When I was shopping for my first house, I had so much fun exploring the nooks and crannies of everything that came up on the market. While I loved various parts of these houses, the pantries were among my favorites. I learned there’s a difference between a butlers pantry vs walk in pantry. 

Here’s how you can choose the one that is best for you.


What is a Butler’s Pantry?

A butler’s pantry is a smaller room between the kitchen and dining rooms. It has storage space, and is also used as an extension of the main kitchen.

It has counter space and sometimes a dishwasher or a minifridge. Often it is used as a staging area during meal prep, freeing up space in the main kitchen.


It Provides Extra Storage Space

Once the meal is over, you can whisk the dirty dishes away through the door between the dining room and the butler’s pantry, where many of them are stored.

In the past, this was the butler’s domain. He was in charge of making sure that the valuable tableware remained safe.

While most homes today don’t have a butler, this space is still useful for formal dining.


What Is a Walk-In Pantry?

A walk in pantry is a space that provides extra storage room for the homeowner. Unlike the butler’s pantry, a walk in pantry is not used for food preparation. Instead, it might contain cabinets or other storage spaces.

The pantry is very similar to a closet, but larger and more easily customized.


It Provides Extra Storage Space

The pantry is like a closet generally used to store dry goods, keeping them out of sight and freeing up space in the kitchen.

While some homeowners combine their pantry and laundry room, this is not always the case. Generally, the pantry is considered a part of the kitchen, storing food and keeping it safe until it is needed.

The stored items are out of sight yet easy to access.


How Are They Different?

The butler’s pantry and walk in pantry serve different purposes. For larger kitchens, the butler’s pantry can be used to extend the preparation area.

It is ideal for large gatherings since it stores extra serving pieces or extra sets of silverware.

The small room might also contain microwaves, a sink, or other appliances necessary to feed a large group. It is flexible, allowing for various purposes.

Meanwhile, a walk in pantry is strictly for storage capacity. It provides extra space for dried goods and other necessities, extending the capacity of the home.

A smaller house is more likely to have a butlers pantry vs walk in pantry.


How are they similar?

Butler’s pantries and walk in pantries are similar in that they are both used for more storage. If there isn’t enough in the kitchen, they both can free up countertops.

Either one can be used to store small appliances as well, keeping the kitchen organized more efficiently. So, while they have different uses, they are both extensions of the kitchen.


What’s better about a Butler’s Pantry?

A butler’s pantry can be a mini kitchen where you’re staging formal meals. There is extra space in a butler’s pantry since it can contain a refrigerator or freezer.

You can create a space that is beautiful yet functional. Then, when you treat it as a second kitchen, you’ll be able to host your guests more conveniently.


What’s better about a walk-in pantry?

A walk in pantry provides convenience without any of the required traffic in a butler’s pantry. It is meant only for storing things, and you can organize the space in any way that works for you.

The pantry allows you to put all of your additional storage behind a door and keep it safe and out of the way.


Who should get a butler’s pantry (and why)?

If you are buying a new home or remodeling the one you have, a butler’s pantry is an excellent option for people who often have guests.

The idea that you can use the extra counters to keep your meals organized as you’re still cooking is very appealing to many people.

The butler’s pantry is also a good place to keep coffee and tea, making these drinks accessible. If you regularly refill your drinks, putting a station in the butler’s pantry makes it more convenient. Some people also use it as a bar to store alcohol.

A butler’s pantry adds elegance to your home. If you want an old home with a glamorous feel, this is the path you should take.


Who should get a walk in pantry (and why)?

If you’re more concerned with storage space than a mini kitchen, a walk in pantry is best. Walk in pantry pros can create a pantry with the right cabinets and shelving for your needs.

You can store bulk items and dried food here, keeping them off the countertops and in their own room. While dried foods are most common, any food group can be kept in the pantry.


Butlers Pantry vs Walk in Pantry: Category Winners



Both rooms are meant to help the kitchen.

While the butler’s pantry has some storage, it is not as robust as the walk in pantry. Butler’s pantries are for your silverware and cabinets for other dining room necessities.

Meanwhile, walk in pantries are more flexible. Since they’re entirely focused on storage, you can customize them as needed.

Winner: Walk In Pantry


Extra Work Space:

When the kitchen is overworked, both rooms help.

Your butler’s pantry is essentially a mini kitchen. It has a sink, appliances, and countertops that make it ideal for staging your dinners or moving some of the work out of the main kitchen.

While your walk in pantry provides extra room that could potentially be used for food prep, you don’t have the conveniences of a butler’s pantry.

Winner: Butler’s pantry


Butlers Pantry vs Walk in Pantry FAQ


What’s the point of a butler’s pantry?

The point of a butler’s pantry is to provide extra space for storage and food preparation. It takes some of the pressure off of the kitchen while bringing things to the dining room.


Are walk-in pantries a waste of space?

No, walk-in pantries are not a waste of space. They can be used for storing a wide variety of food and small appliances, keeping them safe and out of the way until the homeowner needs them.

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