Galley Kitchen Designs

Find out more information about galley kitchen designs with this article that details everything you need to know about this popular kitchen layout.

transitional galley kitchen with green cabinets

Galley Kitchen With Gorgeous Green Cabinets

This galley kitchen in Decatur, Ga., was designed to be a functional yet stylish space that allows for effortless cooking and entertaining. Thus, the room features a deep sink and stainless appliances, gorgeous green cabinets and a wood dining table that seats six.

Photo by: Jeff Herr

Jeff Herr

By: Maria Conti and Caroline Shannon-Karasik

The traditional galley kitchen may be narrow, but that doesn't mean your style options are slim. The old-school layout has a bad reputation for being small and closed off, but try not to write off the galley kitchen so fast. Between dreamy floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, drool-worthy light fixtures and cozy cooking quarters, galley-style kitchens have a lot to offer modern households. Still unconvinced? Keep reading to get the scoop on all-things-galley-kitchen, plus some experts tips on how to maximize yours at home.

What is a Galley Kitchen?

White Galley Kitchen and Chandelier

White Galley Kitchen and Chandelier

A formerly dark, closed-off kitchen was made into this bright room with the addition of glossy white cabinets (great at bouncing natural light) and a mirror backsplash.

Photo by: Christian Torres

Christian Torres

A galley kitchen, or corridor kitchen, is characterized by two parallel countertops or walls divided by a three-to-five-foot walking area in between. The iconic, compact layout is named after the galley (kitchen) area on ships and is a popular choice for pint-sized pads and city apartments alike. The most common galley kitchen features include twin workstations facing each other, one wall with cooking appliances, and a second equipped with prep and cleaning fixtures like the refrigerator and sink.

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How to Make a Galley Kitchen Appear Bigger

White Galley Kitchen

White Transitional Galley Kitchen

This home has a large, beautiful chef kitchen and this smaller one, primed for extra entertaining and storage needs.

Because the space can appear small, it is important to select light paint colors to make the kitchen feel open and airy. Stainless steel or white countertops, glass-front cabinets and colorful backsplashes are all keys to making a galley kitchen design appear larger.

Another way to create the illusion of a larger space? Remove the upper cabinets from one side of your galley kitchen. Replace with open shelving or continue your backsplash tile from counter to ceiling for a high-end look. This technique works overtime to eliminate visual bulk and widen the otherwise narrow room.

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Paint Colors for Small Kitchens

Energize your small kitchen with a coat of fresh paint to the walls and cabinets, and consider soft neutrals or bold color combinations that will make your space seem larger and reflect your design style.

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Best Colors for a Galley Kitchen

Traditional Kitchen With Black Cabinets

Sophisticated Galley Kitchen

Traditional black cabinets pair with gray marble countertops in this galley-style kitchen. Brass hardware and farmhouse sink add metallic glam to the room, while globe pendants illuminate the space.

Photo by: Aaron Leitz

Aaron Leitz

Again, light-and-bright hues are failproof options for visually expanding your galley kitchen. Diffused earth tones, pastels and shades of white are solid jumping off points for your kitchen color palette.

Of course, that doesn't mean that all dark or moody tones are off-limits. If you love a saturated look, fret not! You can strike a balance in the design with strategic contrast. For example, if you choose dark cabinets, be sure to offset the deeper finish with a light countertop, neutral wall color and adequate overhead lighting. And, if floor-to-ceiling moody cabinets are more your speed, select snowy countertops, mid-to-light tone flooring and high-shine hardware (unlacquered brass or polished nickel are our favorites!) to keep light bouncing around the space.

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Small Galley Kitchen Design Tips

Rustic Beams, Leather Pendants in Kitchen With Marble, Slate Accents

Old World Meets Modern Transitional Kitchen

This transitional kitchen is the perfect mixture of Manhattan style meets Parisian design with its organic and neutral palette. Three leather pendants hang between exposed wooden beams creating a rustic element in the room. The white and black marble backsplash marries with the dark slate flooring, creamy white plaster hood and welcomes guests, foodies and chefs alike.

Photo by: Sean Litchfield

Sean Litchfield

Maximize the space and style in your narrow galley kitchen with a few of our faithful tips. First, work from the ground up. Install floors so that they run lengthwise as this creates an illusion of a longer space.

Give your lower cabinets and appliances a lift (literally) from the floors. This technique widens the galley walkway and adds height to even the most cramped kitchen designs.

Hide your appliances in plain sight using cabinets or custom paneling that mimics your existing cabinetry. Erasing bulky items like the refrigerator or dishwasher will create a streamlined, cohesive and clutter-free visual.

Galley Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

Bright and Beautiful Galley Kitchen

Bright and Beautiful Galley Kitchen

The redesigned galley kitchen is a bright and beautiful update with white shiplap walls, light maple flooring and bright white counters. Shaker-style cabinetry in a muted gray is embellished with satin gold drawer pulls. High-end stainless appliances include a wine fridge.

Photo by: Jessica Alexander

Jessica Alexander

When designing your galley kitchen, consider what type of cabinet layout would best serve your lifestyle. Traditional galley designs typically feature upper and lower cabinets on each side for maximum storage and symmetry.

Contemporary and modern galley kitchens switch it up with asymmetrical cabinets, such as one wall with upper and lower cabinets opposite another with lower cabinets only.

If you’re building a galley from scratch, take cues from this kitchen by designer Natalie Myers and recess your cabinetry and appliances. This technique opens the walkway and promotes an airy design.

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