Thoughtfully planned galley kitchens in an array of design styles offer efficient layouts, generous storage, and chef-friendly convenience.

By Ann Wilson

Galley kitchens are valued by home cooks and professional chefs alike for their easy-to-maneuver footprints. A mainstay in old homes, galley kitchen designs have been fine-tuned and stylishly refreshed to suit modern households.

Generally, a galley or corridor kitchen houses two walls of workstations situated on opposite sides of an aisle; another type of galley kitchen design (generally seen in small apartments) aligns the appliances and sink on one wall.

Rethinking what a galley kitchen could and should be, designers and homeowners now optimize every inch to make way for hardworking function and fashionable forms. If you're living with or have a yen for a galley kitchen, take your cue from designs featuring space-savvy solutions and style-setting strategies.

Galley Kitchen Logistics

Improve operations by stretching the central aisle to a width of 4-6 feet whenever possible; widths of 36 inches will work, but quarters will be tight for passing-through traffic and multiple cooks. Devise a well-organized work triangle, with no more than 8 feet between each work area, that includes stretches of countertop for preparing food and unpacking incoming groceries. Place cooking, cooling, and pantry staples on one wall and the sink, dishwasher, and dishware storage on the other to facilitate single or dual-cook endeavors. Set your refrigerator near a doorway to keep snack- and drink-grabbing visitors outside the work core.

If you find it difficult to work in a closed-in space, open one side of the kitchen to an adjoining room. Create a pass-through on an interior wall or replace the wall with a long island equipped with a least one workstation, plentiful storage, and/or breakfast-bar seating.

Lighting, Storage & Decor

Minimize obstacles that prevent eyes, sunlight, and cooking crews from moving effortlessly about the kitchen. Outfit your kitchen's upper reaches with glass-front cabinets or open shelves so the room doesn't feel top-heavy. Maintain uncluttered views by using streamlined cabinet hardware, track and recessed lighting, and conveniently placed storage that stows small appliances when they're not needed.

Layout in place, it's time to tackle aesthetic issues. Think bright and breezy when choosing wall colors, cabinets, and appliances. It's all about visually widening the narrow environs, so opt for sunny yellow, pale blue, pearl gray, or light green walls; white-tiled or stainless-steel backsplashes; light-hue or natural-finish cabinets; and reflective surfaces.

Since you'll be spending lots of time within your galley kitchen, make the space personable and personal. Display cherished collections, use vibrantly patterned runners, hang colorful artwork, and dress windows in kicky valances or woven shades. Have fun when decorating your compact workroom, and you'll take pleasure in a lovely space that lives larger and feels grander than its diminutive dimensions.


How to Maximize a Galley Kitchen

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