Often found in compact homes and apartments, the galley kitchen—a narrow, elongated design with parallel counters—offers a unique set of challenges and opportunities for homeowners and designers alike. Though its footprint might be small, its potential is immense. When designed thoughtfully, a galley kitchen can not only save space, but can also be a functional and stylish heart of any home.
Whether you’re renovating an existing kitchen in your Dallas home or starting from scratch in Cleveland, these five indispensable tips from Redfin and expert designers will help you create a galley kitchen that’s both efficient and elegant.
1. Prioritize day-to-day functionality
When it comes to galley kitchen design, placing emphasis on day-to-day functionality is paramount. Unlike expansive kitchen layouts, galley kitchens have a more restricted space, which means every inch counts. Prioritizing functionality involves thinking deeply about the daily rituals and routines in your kitchen. From the placement of your most-used appliances to the accessibility of utensils and ingredients, every design decision should simplify and enhance your cooking and preparation process.
From cabinet and countertop organization to appliance placement, Ashley Denbow, owner, and lead designer for 940 Interiors, shares the importance of considering your daily routines within a kitchen and prioritizing your unique needs. She shares how “customizing kitchen drawers to fit your unique needs can aid with functionality.” Additionally, Denbow recommends thinking about finer details such as lighting and suggests using multiple types, such as task lighting for cooking and cleaning and dimmable lighting or pendants for a cozy atmosphere.
2. Create a layout that maximizes storage space
Creating a layout that maximizes storage space is crucial, no matter what kitchen style you’re designing. Thinking about where you’re going to store pots, pans, and cutlery, how much pantry space is needed, and where a storage closet will go should be top of mind.
“Opt for floor-to-ceiling cabinetry to create a seamless flow while maximizing storage space,” recommends Hannah Campbell, from Worldwide Granite and Marble” You can easily do this by integrating floor-to-ceiling cabinet units on the ends of the countertops. For added convenience, Campbell suggests incorporating soft-close drawers and pull-out shelves.
3. Cut out a conversation niche
In the context of a galley kitchen, where space might seem restrictive, carving out a conversation niche can work wonders for the atmosphere. This niche, whether it’s a small seating area, a breakfast nook, or even a bar-top along one side, can transform your kitchen from a mere functional space to an intimate gathering spot.
Hannah Campbell recommends, “fitting a countertop extension where barstools can be placed so that friends and family will feel invited to gather.”
4. Consider your color choices
Color choices go a long way, whether that’s a bedroom, a living room, or the kitchen. Galley kitchens tend to be on the smaller side, so unless you have abundant natural lighting that makes the space feel larger, painting with black may not be the best option.
Consider painting your cabinets and walls white and integrating color through the backsplash with intricate designs or even textured brick to add a wow factor. Additionally, installing warmer wood-toned flooring instead of glossy tiles can make the space feel extra inviting.
5. Capture more light with high ceilings
Light plays a pivotal role in making spaces feel larger and more open, especially in narrower layouts like galley kitchens. One ingenious way to amplify natural light is by optimizing vertical space with high ceilings. Elevating the ceiling not only creates a sense of spaciousness but also provides more surface area for sunlight to bounce off. When complemented with tall windows or strategically placed skylights, high ceilings can dramatically transform the atmosphere
Cheryl Moore with Core Homes recommends “designing a galley kitchen with at least 9-foot ceilings to create the illusion of a larger area.”
Final thoughts galley kitchen layout and design:
There is no one-size-fits-all solution on how to design a galley kitchen. However, considering the functionality that aligns with your daily routine can benefit your decision-making process. No detail should be overlooked; thinking about storage space, how you and your guests interact around the kitchen, what colors should be utilized, and how to leverage natural light will all be critical factors in designing a galley kitchen that you’ll ultimately be proud of.