Would You Rather: 4th Bathroom OR Walk-in Pantry

May 23, 2014

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Off of our kitchen, there’s a laundry room and half bath with a sink and a toilet. Our home is currently a five bedroom and 4 bathroom (2 full baths and 2 half baths) and as of now, we have a standing pantry we recently scooted into the kitchen.


There’s half the contents of our pantry thanks to an in-progress paint job and bad lighting due to bad lighting (could this photo be any worse?). Through that doorway you can see the room in question. We haven’t used it as a bathroom since redoing our floors because we simply haven’t gotten around to putting the toilet back in…or the door back on. Which makes us wonder, do we need a 4th toilet with 2 others on this level and one more downstairs? Would a walk-in pantry with a large utility sink be more desirable?


Which would you prefer? A 4th bathroom or a walk-in pantry? Or maybe you have an idea all your own. Weigh in! We can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

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What do you think?

  1. […] Back in May, we asked you if you would rather have a 4th bathroom or walk-in pantry and we loved reading all of your thoughts–there were a lot (!!) and most of you declared hands down a walk-in pantry. Considering there is a guest bathroom already on this level, and we haven’t used this 4th bathroom off of the kitchen since re-doing the floors (we never even put the toilet back in!) we felt that was the direction we should go, too. Here’s the current floorplan of our main level so you can see where we’re talking about: […]

  2. […] decided to work in the 4th bathroom (soon to be pantry) off of the kitchen since a few rows of tile in here will be covered eventually if I didn’t […]

  3. Kristin says:

    Wow, this is kind of a hard question! Four bathroom seems like a lot, but it also seems really nice to have a bathroom right by your garage / kitchen / living room area where most people probably hang out. Then again, the other half bath looks like its only a few steps across your entryway & is it really that much of a hassle to take a few more steps?

  4. lindsay says:

    I would say turn it into a pantry but leave as much of the plumbing and electrical in there so that if you do happen to sell the house, you can say, oh well, this is pantry but you can also convert it back to a bathroom if you need it.

  5. Leslie says:

    Pantry for sure. Having an extra bathroom to furnish and clean is a pain in the ass.

  6. Christy says:

    Pantry! Less to clean, more to organize :)

  7. Holly says:

    Definitely a pantry!

  8. Monica says:

    I vote for bathroom – I found it very helpful having a half bath close to our kitchen when kids were potty training and learning to wash their hands etc. Personally, I enjoy grocery shopping and find that there is really no need to store shelves and shelves of food (kind of a “first world” problem, I guess!) Some of the walk in pantries I see on TV or web sites/pinterest really amaze me in that they appear to have enough food for years stored there – and I feed two hungry teenage boys, so I know what a lot of food looks like! Also itt seems like you have pantry space covered with the kitchen shelves….

  9. Anna K. says:

    I would definitely do a pantry. I just looked it up, and even if you have a party, the rental sites recommend having one toilet per one hundred guests, so unless you have LARGE parties, I think 1 half bath and 2 full baths will suffice for your get-togethers. If you do the walk-in pantry, and remove those pantry cabinets, then you would likely have enough space to turn the island so it would be parallel with your dining table. That might look more balanced and work better with your kitchen and whole room layout.

  10. If the other half bath is your ensuite, I would say stick with a powder room. We personally have never need a full pantry as we don’t buy food in bulk but I know a powder room keeps value in your house. And as your kids get older and start using (“messing up”) the full bath on that level more, you may be happy to have a half bath that is easily ‘guest ready’.


  11. Catalina says:

    Julia, that is a hard one, I love having a walk in pantry and there is no way I could survive without it. If it was me, it is most important to have a bathroom that can be used when we entertain so family bathrooms wont be used. However if you have a 1/2 bthrm on main floor for visitors already, do the pantry you will never regret it!
    good luck

  12. Averil says:

    I’d rather have the laundry room there!

  13. Steph Nelson says:

    Another vote for pantry! I’d love to have a walk in pantry. Besides you already have a half bath on that floor, what a weird layout with two half baths. You could get rid of that space hogging wall of
    cabinets in the kitchen.

