How to Fall In Love With Your Galley Kitchen

How to Fall In Love With Your Galley Kitchen

Kitchen Remodeling
By Ani Mouradian May 10, 2021

In this series, we look into how to optimize the design and space of the most important room in your house - the kitchen. There are typically six kitchen layouts: the L-shaped, U-shaped, straight line, island or peninsula, and the parallel or galley kitchen. Galley kitchens are very widespread, especially in apartment blueprints. They are not only what many are stuck with but are also sought after by those considering a kitchen renovation. With a calculated touch and plenty of creative galley kitchen ideas to consider, you’ll begin to see all the hidden charm of this kitchen layout.

What Is a Galley Kitchen

The galley kitchen is set up in a rectangle shape room with cabinets and appliances placed along the length of two parallel walls. The alley in between is a very flexible workspace —  a setup actually preferred by most chefs. Some parallel kitchens are open on both ends, creating a kitchen corridor, while others are closed off on one end. Those who don’t have the option of changing their galley kitchen layout due to a lack of space or ownership will certainly find some helpful tips below to beautify and expand their kitchens. The results can be very lovely and practical, making it unsurprising that many choose the galley voluntarily. 

A galley kitchen is a popular choice for kitchen remodels because of the efficiency of work it helps achieve. The galley kitchen is an ergonomically superior one. This is because it allows for fluid maneuvering between washing, prepping, cooking, and storage zones. It’s also easy to maintain the work triangle in a parallel layout. Also known as the ‘Golden Triangle’, a term coined in the 1920s, the work triangle is the imaginary triangle that traces your most traveled route in the kitchen —  between your sink, your refrigerator, and your stovetop. Far from the capabilities of other kitchen layouts, in a galley kitchen, you can achieve an equilateral triangle. This is perfect for keeping your kitchen safe and saving time. While you may not think of your home as a place where you need to be efficient (unless you’re a mom with children), inefficiency in a small space will end up frustrating you.

Design Tips for a Galley Kitchen

Although they may seem to limit, galley kitchen designs can vary. Here are a few tips to really harness the potential of this design.

Dimensions

The standard dimensions for a parallel kitchen have been optimized over time to reflect an optimal kitchen design. The ideal length (perimeter) of your work triangle should be 8 feet. The width of the entire kitchen is recommended to be 12 feet, with at least 3 feet left in the middle for the aisle. However, we recommend a width of 4-5 feet for a more spacious layout — anything narrower than that is going to be cramped. The length of a galley kitchen can be as long as you like, however, it’s important to divide that length into work zones to avoid crowding and cluster.

Cabinets

Perhaps the biggest appeal for a galley kitchen is the opportunity to have a lot of storage. Cabinets take up the most space in this kind of kitchen and therefore play a huge role in how the room looks. Conveniently, the galley kitchen layout works great with any kitchen style - from minimalism to transitional and organic (with the latter being one of the trendiest kitchen styles of 2021). This makes the galley kitchen very adaptable to your preferred cabinets.

Design Tips for a Galley Kitchen

Design Tips for a Galley Kitchen

Your kitchen cabinet sizes and shapes will be just as important as color and style. To maintain a clean and spacious feel, don’t place cabinets above the sink and make sure base cabinets have room for toe kick. This will make your narrow corridor feel less constricting.

Lighting

An ample amount of lighting will help soften this space that is otherwise prone to shadows, especially in the case of smaller-sized kitchens. Besides natural light and generous overhead lighting, don’t forget to involve layers in your lighting. Light beams beneath cabinets and light fixtures above sinks help brighten your working spaces helping you and the room breathe easier.

One-Way or Two-Way Traffic

Whether your galley kitchen is open on both ends or has only one entryway can change a lot. The perk of both ends leading out and into other rooms is that more light can flow in and expand the space. However, with one end of the kitchen closed off, there will be less room-to-room foot traffic –a considerably comfortable advantage. Closing off one end of the kitchen can also make space for a small nook or breakfast table. By adding seating and surface to work on, you will be taking full advantage of all your space and adding a whole other zone to your kitchen.

One-Way or Two-Way Traffic In a Galley Kitchen

One-Way or Two-Way Traffic In a Galley Kitchen

How to Make Your Galley Kitchen Look Bigger

Free a Wall

If your alley between both sides is going to be narrow, perhaps you should consider only utilizing one wall to have countertop space. With one wall free of cabinets you will have a wider aisle that will be easier to move around in when there’s more than one cook in the kitchen.

Go Asymmetrical

Instead of having two walls towering with cabinets and integrated appliances, you can choose to go asymmetrical. By opting for an asymmetrical galley kitchen, you can place all or most of your cabinets against one wall and the appliances on the bottom half of the opposite wall. But you won’t be losing storage, you’ll just be concentrating it all in one place. With fewer tall cabinets in the room, your kitchen will feel less cavernous and more spacious.

How to Make Your Galley Kitchen Look Bigger

How to Make Your Galley Kitchen Look Bigger

Mind the Sink

The type of kitchen sink you choose and how you place it can also affect the spaciousness of your kitchen. The undermount sink is the clear winner here, with an important advantage over drop-in, 45-degree angle, or farmhouse sinks. This is especially true in small spaces. The lack of sink edge on your kitchen surface will directly affect how spacious the area feels. The discreet undermount sink will allow your countertops to stretch out across as much space as possible. Placing your sink beneath a window or a pass-through opening is also optimal for enhancing the room’s brightness and spaciousness.

The Best Sink Options for Small Spaces

The Best Sink Options for Small Spaces

Choose Lighter and Softer Colors

Lighter more neutral tones will make this kind of kitchen feel much larger. You can use brighter shades for nearly everything: counters, cabinets, flooring, wall paint, and even appliances. Drawers, cabinets, or floor tiles in pale colors with a gloss finish will reflect more light. Cabinetry sans handles will contribute to a very clean and extensive look.

How You Choose Color Can Make or Break a Galley Kitchen

How You Choose Color Can Make or Break a Galley Kitchen

Remove One of the Interior Walls

This will help expand the cook’s room drastically. Choose a wall that isn’t structural and that separates the kitchen from an adjacent room to bring down. This will make room for a kitchen island in a space you may not have imagined possible, and that’s exciting.

Remodel Tips to Expand a Galley Kitchen

Remodel Tips to Expand a Galley Kitchen

If that’s not an option for you, ask your general contractor to check if there are any options on one of the two walls to create a pass-through. Although it’ll just be a window looking into the next room, it will help make your kitchen look and feel a little bigger.

How to Make the Most of Your Galley Kitchen

How to Make the Most of Your Galley Kitchen

Declutter

Aim to keep your countertops clear. If your cabinets are packed, install an open shelf for your kitchen supplies and hooks for your kitchen towels. With more surface area exposed, you guessed it, you’ll have more space for light to travel and bounce around.

Your Closet Is Not the Only Room Your Should Declutter

Your Closet Is Not the Only Room Your Should Declutter

If your kitchen looks better, you’re sure to feel better in it. And since our world has brought us all back into our homes for longer stretches of time, cooking, working, and living in them more as well, it’s well worth the attention. You don’t have to daydream about a layout you don’t have; you can achieve great results if you accept what you’re working with and make it work for you.

Written by
Ani Mouradian

Written by Ani Mouradian

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