What is a pantry cabinet?
If you are shopping around looking at the countless different kitchen cupboards on offer, then a pantry cabinet may well have caught your eye. This common kitchen storage solution serves an important function - to keep your food reserves tidily stored away yet always within arm's reach. Many modern homes do not have room for an actual pantry (a small room where food is stored) or else the 'cook of the household' (that's you, right?) needs to have some of the most commonly food items close to hand. A kitchen pantry cabinet is typically a cupboard of some description, usually with doors or just one door, and interior shelves for storing food stocks. They come in many shapes, sizes and materials but usually try to preserve a traditional appearance
What to look for
If you have never considered a kitchen pantry before, there are some things that are worth bearing in mind. Firstly, does it fit your needs? You actually need to take half an hour to list the kinds of food item you will be storing in your cabinet to determine the different heights of your groceries. Yep! Actually get a tape measure and measure up different food items! It is a common mistake to buy an item of kitchen shelving and then realise that those boxes of cornflakes cannot stand upright on the shelves!
Then ask yourself if your new kitchen pantry cabinet will make the maximum use of the space available. The whole reason you need a kitchen storage solution is to get as many of your groceries out of sight as possible, yet often kitchen cupboards and shelving do not make the best use of the height available - you may want to measure the height of your ceiling and consider a tall pantry cabinet that will reach to the top and provide a great deal of extra needed storage space. Kitchen pantries come in a a variety of dimensions, with some over 6 feet tall, but some only at chest height, low enough to keep ornaments on etc. This is obviously more decorative, but remember you are not capitalising on the space you have available with this type of solution. If you do go for a tall one though, don't worry if the top shelves seem out of your reach, they can be used for storing less frequently-needed food items - perhaps those REAL emergency reserves, or perhaps those little treats that really need to be moved out of reach for your own good! However, always keep to a simple rule for safety - heavy objects should never be kept above chest height or so. For one thing they can unbalance free-standing kitchen cupboards, but equally they are hazardous in that heavy objects are hard to take down from above shoulder height, and can fall and cause a serious injury. It's not worth the risk.
On the subject of weight, another key question when buying a pantry cabinet is, is it strong enough to take the weight of all your food stocks? Remember, by the time you have loaded up 50-100 cans of food, we are talking about quite a considerable load (meaning the cabinet has to have quite a wide base too, for stability) - so consider a more sturdy material such as oak. It may seem an excess now, but when you see your kitchen pantry still bearing the load 20-30 years down the line, you will be glad you did. If you are a buying a ready-made cabinet from a store, there may well be a maximum weight rating, which you should not exceed.
Lastly, but surely not least, you should consider aesthetics - if you are considering a kitchen or corner pantry cabinet that is going to be in full view then obviously looks will be important too. This item of furniture need not be an eyesore! There are various designs of pantry cabinet around, different heights, as mentioned, but also different finishes, with and without glass-fronted doors, and of course different colours. Alternatively, if you are handy with wood and tools and are planning to make your cabinet yourself, read up on pantry cabinet plans.
Hopefully these tips will have helped you make your choice of pantry cabinet. Browse around some of the links on this site if you want more information.