  14. Tarynkay says:

    Definitely a walk in pantry! That would be seriously awesome. I can’t actually imagine wanting a 4th bathroom (or wanting to clean a 4th bathroom, for that matter.)

  15. Jennifer Renda says:

    How about an Art space? It has a sink, and it might be nice area to keep works in progress away from little assistants.

  16. Kelly McK says:

    Pantry all the way!!! You don’t have a need for another bathroom, but you do have a need for a pantry- and here’s a solution! Plus large pantries are so much fun :)

  17. Wendy says:

    I’d have to go with pantry as well, for all the previously stated reasons. Especially if you have/add a mud room with the laundry room so there is a sink available for washing up.

  18. Alison says:

    Greatly depends on how your family uses the house. Do you use the garage and come in close by it? I think with messy playing children, I would rather a bathroom where they don’t track dirt all over to come in to use the bathroom. But if you have kept the toilet out for a while, it does stand to reason you don’t use it much, so maybe you have already answered your own question.

  19. Judith says:

    I’d make that a pantry in a heartbeat. You have plenty of bathrooms, but pantry-wise, you’d go from zero to one.

    In addition to that, I’d tear out the cupboards that currently hold the pantry items and are decrepit anyway, and remove the line of upper cabinets along the left side wall. It looks so much better already with the cabinets over the stove removed, but with the left side being rid of those upper cabinets, the space would be so amazingly open. Right now, it’s still very walled in all around.

    With an actual pantry in addition to the storage room you have downstairs, the kitchen should still have more than enough room even for items that are not needed everyday. So I vote pantry plus de-cabinetation of the kitchen!

  20. jaclyn says:

    Personally, 4 bathrooms is a little crazy to me. I’d go for the pantry. But I’m sure you’ll weigh whatever product sponsors you can get into the decision.

  21. Megan says:

    Since you already have 2 other bathrooms on the same level, I would definitely go with the pantry/sink option! That would free up a lot of space for you to get rid of the floating pantry you currently have. Plus one less toilet to clean!

  22. Jennifer R. says:

    For our family I would prefer a walk in pantry and big washing sink :)

    I think it would depend on your goals as a family. If you anticipate adding more daughters and staying in the house for 10+ years, you will be wise to have as many bathrooms as you can get!! Of course, I have always thought that you have to make decisions based on how things are now, since it is all the certainty you have. I would do the pantry and make it swoon worthy!!

  23. AshleyM says:

    Not that I think the current pantry is bad or anything, but it does stick out into the room a bit, and the kitchen would probably feel more open without it there, so I vote pantry, too.

    As for the kids running in and out bathroom argument, the bathroom at my Grandma’s house was faaar from the door we entered and it made no difference in our play routine. : )

  24. Sarah says:

    The walk in pantry would be so nice! Prep kitchens are also very popular now with new homes, so the sink with cabinet would fit right in. Posh prep kitchen is much better than the unnecessary fourth bathroom.

  25. Danielle says:

    Is this even a real question?!? A pantry, of course! Why would anyone need a 4th bathroom?!?

  26. abby says:

    I think it depends on how you will reconfigure/redesign the kitchen layout! I could see using the current pantry wall as a fridge/full cabinetry wall. That would eliminate the need for a separate pantry. If you don’t like that look, then a pantry might be more necessary.

    Not sure if you’re at the point of mentally deciding how the kitchen will function best, but it might help in making the pantry/bath decision!!

  27. Kathy says:

    Pantry with utility sink…. Easy decision!!

  28. Jess says:

    Butlers pantry with counter and sink….my dream!

  29. Laura says:

    Ever since I saw that you had a standing pantry in the kitchen, I thought it looked a little over-crowded. Definitely take that out and do the pantry!

  30. Emily says:

    I’ve ALWAYS thought bathrooms near kitchens were gross and awkward and since you already have a guest bath on this level I would say pantry for sure!

  31. Anna says:

    I vote for pantry all the way!!!! : )

  32. jimena says:

    you KNOW how I feel!!! 2 half baths is too much AND your kitchen is going to win so much space, its going to be so much “lighter”…Pantry all the way!

  33. Felicity says:

    Pantry/utility sink 100%!

  34. qs777 says:

    Pantry – like a butler’s pantry with a small sink would be great.

