“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf
With the rising popularity of oversized kitchens and open-concept floor plans, galley kitchens have fallen out of favor in the design world. But this stance takes for granted everything great about a galley-style kitchen.
Not only do galley kitchens feature one of the most efficient layouts for serious home cooking. They’re also cheaper and easier to redecorate than other kitchen styles.
Check out the galley kitchen design ideas below for the best tips and tricks to transform a narrow cooking space into the most stylish room in your home.
1. Blue Galley Kitchen Ideas
Rather than shy away from daring decor, try bright, bold, and blue. With shades ranging from deep navy to silvery periwinkle, blue is the perfect statement color for your galley kitchen design.
Whatever shade of blue you prefer, stick with clean white for the walls, backsplash, and countertops. This will contrast with your blue cabinetry and help open up the space. You can also use black and grey in small doses, along with natural wood grain.
Bring out your blue kitchen decor further by installing a vibrant backsplash mosaic or lay down a long area rug. While any color metal will go with blue, gold and brass hardware will complement your color scheme for greater visual impact.
2. Contemporary Galley Kitchen Ideas
The traditional galley kitchen layout might feel a bit dated by today’s standards, but there’s no reason you can’t give your cooking space a contemporary facelift.
To keep your decor looking fresh for years, use large fixtures in fairly neutral tones. Shaker cabinets, while contemporary, are timeless. Classic stainless steel appliances will age much better than trendier styles.
For the details, narrow down what you do and don’t like in design examples from social media or magazines. Don’t be afraid to take inspiration from multiple sources for your contemporary galley kitchen — that’s how the design world comes up with popular movements like modern farmhouse.
3. Country Galley Kitchen Ideas
Look at almost any old farmhouse, and you’ll probably notice something very familiar about its kitchen. Galley kitchens have always been popular in smaller homes, especially those built in the early- or mid-1900s. In other words, country-inspired decor is the perfect match for this kitchen layout.
While not a requirement, white cabinets are a staple of this look. The same is true for white walls and backsplash tiles. If you’re not big on subway tiles, honeycomb tiles or wood paneling are a couple of alternatives.
Modern appliances won’t clash with your country decor, but a large farmhouse sink is basically a must. Be sure to showcase any natural wood in the room — like ceiling beams or hardwood flooring — or add your own with floating shelves.
4. Dark Galley Kitchen Ideas
We hear time and time again that light colors make a room seem larger, while dark colors do the opposite. But if you’re decorating a small space, there’s no reason to be afraid of darker shades entirely.
Kitchen cabinets are the best spot to feature darker colors. Instead of black, use shades like dark navy, forest green, or grey for a high-end look and feel. Use a lighter palette for your walls, backsplash, and countertops to add contrast and dimension.
Natural wood is another great option for those fond of a darker aesthetic. While most cabinet doors are light-colored wood, you can always apply a stain or place a custom order.
5. Grey Galley Kitchen Ideas
Grey is a remarkably versatile color, and it works particularly well for updating a galley-style kitchen. It also makes an excellent alternative for those who fear ruining white surfaces with cooking spills and mishaps.
If you feel like your kitchen design is coming across a little flat, invest in some natural grey materials that add texture. A granite countertop or stone floor tiles are a few examples, but you can also make great use of grey-washed wood.
On its own, grey decor can look industrial or ultra-modern. If that’s not your desired outcome, soften it up with natural wood elements and potted plants throughout your kitchen space. For a small galley kitchen that feels luxurious, contrast your grey color scheme with gold accents.
6. Minimalist Galley Kitchen Ideas
Home decor does not need to be over the top to be visually stunning. Minimalist design trends come in all shapes and sizes, including those perfectly suited to a small galley kitchen.
For the biggest impact, sleek floor-to-ceiling cabinets are ideal. Opt for appliances that blend into your base cabinet set up both physically and visually. It’s best to add intrigue with your choice of colors and materials rather than ornamentation.
