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.
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Use Dark Cabinetry
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.Continue to 2 of 45 below.
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Go All White
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
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.Continue to 4 of 45 below.
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Paint It Peach
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.Continue to 5 of 45 below.
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Add a Balcony
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.Continue to 6 of 45 below.
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Add a Corner Banquette
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.Continue to 7 of 45 below.
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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.Continue to 8 of 45 below.
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Add a Breakfast Bar
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.Continue to 9 of 45 below.
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Open It Up
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.Continue to 11 of 45 below.
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Maximize a Tiny Space
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.Continue to 12 of 45 below.
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Add Black Cabinetry
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.Continue to 13 of 45 below.
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Add Statement Flooring
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.Continue to 14 of 45 below.
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Mix Color and Pattern
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.Continue to 15 of 45 below.
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Use Floor Tile to Define Space
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.Continue to 16 of 45 below.
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Add a Galley-Style Wing
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.Continue to 17 of 45 below.
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Incorporate Negative Space
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.Continue to 18 of 45 below.
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Add a Colorful Runner
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.Continue to 19 of 45 below.
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Create a Breakfast Bar
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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Highlight Natural Wood
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.Continue to 21 of 45 below.
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Use a Galley Style Layout to Structure an Open Space
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.Continue to 22 of 45 below.
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Work Around the Window
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.Continue to 23 of 45 below.
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Limit Upper Cabinetry
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.Continue to 24 of 45 below.
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Use Vertical Space
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.Continue to 25 of 45 below.
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Make It Seamless
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.Continue to 26 of 45 below.
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Add a Dropped Ceiling
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.Continue to 28 of 45 below.
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Use Pastel Colors
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.Continue to 29 of 45 below.
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Shut the Door
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.Continue to 30 of 45 below.
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Create an End Point
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.Continue to 31 of 45 below.
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Add Bold Graphics
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.Continue to 32 of 45 below.
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Add Gold-Toned Accents
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.Continue to 33 of 45 below.
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Keep It Flowing
Running the same hardwood flooring throughout the entire home gives this small Swedish pass-through galley kitchen from Fantastic Frank an effortless flow.Continue to 34 of 45 below.
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Add Peekaboo Shelving
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.Continue to 35 of 45 below.
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Mix and Match
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.Continue to 36 of 45 below.
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Work Around the Architecture
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.Continue to 37 of 45 below.
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Shut the Back Door
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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Add a Vintage Touch
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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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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Set a Table for Two
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.Continue to 41 of 45 below.
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Create a Through Line
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.Continue to 42 of 45 below.
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Keep It Light and Bright
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.Continue to 43 of 45 below.
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Add Intrigue to the Floor
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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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.Continue to 45 of 45 below.
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Honor Historical Character
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.