The Perfect Galley Kitchen

by David Ferguson

July 3, 2016

What is left to be written about the lowly Galley kitchen that has not already been written?

At one time, almost everyone has worked in a galley kitchen, whether that was in the grandmother’s Art Deco-style apartment, or at almost every other apartment built between that time and the early 1980’s.

Even today, a Galley style is the kitchen of choice in newly-built, narrow terrace homes that are equipped with a small to medium-sized kitchen. The main reason they remain popular today is their efficient layout which is ideal for a one-cook kitchen.

The Galley kitchen may also be referred to as a “Walk-Through kitchen. It is characterized by two parallel countertops with a walkway in between them. Most often, one side of the kitchen features the major electrical appliances of a fridge and stove, for example, and the other side features the main plumbing areas; the sink and dishwasher, to name two.

A Galley’s design will make the best use of every square inch of space. Because there are usually no corner cabinets to add to the cabinetry budget, they can be the cheapest option for a stylish kitchen.


In 2016, any kitchen has to be a highly functional space because of the changing demographic and wide range of cultural diversity, changes in technology and how a kitchen operates, and changes in attitude about our Earth and how we use its resources.

In a small home, a Galley design is, without a doubt, the most functional and efficient type. A galley is essentially a corridor, and the kitchen that shares its name has become functional, transformed into wholly useable and often beautiful space.

Few Galley kitchens have an “eat in” area, and most often abut the dining room. But, in terms of meal preparation, it is one of the most efficient layouts. It incorporates all its essential elements on either side of the narrow area, making good use of all available square footage.
1. In their original form, Galley kitchens can appear boring because, by definition, they are linear and straight, with little relief in surface materials.
When designing the new cabinets for your Galley design, try to alleviate that ennui by combining full-height cabinets with slightly lower ones, as well as a pleasing balance of shallow and deep cabinets. Particularly when using a solid colour cabinet, you will create a more interesting expanse of space.

2. When renovating and when there is no natural light to penetrate the room directly, there is a danger that the space will feel claustrophobic.
I proposed a few options for this feature kitchen’s design to help alleviate the isolation and darkness of the existing kitchen.
A typical galley design will often have a door opening at each end of the room, emphasizing its enclosed character. I proposed knocking out a portion of the wall, essentially the corner, and replacing a portion of it with a series of columns that allow light, air and sound to flow freely from space to space.

july-3-illustration-13. Similarly, if the high overhead cabinets appear overwhelming, a Galley kitchen will feel dark and feel claustrophobic. By combining full-height cupboards with open shelves, along with the new open walls, the space opens up and brightens the shiny light finishes.
Shiny is the biggest trend in kitchens today. In the past, there was always a fear that shiny finishes would quickly mark-up, age, and need to be change. But advances in technology allow us to use fantastic new finishes designed for the kitchen and bathroom.
Theses easy-to-clean, safe materials can be used on countertops, floors and walls.
A high-gloss surface in the kitchen’s finishes is a sure way to help reflect light and make the space brighter.


4. Remember that the average North American will do some kind of renovation on their kitchen every ten years, so it is reasonable to assume that fashions will change over time. The wise renovator will choose classic designs for the most expensive elements of their new kitchen design and save the splurging for accessories that are easily changed as when fashions change. A highlight of the kitchen design. The countertops should be carefully chosen for how they are used, not how they look.

july-3-illustration-35. Always look for green products that will keep you healthy, help you save money in the long run and help us all live a cleaner existence together.

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