An open-shelf pantry is practical as it provides easy access to the containers. Moreover, you can see what is available, which may inspire what to cook for dinner. On a style note, nothing beats the look and feel of rows of identical jars and baskets for a Wow factor. I feel relaxed and in control looking at this neat and beautiful sight.
What to Consider Before You Build
Shallow shelves work best because you want easy access to everything. Try to avoid to pill jars over the others like you can see on the photo with the smaller jars. Instead, add a shelf, even if it breaks the symmetry. Make an inventory of the items you stock most. Set up your pantry to cater to your needs but design for flexible storage as your needs will evolve over time.
Adding a pantry can help you to achieve the look you want in your kitchen. Make a list of things that could go in the pantry instead of the kitchen. I always find that the wine fridge takes precious space in a kitchen. Why not wine fridge in the walk-in pantry and buy good wine bottles with the money you save on the fridge finish.
Small appliances like the yogurt maker could run from the pantry. Plan well the placement of your light fixtures and electrical outlets. A motion sensor lighting system is a nice add-on.
Kitchen Space Planning
The most important thing is to design for the way you live. How do you cook at home? How many cooks are in the kitchen at the same time? Explore the traffic flow within the kitchen and with connecting rooms.
Looking at open-air pantry of Emerson and Ryan featured on Design*Sponge made me think about how I would build mine. I imagine my perfect pantry as a huge walk-in closet where I store food and odd tableware, instead of clothes. I feel that the most practical location would be behind the main kitchen wall.
It is a fact that a dark, dry pantry preserves the food better. But when you are cooking, you may want to leave the pantry door open. If there is no window and no direct light, maybe a door is not necessary. Plus, you have to consider at which frequency you replace the food. I would use my kitchen pantry for short time storage.
Many options are available. What are your design tips? For you, a walk-in pantry is a must or a splurge?