| | Bed, Bath, and Kitchen Décor | Reading Time: 7 minutes

Cooking Up Your Dream Galley Kitchen

Galley kitchens are long, narrow rooms often found in older city apartments and historic homes. While beautiful, these spaces don't leave a ton of space for dysfunction or crowding. These rooms are inspired by the compact kitchens on boats, planes and trains, often having rows of cabinets and appliances along opposite walls with one, central walkway between them.

While a galley layout doesn't often get the love that other kitchen design options do, they offer character and appeal that make up for their different setup. All you have to do to upgrade your galley kitchen for extra functionality and visual appeal is to reconfigure your storage space, lighting and decor.

Want to take your gallery kitchen to the next level and cook up a beautiful and useful design? Let's get started!

Galley Kitchen Ideas

Whether you have a galley kitchen and want to make it a better space to cook, host and hang out with your family, or you're looking to purchase a home with one of these kitchenettes, we've got some inspiring design ideas to prove this classic style can be both practical and stunning:

Dark Cabinetry

If you're aiming for a sleek appearance, dark cabinets can work wonders. Black, charcoal, gray or other deep tones can look chic and nicely put together. Dark colors often make a room look cozy and inviting, especially in spaces with contrasting stainless steel appliances or butcher block countertops.

Island or No Island

Most rooms with limited space don't allow you to have a kitchen island. Instead, you can find other places to store hand-held appliances and extra dishes. However, if you do have a bigger galley kitchen and have the space for an island, it can be a great way to break up the room and give you further counter space. Just be sure to only add one as it won't make the room feel overly full.

All White Everything

On the flip side of dark cabinetry, you can select white cabinets, appliances, countertops and subway tile backsplash. This look is perfect for smaller kitchens because white designs appear larger and more spacious than darker styles. If you have a window or two, pair your all-white look with sheer drapery to allow the sunlight in without the rays being too harsh.

Corner Banquette

Open-concept designs often enable you to put in a dining space right off the kitchen. However, galley kitchens don't have this luxury. But don't fret! If you have the space, adding a banquette into your kitchen corner can look beautiful and add some functional seating space without making the room feel cluttered. You could either do a 90-degree bench seat with a round table or a single bench with a larger square table, depending on your galley layout and kitchen design preferences. Add cushions and throw pillows in a matching color to complete the look.

funky flooringFunky flooring can make any galley kitchen look stunning.

Funky Flooring

A really fun way to spruce up your galley kitchen is with funky or bold flooring, especially in smaller spaces where there's very little material needed to cover the space. Try patterned tile, statement wood, marble or any other option that will complement your kitchen cabinets and make a focal point you and your guests will love.

Colorful Runner

If you don't want to go the fun flooring route, add some color with a runner that matches the shades in your room. Not only does this make it more comfortable for you to stand and cook but it also brightens up the space — especially if you have a mostly neutral color palette. For modern or contemporary homes, try an abstract pattern with geometric shapes; for traditional or mid-century modern houses, a symmetrical floral pattern.

It's best to leave a bit of space on either side of the rug to show the wood floor underneath. To keep the rug from sliding, place a rubber mat down first and the rug overtop.

Open Shelving

Using open shelving can make the room seem bigger while still giving you plenty of storage. If you want a cohesive look, match the shelving material with the wood floor. Or, you can use a lighter or darker material if you want to create a contrasting style. What better way to show off your beautiful dishes than to have them showcased front and center on your walls?

Breakfast Bar

Let's say you don't have enough space for a corner banquette. Another dining setup option is a small breakfast bar by your window. All you need is about two feet of extra countertop space and two benches to complete the nook. This is a place to eat a quick breakfast, sip your favorite coffee or have your friends hang out while you cook. Leave the countertop empty or add inviting table placements that encourage your friends and family to sit.

Good Lighting

Since galley kitchens can sometimes feel narrow and dark, ample lighting is essential. Consider installing overhead lights, under-cabinet LED strips or pendant fixtures to brighten up the space. Also, if you have a seating arrangement, you can add a hanging light that won't take up too much space to provide even brighter lighting when eating at the table or counter.

Compact Appliances

In rooms with limited space, multifunctional and non-bulky furniture and decor are a must. Additionally, compact appliances can make the space look sleek without compromising operational efficiency. Look for slim appliances designed for small kitchens. Many manufacturers offer narrow refrigerators, dishwashers and ranges that are perfect for a small galley kitchen.

Mirror Backsplash

In any room in the house, mirrored surfaces add depth. Why not take advantage of this fact in your narrow kitchen? Installing a mirror backsplash can visually double the size of the kitchen by reflecting existing light and creating the illusion of more space. It's also a chic way to upgrade any kitchen, adding a touch of luxury and flair.

white cabinetsWhite cabinets and colorful runners are the ways to go.

Taking Your Kitchen Size Into Account: Tips for Small Galley Kitchen Spaces

Not every person has a kitchen with tons of space. Some rooms, especially those in large cities or compact buildings, have just enough capacity to hold the essentials. However, that doesn't mean a small kitchen can't be super functional and chic as well.

Here are some tips for maximizing your small space:

  • Use window sills as shelves for extra storage space.
  • Take advantage of the tops of your kitchen cabinets for extra storage.
  • Hang a storage rack above your sink so you can store extra dishes or spices without taking up counter space.
  • Hang open shelving over your window for holiday dishes or items you don't use as often.
  • Maximize your vertical space by getting tall wall cabinets and storage solutions that can hang.
  • Install racks or hooks on the inside of kitchen cabinet doors to store spices, cutting boards or cleaning supplies.
  • Add organizers or baskets under your sink to store cleaning supplies, trash bins or extra dish soap.
  • Use a portable kitchen cart with wheels for extra storage and countertop space.

Decorating Den Interiors Can Help

Whether you're looking to complete a full kitchen remodeling project or simply need some assistance with reorganizing and decorating, Decorating Den Interiors is here to help. Our experienced team has helped countless homeowners create kitchens they never want to leave — even for rooms that may seem small or difficult to work with.

Working with an interior decorator offers several perks, one being less stress on your shoulders. When you partner with us, you'll be a part of the process without having to do any of the hard work — just tell us what you want and we'll make it happen on time and within your budget. Ready to work with us? Find a decorator near you by clicking the button below.

Find your local designer