Architectural Home Designs & Decorating Ideas

Optimize Your Kitchen Space with These 12 Deep Pantry Cabinets

Gabriela Connell
5 minute read

Kitchen storage solutions remain a challenge in many homes. From spices to dinner plates, kitchen items often overflow standard cabinets and drawers. Pantry spaces and closets become cluttered as stashes of food and supplies continue accumulating.

By incorporating customized 12” deep pantry cabinets, homeowners can maximize precious vertical real estate. Strategic layouts and smart shelving transform skinny unused spaces into ultra-functional storage.

Dimension Options for 12″ Deep Pantries

When designing a new pantry or renovating an existing closet, the first decision involves choosing the right cabinet dimensions. Depth, width and height each impact the ultimate storage capacity and accessibility.

12 deep kitchen pantry cabinet

Standard Widths

Typical width options for 12” deep pantry cabinets include 12″, 18″ and 24″. Narrower 12” widths work well for tight kitchen layouts or to flank the sides of wider units. Wider 24” sizes provide more shelf space where floorplans permit.

Optimal widths depend on available floor space and what will be stored. For example, 18” widths accommodate dinnerware storage but 24” fits bulky appliances.

Standard Heights

Standard cabinet heights in 6” increments from 30” to 42” maximize vertical storage. A 42” floor-to-ceiling pantry holds far more than a 36” height. Gauge room from the floor to select the tallest height possible.

ConsiderCookie sheets and large platters fit better in a 36” or 42” unit. In limited height rooms, 30” – 36” high cabinets still improve organization.


While most pantries are 12” or 24” deep, focus first on width and height. Deeper 24” units may limit access, especially when shelving runs the cabinet’s depth. For disabled or elderly users, 12” depth provides easier reach.

Layout and Design Possibilities

When planning 12” deep pantries, available space and desired function determine layout. Corner areas or walls between rooms offer prime real estate for maximizing unused nooks.

Single Column

A single vertical column of floor-to-ceiling cabinets suits narrow spaces like in corners or between doorways. This layout fits pantries 12” – 24” wide.

Single columns make use of awkward, angular spaces while keeping items organized and accessible.

Double Column

For larger pantries or walk-in closets, a double column boosts storage capacity. Two units can be identical widths or a combination like one 18” and one 24” cabinet.

A small space between double columns allows access while limiting the walkway footprint.


An L-shaped layout takes advantage of corner spaces for a pantry or closet. Beginning with a single column, an L configuration adds shelves along perpendicular walls.

This style incorporates corner space that typically gets wasted. The L-shape also defines the pantry area.

Walk-in Pantry

Homeowners with available room for a dedicated pantry choose walk-in designs. Spanning multiple walls and in closet form, walk-ins provide floor-to-ceiling cabinets in generous widths.

Free-standing walk-in pantries function like an extra room just for food and supply storage and organization.

Shelving and Storage Solutions

While 12” deep pantry cabinets contain space, shelving and storage accessories maximize functionality. The right organizational systems conquer clutter.

Adjustable Shelving

Installing adjustable shelves allows customizing as needs change. Standard increments include 2” height adjustments.

Varying shelf heights accommodates different item sizes. Adjustable features also enable reconfigurations down the road.

Pull-Out Shelves

Mounted on drawer slides, pull-out shelves provide full access to shelf contents. Items at the back become easily reachable.

Try pull-out designs for spice racks, plate storage and other solutions requiring regular access. Appropriate for all mobility levels.

Drawer Organizers

Within cabinets, drawers keep goods organized using built-in dividers. Customize compartments for utensils, canned goods, packets and more.

Small parts won’t get lost or spilled. Consider deep drawers for large stock pots and baking pans.

Lazy Susans

Lazy susans or spinning shelves effectively use wasted corner space in pantries. Perfect for glassware, canned goods and condiments.

One easy spin allows reaching items at the back. Great option for users with mobility challenges.

Hanging Racks

Installing vertical hooks on the backs of doors adds storage for lighter items. Racks for utensils, foil, cleaning supplies, and more.

Door racks make use of oft-forgotten space. Choose over-the-door styles for walk-in pantries.

Door Options for Pantry Cabinets

Door design impacts aesthetics and space efficiency. Hinged, sliding and mirrored doors solve various needs for 12” deep pantries.

Hinged Doors

Traditional hinged cabinet doors allow a full 90-degree swing. This enables total access within the space.

However, clearances must allow for door swings. Hinged doors are not space savers but classic. Concealed hinges streamline appearances.

Sliding Doors

In tight kitchens, sliding pantry doors conserve precious space. No need to accommodate wide swings.

Rollers let doors glide side-to-side into walls or pocket areas. Caution: Handles get in the way so choose recessed grooves.

Mirrored Doors

For a roomy illusion in 12” deep pantries, mirrored doors visually double depth. The reflective surface enlarges the look.

Mirrored fronts add light to windowless pantries. A sliding mirrored style maximizes space savings and the spacious effect.

Materials for Custom vs Prefab Cabinets

Builders and remodelers approach 12” deep pantries using either custom or prefabricated cabinets. Budget and goals help determine optimal materials.

Wood Cabinets

Custom pantries allow selecting attractive wood species like oak, hickory or maple. Durable solid woods provide a seamless, upscale look.

Keep in mind, wood costs more and requires greater installation effort. Yet the warmth and elegance is hard to match.

Metal Cabinets

Using metal cabinets adds sleek, contemporary styling to a kitchen. Metals like stainless steel, aluminium and galvanized steel work well.

Metal stands up to high moisture, humidity and temperature fluctuations. But the industrial vibe isn’t for all decors.

Plastic Laminate Cabinets

Opting for plastic laminate pantry cabinets hits budget and ease. Durability improves on traditional particle board and fiberboard.

While not considered fine woodworking, laminates come in endless patterns, sheens and colors. Cleanup is easy.

Installation Considerations DIY vs Contractor

Homeowners tackle most projects one of two ways: Doing it yourself (DIY) or hiring a contractor. Pantry cabinet installation has pros and cons for both routes.

DIY Ready-to-Assemble

Many prefabricated pantry units come ready for DIY installation. Assembly requires simple tools and hardware is included.

DIY is more affordable but requires skill. Focus on square, plumb and level execution. Seek help for any electrical or major demolition.

Contractor Installation

Experienced contractors have the know-how to install custom pantries with perfect finishes. The work looks seamless but costs more.

A general contractor oversees the complete remodeling process. Carpenters finesse the cabinets and shelving.

Accessibility Features

When designing 12” deep pantries, consider universal access for all family members. Solutions for wheelchair users and the elderly make pantries functional for all.

Pull-outs, lazy susans and lowered shelving allow those with limited mobility to independently access items. Maintain at least 32” clearance for wheelchairs to turn.

Keep upper shelves reachable at 48” high or lower. Open floor space makes navigation easier.

By focusing first on available space and storage needs, 12” deep pantries can transform problem areas into ultra-efficient storage solutions.

Smart dimensions, layouts and shelving maximize every inch while keeping contents organized. Accessible to all, a well-planned pantry improves kitchen workflows for years to come.