Walk-In Pantries: Walk In, or Walk Away?

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Home Improvement

                It’s finally time, you get to remodel the kitchen! Amidst choosing choosing backsplashes and finishes, you might also want to revamp your storage. Is a walk-in pantry right for you?

1.        Consider your space. Walk-in pantries are typically 5x5 feet, contain U-shaped shallow shelves or cabinets, and can also contain a finished countertop area. Not every home has the extra space available, so your first item of business is figuring out where your walk-in would suit. The ideal spot is dry, cool, and convenient to your kitchen. If you aren’t doing a gut renovation, consider annexing space; if you have a broom or coat closet, repurposing that could be an excellent start. If you want to go bigger, do a bump out and add a mud room or a half bath to make it worth your while.

2.       Take stock of your storage needs. Don’t wait for the shelves to be installed, figure out what you’re going to want to store in your walk-in pantry. In addition to groceries, plan space for countertop appliances (including outlets), bigger cookware, and other storage items—bins for kibble, space for cleaning supplies, a step ladder, table linens, etc. Adjustable shelves offer additional flexibility, and a finished counter can provide space for a coffee bar, bread machine, or other appliances.

3.       Plan for optimal use. Remember to include a light, outlets, and consider some adjustable shelves in your pantry. Have bottom shelves spaced 18-24” apart, while eye level shelves should be 14-16” apart to accommodate cereal boxes. Add 2” of vertical space for any planned item so you have “wiggle room” so you can slide the item in and out easily.

4.       How much will it cost? HomeAdvisor calculates that a walk-in pantry costs on average around $2,000, but obviously that cost is variable based on what space you have available and how elaborate your pantry plan is. If you need to knock down walls, or do an addition, it can be much more expensive—upwards of $5,000. Don’t forget if you’re doing major renovation you’ll also need to pull permits, which will add to your costs.

5.       Is it worth it? The National Home Builders Association did a survey which found that 54% of homebuyers say that a walk-in pantry is desirable, with 31% saying it was actually essential. However, there’s no conclusive data specifically on walk-in pantries, so in addition to your personal preference you might consider whether there is a demand for them in your area. It is safe to say that kitchen remodels do recoup 77.6% of the cost, so it may well be an investment worth your money.





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