Should a Pantry Door Open In or Out?


Published: December 9, 2021
Updated: October 30, 2023

Should My Pantry Door Open In or Out to the Kitchen?

A pantry cabinet or walk-in pantry is a common feature in a kitchen since this area holds various items to free up counter and cabinet space. Aside from an organizational standpoint such as shelving, drawers, and the like, one of the main concerns when designing a pantry is its door. This brings the question, should a pantry door open in or out?

 If you want to know which one is best suited for your needs or if you’re looking for other alternatives on how to go about it, read on to find out. Based on spatial parameters, it’s safe to say that the swing of the pantry door will largely depend on how small or big the pantry is.

Most pantry cabinets are small and usually contain shelves and racks. Because of this configuration, opening a pantry door inward could limit the storage space itself. That said, the door of a small pantry should open outwards to maximize the space inside. Another reason why you would want for the door to open outwards would be in terms of access. Opening into a small, filled-up space, would be more restrictive, and thus an outward swinging door would make it easier for you to place or take out items from the pantry. Other scenarios such as things falling off from the shelf would mean that the door will be blocked and will hinder you from opening it.

However, there are certain instances when a pantry door can be designed to swing inwards. If you have a large walk-in pantry where there is ample space for the door to be opened without limiting its functional purpose, then an inward-swinging door can be used.

With that in mind, here are some examples of how you might want to design the swing of your pantry door. Apart from the swing options based on the pantry’s room dimension, there are also other choices that you can look into to help you maximize the space and have easier access to this area.

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Small Pantry Door

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Should My Pantry Door Open In or Out to the Kitchen?

A small pantry will typically have tiers of shelves inside for the organization. Due to the limited space and need for maximized storage, an outward swinging pantry door is your best option. In these two examples above, the doors can either swing left or right, depending on your preference or the adjacent space where the pantry is located.

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Single Glass Front Door

Should My Pantry Door Open In or Out to the Kitchen?

A glass front door that swings out is also a preferable option as it helps you identify the items that you might need from the pantry before opening. This design increases functional efficiency and also makes the pantry appear brighter and look like it’s part of the larger room, instead of it being a separate space in the kitchen.

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Double Door Pantry Cabinet

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Should My Pantry Door Open In or Out to the Kitchen?

If you have a wide opening, incorporating a double door that swings outward is a better bet. This allows you to have easier access to the pantry and gives you a wider space to bring in large items inside. Take note that even if these pantry examples have a strip of walking space in front of the shelves, the doors still swing outwards. Swinging the doors inward, in these situations, would block access to the other parts of the pantry, thereby limiting its accessibility and functionality.

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Walk-In Pantry Door With Inward Swing

Should My Pantry Door Open In or Out to the Kitchen?

Because of its sizeable floor space, a walk-in pantry can already be considered as another room in the house. If you have a spacious like this, where there is enough space, an inward-swinging door can be used. 

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Inward Swinging Glass Front Walk-in Pantry Door

Should My Pantry Door Open In or Out to the Kitchen?

A walk-in pantry with the door swinging inwards can also be designed to have a glass front. Since this area is basically a room within a room, installing glass to the door makes the space look brighter and airier.

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Double Swing Door for Walk-In Pantry

Should My Pantry Door Open In or Out to the Kitchen?

A double door swinging inwards into a large walk-in pantry can be a delightful option, as it makes it easier for you to open up the room for better accessibility. A two-door pantry is also a good organizational mechanism as it gives you the opportunity to divide the room into sections. Here, the right and left sides are flanked with counter cabinets and shelves while the center is designed as a walkway with a central shelf that separates the two areas.

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Sliding Barn Door

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Should My Pantry Door Open In or Out to the Kit

Whether you have a small pantry or a large one, a sliding door can fully open up a room without taking up floor space. One requirement for a sliding door is that it should be positioned adjacent to a wall where you will be installing the rest of the track and where the door can steadily slide into. For farmhouse kitchens, a barn door is a charming choice that matches the style of your interior. Other options for sliding doors include a pocket sliding door and a door that slides to the inner wall of the pantry.

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