10 Fantastic Space-Saving Galley Kitchen Ideas

  • 01 of 11

    Luxury Galley Kitchen

    Modern Galley Kitchen
    Modern Galley Kitchen. Eugeni Pons / Getty Images

    Galley kitchens, long since removed from boats, now occupy more homes than ever  That's because, while a large number of homes are supersizing, an equally large number are downsizing.  People get rid of the big home and move into a downtown condo, taking advantage of the culture and fun and food afforded to them by urban cores.

    This means less of a need for the massive kitchen, as if anyone ever really "needed" that.  

    A galley kitchen provides kitchen basics:  counters, storage, range, oven, sink.  Sometimes more, much more.

    Pictured here is clearly a case of "much more":  a galley kitchen whose entire left-hand wall is packed with the most cabinet space I have ever seen in a galley.  They even manage to shoehorn in a wall-oven and microwave.

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  • 02 of 11

    Galley Kitchen With Stainless Steel Appliances

    Stainless Steel Galley Kitchen
    Stainless Steel Galley Kitchen. MorgueFile/Kakisky

    Here's a galley kitchen that's long and narrow--the hallmark of galley kitchens--but with one side open to the living area.  Ordinarily there would be a load-bearing wall on that right-hand side, except you'll note that a load-bearing beam and supporting post carry that weight.

    Bring On The Light

    It's a nice, competent, lean kitchen design, nothing spectacular--but it works.  Satin-finished oak cabinets do a nice job of reflecting light and making the already-bright kitchen even brighter.  The stainless steel appliances add even more light.

    Think About The Kitchen Triangle

    One workflow note:  the stove and sink are on opposite sides.  While this is only a stretch of about 40 inches and still part of the kitchen triangle, it's enough to irritate some cooks.  After all, it's always easier to transfer that big double handful of sopping wet veggies to the pan when sink and stove are adjacent.  Just some food for thought there.

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  • 03 of 11

    Galley Kitchen With Wood Counters and Breakfast Bar

    Galley Kitchen With Breakfast Bar
    Galley Kitchen With Breakfast Bar. Morguefile/Bavejoan

    Galley kitchens in the classic sense are narrowed, boxed-in corridors--walls on three sides.  But not always.  Here a kitchen island-cum-breakfast bar forms the "third wall," providing a visual stop between kitchen and living area.

    What's so interesting about this plan is that island:  it's double-tiered.  A second "story" forms the table area for the breakfast bar, fronted with two bar stools (a sink is on the first level).  

    It's not much, just about 12 inches deep, barely enough room for plates.  I would more accurately call it a "coffee/wine bar," as it's a great place for hanging out with the cook while consuming libations.

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  • 04 of 11

    Galley Kitchen With Island Forming One Side

    Galley Kitchen With Island
    Galley Kitchen With Island. Flickr/Creative Commons; NancyHugoCKD.com

    Another open plan galley kitchen with an island forming one of the "walls."  It's a most unusual, but appealing, design and here's why:

    1. Microwave:  The microwave is always a problem in kitchen designs, as in, "Where to put it?"  Hang it over the stove? But then you lose the chance for a legitimate kitchen hood.  Make a dedicated, eye-level shelf?  But then you lose cabinets.  There is never a good place for the beast.  The location shown here, knee-high in a base cabinet, is as good as any.
    2. Farmhouse Sink:  Yes, farmhouse sinks (also known as apron sinks) had their heyday, but it's a heyday that should continue, in my book.  The thin front wall means you can get up close to the action, saving your back.  And they're big.  
    3. Detached Pantry:  Apparently, that's a food pantry in the top-center of the photo.  That's according to the photographer, who should know better than anyone else.  But I'll go out on a limb and say that it's storage for plates, bowls, linens, etc.

    All in all, a fantastic galley kitchen design.

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  • 05 of 11

    Modern White Galley Kitchen

    Modern White Galley Kitchen
    Modern White Galley Kitchen. Flickr/Creative Commons; NancyHugoCKD.com

    In your mind's eye, a galley kitchen might be a dim, dark, claustrophobic corridor.  Yes, there are those types.

    But you can do anything, as long as you keep within the proscribed space, right?  You can even totally modernize it, as kitchen designer Nancy Hugo does here, with a white-on-white style.  

    Yes, those are white subway tiles forming the continuous wall backsplash.  And you're right for thinking that this kitchen island "wins" because of that generous overhang, which allows people to slide their legs underneath and get close to their food--no reaching necessary.

    You'll need to enlarge the image to make this out, but that is a prep sink on the far end of the island, too.