  35. Allison says:

    I vote for the walk in pantry! I personally don’t love bathrooms off of kitchens – they gross me out. A pantry makes way more sense. And a utility sink?! AWESOME.

  36. Alise says:

    A butler’s pantry could be amazing in that space!!

  37. Carolina says:

    Pantry! With an extra apartment sized fridge for parties and the sink! OMG I would love having that so much! and I HATE bathrooms right off the kitchen… GROSS!

  38. Meghan says:

    I would also create a pantry if I were you. First of all, the luxury of a walk-in pantry with a utility sink will add much more value to your home than another bathroom. Second, removing the pantry cupboards in your kitchen will create additional space and many more layout opportunities when you complete your eventual kitchen renovation.

  39. Abby J. says:

    PANTRY!! With a utility sink and some awesome shelving…maybe a combo mudroom area. SWOOON.

  40. Mirela says:

    Team pantry! I think this part of your house is perfect for a pantry/laundry room/mudroom kind of area. Bathrooms are high maintenance…

  41. Cara Jeanne says:

    I’d say pantry for two reasons:
    1. Chris loves to cook, so having an extra space for gadgets and ingredients would be nice. I’m not sure what your vision is for the rest of the kitchen, but a pantry with a utility sink would be great.
    2. We have had large parties at our house growing up, and we only had a 1/2 bath on the first floor and full bath on the second, and nobody seemed to mind going upstairs (or in your case, downstairs) to use the bathroom.

    We have a utility sink in the laundry room right off our kitchen and we use it for SO MUCH.
    Since you already have so many bathrooms, a pantry would be nice in case you ever decide to sell. Pantries can also be useful for so much other than kitchen stuff – dog food, the vacuum, reusable grocery bags, dropping zone for stuff that needs to be put in the car.

  42. Tanja says:

    I’m not going against the mold here and would also vote pantry. With 2 bathrooms already on this floor I’m not sure its adding any value to your house to have a 3rd. I think the key thing is to ensure you have easy access for guests and your renovated powder room achieves that.

  43. Emma says:

    we just converted our 3rd bathroom that was next to the kitchen to a laundry room/pantry (so we’re down to “only” 2 bathrooms now) and i do not regret it one bit!!!

  44. Sarah says:

    Not even a question, walk-in PANTRY! Wow, so jealous you have this option!

  45. Sara says:

    The only reason I would want the bathroom is because we do a lot of entertaining. And I dont like tohave them useing our personal bbathroom, and I dont have to worry about keeping the bedrooms “guest ready”. But if you dont do that much entertaining then totally pantry!

  46. Jessie says:

    I would do the pantry, because you already have a “public” bathroom upstairs. I love my pantry and I don’t love cleaning toilets.

  47. Mary says:

    If that is the only bathroom on that floor, I would keep it a bathroom! If not, I would definitely make it into a pantry!!

  48. Stephanie says:

    My short answer is pantry because extra storage is always awesome and bathrooms off the kitchen gross me out a bit. My long answer is think long term. It’s hard to say just looking at pictures (for me) but if I had all the $ to do whatever with (not that you do) I would probably combine the two rooms and reverse them. Make a doorway right off the far back side kitchen wall as it would seem more convenient. Then you can put lots of shelving on that corner. Then you can have places to hang coats etc coming in from the garage and then have your laundry room with utility sink and all that jazz on the other side. Do I sound confusing? I think I would like two entrances into the room but maybe that would look too crazy? Anyway, think long term. If you are in the back yard all the time, a bathroom off the garage isn’t necessary if you are not coming in from the front. Maybe your kitchen redo you will break into that area to make a bigger kitchen/pantry? Just seems kind of far away for a pantry but if you are just cheaply reconfiguring for the mean time or if it would really benefit your everyday life etc then totally go for it. One less bathroom to clean and I think I bathroom for entertaining is sufficient. I don’t think guests would mind if they had to go to the basement if the other one is in use…maybe that’s just me?

