Design Strategies for Galley Kitchens: Creating Space Illusions


Believe it or not, squeezing everything into an area the size of a corridor can be an easier task than putting together a coherent style in acres of space. By using storage solutions that make the best use of the space available, galley kitchens can look extremely stylish. A small kitchen space, as in Galley kitchens, should be seen as a challenge and not a problem. Gharpedia shares some practical pointers for tight kitchen spaces.

What is a Galley Kitchen?

Natalia J Pierce (2022) author of the book – Inside Renovations: Complete Guide to Kitchens, Bathrooms, and Home Improvements, defines a Galley kitchen as, a long narrow kitchen with cabinets/countertops on each side of a central walkway. Apart from this, the Galley kitchen style is compact and utilizes every square inch of space available. They are also known as narrow kitchens or corridor kitchens. Galley kitchen layouts are functional and maximise space while offering a sleek and streamlined aesthetic. Keeping this in mind, continue reading and make the most of your Galley-style kitchen with us.

Designing Galley Kitchens with Style

Start by evaluating what you have in the way of major appliances such as a cooker, fridge, freezer, washing machine, and tumble dryer. Some may be too big, and some you may not need at all. Do you only ever half-fill the fridge and freezer? Do you cook only under the grill, in the microwave, or on the hob, and would a mini-oven be better? Compact versions that are more in line with your lifestyle will certainly save a lot of space and money on fuel bills. Also, make sure that all the kitchen’s storage potential is used and that there is no ‘dead’ space. Only keep essential equipment, and make sure that the things you use the most are within easy reach. Remember, a galley kitchen design must be functional, with as much floor space as possible and easily accessible cupboards and appliances. A long, narrow kitchen can afford to have the space trimmed down a bit to fit wall-to-wall shelving around the door frame. Worktops need to be clutter-free, with food and crockery hidden behind plain doors.

Gentle variations in colour or using the same colour for worktops, walls, and units will make the space seem bigger; and brushed steel appliances and shiny splash backs can help by reflecting light. There is a lot that a can of paint can do, and fortunately, the new multi-surface paints have extended these boundaries even further.

Making the most out of a Galley Kitchen Layout

Several important points to consider when kitchen space is tight are –

Sliding or Folding Doors

A door opening into a galley kitchen will consume quite a lot of space. One way of reclaiming space is to have the door re-hung so that it opens the other way, and another is to fit a sliding door on the outside, as shown in the image below.

Sliding doors for narrow kitchen

Sliding doors still need some space to slide, and if you don’t have this space, then think about a folding door. Concertina-style melamine panels with steel hinges look sleek and take up only the space of the door area. Or you could make a double-sided, heavy-duty PVC curtain with eyelets and thread it onto a chrome tube rail.

Glass Shelves over Windows

Kitchen windows are usually quite generously sized, so they eat up potential wall and storage space. You can section off part of the window and fit it with glass shelves or hanging shelves.

Shelves over window in a galley kitchen layout

The space above a window is an ideal place to store glassware; the natural light is not blocked fully, and glasses can sparkle within easy reach.

Plain Flooring

Since the overall floor area of a galley kitchen is fairly small, it should not cost the earth to invest in some very flattering floor coverings. All patterned flooring follows a repeat grid of some type, and the grid pattern will visually ‘shrink’ the floor space. Instead, choose a floating, wooden strip floor laid crosswise, or plain-coloured sheet lino or vinyl flooring.

Vinyl flooring for galley kitchen design

Storage – Everywhere

Make full use of every bit of space. Kitchen units usually have a standard depth, but most of us have things lurking towards the back that never see the light of day. Reduce the cupboard depth by 15 cm and you might have room to swing that cat! Create even more space in a shallow cupboard by fitting two shelves instead of one to make full use of the height. Fit a row of wall cupboards above eye level for things you use less often.

Storage everywhere in galley layout

Task Lighting

Draw the eye towards the action by lighting the worktops with an angled track of halogen spotlights. A small kitchen is no place to be stumbling about in the dark with hot oil, so make sure the work areas are bright when you need them to be. It is also best to have an ambient light source to soften the effect.

Task lighting for galley kitchen style

Recessed, dimmable ceiling lights or even a stylish table lamp allow for a change of atmosphere when you want it.

Expanding Space with Colour

When decorating a small room, it is best to work with a limited palette. Use one main colour with perhaps a darker and lighter version. Earthy colours work well if you have wooden doors and floors, blue is a receding colour and will ‘expand’ the space and bold bright yellow is good with metals. Red will make the room look smaller yet romantic, and white will dazzle. If you need to reflect natural light with pale walls, it’s a good idea to choose cream because it looks delicious with dark wood.

Cream colour galley kitchen design

Fold-away Counters

Think of caravans or yachts because they provide plenty of practical inspiration for the galley kitchen. Fold-down flaps, collapsible tables, high cupboards like aeroplane lockers and pull-out breadboards are all good ideas to adapt with a touch of contemporary styling. Glass and brushed steel cabinet surfaces reflect light around a galley kitchen, helping create a sense of bigger space.

Fold-away counters for corridor kitchen

Stools >>>> Chairs

Chairs and stool legs may take up roughly the same area of floor space, but stools make the space look less cluttered when compared to chairs. Perched on a high stool, looking down on the worktops, the view is of the widest part of the kitchen.

Stool instead of chairs galley kitchen design

Stools are an ideal seating choice for galley kitchens because although they may take up the same area of floor space as chairs, their height makes them less dense and claustrophobic.

Homely Touches

Never forget that this galley kitchen is part of your home. Design tips can help you make the most of the space, but you should always feel free to introduce your personal style. Efficiently designed kitchens can look too clinical, so be sure to introduce some homely touches.

Giving homely touch in galley kitchen


The galley kitchen and its interior design revolve around creating illusions…so here’s hoping that the suggestions shared in this blog enable you to create an illusion of space in your tightly cramped kitchen.

So now you are well versed with Galley kitchen, don’t miss to check out its pros and cons given below:

Galley Kitchen: Know its Pros & Cons!

Author Bio

Huta Raval – An English Literature and Journalism Topper, Huta Raval has graduated from the L D Arts College, Ahmedabad. Post serving for 23 years in the NBFC and Public Library Sectors her desire for ‘writing the unwritten’ brought her to the creative field of content writing. Her clientele comprises of NGOs, Blogging Platforms, Newspapers, Academic Institutions, et al.

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