Squeezing past roommates to get to the fridge or arguing with your partner about where to store the mixer may be what you think of when you hear galley kitchen. These spaces are infamous for their narrow walkways and, oftentimes, lack of space, but if your home includes this style, don’t fret, there are quite a few surprising ways to configure it to make it just as spectacular as any other cooking space.
If you’re unfamiliar, the layout of a galley kitchen typically looks more like a hallway. Unlike a one-wall kitchen, most traditional galley kitchens consist of two walls lining a narrow walkway that flow into a separate room on both sides; some have dead ends and others have doors leading to pantries or even breakfast nooks. While basic galley kitchens are a staple of standard rental apartments, they can be taken to another level with everything from eye-catching backsplashes and patterned floors to statement lighting and clever storage ideas.
Below, a variety of galley kitchens that prove these layouts are far more workable than you might think.
This galley kitchen has light counters and cabinets to open up the space, but isn’t short on character, thanks to a stainless steel backsplash and select cabinets with glass doors.
Accent tile galley kitchen
One of the coolest parts of this New York City kitchen is how the flooring reflects the Moravian star pendant lamp that hangs right at the end of the aisle. The choice of white cabinetry also helps open up a kitchen style that traditionally lacks space.
Clean and streamlined kitchen
An abundance of cabinets and drawers is a smart move with galley kitchens. Extra storage means there’s no need to keep appliances and other items out on the countertops, which opens up space in these traditionally narrow kitchens.
Galley kitchens with bursts of color
A small, white galley kitchen can easily look boring — or even dismal — with the wrong lighting and decor. This Oakland apartment shows how lacing bright colors throughout the space can give it a fun, light-hearted appeal.
While traditional galley kitchens have openings on both sides, there are many that have a dead end, but still contain the same characteristics of this particular style. The mix of additional storage units in the same color palette on the left side of this kitchen gives it quirky character, while still looking unified.
The light blue cabinet paint adds some personality to this kitchen without making it seem small. Paired with open shelving and lots of natural light, the whole space feels breezy.
This space truly is teeny, so going with white cabinetry, a white backsplash, and marble counters was a good move.
Metal appliances and drawers meet patterned floors and wooden accents in this unique Barcelona home. The blend of styles gives plenty of visual interest and widens the space, thanks to the white walls and shelves and the reflective stainless steel.
Wooden panels and a 70s color palette make this quirky kitchen fun to look at and cook in. It also shows how different accessories can instantly transform a space. Colorful kitchen gadgets and collectibles give this space a very different feel compared to if this were a more minimalist space with all wood and neutral accents.
Small tile galley kitchen
Sure, this New York City kitchen is small, but it hides it well. The white walls, stainless steel cabinets, bright window, and mirror all contribute to the illusion of more space. The small touches — like the decorative plates and books — make it feel more cozy and homey, rather than cramped.
Herringbone wooden floors and white tile give this Brooklyn galley kitchen a look that’s certainly Scandi-inspired. The windows and door provide plenty of light to maintain this kitchen’s bright and airy feel.
All white walls and a blonde wood countertop make this Los Angeles kitchen feel big enough for prepping and cooking meals. Check out the funky additions of a disco ball, chalkboard, and clock, too.
The shape and layout of the white slab cabinets in this Scandi-inspired kitchen in Toronto toe the line between modern and vintage. The black pulls and minimal artwork are the perfect personal touches to spice it up a bit.
This galley kitchen in West Hollywood has bohemian vibes, but is also faintly reminiscent of a Tuscan-style cooking space. A mix of patterns and textures give this room plenty of depth.
Mid-century modern galley
Funky tiles and hints of orange throughout the kitchen of this Ojai, California mid-century home give it a slight 60s tinge that still works. Windows and cream-colored walls and cabinets let in and reflect plenty of light to make the space feel warm and homey.
Galley kitchen with a dining nook
A floral dining nook is situated at one end of this Los Angeles galley kitchen, making it an unbearably adorable secret hideaway. The floral wallpaper and light color palette is super whimsical.
Dark gray tile and light gray marble countertops beautifully frame this Brooklyn galley kitchen. It feels spacious and bright without needing to follow an all white color palette.
Dark cabinets — like the ones in this Portland home — can still work in a galley kitchen… as long as there’s plenty of natural lighting and everything else is kept light and airy.
Glass cabinet galley kitchen
While many galley kitchens aim to hide appliances, food, and other kitchen items, this Upper West Side home uses glass paneled cabinets to show off stunning sets of cups, plates, and utensils that double as décor.
A California Hollywood Regency-style home proves that design rules are meant to be broken. The mix of black and mint are dramatic and make for an unforgettable cooking space that doesn’t feel small — no white walls necessary.
Flat-faced cabinets provide ample storage in this Washington DC home, which spares precious counter space. Although it’s on the smaller side, light colors keep it from feeling closed in.
Mid-Century Galley Kitchen
This East Bay, California home is a mid-century dream. Wooden cabinets and trim keep the style at front and center, but a few touches like the art, wine holder, and cutting board collection bring it up to speed with current times.
Additional reporting by Carolin Lehmann