Anyone who knows me well will know that I love food. I love eating it, I love cooking it, I love how it looks, I love the aromas, I’m pretty much obsessed with it. For me, cooking and baking is therapeutic, giving me time to focus solely on the task in hand and block out everything else. It helps to clear my mind and provides an experimental outlet for me to create tasty dishes that bring joy to those who eat them (unless something goes very wrong).
My kitchen is bursting at the seams with gadgets and ingredients and the never-ending quest for storage is a perpetual challenge. Every space is filled in the blink of an eye with more “essential” items. For a while, I longed for a dedicated larder cupboard. As I got older, I felt my desire for a walk-in wardrobe shift towards a walk-in larder. The dream has since been upgraded to a Nigella-style walk through pantry. What next? Pretty soon my kitchen will take over the entire house. I feel it’s only a matter of time.
So, fellow foodies, whether you have loads of space or things are a little tight, here’s how to create your own swoon-worthy larder area.
Claim your space
Take a good look at your kitchen and the areas around it. Find a suitable area for your larder storage and cordon it off to make sure no one else uses it. It could be a utility room off the kitchen, a back entrance hall, an understairs cupboard. Remember that your storage doesn’t need to be huge. Shallow shelves work much better than deep ones where you can’t see what’s at the back so simply an expanse of wall might be all you need.
Select your storage style
The location of your space and how large it is will be a deciding factor for what you will store in it. A walk through or exposed area needs to look good so works well for more attractive items. Think dried pasta in jars, colourful pickles, continental tins and vintage glass bottles. Bear in mind that exposure to sunlight may affect some ingredients. Also consider non-food items like recipe books, a display of lovely dishes or glassware and good-looking gadgets.
Conversely, a cupboard keeps things out of sight as well as being cool and dark. This makes it ideal for items like root vegetables, potatoes and products sensitive to light such as bottles of olive oil and wine. You can afford to be a little messier in a cupboard so it’s a good place to store bulky and less attractive items that you don’t want to display.
The freestanding pantry cupboard
A roomy kitchen with a bit of wall space is perfect for a freestanding unit and a pantry cupboard makes the most of this while looking great too. Choose from solid doors to conceal all kinds of bits and pieces or a dresser provides the option of display pieces on the upper section. This uber cool industrial mesh cupboard from Vincent and Barn offers the best of both worlds.
The existing pantry
Some homes already have a pantry cupboard or little cubby hole that you can use as a pantry. If you live in one of these homes – you lucky thing.
The key is to make sure you’re using the space effectively. If it’s quite deep then full depth shelves are not the best idea. Yes, you have maximum storage area but it’s not practical. The shelves are too deep for you to effectively see what you have and stuff at the back will be hard to reach.
This cupboard has been fitted with U-shaped shelves which allows you to step into it. Thus, every side is utilised but it also makes the space manageable. You could also fit some racks, hooks or rails to the back of the door.
Open baskets and boxes are great for holding smaller items and you could also tuck bulkier items underneath on the floor like potato sacks and gadgets or equipment for occasional use.
Kit out a walk-in cupboard
A slightly larger cupboard or very small room can be easily converted into a luxurious walk-in larder. An understairs cupboard also works well here.
Whether or not you have a door to your walk-in larder, this set up requires no cupboards or cabinets. Rows and rows of open shelves will do the job nicely with optional drawers or baskets at a lower level. A little step stool allows you to take the storage all the way up to the ceiling so you can make the most of the space.
Shallow shelves are best here so that you can see what you have at a glance and try to keep things tidy enough that everything is easily accessible. It’s a balance between making the most of your storage space but also preventing it from becoming overly cluttered. Another tip for maximising your space is not to leave too large a gap between shelves. Most of your cooking supplies aren’t that tall (tinned goods, jars of condiments, packets of pasta) so will fit snugly onto smaller shelves. Adjustable shelves on track systems are ideal as they allow you to vary the height of your shelves to suit your needs. If you do opt for drawers or pull out boxes at the lower level, these can be a bit deeper, which also provides a useful ledge at waist height.
A built in pantry cupboard
Planning a kitchen refurb? Now is the time to factor in a pantry unit. An increasingly popular feature, these are deep cupboards with doors that fold or swing back to reveal a hidden worktop and an interior lined with shelves. This beautiful example from Plain English features U-shaped shelves which allows the worktop to be used comfortably and all the items to be easily accessible. The void is still utilised by racks mounted on the inside of the doors, perfect for small items. Bespoke pull-out trays below the worktop provide yet more storage for cutlery and crockery.
These built in pantry cupboards work really well with a bit of a theme:
- A bread bin, toaster, glasses and mugs, rows of preserves and large jars of cereals and granola – you have a lovely little breakfast spot.
- Kettle, coffee machine, a collection of teas, and every sized vessel from espresso cups to giant mugs creates a tea and coffee point.
- Stand mixer and utensil holder alongside mixing bowls and bags of flour and sugar provides a perfect baking zone.
Having a dedicated area for a specific passion not only makes it practical, it makes it special. It will seem like an indulgent luxury that others will envy you for, but really all you’ve done is group similar things together.
If you have a corridor, or can create one by putting up a stud wall, a walk through larder is a wonderful solution to your storage issues.
Whether you plump for custom made joinery or simply kit it out with some freestanding shelves, just make sure you indulge in plenty of storage to make the most of the space. Many of the rules apply as mentioned under walk-in cupboards. Keep larger, heavy items below and smaller, lighter items above. If it’s a walk-through area that others have to use, try to maintain a certain level of organisation and display your more attractive products at eye level.
If you have a large kitchen, try setting a bank of units forward slightly to create the walk-through larder behind it. Alternatively you can create it as part of a utility room or in a back entrance hall off the kitchen. You’ll need a minimum of 90cm/3ft to walk through comfortably so if you don’t quite have enough width then perhaps go for shelves on just one side.
Small storage solutions
Not blessed with the space or configuration for any of the options above? You can still create your own larder area (or areas) in even the smallest kitchen with some shelves, small units and clever storage solutions. Look out for free wall space or on the side of a kitchen unit, above a window or on the back of a door. There’s always somewhere!
This adorable wall cabinet from Loaf fits neatly above this worktop providing storage within and some mug hooks below. Again, if you dedicate it to a specific item, it turns it into a luxury piece and makes it well thought out. Calling it a tea cupboard or a spice cupboard gives it a purpose and therefore makes it special. When guests come round and you say “What kind of tea would like? You can choose from the selection in my tea cupboard.” it’s sure to get you some oooohs!
Smart storage solutions like the Ikea Bekväm spice rack can provide a neat way to store a few bits and pieces and works really well when carefully positioned on the inside of cabinet doors as a budget option to the inbuilt larder cupboard.
The small profile makes them perfect for mounting to splashbacks, to the side of an island unit or cabinet, or on a partition wall.
So you see, no matter what size your kitchen or home, there’s always some room for some larder storage that’s bound to induce a little house envy!
Do you have a kitchen larder or some clever storage solutions to share? Or perhaps you’re going to create one now! Let me know, I’d love to see them!