Galley kitchens are a convenient and underrated kitchen layout. House Of Kitchens calls them “perhaps the most efficient of all new kitchen layouts”. Typically, a galley kitchen is long and narrow, like a corridor or hallway, with cabinets, appliances and countertops that run parallel from one end to the other, similar to galley kitchens on planes and ships.
What makes for a great galley kitchen?
The biggest benefit of a galley kitchen layout is that it optimises a small space, while being functional. If you have a small house or apartment - but still want a chef-worthy kitchen - then galley-style is the way to go.
You can make the most of your galley kitchen by adding tons of counter space and storage. Stick to floating or mounted cabinets or customised cabinetry to really maximize that space.
Galley kitchen layouts don’t have to feel cramped or claustrophobic. Closed galleys (i.e. those with walls on two or more sides) can give the illusion of space and improve breathability by alternating tall and short units on either side. Painting your walls white and adding strategic lighting will make your galley kitchen feel even bigger.
You can also widen the gap between your work areas, but make sure to keep an efficient distance that still allows you to go back and forth between cupboards and appliances with ease.
You can also opt for an open layout by knocking down one wall, or “creating” a galley with an island opposite your existing run. Adding chairs to one side of your kitchen island gives your family and friends a place to sit and chat while you cook, allowing you to be sociable when you have guests over.
Save even more space by going minimalist with your appliances and decorations. Avoid putting things on top of your counters. Where possible, build your appliances into your walls and cabinets.
10 of the best galley kitchen ideas
Want more galley kitchen designs and galley kitchen floor plans? Check out some of our top picks for beautiful and modern layouts from around the web.
1. The Scandi galley kitchen
Apartments aren’t exactly known for generous amounts of space, and their layouts aren’t always ideal, but a galley kitchen can suit an apartment perfectly.
For safety, consider having all of your appliances on one side and your countertops on the other. This reduces the need to go back and forth between sides and will protect you - and anybody else passing through - from accidents. This kitchen channels a Scandi vibe with natural timber, white cabinetry and stainless steel benchtops.
2. The two-tone galley kitchen
While an all-white galley kitchen will certainly feel bigger, don’t be scared to mix it up with light and dark tones of a similar colour. Kitchen Magic recommends adding mirrored cabinets to instantly make a small or cramped kitchen feel more spacious.
3. The small-space galley kitchen
No matter the how small the available space for your kitchen may be, this light, bright and stylish kitchen proves long, narrow and ceiling-high cabinetry needn't feel cramped. Kaboodle states that “Many galley kitchens make full use of vertical space by using wall cabinets and shelving units to create more storage space”. Cabinets can make a room feel smaller, but you need storage space for your utensils, glasses, and other kitchen accoutrements.
4. The old-school galley kitchen
Although a little old-school, this galley kitchen is a classic combo of country-style cabinetry and granite benchtops. According to Reno Guide, “Only a handful of kitchen styles and colour schemes survive the constantly changing trends”, however this is one kitchen that seems to pop up often, regardless the decade.
5. The basic galley kitchen
Long, narrow and with cabinetry and appliances on either side, this basic yet functional galley kitchen is an affordable option for most people.
6. The one-sided galley kitchen
This kitchen is long, narrow and built against an existing wall, but the window makes it feel much more open.
7. The marble galley kitchen
A galley kitchen isn't always a narrow affair. Sometimes, should you have the space, a galley kitchen can be wider and longer, taking up one side of a whole room. Here, marble bench tops make a statement.
8. The eat-in galley kitchen
This galley kitchen is the perfect example of maximising space and potential. A breakfast bar at the entrance means you can cook and dine in the one narrow kitchen space.
9. The dark galley kitchen
Wide Open Eats says the trick to making a small kitchen like this feel enormous is playing with light. Glossy cabinets and countertops reflect light, giving off the illusion of a significantly bigger space, and this can work even on dark colours.
10. The short and narrow galley kitchen
Although a little shorter, a narrow kitchen with appliances filling walls on both sides still qualifies for the 'galley' title. This can work well in small homes and units.
Whether you like modern, rustic, or retro designs, the most important thing is that you have a galley kitchen that feels true to who you are. Whether that means following one of the ideas on this list or doing something completely different, that’s completely up to you.