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The New Galley Kitchen


A galley kitchen consists of two rows of cabinetry that face one another with a walkway between. It can be enclosed or open. This layout takes its name from the kitchen spaces in ships, trains, or planes. This kitchen layout is all about efficiency and wise use of available space.

This classic kitchen layout can be one of the simplest and most versatile layout choices. The layout can work in larger spaces as well. As shown in the featured kitchen above from our partners at Bellmont Cabinetry, the design creates a streamlined look. This modern interpretation includes an island and a parallel wall and allows for additional seating too.

Maybe you have inherited an existing galley kitchen layout or are looking for a versatile, sleek option to incorporate into an open plan room remodel.  Here are some advantages and some tips for making the most of this kitchen layout choice.

Layout Practicalities

Efficiency Gains: Many people are familiar with the Kitchen Work Triangle concept. This area between the sink, stove, and refrigerator functions as the Kitchen Work Triangle. Galley kitchen layouts can be the most efficient version of a good work triangle layout – allowing for fewer steps between areas. In our featured kitchen above, putting the sink in the island is a great option for minimizing extra movements when cooking. We have a good article on the website for further reading on the mechanics of kitchen design.

Cost Savings: Besides an ergonomically correct and efficient layout, the other advantage of a galley kitchen is cost savings. The major kitchen services such as water, electrical, and gas can be located in the same area. Additionally, countertops, flooring, and cabinets are usually the most expensive elements in a kitchen remodel.  The cost for these items is less since the space is smaller. Or, you could choose to have the luxury cabinets or finishes you have always wanted and still realize a cost savings over a larger space.

Tips for Making the Most of a Galley Kitchen Layout

Take it to the Top: Taking your cabinetry up to the full ceiling height of the room on at least one wall will add a sense of height to the room and incorporate more storage solutions. More storage solutions equals less out on the countertops and a less cluttered kitchen.

Let There be Light: Choosing lighter tones for most finishes in the galley kitchen – counters, cabinets, flooring, and appliances will make the space feel much larger. Lightly stained maple, birch, and oak are other good material choices for cabinets.

Many designers stress the importance of keeping materials consistent.  If the design introduces as few visual breaks in materials as possible this ensures a feeling of space. Our featured kitchen’s all-white cabinets and reflective stove read as much less bulky, but still look modern paired with darker island cabinetry.

Consider both your natural and added sources of kitchen lighting too. Having a good variety of lighting sources – outdoor, under-counter, and task lighting will make the space feel larger.


More Tips

Once considered old-fashioned, the galley kitchen layout could be the right choice for improved ergonomics, efficiency, space maximization, and getting the exact aesthetic you want.

Want more tips on how to make this layout work?  Take a look at what these professional chefs say about using a galley kitchen over on ELLE DECOR.

Call or come by our showroom to see hundreds of cabinet and hardware choices for your perfect kitchen layout.