Design Ideas for Small Galley Kitchens

Written by john fechik
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Design Ideas for Small Galley Kitchens
Galley kitchens maximise space with lots of cabinets. (green kitchen image by Leonid Nyshko from

A galley kitchen can offer a convenient way to maximise a small area by having one or two long walls of cabinets and appliances. The compact kitchen can work great for one cook, and allows for quicker meal preparation and cleanup. If you design your small galley kitchen properly, the finished product will leave you with an efficient and stylish space.

One-Wall Design

Depending on your kitchen layout, you may have enough room for only one long wall along which to place all your cabinets and appliances. This design can work well, though, if it's planned properly. suggests having the sink in the middle of the counter space, with counter workspace on either side of it. It also suggests extra-wide base cabinets if room allows, and shallow upper cabinets or open shelving to give the kitchen a larger appearance. Handle-free cabinets, along with pale colours for cabinets, counters and floors, add to the open atmosphere.

If room allows, you can have the counter top fan out on the open-room end of the kitchen to offer a small built-in snack bar or sitting area. If the kitchen butts up against a corner, you can create a small built-in seating area with a table along the wall, or use an extra-narrow table with two chairs.

Two-Wall Design

A galley kitchen can also include two long walls. A practical design is to have one side for cooking a meal, with counter top space, oven, microwave and refrigerator, and use the other wall as your cleanup area, with your sink, dishwasher and other counter top space. If you're able to have your galley kitchen extend from one wall onto an adjacent small wall to create an L-shaped design, you'll have a more efficient workspace and will hopefully still have a bit of room on the opposite wall for a small table and chairs.

Galley with an Island

With a one-wall design that opens to an adjacent room, placing an island opposite the kitchen space will give you a great design and close off the kitchen from the dining or living room. If space is limited, make it a narrow island that gives some storage and counter space but mostly defines the kitchen boundaries, which will work great for visiting with guests while preparing a meal.

Colours/Floors/Other Options

Normally, light, pale colours will give a small area a less-confined feeling, but using colourful accessories in your galley kitchen can look cheerful (see reference No. 3, photo No. 6). If a galley kitchen is designed properly, dark, rich cabinet choices can add an elegant touch. Flooring options include a checkerboard design to give a large-room appearance, or wood floors that go the length of the galley kitchen and tie in to an adjacent room. Glass partition doors at the entrance of the kitchen, as well as open shelving, are other options for making your small kitchen seem larger.

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