Galley Kitchen Designs

Get inspiration for galley kitchen designs, and prepare to add an efficient and attractive design to your kitchen space.


Many contemporary homes feature sprawling, spacious kitchens for both gathering and cooking—but if your home has a more focused, efficient kitchen, you might want to browse the options for galley kitchen designs.

Small Kitchens: 8 Design Ideas to Try

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Focus on Function

A small kitchen cannot accommodate homework, mail storage, laundry duties and recipe hunting. Unless you don't cook at all, the small kitchen's main chore is meal prep. So focus first on function, making sure you have the appliances and work areas you need. You may be able to save a bit of space by using scaled-down or innovative appliances, including refrigerator and freezer drawers and pint-sized microwaves, stoves (some with just two burners) and single sinks. If workspace is at a premium, consider a small-scale island or a counter-topped cart that can be rolled into a closet when not in use.

Open Up Cupboards

Tiny kitchens can feel claustrophobic when cabinets are towering overhead. Many cooks can't reach what's in them and the overall feeling is boxy and closed in. Get organized and trade the top cupboards for open storage. Consider shelving, pot racks and magnetic knife or spice holders instead. Your kitchen will look more spacious and serve up display space for your favorite dishes, shiny pots and pans, or artwork.

Mix Up the Materials

Because your kitchen may be short on interesting architectural details, it's up to you to add the all-important style via compelling countertop surfaces, cabinetry, fixtures, flooring, lighting and color. To ensure a cohesive look, create a mix board with samples and swatches of materials under consideration. One tip: Using the same color and style of fixtures and cabinet pulls can help unify a look.

From: Ammie Kim

Go for Glass

One of the easiest ways to visually expand a kitchen is to incorporate glass. Try a glass counter or tabletop, tile, door cabinets or kitchen doors that lead to the outside world or to the next room. Mirrors, in a backsplash or strategically placed around a room, or pass-through windows into the next room, also lighten up the look.

Visually Expand With Lighting

A small kitchen requires a combination of task and atmospheric lighting. To counteract the bluish cast of fluorescent lighting and add drama, install pendant lights in the eating area, incandescent lighting underneath upper cabinets and incandescent spot lighting above cabinetry. Lighting can also be installed under base cabinetry so it shines down onto the toe plate.

Invest in Flooring

Where does the eye go when one walks into a room? Often it goes down — right to that dust bunny or scuffed floor. That's why flooring in a small kitchen is so important. Linoleum in a checkerboard pattern can be really eye-catching and relatively inexpensive. Since square footage is small, you may be able to afford a beautiful tumbled marble. Marble tends to be cold and hard underfoot, but the impact may be worth it. Or try cork, a beautiful — and eco-friendly — choice.

Go Bold With Color

The color of walls, appliances, counters, stools — even the dishtowels — can change the atmosphere and perceived size of the kitchen. Pastels or light colors, with good doses of white, reflect light and draw the eye up, making ceilings appear higher. Bold colorations can be very effective in smaller kitchens. How about some Porsche red metal cabinets with celery green walls and a banana-colored concrete countertop?

Embrace the Space

Rather than using tricks to visually enlarge the space, consider embracing your kitchen as-is. Instead of going light or sleek, opt for country cozy. Make sure there is a little nook where you can sit with a visitor knee-to-knee. Or choose a rich dark color that creates a sophisticated feeling — and use accessories that emphasize that look. The kitchen is small, yes, but it sure is inviting.

With a few tweaks and tricks, you'll be able to make the most of a smaller galley kitchen space so it's equally suitable for cooking, cleaning and conversation.

Galley kitchen design features a few traditional components; first and foremost amongst them is the layout—galley kitchens generally feature a narrow passage between two parallel walls. Usually, one wall features cooking components like the stove and microwave as well as storage elements. The other wall generally houses the sink and any other cleaning implements, plus more storage. Larger galley kitchens may feature an island in between the two sides, offering more storage and a convenient area for food preparation.

One of the chief tasks for any homeowner working on a galley kitchen design will be to maximize space. Kitchen wisdom has it that the ideal aisle width is approximately 4 to 6 feet—but whether your galley kitchen's aisle width is larger, smaller or right in that range, there are steps you can take to create more efficiency, as well as the appearance of a larger space.

If you're looking to expand the apparent size of a galley kitchen, you'll want to start from the ground up. Ensure that floor boards run lengthwise, and if you feature tile on a backsplash, arrange it in the opposite direction, so that it's perpendicular to the floorboards; this helps create the illusion of depth. Another suggestion is to raise cabinets off the floor in order to further suggest a larger, taller space.

If at all possible, you may want to consider secreting appliances behind cabinets or panels in a galley kitchen. Clean, unbroken lines will extend the space, whereas an array of distinct appliances side by side will break it up and make it feel cluttered. Similarly, monochromatic, relatively unadorned cabinet and backsplash designs can work well to open up the space.

When considering color schemes for your galley kitchen, remember that light colors generally expand a space, while dark colors create a more cozy, confined feel. Speaking of light and dark, a lighting scheme that employs recessed or under-mounted lighting can be a great low-profile addition to a galley kitchen design.

Lastly, when it comes to storage options, consider efficient options like lazy Susans, back-of-door cabinet storage, and tall cabinets or pantries in order to maximize your storage options in the small space.

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