Galley kitchens: the first thoughts that come to mind are frequently a lack of space and functionality, outdated, and generally unappealing. The kitchen is often the selling point in a home, and that’s difficult in a home with a galley kitchen, because it can make buyers turn and run in the opposite direction, regardless of the rest of a home.
While there are viable reasons the galley kitchen has earned such a negative reputation in home design and the real estate world, having a galley kitchen doesn’t have to be a death sentence. In fact, more and more designers are embracing the galley kitchen, and turning it into an oasis, rather than a point of contention.
Certainly there’s a little more planning and creativity involved in the design of a galley kitchen, versus a newer or larger space, but it can be done and the results can truly be outstanding.
The Planning Phase
When first beginning a redesign of a galley kitchen, there’s several key components to be considered. These include the amount of aisle space and overall workspace, lighting and the amount of storage. It’s important to be realistic about how much space is needed to make a kitchen functional, rather than only going for style points.
Create the Illusion of Space
Regardless of how small a galley kitchen may be, there are a few ways homeowners can create or maximize the illusion of space.
- Take advantage of the architectural features in the room. For example, if the ceiling is high, bring cabinets and shelving all the way up to the top. This not only draws the eye upward and opens up the room, but also creates valuable storage space. Open shelving and glass-front cabinets also make a kitchen appear larger
- Another way to make a space look larger is by including a window, over the sink, or at the end point of a galley kitchen.
- Focus on flooring. Choose large tiles, with minimal grout lines, rather than smaller or mosaic-style tiles. For wood flooring, opt for vertical lines, which can elongate the galley design.
- For something unexpected and modern that also tricks the eye into believing a kitchen is more spacious, choose a mirrored backsplash. Homeowners who aren’t quite ready for the mirrored look can utilize glass tiles, which are another effective way to reflect light and convey a sense of openness.
Countertops and Cabinets
As mentioned, cabinets and shelving that are open in some way is a good idea in a galley kitchen, but color choices are important as well. Since the space is small and can feel cramped, it’s often best to ditch the dark cabinets and instead opt for fresh white or lighter colors. A high-gloss cabinet finish modernizes the space, and creates clean and open visual appeal.
With countertops, it can be ideal to continue the theme of clean and simple—take advantage of current stone countertop trends and opt for a sleek, solid white or black countertop. Countertops with lots of veining or natural details can be beautiful in a large, expansive kitchen, but may feel overwhelming in a galley kitchen, whereas solid colored counters open the space up and carry the eye onward.
It’s also a good idea to minimize countertop accessories and clutter in a galley kitchen. Put as many items as possible out of view for a minimal, modern and cohesive appearance.
A Gorgeous Galley
For homeowners who feel discouraged by a galley kitchen, it’s important to remember quality design can create a gorgeous galley, regardless of space limitations. As an added bonus, for homeowners with a galley kitchen, it can actually be a blessing—because the space is smaller, it’s possible to use more high-end materials like marble and granite, since a smaller quantity is required.
Rather than considering a galley kitchen as a point of contention in a home, homeowners can find inspiration and turn what they have into the kitchen of their dreams.