  49. Holly says:

    Is this room near your garage? How about a mud room? When your girls grow older and have tons of stuff and bags from school, stuff coming home and stuff going back, you would love a dumping spot for everything all in one spot. Otherwise it might end up on your kitchen island. At least it did on mine. :) We put some kitchen cabinets in our laundry/mud room with pull-out shelves, and those shelves hold shoes, so they’re accessible, but put away. Drawers have the dogs leashes and other stuff. We have hooks on the wall for our daily coats and backpacks. The counter on top of the cabinets is our basic dumping ground. You could still have upper cabinets to house other pantry items, maybe bulk items you don’t use every day. Just a thought. If that is not near your garage, definitely a pantry.

  50. Liz says:

    I think a pantry would make more sense, especially since you have the recently redone half bath right around the corner. It seems silly to have two half baths on the same floor.

  51. Rachel says:

    I know that house- one of my childhood friends lived there. I would say pantry all day long! The other bathroom is accessible enough. And if you keep a sink, that’s all you really need by the garage. We just moved from a house with four bathrooms to a house with three, and I LOVE it. One less bathroom to clean each week makes a big difference. :)

  52. Meggan says:

    I would vote pantry.
    I remember you guys ripped out that coat closet back there and were going to make a mudroom area or something, but you could maybe turn that into a laundry/bath combo if you decided you really wanted a toilet near the garage? Moving plumbing ain’t cheap or easy I’m sure, but just a thought. And if you wanted to get REALLY crazy, (not sure how big the 1/2 bath really is), but if it’s big enough maybe you could bump the wall in a little tiny bit to create a little bench area on that side? That’s probably way too much!

  53. kristy says:

    Pantry – no question.

    Even though you have awesome storage space in your kitchen, a pantry could be used for more than just food. It could store small appliances, party supplies, serving dishes. I don’t think you could ever go wrong with more storage!

  54. Daniela says:

    One less bathroom to clean? DONE.

  55. Jordan says:

    Not that I’m exactly tipping the scales here but I also vote pantry. As a guest, I feel awkward using a bathroom right off the kitchen! Plus since Chris is a forrealz chef, I find it appropriate for your family needs and interests!

  56. Sara says:

    PANTRY. I would love to have a large pantry. Plus, bathrooms in close proximity to the kitchen gross me out.

  57. Emily Jane says:

    One less toilet to clean and space to organize my kitchen please!!! A big pantry makes a world of difference in my house.

  58. Jennifer i says:

    Pantry, definitely. All those bathrooms is a lot to clean, speaking from a person who has a five bedroom house with three and a half baths!

  59. Kelly says:

    Pantry with utility sink. I would not want to clean toilets, nor would I ever have need for 5 bathrooms, but that’s just me.

    I have a 100+ house that doesn’t have any downstairs closets, so again I say pantry because let me tell you — not having one SUCKS. Chris likes to cook, so I’m sure you have or will one day have lots of appliances and cooking things that need to be stored. You can then also store brooms, mops, and other utility things in there and leave your real closets for coats and shoes and proper things. If I had a pantry I would go to Costco endlessly because I’d always have room for supplies *sigh*

  60. Gregory says:

    Could you do a pantry plus a urinal? I think that would be the best of both worlds.

  61. Lauren says:

    PANTRY! I think it will be better for resale, too, right? Ask 3 realtors what they say and go w/the majority. :)

  62. Jennifer says:

    Bathroom. With it being right off the garage, it’s convenient access for kids to use without worrying about them tracking dirt/water/sand across the house, especially as your kids get older and are having playdates, etc. Also, since you like to entertain, two bathrooms really does come in handy to have accessible to guests. I’d keep the pantry cabinets and downstairs build a big food storage area to keep bulk items in instead.

  63. amy says:

    I’m joining the masses… while the proximity of that half bath to the garage is convenient, you guys have obviously showed recently that there is absolutely no use for that bathroom in your family.

    I live in a home with one bathroom, and while having a second would be nice, there definitely isn’t a need for 3 or 4 in our layout.

    I can’t imagine having four toilets to clean!

    I personally love the idea of a huge pantry, that large shelving unit is quite bulky and moving everything in that small room would really open up your kitchen space!

    We currently have a ginormous huge hall closet which shares a wall with our kitchen, our hope is to convert it into a pantry because our cupboards are so crammed.

