Once a staple in every household, but forgotten in favour of extra large fridges and built-in cabinets, the larder is once again a covetable feature in a modern country kitchen.
These days, kitchen larders or pantries can come in all shapes and sizes, from discreet free-standing units, to whole walk-in rooms with floor-to-ceiling shelves. Depending on the space available to you, larders can be an incredibly practical solution to store dry food, vegetables, and small appliances like coffee machines, microwaves, and toasters.
One of the joys of a larder is that its storage capacity can free up space in the rest of your kitchen to add more decorative touches like art or wall lights, which in turn makes it feel less functional and more homely.
"Larders are much more than a clever storage feature, they are a celebration of craftsmanship, design and details," says Al Bruce, founder of Olive & Barr. "Whether you have a farmhouse-style kitchen or an ultra-modern space, adding a larder is a great way to create a more homely atmosphere that enhances the vibe you already have. You could use them to create an extra storage option that stands out in the corner of your country home or you could use them to frame your state-of-the-art wine fridge to bring together functionality and modernism."
Read on for 6 design ideas to make the kitchen larder work for you.
Use statement finishes
Gone are the days of your grandmother's stone-walled storage areas, the design and craftsmanship in modern larders and pantries are features in themselves. Spotlight your larder with bold colour ways and eye-catching fixtures, like these elegant brass handles on our very own Country Living Whitstable Kitchen at Homebase.
"Built-in larders have a show stopping quality in their own right," says Al. "Turn yours into a subtle centrepiece, simply add an eye-catching splash of colour and some standout details. For instance, some chrome or brass handles on the outside and an accent colour inside, especially one that celebrates the special items you’ve stored in there."
Create a place to prep
A walk-in pantry is a dream for keen cooks, or for those who want to keep their kitchen totally clutter-free, and a well-executed layout is absolutely essential to make the most of your space. Elevate your larder beyond simple storage by including work surfaces to aid basic food or drink preparation.
"Every kitchen should be designed with personality and functionality in mind, and a carefully-planned larder offers exactly that," says Al. "From creating a dedicated hot drinks station with everything needed to make and serve the perfect brew, to extending your kitchen worktops inside so that you have a purpose-built prep station – complete with microwave and coffee-maker – your larder can be turned into a clutter-free area to suit your everyday needs."
Invest in the right lighting
If you do remember larders of old, they were often dark and dingy spaces without much consideration for design or styling. These days, there is very much a reason to highlight the carefully organised foodstuffs and accessories inside. If your larder is glass-fronted, like this traditional Plain English design, illuminate its contents with traditional low-hanging pendant, or in more modern spaces, consider LED strip lighting nestled underneath your shelving.
Al says: "Whether you’ve been dreaming of a kitchen larder to keep your clutter from being on display or you want to create a place to display your favourite pieces, adding some simple strip lights on the inside frames is a great way to make your larder more practical and special."
Get creative with storage
The best larders are those that have a good amount of depth to accommodate clever storage features. Roll-out shelving, rows of door-mounted storage racks, and space for wooden apple crates or wicker baskets, can help you keep your larder totally organised.
"Get creative with your storage options and use every inch of the space to maximise the functionality of your space. From different height shelving options to adding storage baskets on rails, installing spice racks on the inside of your doors to dedicating a space to your most-used appliances, bespoke larders allow you to design your space with your kitchen preferences in mind."
Work with your kitchen layout
The joy of a larder is that it doesn't have to fit into your immediate kitchen layout. An unused recess can be used for a bespoke larder - like this glorious pink Tom Howley example - utilising every inch of an otherwise forgotten corner. Equally, a walk-in larder can be created using tried-and-tested zoning methods, like these glass partitions by Mowlem & Co.
If you have a compact kitchen, Al advises to build upwards. "No matter how small your kitchen is, there is always a way to utilise the benefits of a purpose-built pantry — you simply need to think vertically. By creating a narrow floor-to-ceiling larder and then adding generously spaced vertical shelves, you can maximise the storage space. Jars, bottles, bread machines, vases, cereal boxes — whatever it is, you’ll have plenty of space to play with, and without taking too much of your kitchen space either."
Organise, organise, organise
The larder is the one spot in your kitchen that should have Marie Kondo levels of organisation. "The key to a successful pantry is all about optimising your storage space to create a luxury feel both when you open the doors and when you want to find something," says Al. "It’s about creating a scene that is aesthetically pleasing and simple to navigate, which is why we always recommend open shelving and a soft lighting. After this, spend some time choosing storage containers and mason jars that tie in with the rest of your kitchen to complete the look."
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