Avoid adding separate decorations to your kitchen and instead jazz up the elements already present. Small details like light fixtures or backsplash tiles make all the difference in minimalist design. If you really want to add something to the space, potted plants are a safe bet.
7. Modern Galley Kitchen Ideas
Many amateur designers hear the term modern decor and assume it refers to popular trends right now. Actually, the modern style encompasses all kinds of trends from as early as the 1920s to as recent as the 1970s. Art deco and mid-century are a couple of well-known examples.
Whichever era you choose to emulate within your modern kitchen design ideas, prioritize clean lines, geometric shapes, and flat surfaces. In the absence of decorative details, your use of color is incredibly important. Select one or two pieces of decor to hang on a wall or set on a counter. The rest of the space should be neat and tidy.
Unless you’re restoring an older home, there’s no reason to stress about keeping your decor authentic. Feel free to add a contemporary twist with updated kitchen appliances, marble countertops, or a kitchen island.
8. Narrow Galley Kitchen Ideas
Galley layout kitchens are, by nature, narrow. But some are decidedly more cramped than others. When decorating a narrow space, the last thing you want to do is add clutter. Stay away from clunky items that eat up counter space.
Keep wall cabinets to one side of your narrow kitchen. You can hang open shelving on the opposing wall for additional storage space that doesn’t feel as imposing. A long, narrow rug is a great way to personalize your kitchen while also drawing attention away from its odd shape.
If you’re doing a full kitchen remodel, be sure to offset appliances to get the most out of the available square footage. This is particularly important when it comes to your kitchen sink, so take a good hard look at your plumbing before getting started.
9. Open Galley Kitchen Ideas
Don’t let real estate agents and HGTV fool you; it’s possible to have a galley kitchen that’s also spacious. The secret is to make your kitchen decor feel connected to the rest of your home.
Removing part of a wall can do wonders to open up your galley kitchen to the rest of the home. Choose a countertop that doubles as a breakfast bar for maximum versatility. Or create a coordinated dining nook in the next adjacent room.
Windows are an incredible asset in any space, but especially in a kitchen. If your galley-style kitchen has a door at one end, invest in one made primarily of glass. You can always install blinds or drapes if privacy is an issue.
10. Rustic Galley Kitchen Ideas
From farmhouse to cabin chic, rustic decor is a favorite in the world of small kitchen ideas. This style is easy to put together and can be as simple or as “thematic” as you like.
White and natural wood grain should make up the majority of your color palette, especially if you’re going for a farmhouse-inspired aesthetic. Look for heavily textured wood species like knotty pine for flooring, doors, or cabinetry.
Highlight the unique walls in your kitchen or install overlays to mimic the look of brick or wood paneling. You can limit this material to a single accent wall or apply it throughout the room. Subway tiles are another popular option, whether used as a backsplash or as wall-to-wall decor.
11. Small Galley Kitchen Ideas
If you have a traditional galley-style kitchen with a wall on one end, a U-shaped countertop is one of the best ways to maximize your counter space. For one-walled kitchens, an L-shaped counter will do the same.
You might need to get creative with your appliances to save on space. While your sink and cooktop should be in a central location, consider moving your refrigerator to the end of your kitchen.
Since elbow room is in short supply, take full advantage of your kitchen’s vertical space. Choose cabinets that reach to the ceiling. Those top shelves might be hard to reach, but they’ll offer valuable storage. You can even use an extra-tall cabinet as a miniature pantry.
12. White Galley Kitchen Ideas
White kitchen decor looks clean and flatters even the smallest space. It can also be surprisingly stylish if you know how to incorporate the right details into an otherwise monochromatic color palette.
Since your design colors are a given, pay close attention to the materials and finishes you choose. Glossy white cabinets will evoke a much different look and feel over matte, distressed ones. You can also add texture with white marble, subway tiles, or wood panels.
You’ll also need to know when to contrast your all-white decor with subtle pops of color. Beige and light grey might seem bland at first, but either shade will make a huge impact in a bright white kitchen. On the other hand, natural wood will add a dose of warmth to your stark white design.