Ideas for Making a Small Galley Kitchen Look Larger

Updated March 13, 2018

Galley kitchens present design challenges in many homes. The long, narrow kitchen seems small to most homeowners. Several design tricks make a galley kitchen appear larger without changing the actual size of the room. Design elements as well as layout can improve the appearance of large or small the galley kitchens.


The colour of any room makes a big impact on how expansive it feels. Light colours generally make a room feel larger. A light blue, cream, pale yellow or other light colour works well for a galley style kitchen. Paint all walls and the ceiling in the lighter colours to open up the room. Darker wall colours close in the room and make it feel more like a cave. In addition to the walls and ceiling, consider lighter colours for the kitchen flooring.

Natural Light

A room with lots of light feels larger and more open. Emphasise any natural light available in the galley kitchen. Choose light window treatments that you can open fully to allow in as much light as possible. If the kitchen includes an exterior door, consider replacing it with a door that has a large window. An option to consider for a larger renovation is to install a skylight.


The lighting fixtures also make a big impact on the perceived size of a galley kitchen. Avoid fixtures with dark shades. Clean lines on the light fixtures make the kitchen feel less cluttered. Track lighting or recessed lighting fixtures work well because they are simple and don't hang into the room. Add lighting above cabinets for ambience and to draw the eye upward. Lighting under the cabinets also brightens the room and makes it feel bigger.


Cabinet selection is another important design factor. Choose light coloured cabinets. Either painted or wood grain cabinets work as long as they are light in colour. Choose simple handles and drawer panels to avoid making the area too busy. Cabinet doors with glass panels also make the room feel larger.


Installing shelving instead of upper cabinets can also make small galley kitchens seem bigger. Cabinets are bulky but shelving on the upper portions of the kitchen walls creates an open feeling. Open shelving might also inspire you to keep your kitchen items more organised because they are out in the open.

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About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.