5 Ways To Create a Successful Galley-Style Kitchen Layout

Space in a galley-style kitchen can be limited. Yet, that doesn’t mean that you’re stuck. Look at these 5 tips for making your galley kitchen layout shine.


When you think of kitchens, the least desired layout is often thought to be the galley-style kitchen, seen most popularly in apartments, condos, and smaller homes.  Because of the long and sometimes narrow layout, they’re usually thought to be non-functioning and corridor-like.

But like all kitchens, the layout of the Kitchen Work Triangle (refrigerator, stove, and sink) is key to creating a well-designed and useful space.  When properly laid out, the galley style kitchen can actually function better than an open style because cabinetry space is being better utilized.

5 Galley-Style Kitchen Tips

1. Good Lighting

galley-style kitchen light
The bright light from the end window shines through the entire kitchen making it airy and inviting.

Through natural light or proper artificial lighting, creating a bright and airy space is important for galley kitchens to feel as large and open as possible. The most ideal layout would be to incorporate a window in the center of the kitchen above the sink.  If that’s not possible, a window at one end perhaps near the seating area will still visually create a larger environment.

If a window is totally out of the question, then it’s key to install lighting that is cleverly placed to illuminate the cabinets, work surface(s), and floor. Decorative fixtures will add intrigue and style to the space, but hi-hats on the ceiling and task lighting under the cabinets are most important for creating a bright galley kitchen layout that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

2. Use Light Colors

galley-style kitchen white

I’m a huge fan of color and rarely think that it’s best to stick with white, BUT with galley kitchens I’m making an exception.  When designing a galley style kitchen where the space is narrow, it’s best to use white or light colored cabinets.  Accents of color can be introduced, but because the cabinetry usually takes up 80-95% of the wall surface, your space will feel largest when it’s lighter in color.

When designing around a galley kitchen-layout, allow a minimum of three feet between the cabinets. Four feet or more would be ideal to minimize congestion.

3. Add Visual Accents

Kaska Porcelain Mosaic - Florence Series / SKU: 10094789
Kaska Porcelain Mosaic – Florence Series

Since the main color of galley kitchens are best in white or light colors, adding accents of color, pattern, and/or texture, are great ways to add in touches of your personal taste and style.  By using a bold floor, wall tile and mosaics, countertops, or an exciting light fixture, a small space still can be functional, yet interesting.

Consider a strong tile pattern in the kitchen that leads to the next space.  It will give visual interest to the space and connect it to the adjoining room. We love both ceramic wall tiles and porcelain wall tiles for a galley-style kitchen.

4. Incorporate Smart Storage Solutions

galley-style kitchen storage
Make use of vertical space, using racks to hang large utensils or smaller storage containers.

Because of the limited space in a galley kitchen, unique storage solutions are needed to create a functioning hub of the home.  A kitchen of this style will need extra thought during the planning stages, but will be well worth it when being used.  To start off, make a list of your must-have necessities and a separate list for your wants/desires.  This will help figure out the layout and how your kitchen can run most efficiently.

In a small kitchen, use simple cabinetry that elongates the space.  Maximize your space and storage abilities by incorporating high cabinets that reach the ceiling. Adding open shelving to display glasses and/or plates makes a galley kitchen space feel larger and more open.

5. Create a Functional Layout

All kitchens should be designed with the Kitchen Work Triangle in mind, but the galley kitchen especially because of the narrow corridor-like width.  It’s key to have the larger appliances staggered when on opposite sides, as well as creating large amounts of work space for food preparation.

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