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Ideas for Galley Kitchens

Named for the cramped kitchens found on boats, a galley kitchen is traditionally set up with cabinets and appliances on two opposing walls with a narrow aisle between the two. In some kitchens, there are entrances on either end of the room while others galley kitchens are closed on one end. Because they are usually quite small, galley kitchens are often a challenge for homeowners to work in and organise. However, there are ways to maximise the space in a galley kitchen so it feels larger and is an easier place to prepare meals.

Create a Wide Enough Aisle

Because galley kitchens are known for their limited space, they can often become congested if you have a large family or are entertaining guests. To cut back on congestion in a galley kitchen, ensure that the aisle between the two walls is at least 4 to 6 feet wide. An aisle of this size allows space for people to move around the kitchen and may accommodate features that allow you to make the kitchen feel larger, such as a peninsula counter at the end of a kitchen with a U-shaped layout that provides an eat-in space.

Use Taller Cabinets

Storage space is usually at a premium in a galley kitchen, so utilise the room that you have to its fullest potential. Instead of using the customary 36-inch high cabinets, install cabinets that are 42 inches high if your ceilings are high enough to accommodate the size. Using larger cabinets provides additional storage space that can be crucial in a tight kitchen. For cabinets this large, use a lighter wood, such as maple or ash, that may help the room seem sleeker and more streamlined.

Follow the Triangle Layout

A galley kitchen's layout is extremely important because of the limited space. As a result, use the triangle layout plan for arranging your appliances. This layout calls for the sink and refrigerator to be placed on one wall and the range on the opposite wall. If you have a dishwasher, place it next to the sink. The triangle set-up is ideal in a galley kitchen because all of the major appliances are in close proximity to one another so you can easily move through all phases of cooking preparation without having to move around too much. The layout can be extremely helpful when more than one person is working in the kitchen and the space is even tighter.

Use a Pass-through to Open up the Space

To make a galley kitchen feel larger, add a pass-through window on one side to open up the space. A pass-through works well if the kitchen is beside the dining area because it helps unite the two spaces. In addition, it may also provide space inside the kitchen for a bar where more informal meals may be eaten. If you plan to open up your galley kitchen to another room, use cabinets with glass-front panels and lighted interiors to create a focal point inside the kitchen that may be observed from the other room.

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About the Author

Based in New York City, Jennifer Blair has been covering all things home and garden since 2001. Her writing has appeared on BobVila.com, World Lifestyle, and House Logic. Blair holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.