  64. Angie says:

    Definitely a pantry!

  65. Anonymous says:

    Pantry! As many stated before me, the bathroom off the kitchen gives off an ick factor AND you already have a bathroom that guests can use. I remember when you first posted pics of this house, I thought it was odd that it didn’t have a pantry. It seems like a big house needs a good pantry.

  66. Linette says:

    I would choose pantry. I don’t love the idea of a toilet being too close to a kitchen. Plus, you could keep cleaning supplies, etc. in the pantry area. :-)

  67. Amy says:

    Definitely a pantry! I’m not a fan of bathrooms right off the kitchen. It’s a little weird if you have people over and everyone is congregated in the kitchen. Plus if you already have that many bathrooms it doesn’t seem like you’ll be missing that one.

  68. Evelina says:

    Pantry pantry!

  69. pantry!! if you only had one or two bathrooms that might be one thing, but you have four!! the storage will be so much nicer, it will be less bathrooms to clean, and its much nicer having a pantry off a kitchen than a restroom… :)

    having an actual pantry has made my life 100000x easier!

  70. PANTRY! We’ve got a standing pantry like you have and it’s awful. What I wouldn’t give to have an actual pantry!!

  71. Hilary says:

    My vote is for pantry as well. But I also wanted to mention that we have a bathroom right by our garage entrance and it is used A LOT by the kids – they don’t have to remove their shoes to use it so can run in and then run back outside to play. I think your bathroom is also just off your garage, so just wanted to give you something else to consider :)

  72. Cindy says:

    My choice would totally be pantry, but those voting for the bathroom raise a good question: where is the other bathroom that guests would use?

    You mentioned a laundry room, too. What is the layout of that part of your home: Is the laundry room right next to the bathroom? If so, I’d choose option #3: knock out the wall and create a big laundry room. (See how easy I made that sound? As if knocking down a wall ain’t no big thang?)

  73. Colleen says:

    I would actually have to vote bathroom (particularly if it is close to the garage or access to the back yard). In our area, half baths are common close to an entry, usually with a laundry room, right off the kitchen – keep in mind a large home with small children, it may be easier for them to reach if playing outside/help prevent “accidents” with small children or need to be cleaned up (dirt, scrapes, covered in chalk, wet swimsuits, etc.). Also beneficial for when the kids have friends who may feel uncomfortable walking throughout the home. If family is visiting or there is a party, having the accessibility for guests can make them feel more comfortable than waiting in line to use the rest room. Who really needs that much pantry space anyway? From photos, it appears those cabinets that were moved closer to the kitchen provide more than enough storage – also allowing for quicker and easier access with cooking.

    Bottom line is – go with what works best for your family. Many think more about the appearance rather than the actual use of a home. It’s about finding the happy balance of both – like the reading room over the formal dining room. :)

  74. caitlin says:

    Gosh, I’m really in the minority here. IF that bathroom served as the powder room (AKA the bathroom that guests use when they visit your house) I would keep it. I guess this might seem a little proper and uptight, but it is nice not to invade someone’s personal space at their house by using their main bathroom where they might have a lot of personal items laying about (in my case dirty laundry, open tubes of toothpaste, etc) and instead use a powder room that is outfitted for guests. If there is another bathroom for that, then I would opt for the pantry space. -Caitlin

  75. Brandilyn says:

    Joining the masses…get that pantry gurl.

  76. Kates says:

    It seems pantry is the way to go. I think it would be an excellent use an a pantry and with the number of bathrooms you have the added value of having a pantry seems more of a plus than an extra bathroom!

  77. Amanda says:

    Pantry for the reasons previous posters stated – 3 bathrooms is enough lol, location of the one near the kitchen isn’t great, and I think you’ll appreciate the extra room for storage. I LOVE our walk-in pantry.

  78. Lauren says:

    Pantry! If you’ve got a hall bath or half bath that guests could easily access (aka, not walking through your bedroom- unless you’re cool with that) somewhere else, pantry. I live in a smaller house and we only have 2 super deep cabinets for our pantry needs- I hate it. It would be awesome to design it to create a sort of butlers pantry where you could keep some things other than food too.
    So much potential!

