One of the hottest new design trends in new high end kitchens is a scullery – but is it a status symbol or a necessary, and very practical luxury? If you’re dreaming up a new kitchen, make sure to sure to write down “room for a scullery” on your wish list, and here’s why.
What Is a Scullery?
A scullery is simply a smaller scale kitchen, directly off or adjacent to your main kitchen, offering more cabinetry, appliances and prep space. Many times a scullery is added to make up for the space lost when designing an open floor plan kitchen.
- A scullery can be as elaborate as a true second kitchen. A second refrigerator, sink and dishwashers are located here, allowing the homeowner to prep food and wash dishes behind the scenes. This keeps the kitchen pristine and ready for entertaining guests.
- Or, a scullery can simply be a larger pantry with room for countertops, and a cabinet to house appliances (like an ugly microwave). Alternatively, some homeowners ideally prefer their appliances out on the countertop within reach. This room is where appliances can be kept out on countertops!
Scullery Vs Butlers Pantry
There are marked differences between a walk in pantry (for food), a butlers pantry (a room between dining room and kitchen, usually for drink prep) and a scullery (for appliances & food prep). But when combining the three rooms and functions into one space, it’s simply semantics.
You can have a butlers pantry or a pantry inside a scullery. Combining two or three purposes and calling it all a scullery is more frequently seen in new construction now, meeting the demands of busy families who in today’s world want it all. See the top 9 kitchen trends in the 2022 Kitchen Trends Reports.
Why Not Just a Bigger Kitchen Instead?
With open floor plans the new norm in so many households, homeowners lost cabinets, countertop space, and storage in their kitchens. A scullery behind an open floor plan kitchen adds back that storage and countertop space – function and purpose.
After all, Americans watched enough HGTV shows that we all cried simultaneously knock down all the walls. One way homeowners tried to combat the lack of cabinet problem in open concept kitchens was with double islands. A second island adds more cabinets, but it comes with its’ own set of disadvantages. It didn’t quite catch on mainstream.
Interior designers and builders problem solved by taking an old idea and making it new again!
Sculleries historically came about for the purpose of “the help” to wash the dishes in the back, while the homeowner entertained in the front. Now in 2022 it serves a new function and make practical sense with today’s lifestyle!
Smart Scullery Design Tips From Experts
We used kitchen experts to plan our scullery, and together came up with a wealth of ideas to help you plan your own space carefully!
1. Appliances That Make More Sense In A Scullery
Let’s all just agree that microwaves are just plain ugly. After hating our microwave installed within our kitchen island cabinetry, we are happier to have it inside this back room on a wall. It will be easier to use now, but still hidden from the kitchen.
If you are paneling your kitchen appliances with cabinet fronts, save a little money and keep stainless steel appliances in a scullery! When we renovated, our 2005 appliances still had plenty of life in them. We wanted some new appliances for our kitchen, and moved our older, stainless steel appliances into the scullery.
2. Practical Storage Solutions
- Add outlets down low (better yet – inside cabinets if you can!), so the space can be a home for charging necessary appliances like your robot vacuums, Dustbusters, etc.
- Set up a tall house keeping cabinet within the scullery, with space for brooms, Swiffers, and other utilitarian essentials. Keep these items convenient but out of sight.
- Buying items like paper towels in bulk? Make sure to add cabinets that will store these bulky items here. Floor to ceiling cabinets in a scullery take advantage of space – don’t let that go to waste!
- Dry food can be kept here too if you have the room. A scullery can double as your walk in pantry, especially helpful if you have a large family.
3. Attractive Storage Solutions
Who says you can’t combine a wet bar here too? This makes sense if you already have a sink. Open shelving or glass cabinets inside keep your pretty glasses on display. Add a small beverage fridge below and you’re in business!
The same goes for fine china or treasured family heirlooms like a serving collection – keep it collected and on display. Open up that shelving for your most beautiful items and design the shelves so they can be seen from the kitchen! (I have not had a huge problem with dust on my open shelves; so long as they are not near the cooking it just takes a quick dusting every so often.)
Not a kitchen – that’s a scullery. See that lamp here – it’s from Target!
3. Sculleries with Stations
We created a baking station inside our scullery – all baking supplies, ingredients (flour, sugar, etc.) – plus the oven and warming drawer are located here. I imagine this will be a fun place to bake cookies with the kids, and keep the heat out of the kitchen as a bonus!
A coffee station inside your scullery can be blow-the-budget or kept simple. A coffee maker out on a countertop with a shelf nearby for your mugs is simple luxury. Or, go all out with a built in, plumbed coffee and latte machine inside a cabinet, with nearby refrigerated drawers for your milk and cream.
And with so much of the food prep work done in these rooms, best to plan space for a small stool or a bench.
4. Hide The Mess
A room with a sink for dishwashing is the original, historic definition of a scullery. In theory, a second sink gives you the option of hiding dirty dishes in the back when company comes – and people swear by this!
Personally, I’m still undecided if a scullery with a sink would allow our family to conceal the mess or if it would cause even bigger messes (in two places now!). It does however, give you a second area for hand washing, etc. when a cook is in the kitchen.
5. Creative Ideas For Sculleries
Take a few risks in your scullery you may not want to take in your kitchen!
The checkered floors in our scullery – still under construction (see it here!)
- If you showed restraint in your kitchen, have fun in your scullery. This doesn’t mean loud or tacky – we installed a checkerboard floor in our scullery, and greige cabinetry.
- Use an eye catching rolling ladder that is a statement piece while helping you reach those taller cabinets, like this brass one:
- A spot for a little sitting area, especially if you plan on using the room for serious prep work
- A popular design idea is a hidden entrance, disguised as kitchen cabinetry. The “cabinets” are actually doors into the room. Just make sure they can stay open if you choose, because it’s likely more convenient to keep the door open daily.
- Molding details along the wall, art, drapes on a window, a sconce or two all serve to elevate the room
Sculleries in High End Kitchens in 2022
A scullery is a luxury indeed – but it is incredibly practical in open concept kitchens. Don’t snub your nose too soon, as a scullery can be just a simple walk in closet, retrofitted to house kitchen cabinets and a small appliance or two! But it can also be a whole elaborate large second kitchen, housing everything from a full fridge to a desk with the family calendar.
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