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Galley Kitchen Ideas: Smart Designs for Narrow Spaces

Galley kitchen ideas
(Image credit: Wren Kitchens)

The key to success when looking for galley kitchen ideas is starting with a list of what you absolutely need the in space and a list of what can't be moved (like windows and doors). 

Initially, they can be tricky to lay out and plan, but their inherent small nature actually makes them great for avid cooks (and those who enjoy a good dance away from open-plan spaces) once it's been cracked. 

Kitchen design for a galley shape - normally two runs of parallel units - isn't so much about the 'working triangle' like it is in more spacious kitchen, but in how best to deal with its limitations in worktop space and the realities of them usually acting as a though passage to other spaces in the house.

Take a look at the design inspiration below for great storage solutions, layout ideas and top tips on how to plan a galley kitchen. 

Work With What You've Got in a Galley Kitchen Layout

galley kitchen layout ideas

(Image credit: GoodHome/B&Q)

Kick off your galley kitchen design by ensuring you have a clear list of what you require from the space as well as a plan with the fixtures and fittings that won't be moving (such as door and windows). 

While lack of worktop space can be a limiting factor, make the units work twice as hard by maximising storage for usual kitchen counter clutter like microwaves, seldom-used toasters and small appliances. Installing a boiling water tap will further streamline the design. 

(MORE: Small Kitchen Design Ideas)

Two-tone Cabinets are Great for Galley Kitchen Makeovers

Modern galley kitchen ideas

(Image credit: Wren Kitchens)

Offset the feeling of being enclosed in a galley kitchen by incorporating different but complimentary kitchen units. The illusion of space and the contemporary styling ensures that the space feels deliberate and well considered. 

Designing a Galley Kitchen on a Budget

Galley kitchen ideas on a budget

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

The nature of galley kitchens means the more storage, the better. That said, opting away from traditional wall-hung units and fitting open shelving offers a chance for a more relaxed approach, as well as being kind on the budget. 

Also, due to their simple designs, galley kitchens can usually be readily found or easily adapted from used kitchen companies or on ex-display offers. 

Keeping your ear to the ground and making connections with timber or worktop merchants could also present an opportunity to capitalise on off-cuts from larger pieces.

(MORE: Get a New Kitchen for Under £5k)

Getting Galley Kitchen Lighting Right

galley kitchen lighting

(Image credit: GoodHome/B&Q)

When looking for galley kitchen lighting design ideas, be sure to take into account ceiling height as the layout often feel cramped with dealing with high shelving, minimal space and a pendent light bearing down on you. 

Also, let's face it, there's nothing more annoying than trying to chop and blocking the light coming from behind. While downlights may work to illuminate the room as a whole, take care to add task lighting above countertops or underneath cupboards to remedy this. 

Choosing a Galley Kitchen for a Remodel

galley kitchen remodel

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While we tend to think of galley kitchens in existing Victorian or semi-detached homes, opting for this layout during a remodel is a great idea for those who have a passion for cooking and minimal space. 

Galley kitchens have the advantage of everything being close to hand, as well as being able to become a through passage to other rooms or link to the outside. 

(MORE: How to Renovate a Kitchen)

Creating a Galley Kitchen with an Island

galley kitchen with island

(Image credit: DeVOL)

Dedicate a space in an open-plan layout to a galley kitchen for a zoned effect. Long island units look beautiful and add some extremely useful workspace while not taking over the whole room. 

(MORE: Open-plan living)

Remove a Wall to Create a One-Sided Galley Kitchen

one sided galley kitchen

(Image credit: Town & Country)

When remodelling a galley kitchen, knocking through to another room to create a single line layout can solve many of their inherent issues (such as limited storage, natural light, etc.) 

Good Storage for a Narrow and Small Galley Kitchen

small narrow galley kitchen

(Image credit: Mereway Kitchens)

Where space is at a premium, make the most of every inch by choosing large pan drawers to optimise space. Usually better suited to narrow layouts where doors get in the way, drawers fit in far more than standard base units. 

(MORE: 11 Brilliant Kitchen Storage Ideas)

Add a Splash of Colour to a Galley Kitchen

galley kitchen ideas

(Image credit: Lime Lace)

Don't forget to have fun with you kitchen design, it's a whole new space for imparting your personality shine in practical ways. 

This wildflower splashback is actually a water and fire-proof wallpaper which can be used behind a stove. 

Choose a Galley Kitchen with a Peninsula

galley kitchen with peninsula

(Image credit: Mereway Kitchens)

Dividing an open-plan living space with a peninsula to create a galley kitchen is a smart way to demarcate the different space, while giving the opportunity for a bit of extra storage and even a breakfast bar. 

Galley Kitchen Ideas for a Busy Household

Galley kitchen ideas

(Image credit: Wren Kitchens)

Many galley kitchens also act as a through passage to other areas in the house or even to the outside. Keep surfaces looking sleek (with little chance of bags or coats hitting clutter) by installing induction hobs and handleless units. 

(MORE: Amazing Kitchen Remodel Ideas)