    Numerous can lights and three pendant lights finish off this contemporary kitchen.

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  • 06 of 11

    Galley Kitchen on One Wall

    Galley Kitchen On One Wall
    Galley Kitchen On One Wall. Flickr/Creative Commons; Daniel Rothamel

    From the grand, white galley kitchen we saw previously to one that is decidedly more down-to-earth.  This is no showroom kitchen; this is a working kitchen, complete with dog calendar on the wall.

    What more do you need?  Because this galley runs on a long wall, that length transfers to the equally long black engineered stone countertop (and counter space is always at a premium).  The stainless steel undermount sink further enhances that counter space.

    The slide-in electric range is inexpensive and functional.  The glass-front cabinets are airy and inviting.  

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  • 07 of 11

    Fun, Nautical-Themed Galley Kitchen For Home

    Nautical Themed Galley Kitchen
    Nautical Themed Galley Kitchen. Flickr/Creative Commons; Coco + Kelley

    First, let me help you get your bearings.  You're looking at one galley kitchen, two different views of it.

    Compact and Functional

    This is a one-wall style galley kitchen, with everything arrayed on one side.  Countertops are made of butcher-block wood and all shelving is open.  They've even squeezed a clothes washer and dryer below the cabinets.

    Nautical Theme

    But what makes this truly fun is the nautical style.  After all, the "galley" part of galley kitchen is derived from the marine terminology--i.e., boats.  So, the style is nautical with the British flag, white-against-dark color scheme, beadboard ceiling, wood-framed windows, and last but not least, the porthole shaped window.  The small door below the window even implies that you can go below decks.

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  • 08 of 11

    Modern Galley Kitchen with Wood Cabinets and Floor

    Modern Galley Kitchen with Wood Cabinets and Floor
    Flickr/Creative Commons; Doug and Laura Elfline

    If you think a galley kitchen does not have ample storage, you are so wrong, because this is clearly one with ample storage.

    First, this kitchen design subverts the whole accepted galley kitchen notion that The Refrigerator Must Form the Back Wall.  Not so here.  The fridge is along the long outer wall.  It must be, because of that pantry door.  You gain tons of storage space, but you lose prime real estate for the fridge.  Also you have to live with the fridge sticking out beyond the counters.  You win some, you lose some.  Me, I'd rather have the storage.

    Homeowners could partially cure the sticky-outty problem by replacing with a counter-depth refrigerator.  Yet true dimensions of these monsters still bring them out past counter depth--just not as far as regular fridges.

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  • 09 of 11

    Galley Kitchen With Breakfast Nook

    Galley Kitchen with Breakfast Nook
    Galley Kitchen with Breakfast Nook. Flickr/Creative Commons; Kendyl Young

    You'll just have to take it as an article of faith that this galley kitchen has a breakfast nook--so says the photographer.

    This is a rare galley kitchen in that its corridor is wide--it appears to be at least four feet wide.  And it sports a restaurant-quality Dacor gas range, concrete countertops, and a gigantic-sized pantry just behind that blackboard.

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  • 10 of 11

    White Euro Galley Kitchen With High Ceiling

    White Galley Kitchen With High Ceiling
    White Galley Kitchen With High Ceiling. Flickr/Creative Commons; smartpackkit

    I'd say the most notable aspect of this galley kitchen isn't that it's Euro-styled.  It isn't the tiny stainless steel sink or the white cabinets.  Not is it the glass fronts on some of the cabinets.

    It's the high ceiling.  In such a limited space, it's always great to have a tall ceiling to minimize the feeling of smallness.  Even if you don't have a high ceiling, skylights can give you much of the same airy, open feeling.

    Another important feature is the counter-depth refrigerator.  With these long sight-lines in galley kitchens, you want to avoid anything that sticks out, if possible.  A counter depth fridge helps with this.  Here, they have managed to install one that extends no farther than the counters, and having it boxed in like this does smooth down the lines, as well.

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  • 11 of 11

    Small IKEA-Style Galley Kitchen

    IKEA Style Galley Kitchen
    IKEA Style Galley Kitchen. Flickr/Creative Commons; smartpackkit

    A very suave galley kitchen styled along IKEA lines, with steel cabinets and long stainless steel cabinet pulls.  Like our other Euro-style galley kitchens in this article, it has a single-bowl sink that is abnormally small for most North Americans but which fits right in with European kitchens.

    A bulkhead over the left-side counter provides a place to mount the can lights.  The counter overhand with single bar stool lets your partner, spouse, or room-mate sit with you while you cook.