Inspiration and DIY Mimic Your Kitchen Design in Your Butler's Pantry

Photo features Copper Blend Brix accent with Veranda in Suede 6-1/2 x 20 field tile and Urban Metals in Bronze 3-1/4 x 12 liner.

Photo features Copper Blend Brix accent with Veranda in Suede 6-1/2 x 20 field tile and Urban Metals in Bronze 3-1/4 x 12 liner.


Mimic Your Kitchen Design in Your Butler's Pantry

In a traditional kitchen design, a butler's pantry is a transitional space between the kitchen and the dining room. Often, it's designed to function like a miniature kitchen for storage, service, and meal prep. It may include a door on the dining room side for a more formal, secluded eating and entertaining area, or it may be open on both ends. If you're undertaking a kitchen remodel, consider linking the butler's pantry with the kitchen design and the adjoining dining room's finishes for perfect flow and optimal elegance.

Here are some tips to visually connect one room to the next when it comes to designing your butler's pantry.

Use the Flooring to Create Flow

Even if your butler's pantry opens to the dining room and kitchen in a design without doors, it's typically best to carry the same flooring throughout. This creates a sense of unity between the two functional spaces, especially if you dress the dining room in a more majestic flooring finish to set it apart. The flooring throughout the kitchen and pantry might be a durable stone product, for instance, while the dining room flaunts wood-look tile. Ideally, you should keep the flooring at the same high level of quality, and keep the finishes either continuous or complementary for aesthetic appeal. In a minimalist or ultramodern home, however, you may prefer to carry the same flooring from end to end for a streamlined effect through the trio of rooms and beyond.

Photo features Yorkwood Manor in Pecan 6 x 36 field tile.

Paint the Pantry Ceiling

A kitchen design trick that you can use to give this sandwiched space a little of the dining room's persona is to mirror the formal room's flooring on the pantry ceiling with a stencil or wood-slat technique. If a traditional dining room boasts diagonally laid ceramic tile, for example, install diagonally laid trim on the pantry's ceiling or paint it with a diamond design to mimic the dining room's floor. Keep it subtle; painting a white ceiling with pale gray or light tan crisscross lines is enough to provide a visual link.

Choose Cabinetry for Continuity

It may seem obvious to link the pantry to your kitchen by using the same cabinetry, but if your butler's pantry is a bit on the small side, kitchen cabinets can visually and physically gobble up a lot of space. You have at least two options: Use compact or shallow cabinets, or leave the doors off standard cabinet boxes. The latter choice maximizes visual space by letting the eye travel right to the back of each open box. Without doors, you also create easy access to dishware. If you go this route, keep the shelves neat and uncluttered, displaying only your best dishes or accessories. Glass doors have the same flow-through effect, but the added advantage of dust control.

Go with Similar Countertops

A butler's pantry isn't an everyday feature. It's usually found in only the most posh of settings—old or new. When you're fortunate enough to have one, style it appropriately by using quality products. Carrying natural stone slab counters from the kitchen to the pantry is one way to do this. Then pull the dining room into the design with medallions of the same stone material or at least the same color family, tucking them lavishly and smartly into the tile floor or a tile feature wall. If you prefer, use the stone to top off a custom-built dining room buffet or sideboard.

Bind Your Design with the Backsplash

You don't have to repeat the kitchen's backsplash design exactly in the pantry—in fact, that may even be too much. Instead, incorporate the decorative tile element in a small way to suit the small space, but still visually bind the rooms. If your kitchen backsplash extends from the countertop to the upper cupboards, have the pantry backsplash only extend a few inches above its counter. Using metallic or glass mosaic tile gives you creative options—even in the dining room; in a small dining room, for example, you could top the tray of a folding butler's table with the same glass tile that graces the other rooms.

Photo features Copper Blend Brix accent with Veranda in Suede 6-1/2 x 20 field tile and Urban Metals in Bronze 3-1/4 x 12 liner.

Opt for the Same Color Palette to Create a Continuous Design

Color provides a sure way to not only connect the pantry to the kitchen, but to the dining room, too. Because it's centered between the two rooms, give it a bit of both palettes. Let's say that the kitchen features a mostly monochromatic color scheme with an ivory tile backsplash, white cabinets, and stainless steel appliances, and the dining room parades an array of fashionable grays, from its wood-look tile floor and drapery to its salvaged-wood farm table. From this assortment of hues, you could furnish the pantry with a stainless steel wine fridge and coffee pot, style the small space with an ivory and gray backsplash, and paint the walls white to make it appear larger than it is. In this scenario, accessorize the gray dining room with white elements, and jazz the kitchen up with gray accessories. This will create stylish contrast that smartly ties everything together.

Make Lighting Serve as a Link

Chances are that your butler's pantry doesn't have a window, but even if it does, you'll often use the space after dark, making alternate lighting an imperative part of its layout. Here, use whatever lighting you used in the kitchen design, such as pot lights or oiled-bronze track lights, for visual harmony. Reflect directional task light onto all work surfaces with under-cabinet fixtures, shining on the kitchen and pantry countertops. Although the dining room can feature a magnificent chandelier, you can draw it into the design by choosing one with metal arms that match the metal of the lighting in the partnering rooms. But proper lighting is as much about the bulbs as it is about the fixtures; use full-spectrum or daylight bulbs for optimal brightness in the two work spaces, and opt for warm-colored bulbs in the dining room. Equip the dining room fixture with a dimmer switch, so that you can control illumination and achieve a pleasant dining experience, whatever the occasion.