These galley kitchen ideas will make you rethink your layout

1. Create drama with cabinet finishes

It’s tempting, in a galley kitchen, to keep things simple and pale in the cabinetry department. But while slab white doors will undoubtedly make your kitchen feel more spacious, you can go dark if you do it right. “Much to contrary belief, bold colours can work especially well in smaller spaces,” says Al Bruce, founder of Olive & Barr. “Navy, cobalt, or royal blue kitchen cabinets add impact and a wow-factor and work especially well when used liberally throughout the cabinetry. Maintain balance with a quartz countertop to keep the room feeling light and airy.”

2. Find your favourite neutral

Of course, pale colours will almost always be a great choice for a galley. “Due to the galley kitchen’s simple, linear and often space-saving layout, light-reflecting shades such as white, cream, light grey, or soft pastels can help make a small kitchen feel more spacious and open,” says Debra. “Likewise, neutral and light reflecting work surfaces, like clear stained maple or birch woods, or white, greys with light reflective elements such as sparkle, silver veins or highly polished laminates, marble and quartz, work really well in galley kitchens.”

3. Add an island – but only if there’s space

As the skinny workstation at the centre of this Tom Howley kitchen proves, it is possible have a kitchen island in a galley. But you should consider it carefully before committing. “If you take a standard galley kitchen to have a 6ft width and a 12ft length, island and peninsula counters are rarely an option in this sort of space,” says Tom Howley, design director at his eponymous kitchen company.

4. Or add a slimline dining table

If you like the idea of an island but aren’t ready to fully commit, try a slimline dining table. Slide it into the space between cabinetry runs, to use for breakfast or a casual supper, or as a work table for baking and food prep. “You could even consider a fold-down table and bench chairs that can be neatly stowed away if extra floor space is needed,” suggests Wren’s Debra Hutt.

5. Glaze above a galley

If you’re squeezing a galley kitchen into a narrow side-return extension or lean-to, one option you may have is to add glass or skylights above it. While this will limit your wall storage, it will maximise the amount of light into the space, making it feel more joyful to work within. And you should always be able to squeeze in some open shelving.

6. Screen off your dining area

Here’s a neat trick for a galley that’s open plan with a living and dining area. Rather than using a peninsula to separate the spaces, try a simple wooden screen. This will make access to the space easier, while still screening off any messy worktops or a sink stacked with dishes so you can relax and enjoy your meal with the family.

7. Create a link with the garden

A galley can be a wise layout choice if your kitchen opens directly onto outdoor space, offering a straightforward route for food and drinks to travel in and out. You could even take it a step further and extend the runs of cabinets indoors beyond folding glass doors and onto the patio for an indoor/outdoor kitchen that seamlessly links your house and garden.

8. Aim for a colourful focal point

Due to its shape, a galley kitchen can sometimes feel like it lacks a focal point. if that’s the case, think about how you can create one. In this kitchen by Neptune, a bright fridge does the job perfectly, and as we’ve mentioned previously, a range cooker could do as good a job.

9. Go floor to ceiling

Think vertically and create extra storage space by using the height of your walls. “Larders maximise space in every kitchen regardless of size, from slimline full-length single units to double larders that stow away bulky electricals such as microwaves, toasters or even your coffee machine, the possibilities are endless,” says Olive & Barr’s Al Bruce.

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