45 Galley Kitchen Ideas That Are Practical and Chic

Long galley kitchen with white cabinets and purple area rug in middle of wood flooring

The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Galley kitchens are often seen as dated and cramped, relics from a time before open plan kitchens ruled the day. Inspired by the compact, space-saving kitchens on boats, trains, and planes—in which long, narrow rows of cabinetry and appliances are placed on opposite walls with a central walkway in between them—these efficient spaces are often found in older city apartments and historic homes. Galley kitchens appeal to those who enjoy having a self-contained area for meal prep where everything is located within arm's reach, plus the added benefit of banishing kitchen messes out of sight from the main living space.

Check out these galley kitchen ideas in a range of homes that prove that this classic style can be both practical and surprisingly chic.

  • 01 of 45

    Use Dark Cabinetry

    galley kitchen

    Fantastic Frank

    This sleek Stockholm galley kitchen from Fantastic Frank has dark charcoal flat-front European-style cabinetry that creates a chic and cozy grounded feel that sets the cooking area apart from the light and bright main space. A seamlessly built-in oven at eye level makes it easier to keep an eye on things without having to do squats to see if the cake is ready in the narrow space, adding an extra layer of efficiency.

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  • 02 of 45

    Go All White

    galley kitchen

    Design by Leanne Ford Interiors / Photo by Reid Rolls

    This galley-style kitchen from Leanne Ford Interiors has crisp white walls, gleaming white backsplash tiles, immaculate white countertops, and all-white cabinetry, open shelving, and appliances, creating a clean, bright backdrop for meal prep. Red accents add a shot of energy, and hardwood flooring adds warmth.

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    Make It Streamlined and Sober

    galley kitchen

    Design by Caroline Andreoni Interior Design / Photo by Sophie Lloyd

    This sleek and streamlined Paris galley kitchen from Caroline Andréoni Interior Design has a sober palette of matte navy and chocolate brown tones. Built-in cabinetry houses the oven and hides the refrigerator, and provides storage to keep the space clutter-free. White marble countertops and large scale concrete effect floor tiles lighten things up.

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  • 04 of 45

    Paint It Peach

    galley kitchen

    Design by Pluck

    In this cheerful galley kitchen from Pluck, a wash of summery peach on the cabinetry and blush-toned paint on the walls creates a happy, warm, feel-good vibe. The space is wide enough to provide plenty of room in the central walkway to make it comfortable for several people to use at once.

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  • 05 of 45

    Add a Balcony

    galley kitchen

    Fantastic Frank

    This Swedish galley kitchen from Fantastic Frank opens onto a small balcony that makes it feel twice as big when the doors are flung open, creating an opportunity for al fresco dining and a spot for morning coffees and nightcaps after dark.

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  • 06 of 45

    Add a Corner Banquette

    galley kitchen

    Design by Georgia Zikas Design / Photo by Jane Beiles

    In this galley-style city apartment kitchen from Georgia Zikas Design, a corner banquette is squeezed in at the far end beneath a window with a skyline view. A round tulip-style table without any sharp edges allows for easy maneuvering in the compact space. Glass-front cabinetry helps keep the narrow galley kitchen from feeling too closed in, and a gleaming tile backsplash on opposite walls helps to bounce light around.

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  • 07 of 45

    Supersize It

    galley kitchen

    Design by Julian Porcino

    In this spacious California galley kitchen from real estate agent and interior designer Julian Porcino, a neutral palette mixed with natural wood and industrial touches creates a streamlined look. A pair of windows, a glass double door leading to the outside, and bright white walls and ceiling paint keeps the galley kitchen feeling light and bright. Apart from a floor-to-ceiling block of cabinetry at the far end built to house the refrigerator and provide extra storage, upper cabinetry was omitted to preserve a feeling of openness.

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  • 08 of 45

    Add a Breakfast Bar

    galley kitchen

    Design by deVOL Kitchens

    Many galley kitchens have a window at the far end to let in natural light and air. If you've got the space, adding a place to sit and have a cup of coffee, or to take a load off while performing meal prep will make it more comfortable and functional. In this small galley-style kitchen in a Georgian style apartment in Bath, England, designed by deVOL Kitchens, a small cafe-style breakfast bar is built right next to the window.

