Can Kitchen Drawers Replace a Pantry?

Can Kitchen Drawers Replace a Pantry?

Once again, the latest season of The Block has sparked a major design debate. This time, it’s all about whether the humble kitchen pantry still has a place in the modern kitchen. And, more specifically, if it can be replaced by more kitchen drawers.

Here we weigh in with our thoughts on the matter. We explore both sides of the argument and share our advice on optimising your kitchen storage.

The case for kitchen drawers

The case for kitchen drawers

Champions of kitchen drawers generally say accessibility is their biggest selling point. The pull-out design means even items kept at the back can be easily found and retrieved. This maximises the usability of your storage space and improves the functionality of your kitchen.

Drawers have become a particularly popular option for the cooking zone. This is because they allow you to simply lift up pots and saucepans and place them on the cooktop. Not only is this easier, but it’s also generally more ergonomically sound, requiring less twisting and moving while holding heavy cookware.

What’s more, drawers generally deliver a cleaner, sleeker look, particularly when they are handleless. This is ideal for modern kitchen designs and contemporary styling, giving the space more of a ‘high-end’ feel. And, as remodelled kitchens are such a big selling point, it could even help increase the value of your home.

Just because drawers are good to store cooking utensils, it doesn’t mean that they are suitable for the storage of food. This is because the items need to be stored lower and there are some food essentials that are best kept at eye height.

In our experience, drawers work well within a pantry system when they are lower and can be useful for storing oils and sauces which can often get hidden on shelving. But they are not very suitable for foods that you use every day. Main foods that you use every day though, are best stored on shelving at eye level within a pantry. 

The case for a kitchen pantry

The case for a kitchen pantry


While drawers are more accessible, a pantry is generally easier to keep clean and organised. It usually provides a range of storage options, which can be used for different purposes. There’s also less risk of damage, as things will not be jostled like they would in a drawer.

There are also many options for pantries – from walk-in pantries, and pull out pantries to pantries that also house appliances like the kettle or toaster.

The key benefit is that you can place & view everyday staples at eye height which makes them more accessible. No need to bend over to get an item out of drawer.

Cupboards also have fewer moving parts, which makes them more hardy and easier to maintain. Where drawers have runners, cupboards only have simple hinges. These last much longer and only take minutes to replace.

Finally, a pantry will usually be more cost-effective. Because there’s a single board covering the face, cupboards are much cheaper to manufacture and buy. And if you choose open shelving, this cost comes down even further.

Our verdict

While we are big believers in the power of the kitchen drawer, we’re sceptical about their ability to replace a pantry completely. Exclusively using drawers limits your storage options and leaves you with no suitable place to keep larger and heavier items. Drawers are also usually more expensive than cupboards and open shelving and can be difficult to change or repair.

That being said, when used correctly, kitchen drawers can be more practical and look cleaner. As such, our advice is that additional drawers can work well below the benchtop and for more contemporary designs. But the best kitchen designs will include a range of storage options, like upper cabinets, appliance cupboards, and open shelving.

If you’re still not sure which option is right for you – kitchen drawers or a pantry – Kitchen Shack can help. Our experienced team will work with you to understand your requirements and tailor a new kitchen design to suit. Contact us today to set up your free in-store design.