Galley kitchen ideas that work for rooms of all sizes

Make your galley kitchen efficient and practical with these stylish ideas for all spaces

So much has changed in the way we design and use our kitchens over the last decade. But there’s something reassuring in how the galley kitchen layout has adapted to the new-found sense of space, and thrived. The galley kitchen layout works well for most styles and is a practical choice for even the smallest spaces.

Named after a ship’s kitchen, galleys were originally designed to be compact, ergonomic and ultra-efficient, maximising every inch of space for both storage and preparation. Professional kitchens also follow a similar linear plan with rows of cookers or hobs divided into specific stations for prepping different types of dishes.

Where there’s room for a parallel run of units – a double galley – you can introduce the classic working triangle. This involves arranging the key task zones of fridge, cooker and sink at three separate points so that it’s easy to flit from one to the other.

A double galley is not only successful layout in narrow rooms that have enough width to take two rows of units. It’s exactly the format that’s so popular in open-plan spaces, with a long island providing the second leg, often creating a sociable casual seating area and a natural boundary for the kitchen zone at the same time.

Take a look at our stylish ideas to make the most of your galley kitchen.

Prefer a different layout? See our L-shaped kitchen ideas for multipurpose spaces

Keep it streamlined

White gloss kitchen units huge open-plan kitchen

Sleek modern units work well in a galley kitchen layout, as the run of glossy cabinets create the optical illusion of more space. Then neat handleless cupboards keep the area minimal and smart – with no knobs or bars to catch on when you’re working. Continue the minimalist style by keeping worktops as free of clutter as possible, and integrating appliances – ideally behind closed doors.

Work your galley into open-plan living

Modern grey open plan galley kitchen

The trusty linear layout has been adapted to suit today’s large, open-plan schemes. But the basic design principal of two parallel runs of units remains the most practical and popular option. This stylish space has everything – streamlined surfaces for food prep, integrated appliances at practical levels, and a breakfast bar for quick-and-easy meals. Beyond it, there’s plenty of space for more formal dining.

Create a practical flow

Here, wide, handleless units and wood flooring work in unison to lead the eye down towards a glass door, which in turn leads out to the garden path. This makes the space feel less restricted despite it being relatively compact, and strengthens the link between indoor and outdoor living. Even thought has been put into the exterior door – a sliding version that can be pushed back out of sight won’t interfere with the flow.

Create country charm

Galley kitchen styles work just as well in country schemes as modern. This quaint kitchen space is bright and fresh with neutral walls and cabinetry, but rustic additions like a butler sink and open dresser-style shelving give the space typical farmhouse charm. Vintage accessories like wooden hooks and wicker storage are pretty yet practical storage solutions that will keep clutter down and make it easier to cook.

Stay single to optimise space

Side return kitchen extensions and single galley designs are a perfect recipe as the small space can be optimised for storage and light. Here, a pale colour palette and reflective surfaces exploit the sky lights to the max, while the exposed brick wall adds an interesting urban edge to the look.

Make the room more sociable

Going for an island galley with a breakfast bar is a great idea if you like to chat, as you can cook and entertain at the same time. You will find people will naturally gravitate to the central unit, especially when it’s illuminated with statement lighting. A large, mirrored splashback is a clever design feature as not only will it bounce light around the room, but will allow the chef to remain part of the conversation, even when they have to turn their back to their guests!

Go all white to open up a narrow space

Galleys are a good budget choice, as by using clean lines and crisp design, you don’t need to spend a fortune to create a functional and stylish kitchen. A all-white scheme can disguise basic units and creates a bright and polished finish. A pretty voile blind will soften the look, while subtle pops of colour can be easily added and changed by way of foliage, fruit and small appliances.

The completed look is simple and practical with a clean Nordic feel.

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