Many North American homes in the 1990’s and 2000’s were designed with walk-in corner pantries. They provided tons of additional storage and were loved for many years. They often have built-in walls (dry walled and painted) on each side and a 24” solid or glass passage door on the front. Inside they can be outfitted with either of MDF, plywood, wood or metal rack shelving.
They became so popular and were almost a status symbol of a desirable kitchen back in the day. Let’s discuss some background information, advantages and disadvantages of the neo-angle built-in corner pantry and hopefully help you decide if a corner pantry is right for you.
WHY ARE PANTRIES SO IMPORTANT IN TODAY’S HOME?
Goodbye Cold Room: Let’s face it, most people love to store and collect food. Back in the day, food storage was often done in the cold room, which was typically in the basement, where preserves and canned items were stored to carry people through the winter months. Slowly, food storage crept up from the lonely basement into the kitchen area.
This could be for a few reasons including the reduction of home canning and the increase in purchasing premade canned goods, which could have led to the demise or need for a cold room. As the years went on, home building standards changed and it became impractical to build new homes with cold rooms, as it was deemed as not very energy efficient. Moving canned storage items from the basement closer to the kitchen also improved the user experience, saving a lifetime of countless steps and stairs not having to go to the basement to grab a can of chickpeas or Grandma’s pickles.
Bulk Purchasing: As buying behaviours shifted from purchasing what you needed to the warehouse or bulk style shopping, corner pantries quickly became a necessity to store those items. Why buy one bottle of mustard, when you can buy a lifetime supply for the same price? Right?
Recycling: Another contributing factor is the increase in household recycling. As recycling became more popular, the corner pantry became the obvious place to neutrally store empty cans, bottles, paper and plastic. This is still true, however, more and more people are now incorporating 2 bin recycle pullouts into their new kitchens, reclaiming valuable space in the pantry.
ADVANTAGES OF A CORNER PANTRY
There are many benefits of a built-in corner pantry, some of our favourites include:
- Store tall items such as brooms, small appliances and taller boxes.
- It’s less expensive to build a corner pantry than to fill the space with cabinets and countertops.
- Great place to hide items that may normally be out in your kitchen that make it look cluttered.
- You eliminate the need for a base corner and wall corner cabinet. This can be an advantage or a disadvantage, but more of our clients feel this is an advantage in eliminating corner cabinets… as many HATE corner cabinets.
- Can be a more ergonomic user experience, less bending over and crawling into corner cabinets.
DISADVANTAGES OF A CORNER PANTRY
- They take up an enormous footprint. The interior of a built-in corner pantry is typically 48”, not including framing and drywall.
- Can’t use the entire space, as there is a lot of unused space in a walk-in corner pantry to allow room for a person to walk into it.
- You lose a great deal of countertop space for prepping.
- Hard to keep organized and have the tendency to become over-packed.
- People often tend to store and overbuy on some items if they have the space.
- Sometimes appliances such as fridges can have door swing/hinging conflict when placed right beside a corner pantry.
- Some people dislike the look of them and say they are ugly.
- You lose that open look and feel, as your kitchen may feel cluttered or tight if you have a corner pantry.
ARE CORNER PANTRIES A THING OF THE PAST?
Not yet. In today’s new home design, the built-in corner pantry is slightly less popular. As home designs change, we are seeing an increase of walk-through pantries that lead to an area near the garage, which is a great user experience design and can save a lot of extra walking. These walk-through pantries come in all shapes and sizes, but are often larger and have more storage than the neo-angle corner pantry of the good old days.
What remains the same is that people want more food storage that is more effectively used. There is also a demand for homeowners wanting to have storage that is more ergonomic and provides a better user experience. Fewer steps, less lifting, more organized and more convenient are the top concerns. We don’t think the corner pantry will be extinct anytime soon, but we’ll keep an eye on it.View Our Kitchen Gallery
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