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9 Space-Enhancing Ideas For Your Galley Kitchen Remodel

Bring functionality and charm to your galley kitchen remodel with these smart design ideas. 

What Is A Galley Kitchen?

In a galley kitchen layout, two parallel runs of cabinets are installed along opposing walls, leaving a long, straight walkway in between. This kitchen design style is sometimes cast in a negative light as it can easily feel small and cramped. However, there are many tweaks that can be made to make a galley kitchen feel larger and more welcoming. Bright colors, efficient lighting, open shelving and cabinet storage are all easy solutions that can take a galley kitchen from dark and drab to bright and beautiful in no time.

Our professional kitchen designers have helped hundreds of customers with their galley kitchen remodels. In this blog, we’ve compiled their best tips for turning a small galley kitchen into a beautiful, functional space. Read on to explore 9 clever ideas for enhancing a galley kitchen layout.

Ready to get started on your galley kitchen remodel? Get a FREE 3D kitchen design today!

#1. Try A Two-Toned Design Scheme

small apartment galley kitchen with two toned cabinets. blue cabinets are on bottom with white shaker upper cabinets. white countertops and white walls make the space feel bright and natural

Sweeten

This small apartment galley kitchen features two-toned cabinets in blue and white, with bright white walls and matching white countertops. To balance out the design, dark colors are confined to the bottom with light colors on top. This way, the eyes are drawn upwards and don’t focus as much on the narrow layout of the space.

#2. Open Up The Wall

galley kitchen remodel with a large hole cut into the wall, serving as a breakfast nook. white and grey shaker cabinets fill the back wall of the bright modern kitchen

Sarah Sherman Samuel

To make a galley kitchen feel larger, cut out a square in the dividing wall to open up the space to the rest of the house. To add functionality, turn the gap into a small dining nook like designer Sarah Sherman Samuel did in this contemporary home remodel. 

#3. Let There Be (Artificial) Light

narrow galley kitchen remodel with white shaker cabinets, brass hardware and a large ceiling light that mimics natural light

Sweeten

If natural lighting isn’t an option in your galley kitchen, invest in a high quality ceiling light. Be sure to choose a large light fixture that illuminates the entire space. With a galley kitchen, the last thing you want is for the space to feel dark and shadowy. For the lightbulb, try halogen bulbs—this type of incandescent light is the closest in variation to natural light, also called “white light.” Colors look sharper with halogen lights and your kitchen will appear bright and vibrant, even without natural light from a window. 

#4. Install Open Shelves

modern galley kitchen with grey cabinets, white herringbone backsplash, brass cabinet hardware, wooden open shelves and stainless steel appliances

Donna Griffith

In some small galley kitchen designs, homeowners opt to forego upper cabinets in favor of open shelving. Using open (also called floating) shelves keeps the space from feeling closed off by bulky cabinets. Often times, additional base cabinets are added to make up for the lost storage space. The aesthetic appeal of open shelves is paralleled by their affordability—kitchen shelves are widely available and match almost any kitchen design scheme. To ensure the end result looks fresh and clean, avoid leaving clutter on the shelves. Instead, choose your favorite dishware, cookbooks, and small decor items to showcase in the open space. 

#5. De-Clutter The Counter Space 

minimalist galley kitchen with white shaker cabinets, white marble countertops, black pendant lights and light wood floors.

Allisa Jacobs

With any kitchen layout, it’s important to keep the countertops clear. The blank slate of a clean counter allows the eye to be drawn to design elements like cabinetry, appliances, and of course, the countertops themselves! Keeping the counters clutter-free is especially important for galley kitchens. Since the kitchen is confined to two parallel walls, the countertops become the “dividing line” separating the top and bottom halves of the kitchen. To illustrate, this kitchen by Allisa Jacobs features clean and crisp white countertops to complement the white shaker cabinets. However, if there were stray food containers, extra appliances and random household items strewn among the counters, the kitchen would feel cramped, disorganized and out of balance. If you find you need more storage space to stow away these items, read on to our next tip!

#6. Utilize Clever Storage Solutions

wood and wire roll out cabinet shelves stored in white cabinets

Pinterest

With any small kitchen design, efficient storage is of utmost importance. Finding proper cabinet storage solutions can make the difference between a cluttered design disaster and a well-organized, functional kitchen. Cabinet organizers such as roll out shelves, pull out trash can inserts and utensil dividers ensure that you’re maximizing every inch of your kitchen cabinets. Especially for narrow galley kitchens, cabinet storage solutions like roll out shelves can make base cabinets more easily accessible within a cramped space. 

#7. Embrace Contrast

traditional galley kitchen with black and white finishes. white cabinets are complemented by stark black countertops and a black and white tile floor

Domino

When it comes to small spaces, homeowners tend to shy away from dark colors. However, dark colors like deep browns, navy blue and black can drastically enhance the overall look of a space if paired with a bright contrasting color. For example, this classic tuxedo galley kitchen utilizes black floor tile accents, black countertops and a few other black decor items to bring drama to an otherwise monotonous white galley kitchen. Bare in mind that it’s not always necessary to go as bold as this design. Choosing something as simple as a darker cabinet hardware color can create an eye-catching contrast. Even in the smallest of galley kitchens, contrasting colors can distract the viewer from the size of a cramped space.

#8. Accessorize with a Floor Runner

small galley kitchen in an apartment with bright white finishes, with personality added by a patterned black and white runner rug

Pinterest

Add some personality to a galley kitchen with a fun patterned floor runner. Sometimes, all a drab kitchen needs is a touch of design flair—and a rug is an easy solution. The great thing about rugs is they are very affordable and easy to swap out when you’re ready for something new. Plus, a long rug running the length of a galley kitchen can make it appear larger than it really is. A win-win! 

#9. Add An Island

large galley kitchen remodel with dark wood floors, white shaker cabinets, stainless steel appliances and a large black and white center island

Pinterest

Galley kitchens with islands are popular with homeowners who desire extra countertop space. If the width of the kitchen is large enough, adding a center island is a great way to increase the amount of storage and cooking workspace available. For smaller galley kitchen designs, a narrow table can be substituted for a center island. When installing an island or adding a table, just ensure that the neighboring cabinet doors can still open fully. 

Design Your Dream Galley Kitchen Today

Lily Ann Cabinets has everything you need to complete your dream galley kitchen remodel. Browse our extensive selection of affordable ready-to-assemble cabinets to get started. Need some help visualizing our cabinets in your kitchen? Take advantage of our FREE 3D design tool!