10 Ways to Make a Galley Kitchen the Best Room in the House

These small kitchen ideas have major impact and are perfect inspiration if you’re looking for ways to remodel or just freshen up a galley kitchen.

a kitchen with a sink and a window: small kitchen ideas and galley kitchen remodel inspiration

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small kitchen ideas and galley kitchen remodel inspiration

Galley kitchens are small but efficient. They are named for a similar compartment of a ship, train, or aircraft where food is prepared. They are long and narrow with base cabinets, wall cabinets, counters, or other services located on one or both sides of a central walkway. The best part of a galley style kitchen is that it allows you to reach all areas of the kitchen with minimal walking distance. But they can feel cramped, cluttered, and dark if they’re not carefully thought out.

If you have a galley or other small kitchen and are looking for inspiration to change it up, check our these fabulous galley kitchen remodels and smaller DIY project ideas.

Open Up

a kitchen filled with lots of counter space

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InteriorsInsideOut on Instagram: “Avoid your galley kitchen feeling like a corridor by opening up the space as much as you can. One way to do this is to locate tall units…”

Adding height always makes a space feel larger. The homeowner decided to forgo the upper cabinets in her galley remodel. Instead, open shelves were used to make the kitchen feel bigger and well as allow for more natural light to filter in. Although the kitchen is predominantly white, it has warm wood accents on the counter, floor, and natural textures in the runner and accessories. The combination gives the kitchen a clean, natural aesthetic.

Related Reading: How to Install DIY Kitchen Shelves in Any Configuration

Go Two-Toned

a room filled with furniture and a sink

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Vikki on Instagram: “Literally no caption game this evening. I tried to be witty about garlic bread, it didn’t go well, so here’s the kitchen.. . .…”

Color blocking is a popular trend in interior design, especially in kitchens. Most people opt to paint cabinets in contrasting colors, but if you are not ready to make a commitment like that, color block the walls instead. This technique works especially well if you do not have upper cabinets. Choose a bold color and balance it out with its contrast for a strong visual impact.

Embrace Bright and Light

Jennifer Muirhead on Instagram: “Project Pasadena Kitchen: before + afters pics! This was a dark and dated galley kitchen in a historic Spanish home. Our client’s request…”

The more natural light you have, the brighter and lighter the space. If you are blessed with a large window in your galley kitchen, don’t cover it up! If you absolutely need shades for privacy at night, go for natural color shades or even sheer. This will give you privacy but still let in filtered light.

Think Futuristic

a large empty room

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Ece 🌈 on Instagram: “#Repost @ourhomeinspain (@get_repost) ・・・ #kitchendesign #kitchen #kitchenremodel #kitchenwrap #kitchendecor #whitekitchen #highgloss…”

Sleek, hi-gloss laminate cabinetry will make your kitchen look out of this world. Everything about this kitchen is streamlined. The recessed lights and handleless doors and draws make the space look so futuristic. The hot pink accents give the kitchen a pop of color but do not overpower the clean, white palette.

Make a U-Turn

Into The Woods Home Decor’s Instagram post: “I can not wait till this kitchen is finished! Still waiting for the black hood to go up but my husbands scared he will break the tiles so…”

If your galley kitchen borders a wall, use it! Often, these areas are left bare, creating dead space. It’s a good spot to put your stove. This makes it the centerpiece in your kitchen. This kitchen also has plenty of lighting, which is essential for small kitchens without windows. Add pendant lights, under-cabinet task lights, and light fixtures over the sink to ensure plenty of illumination in your kitchen.

Do Be Blue

a kitchen with a sink and a window

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Åž.ã.déh on Instagram: “Holy cow! ➡️ swipe to see the dramatic before! This is truly #renovationgoals By: @weespacesinteriors Please comment and tag someone who…”

Blue is a good color to try if you are tired of white or wood cabinets, but don’t want to go too bold. The shade is calming and can act as an unexpected neutral. Blues look good with both warm and cool hues. It’s subtle enough to fade into the background and adds just enough color to make your kitchen look sophisticated.

Keep It Tidy

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Our kitchen will always be a galley sized kitchen, it doesn’t have a wall in pantry, or a pot filler over the stove, but it’s my happy place. ❤️ I cannot pull a glass off the shelf without remembering how each night when Adam would come home from work he’d drill another bracket into the subway tile… (Swipe through to see what it looked like when we moved in.) I love to cook in here, sip my morning coffee in here and even do the dishes after dinner. It’s my favorite room in the house, my happy place. 🏡 Cooking up our dinner for tonight and feeling grateful.❤️ What is your favorite room in your home? . . . . KitchenInspo #KitchenInspiration #MyFixerupperKitchen #AllWhiteKitchen #TileBacksplash #KitchensOfInstagram #MybrightKitchen #ChristmasWreath #RangeHood #MyCuppaCoffee #What’sInMyCoffee #CoffeeOfTheDay #CoffeeMugs #fixerupperinspiration #eclecticfarmhouse #cottagefarmhouse #myfavoritecoffee #morningritual #joannagaines #housebeautiful #overstockstyle #diyrangehood #mykitchen #galleykitchen

A post shared by 𝕂𝕚𝕣𝕤𝕥𝕖𝕟• Brightyellowdoor (@brightyellowdoor) on

Small spaces do not have to sacrifice style or storage space. Dress up cabinetry with new hardware, and add a colorful runner for texture and color. Get creative with storage—the worst thing you can do is clutter your counter space in a small kitchen. Use magnetic knife holders to store knives, use towel bars to hold utensils or cutting boards, and try open shelving to store everyday items.

Related Reading: The Best Way to Store Pots and Pans

Learn Geometry

a kitchen with a tile floor

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@fiandherhouse shared a photo on Instagram: “I’ve not got a lot of words to share today, but I will bestow a bit of life advice onto you all… . If you ever wonder ‘oh, I wonder what…” • Jun 16, 2020 at 5:45am UTC

In an extremely narrow space,  it can be hard to add an interesting element to the room. In this case, the homeowner decided to add a subtle geometric pattern to an otherwise “wasted space.” This kitchen was too small to have cabinetry on both sides, so the homeowner opted to use it for decorative purposes. The result is a unique accent wall that compliments the space, without taking up valuable real estate.

Get Hip to Herringbone

a large room

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Justine & Dan on Instagram: “Swipe for before ➡️ – Another week down, another week where we still haven’t found out when our builders are going to return to work 🤦‍♀️ -…”

In a galley kitchen, every element contributes to the overall aesthetics of the space. The herringbone wood floors in this kitchen make this space seem longer and draws your attention to the quaint seating area on the other side. The floor adds to the overall beauty of the kitchen’s design, without overpowering the other elements.

Go Dark and Dramatic

a large kitchen with stainless steel appliances

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If you’re feeling bold, skip the light and bright, and go dark and dramatic. Dark cabinetry is making a comeback. However, in order to pull off dark cabinetry in a small kitchen, you need plenty of light. If the kitchen lacks natural light, there’s still hope. LED recessed lighting will illuminate the space with clean light that casts a glow similar to the light from the sun.

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