful upper cabinetry, then saw it as the “enfilade” designer James Farmer noted in its HGTV highlight. In case you wonder, the word describes rooms that are intentionally grouped with aligned doorways. Here, it’s the butler’s pantry, dining room and living room, and he underscores that alignment with intentionally placed colors, patterns and textures.

10. Sweet Scullery

Unlike the other examples that more closely fit the classic definition of butler’s pantry with added features, this example is most like a scullery. What’s interesting is it isn’t a separate room but has that illusion because it is worked into the back corner of an open kitchen and partially obscured by a large cabinet piece containing the refrigerator, oven, and other large appliances. Here’s another image for reference.

11. Just the Right Space

This may be the smallest space among the examples here and shows how much you can organize neatly even in a very small butler’s pantry. This one has such a warm, cozy feel with the natural materials against a creamy white, all washed in natural light from a large window. The opposite wall has a similar narrow cabinet design and serves as a coffee station with additional storage above and below.

12. Vibrant, Functional Favorite Things

The lively, patterned wallpaper, beautiful, bold rug, and gleaming copper pots on the wall are just a few favorite details of this butler’s pantry. It’s also clear right away that this space uniquely reflects the home’s inhabitants and spares no detail accommodating exactly what they need from the space.

One side focuses on traditional food pantry storage for staples. The other is enclosed for dish and serving ware storage. While the cabinetry is floor-to-ceiling, a library ladder system with brass railing allows easier access to top shelves. The wallpaper is Jasper’s “Indian Flower” Wallpaper in saffron, and the paint color is a custom blend the homeowner shares in her Instagram highlights.

13. Bringing the Indoors Out

I chose this sunny butler’s pantry for its placement because it’s accessible in two ways. As with other examples, it’s within easy reach of the main kitchen and dining areas. The big bonus is having lovely French doors that open onto a patio, making it just as easy to slip in and out for outdoor entertaining.

With this kind of space, can you imagine what a breeze it would be to come straight in from the garden and rinse a veggie bounty or cut and arrange fresh flowers?

Final Thoughts

I hope these examples have given you the inspiration you seek while planning your perfect butler’s pantry. Once you’ve assessed your space, storage needs and serving situations, you can narrow the list of the features you require and get started creating a beautiful new functional space.

You’ll be so happy when it’s complete. Believe me when I say it’s a game-changer!

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