  79. Courtney says:

    Pantry!! Plus, you could eleiminate the floor to ceiling cabinets in your kitchen, making that space even nicer looking.

  80. Annemie says:

    Another bathroom seems like overkill.
    Agree with the comment above, about having a toilet so close to the kitchen too.

  81. Amanda Stephens says:

    Pantry, easy!

    No one should have a toliet that close to a kitchen anyway. Plus if you already have 2 bathrooms on that level that you are willing to let guests use, then I would do the utility sink and pantry in a heartbeat!

    Good Luck!

  82. Samantha says:

    Pantry all the way!

  83. Jenna says:

    Definitely pantry! What a great opportunity to add something everyone wants!

  84. Elizabet says:

    My vote is definitely for pantry! I love the idea of a kitchen with few upper cabinets but a large walk-in pantry for storing large appliances (could have outlets and a counter for things like breadmakers, etc.) and rarely used items. Excited to see how your kitchen evolves!

  85. Brad says:

    Yeah, I’m on Team Pantry. Why not? Bathrooms so close to the kitchen weird me out anyway plus it seems like the perfect spot for a pantry. Go for it.

  86. Haley says:

    Pantry! Its not that far to the other bathrooms. Plus, who needs another bathroom to clean.

  87. Beth says:

    pantry!! also, what’s the new grid-like artwork that i spy??

  88. Marci says:

    If your laundry room isn’t at this end if this house if go for that! Having laundry right off the kitchen has made it so easy for me to keep up with that task!

  89. Jess says:

    Who needs a 4th bathroom?! Ridiculous! Pantry please!

  90. Definitely pantry! Besides, who really needs a bathroom that close to the kitchen!! Does that hallway go to the garage? Sorry, I don’t know your house layout very well!!

  91. Amanda says:

    Definitely a big pantry with a utility sink. One less toilet to clean and you have a place to wash up paint brushes and other messy projects.

  92. Stephanie says:

    Definitely do a pantry instead of another bathroom! I really doubt that many people will always need to go to the bathroom at once. Plus it’s just another toilet to clean! A pantry will have much better use.

  93. meghan says:

    Definitely Pantry – 4 bathrooms is crazy! I only have 1.5 baths and with 4 kids that’s definitely not enough but I think 2 or 2.5 would be PLENTY. Walk in pantry would be lovely.

  94. Melanie says:

    Pantry. One less bathroom to clean.

  95. Monica says:

    We had a similar situation in our laundry room, we removed the toilet (that was blocking the dryer anyway) but kept the sink and have never been happier!

    Pantry, with a sink all the way!

  96. Ashley says:

    Pantry!!! I wish I had one!

  97. Sandi says:

    Definitely a pantry. I must say, I find toilets that open right into the kitchen like that pretty uncomfortable–no one wants to use it when there are others around anyway. Plus, flying poo/pee particles.

    You could even keep a little prep/hand wash sink in there as a feature.

  98. Heidi says:

    Pantry most def. We finally have one in our house now and I don’t know how we ever did without it! I see no need for another bathroom if you already have one on the same floor. Plus the idea of a bathroom so close to the kitchen is kinda gross to me…haha. I had a friend who had a bathroom behind her pantry…like you had to walk THROUGH the pantry to get to it…gave me major heebie-jeebies! Especially when a kid would do a number two in there and it would stink up the kitchen…so gross, haha! Yours doesn’t look quite as bad as that, but still. Pantries are wonderful and I think another half-bath would be superfluous. Plus it’s one more bathroom you’d have to clean. :)

  99. deb says:

    Pantry, of course!

  100. Lindsey says:

    No brainer… PANTRY!

  101. Sarabeh says:

    Pantry! Two 1/2 baths seems overkill. Plus, I’m in love with the idea of a pantry. We had a huge one in our first apartment, but nothing in the loft. I miss that pantry!

  102. Kristen says:

    Definitely the pantry! That’s such a great idea and the perfect place for it!

  103. Meagan Briggs says:

    Easy answer, PANTRY!!!!!!!!!!!

    I HATE not having a pantry (ummm it has been almost 6 years without one) and I told Ryan our future home better have major pantry eye candy for me! haha

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