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  • 09 of 45

    Add Some Color

    galley kitchen

    Design by Cathie Hong Interiors / Photo by Margaret Austin Photo

    In this midcentury modern California home kitchen renovation from Cathie Hong Interiors, robin's egg blue cabinetry helps define the galley kitchen that opens up into an eat-in dining space.

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  • 10 of 45

    Open It Up

    galley kitchen

    Design by Alvin Wayne

    One way to modernize a galley style kitchen is to knock down one wall and add peninsula seating like this compact NYC space from interior designer Alvin Wayne that opens up the living area and increases light and views.

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  • 11 of 45

    Maximize a Tiny Space

    galley kitchen

    Fantastic Frank

    Sometimes less is just enough. This compact Stockholm kitchen from Fantastic Frank maximizes every last centimeter of space by going vertical with open shelving and cabinetry. Small appliances and simple materials make the petite space perfectly functional, no renovation required.

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  • 12 of 45

    Add Black Cabinetry

    galley kitchen

    Design by Cathie Hong Interiors / Photo by Amber Thrane

    In this modern galley-style San Diego, CA, kitchen from Cathie Hong Interiors, black lower cabinets on both sides of the wide kitchen add a grounding element that anchors the light and bright space. A simple gray tile floor, stainless steel appliances, and bronze accents complete the clean design.

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  • 13 of 45

    Add Statement Flooring

    galley kitchen

    Design by Matthew Carter Interiors

    The star element of this spacious galley kitchen from Lexington, Kentucky-based by Matthew Carter Interiors is the bold graphic parquet floor in a mix of pale and dark wood that adds personality and makes it memorable and inviting. A line of drop pendant ceiling lights emphasizes the long linear galley space while adding vintage charm.

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  • 14 of 45

    Mix Color and Pattern

    galley kitchen

    Design by Pluck / Photo by Malcolm Menzies

    Bold turquoise paint and a black-and-white checkerboard floor adds contrast to the original brick wall and adds retro vibes to this London kitchen from Pluck.

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  • 15 of 45

    Use Floor Tile to Define Space

    galley kitchen

    Design by Caroline Andreoni Interior Design Studio / Photo by Sophie Lloyd

    Caroline Andréoni Interior Design Studio created a galley-style kitchen by positioning blocks of lower cabinetry opposite one another, defining the space with graphic diamond-patterned floor tile. A glass and metal atelier window creates a separation from the rest of the space while letting light flow through. And an accent wall of tropical wallpaper adds a focal point.

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  • 16 of 45

    Add a Galley-Style Wing

    galley kitchen

    Design by Marie Flanigan Interiors

    Even in a large scale kitchen, adding a galley kitchen-style wing can make practical sense to create zones and make the overall space more efficient, like this spacious all-white space from Marie Flanigan Interiors.

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  • 17 of 45

    Incorporate Negative Space

    galley kitchen

    Design by Pluck / Photo by Malcolm Menzies

    In this galley-style London kitchen from Pluck, the pass-through meal prep area has a block of mustard-colored lower cabinetry on both sides, but upper cabinetry confined to one side, leaving room for wall-mounted lighting and incorporating some negative space above the left wall of cabinetry that allows the room to breathe.

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  • 18 of 45

    Add a Colorful Runner

    galley kitchen

    Design by Desiree Burns Interiors

    A colorful blue runner on the dark hardwood floors of this galley kitchen from Desiree Burns Interiors creates a focal point in the functional, all-white space.

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  • 19 of 45

    Create a Breakfast Bar

    galley kitchen

    Design by Neva Interior Design / Photo by Agathe Tissier

    Neva Interior Design carved a compact galley kitchenette beneath the loft space in this 200-square-foot Parisian apartment that is practical and efficient, leaving room for small breakfast bar on the periphery.

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  • 20 of 45

    Highlight Natural Wood

    galley kitchen

    Design by Pluck / Photo by Malcolm Menzies

    In this galley-style British kitchen from Pluck, hardwood floors and natural wood cabinetry add warmth that complements soft shades of white and industrial black accents like the metal-grid glass doors leading out to the garden.

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  • 21 of 45

    Use a Galley Style Layout to Structure an Open Space

    galley kitchen

    Design by Will Brown Interiors

    Using a galley-style layout is one way to structure a modern open plan kitchen, like this one from Will Brown Interiors that pairs a wall of cabinetry and appliances with a kitchen island housing the sink and additional storage opposite, with a central walkway that preserves flow with the rest of the room.

