How Far Away Can A Pantry Be From The Kitchen

Size Should A Walk-In Pantry Be

A classic treatise on kitchen management and what to do and what not to maintain reasonable and efficient work practices in the kitchen is over 80 years old. It’s a study of ergonomics, the relation between spaces like a kitchen and a pantry, and how best to save time and human energy. Just how far a pantry should be from a kitchen brings up options.

Ideally, a walk-in pantry is within close range of a kitchen, and a built-in cabinet pantry is customary within arm’s length from the cooking area. Proximity matters for maximum efficiency in the kitchen that depends on the classic work triangle – a relationship between the stove, storage, and sink.

The 40s thesis on how a kitchen works optimally is called the work triangle. This principle still influences kitchens’ designs, practices, and, of relevance, the distance between a pantry and a kitchen. The heart of the household metaphorically is the kitchen, and the pantry is sustenance, and this relationship affects how a house or home functions.

The Shorter The Distance, The Better The Kitchen Functions

Much deliberation and even scientific research have gone into seeing the different areas that fall under the catchall name of the kitchen should be apart. The distance between these areas is looked at to see what works best for efficiency in the kitchen.

The levels of efficiency studied relate to reducing frustration and unnecessary time spent walking to and fro. The distance from the pantry to the kitchen is essential as preparing a meal in the kitchen is enjoyable and should not be frustrating as too much time goes into walking between these work areas.

The distance between the preparation and cooking areas and where the items are stored should be close. The distance between preparation and cooking and the pantry is best guided by what’s known to designers as the work triangle.

What’s most clear here is that this distance needs to be as close as possible. This distance also depends on whether the pantry is in the kitchen or a walk-in one nearby.

How Far A Pantry Is From A Kitchen Affects Efficiency

How Far A Pantry Is From A Kitchen

Food preparation, cooking, and cleaning relate to one another, and the distance between these affects processes. Just over 80 years ago, researchers found that the distance between different kitchen areas mattered in reducing kitchen workload and making kitchens more efficient. The preparation side depended on where the food was stored (refrigerator or pantry).

This study by Cornell University in the 1940s made it possible to see how different areas in the kitchen are interrelated. It was also possible to see that if one of these areas were out of sync, this would affect productivity and efficiency and even cause human frustration.

These studies’ relevance in a kitchen showed how the distance from one area to another affected working functions in a kitchen. Also, balancing these areas through their operations could increase efficiency in the kitchen. The balance was to maintain efficiency, specifically through distances and the flow between these spaces.

Workflow In A Kitchen Depends On A Pantry Close-By 

The distance between a kitchen and a pantry involves flow and precisely the optimal distance between spaces for efficiency in the kitchen. Invariably this flow has to do with the distance between these two areas in the kitchen. And, how far away from the kitchen can you put a pantry?

The distance between the three areas – stove, sink, and fridge – affects the workflow in a kitchen. In the Cornell University study, the reference was the refrigerator, which is the pantry. The impact distance had on workflow was equated with the difficulty of managing efficiency in the kitchen.

The study perfectly aligned the sink, stove, and refrigerator (the pantry). The triangular formation was to increase workflow in the kitchen, and the triangle stood for the movement between areas, which could promote efficiency.

Scientifically A Close-by Pantry Improves Efficiency In A Kitchen

In defining the work triangle principle, the researchers at Cornell studied people’s daily routines in kitchens. The aim was to find out how efficiency there could be improved. The researchers found that a triangular shape with a total length of 12 to 26 feet divided among the three areas (stove, sink, and refrigerators/pantry) was ideal.

These calculations meant that a minimum of four-foot distance and a maximum of just under nine feet between the three areas were efficient. The distances between the stove and the fridge (pantry) indicate how proximity works best. This matters for a pantry and depends on the type of pantry.

Types Of Pantries Near A Kitchen

Types Of Pantries Near A Kitchen

Mostly pantries, like those known as cabinet ones, are in the kitchen and form part of the actual design layout. The basic plan or kitchen layout incorporates the work triangle in these instances. These triangular relationships exist between a stove, fridge/pantry, and sink.

Designers have designed more than one unit for different foods stored in the kitchen. This design concept emulates the other functions you find in a walk-in pantry. The distance between a pantry or multiple pantries in the kitchen also follows the work triangle’s ratio.

The distance needs to be the shortest possible for a walk-in pantry. The proximity of walk-in pantry is as close to the kitchen as possible.

From a design perspective, whether you’re planning a new kitchen or renovating, the distance between the kitchen and the pantry is essential. If kept in the range of the work triangle, this distance will avoid frustration during the cooking process.

When you plan a pantry in a kitchen, think of the zones there – the fridge/pantry, sink, oven/cooktop. As a rule, there’s reason to optimize flow in a kitchen between the three areas mentioned above. 


The basic design principles used in kitchens over 80 years ago still have meaning. Mostly the space between a pantry and a kitchen needs to be kept at the closest proximity. Whether as a guide or actual calculations, these distances will affect what happens in the kitchen.

The decades-old work triangle principles are the best guide to knowing how far a pantry can be from a kitchen. Kitchens with proximity between the cooking and storing areas (and the washing up areas) work best. In this case, there’s less frustration and maximum efficiency work.


Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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