How can I make my pantry look expensive? 10 features of good pantry design

Pantries are no longer being treated as an afterthought – they are in the spotlight and more stylish than ever before

How to make a pantry look expensive?
(Image credit: Studio HÁM / Lewis Alderson & Co. / Benjamin Johnston Design)

Unsung heroes of the home, multi-functional pantries play an important role in taking the pressure off the kitchen, but there is no reason why they cannot be both practical and beautiful.

Kitchen and pantry transformations don’t always have to be grand affairs. Instead, they can be slowly curated through minimal updates that don’t break the bank but leave your space looking expensive and luxurious.

Here, interior designers and kitchen experts share with us their favorite ways to make a pantry look expensive. And if you're looking for pantry ideas for versatile storage that’s equally suited to modern life, check out our dedicated feature.

How to make a pantry look beautiful

'As traditional style kitchens and home baking enjoy a revival, pantries are one of the most requested features in the kitchen,' says Tom Howley, design director at the eponymous kitchen company. 

'For centuries, homes have relied on a dedicated kitchen pantry to store dried goods, pots, pans, and jars of produce. These days, pantries are not only practical kitchen storage solutions, but they also add plenty of style and luxury.'

Below, we take you through the best ways to make a pantry look expensive – for all spaces and kitchen styles.

1. Elevate with color

Pantry painted yellow with wall shelving

(Image credit: Lewis Alderson & Co.)

A bold kitchen color is an easy way to inject some fun into a pantry, so says Tom Edmonds, design director of Lewis Alderson & Co. ‘Here, we included a statement lampshade in an unexpected style for a little extra joy,’ he adds. ‘The Carrara marble shelves on antique brass brackets keep stored foods a bit cooler and lend a sense of luxury in the small kitchen space.’

2. Climb the ladder

Pantry storage with painted shelving

(Image credit: Benjamin Johnston Design)

Good pantry storage ideas are crucial in a luxury space. If you are thinking of adding a pantry, whether an adjoining walk-in design or integrated into a kitchen, then consider working with a kitchen designer to create a bespoke solution, as shown here.

Library-style ladders certainly make reaching the unreachable a breeze, but they can also bring a decorative advantage to pantries with soaring ceilings. A beautifully made ladder with solid proportions that clips onto a brass rail (for safety and extra style points), will draw attention upwards to appreciate your pantry’s full glory. In this handsome space by Benjamin Johnston, the rolling library ladder is color-matched to the aubergine walls behind.

3. Source vintage storage

Pantry with white walls and rustic wood storage

(Image credit: Studio HÁM)

HÁM Interiors channeled the Victorian-style pantry to give a new extension a sense of history, but this bucolic rustic look could work anywhere. ‘Opting for time-worn pieces offsets the starkness of freshly plastered walls,’ explains co-founder, Tom Cox. ‘The imposing butcher’s block was chosen for its utilitarian feel, we liked how the surface holds the marks of everyday use. Use oversized artwork to add another layer of interest.’

4. Coordinate color

Pantry with worksurface and wallpaper being shelf

(Image credit: Sabbe Interior Design)

Color can provide so much impact, even in the smallest of pantries, as Stephanie Sabbe proves in this compact, walk-through space. The original terracotta flooring influenced her choice of wallpaper, Arbutus by Morris & Co, which delicately envelops all four walls. Painting coving and architraves in the same regal blue as the cabinetry has a heightening effect, while the antique paintings, baskets and clayware inject vintage charm.

5. Bring in nature 

Kitchen pantry with white shelving and floral wallpaper

(Image credit: Project by Kate Feather Kitchen Design and Cat Dal Interiors)

Kitchen wallpaper adds interest to pantries but also creates the perfect backdrop for camouflaging any untidiness,’ says Kasia Piorko, design director, of Kate Feather Kitchen Design, who worked on this cute pantry in collaboration with Cat Dal Interiors. ‘We love how the fresh botanical print makes the space less formal. Brightly colored designs featuring fruit, veggies and other greenery will always add good energy in a space dedicated to food storage.’

6. Play with pattern

Pantry with blue cabinets

(Image credit: Martin Moore)

A patterned tile kitchen backsplash in cream and coral ensures this corner pantry gets the attention it deserves. Martin Moore’s design director Richard Moore says such ‘statement pantries’ are big news. ‘Pantries are increasingly becoming a design focus for the kitchen. Decorate with the same flourishes and attention to detail you would the rest of the kitchen so, when open, it looks great from every angle.’

7. Go open plan

Pantry with glass room divider

(Image credit: Roundhouse)

Black metal-framed glazing is a clever way to enclose a walk-in pantry, without reducing the sense of spaciousness in the kitchen. Go for sliding doors rather than hinges for open, easy access. ‘Working inside the pantry becomes a pleasure as the space is integral to the whole kitchen, rather than being hidden away,’ explains Roundhouse designer, Robyn Gifford. ‘Metal-framed glazing is also a great design feature that enhances any style of kitchen.’

8. Beautify pantry storage 

Pantry with shelves on all walls

(Image credit: Michelle Nussbaumer)

Floor-to-ceiling pantry shelving in pastel pink lends an olde worlde candy shop aesthetic to this magical pantry in the home of American interior designer Michelle Nussbaumer. Decanting dried foods may be a faff but Michelle proves it’s 100% worth the effort. She uses pewter Chinese tea caddies for an extra design flourish, alongside classic Mason jars and industrial-style metal baskets to corral unstackable packaging into order.

9. Make it personal 

Pantry with shelves and countertop

(Image credit: The Secret Drawer)

Acid-etched glass and hand-engraved lettering evoke the rarefied atmosphere of an artisan delicatessen in this classic walk-in pantry. 

‘Luxury touches and personalized details are gaining ground as clients afford their pantries the same status as their main kitchen,’ says Richard Mason, owner of The Secret Drawer. ‘Here, subway tiled walls and plenty of marble have the added advantage of keeping bread, cheese, and charcuterie at the perfect ambient temperature.’

10. Light it up 

Monochrome pantry with light up storage

(Image credit: Hetherington Newman)

Discreetly hidden LED kitchen lighting and fresh mint paintwork ensure this joyful jewel box of a pantry glows from within. ‘We love how unusual design ideas can push a pantry beyond the ordinary,’ says Mike Fetherston, design director, Hetherington Newman. ‘Enclosed by a sliding glass door, design details like the illuminated shelving and bespoke mosaic floor can be enjoyed without stepping inside.’ A beautiful showcase of gastronomic delights!

Linda Clayton

Linda graduated from university with a First in Journalism, Film and Broadcasting. Her career began on a trade title for the kitchen and bathroom industry, and she has worked for Homes & Gardens, and sister-brands Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, since 2006, covering interiors topics, though kitchens and bathrooms are her specialism.