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  • 22 of 45

    Work Around the Window

    galley kitchen

    Design by Velinda Hellen for Emily Henderson Design / Photo by Veronica Crawford

    On the opposite side of this galley-style kitchen designed by Velinda Hellen for Emily Henderson Design, the sink is positioned beneath a window that floods the narrow space with natural light. A wood-framed glass back door provides more light and views to the outside, to help prevent the space from feeling cramped.

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  • 23 of 45

    Limit Upper Cabinetry

    galley kitchen

    Fantastic Frank

    This compact galley kitchen from Fantastic Frank retains a minimal feel by focusing the storage space on lower cabinetry, and adding airy white and wood open shelving to just one wall. A large French window provides plenty of natural light and a view of greenery that keeps the small space from feeling claustrophobic, and soothing gray paint and Edison bulb pendant lights add softness to the minimal space.

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  • 24 of 45

    Use Vertical Space

    galley kitchen

    Design by Velinda Hellen for Emily Henderson Design / Photo by Veronica Crawford

    In this galley-style kitchen designed by Velinda Hellen for Emily Henderson Design, one wall features floor-to-ceiling built-ins around the oven that maximizes vertical space.

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  • 25 of 45

    Make It Seamless

    galley kitchen

    Design by Will Brown Interiors

    This galley-style kitchen from Will Brown Interiors is tucked out of the way of the dining space while remaining easily accessible, with simple cabinetry, tones of gray, and hardwood flooring carried throughout the space that allows it to seamlessly blend into the rest of the decor.

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  • 26 of 45

    Add a Waterfall Edge Countertop

    galley kitchen

    Design by Yael Weiss Interiors

    This sleek and streamlined Tribeca kitchen from NYC-based Yael Weiss Interiors has a waterfall edge stone countertop that adds polish to the neutral space with floor-to-ceiling built-ins in pale colors and high ceilings that creates an open and airy feel.

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  • 27 of 45

    Add a Dropped Ceiling

    galley kitchen

    Design by Alvin Wayne

    In this opened up NYC galley kitchen from interior designer Alvin Wayne, a dropped ceiling adds an opportunity for built-in can lighting and helps define the space while preserving sightlines.

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  • 28 of 45

    Use Pastel Colors

    galley kitchen

    Design by deVOL Kitchens

    In this galley kitchen designed by deVOL Kitchens, a large cased opening allows natural light from the adjacent room to flow in. To maximize space, the designers ran cabinetry and a built-in hood vent all the way up to the ceiling. A soft palette of off white, mint green, and natural wood keeps it feeling light and airy.

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  • 29 of 45

    Shut the Door

    galley kitchen

    Fantastic Frank

    This galley kitchen from Fantastic Frank has a solid wood door for privacy and a wall of windows that floods the tight space with natural light. A neutral palette of whites and pale woods creates a natural, fresh feel.

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  • 30 of 45

    Create an End Point

    galley kitchen

    Design by Twelve15 Design Studio

    In this galley-style kitchen from Twelve15 Design Studio, a small peninsula on one side creates an end point that helps define the space from the rest of the room while providing a space for breakfasts on the go.

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  • 31 of 45

    Add Bold Graphics

    galley kitchen

    Design by Brady Tolbert for Emily Henderson Design / Photo by Tessa Neustadt

    In this galley-style kitchen designed by Brady Tolbert for Emily Henderson Design, a bold black-and-white palette creates a graphic look, from the towering retro-style refrigerator to the wall decor and flooring.

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  • 32 of 45

    Add Gold-Toned Accents

    galley kitchen

    Design by Brady Tolbert for Emily Henderson Design / Photo by Tessa Neustadt

    Gold-toned plumbing fixtures and hardware on cabinetry and open shelving add a light touch to this graphic black-and-white galley-style kitchen designed by Brady Tolbert for Emily Henderson Design.

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  • 33 of 45

    Keep It Flowing

    galley kitchen

    Fantastic Frank

    Running the same hardwood flooring throughout the entire home gives this small Swedish pass-through galley kitchen from Fantastic Frank an effortless flow.

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  • 34 of 45

    Add Peekaboo Shelving

    galley kitchen

    Design by Maite Granda

    Interior designer Maite Granda carved an efficient galley kitchen into a sprawling Florida home that is partially divided off from the main living space with peekaboo shelving and long, narrow windows above the sink and high up near the ceiling above the cabinets to let in natural light. If you don't have the option of installing windows in your galley kitchen, try a mirrored backsplash instead.

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  • 35 of 45

    Mix and Match

    galley kitchen

    Design by deVOL Kitchens

    While many galley kitchens use matching blocks of cabinetry on both sides, in this open space converted schoolhouse kitchen from deVOL Kitchens, a galley-style cooking area is defined with an industrial metal kitchen island housing the sink and stovetop on one side and a row of countertops and built-in wood cabinetry on the other.

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  • 36 of 45

    Work Around the Architecture

    galley kitchen

    Design and Photo by Officine Gullo

    This Tuscan kitchen from Italy's Officine Gullo is painted in sunflower yellow and outfitted with high end steel and chrome-plated brass appliances, adding contrast to the rustic bones of the galley-style space with its warm wood ceiling beams and original stone wall.

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  • 37 of 45

    Shut the Back Door

    galley kitchen

    Design by Rashida Banks for Emily Henderson Design / Photo by Keyanna Bowen

    In this kitchen designed by Rashida Banks for Emily Henderson Design, a black slate floor defines the galley kitchen space and adds contrast with the natural wood and glass back door.

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  • 38 of 45

    Add a Vintage Touch

    galley kitchen

    Design by Mindy Gayer Design Co.

    A vintage-style runner adds a timeless element to this classic all-white kitchen from Mindy Gayer Design Co., with a galley-like central workspace housing the sink and oven and a massive built-in refrigerator relegated to the far wall.

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  • 39 of 45

    Add Texture

    galley kitchen

    Design by deVOL Kitchens

    In this streamlined and contemporary galley-style kitchen designed by Sebastian Cox for deVOL Kitchens, black wood cabinetry with a Shou Sugi Ban aesthetic adds texture, depth, and contrast against the pale walls and flooring. The room's abundance of natural light keeps the dark wood from feeling heavy.

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  • 40 of 45

    Set a Table for Two

    galley kitchen

    Fantastic Frank

    This partially deconstructed Swedish galley kitchen from Fantastic Frank has cabinetry and appliances on opposite walls that work around the irregular bones of the room, leaving space for a cozy bistro-style table for two at the far end beneath the large window that floods the space with natural light.

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  • 41 of 45

    Create a Through Line

    galley kitchen

    Design by deVOL Kitchens

    In this Victorian villa from deVOL Kitchens, a long, wide pass-through galley-style kitchen includes opposite walls of cabinetry and appliances on the far end, and space for a dining table and sofa on the other. Classic checkerboard flooring links the space and the layout of furniture and built-ins allows enough room for a central corridor that preserves flow, making the cozy space functional.

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  • 42 of 45

    Keep It Light and Bright

    galley kitchen

    Fantastic Frank

    This understated Scandinavian kitchen from Fantastic Frank has practical floor-to-ceiling built-in cabinetry, warm wood countertops, and a soft white palette that blends seamlessly with the adjoining dining area that is flooded with natural light from a large window. A bright yellow pendant light adds a focal point above the dining table.

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  • 43 of 45

    Add Intrigue to the Floor

    galley kitchen

    Design by Neva Interior Design / Photo by Agathe Tissier

    In this long, narrow Paris apartment, Neva Interior Design built a an open galley kitchen with a penny tile floor that blends into the hardwood floors of the main space, and preserves the flow of a narrow central walkway leading to the front door.

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  • 44 of 45

    Embrace Irregularities

    galley kitchen

    Fantastic Frank

    This galley-style Scandinavian kitchen from Fantastic Frank is built around the irregular curves of the existing architecture, with appliances and countertops that hug the curve of the walls in order to maximize space while leaving enough room to circulate.

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  • 45 of 45

    Honor Historical Character

    galley kitchen

    Design by Julian Porcino

    This adobe-style home and Los Angeles historical landmark built in 1922 from estate agent and interior designer Julian Porcino features a carefully updated galley-style kitchen that honors the original character of the home.

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