Architectural Home Designs & Decorating Ideas

Boost Your Galleys with Intelligent Storage & Layout Solutions

Gabriela Connell
4 minute read

Galley kitchen layouts are a popular choice for small homes, apartments, and condos due to their efficient use of space. By lining cabinets and appliances along one or two walls, you can create a functional cooking area even in a narrow room. However, it can be tricky figuring out how to maximize storage and make the most of limited square footage. The key is choosing the right galley kitchen layout and design elements to enhance workflow and storage within a compact floorplan.

With some clever planning and the right picks for counters, cabinets, and more, you can create a galley kitchen that looks and functions beautifully.

Galley Kitchen Layout Options

When planning a galley kitchen, the first decision is which layout to use. Here are some of the most common configurations:

Single Galley

The single galley kitchen has cabinets and appliances lined up along one wall. This simple linear design makes the most of limited space by consolidating the functional areas. One run of cabinets provides both base cabinet storage and wall cabinets for dishes and glasses. The single galley is best suited for very narrow kitchens.

galley kitchen floor plans


An L-shaped galley kitchen uses two adjoining walls instead of one. Base cabinets and wall cabinets occupy both walls, while appliances fit on one side. This layout provides more countertop workspace and storage than the single galley. It also allows for better traffic flow and multiple cooks in the kitchen.


The U-shaped galley kitchen maximizes available space by using three walls instead of two. Base and wall cabinets occupy the three walls, wrapping around in a U, while appliances fill the open side of the U. This creates ample storage and countertop area. The only downside is that the U-shaped galley has a more closed-in feel.

Countertop Considerations

No matter which galley kitchen layout you choose, extending the countertops is key for extra workspace. Here are some options:


Durable and attractive countertop materials like quartz, granite, laminate, or butcher block work well. Focus on heat-resistant, water-proof, and budget-friendly options suitable for small kitchens.


Adding a peninsula or extended counter off one wall of cabinets creates more landing space for meal prep and serving. Peninsulas can incorporate seating, storage, or both.


Islands not only expand counters but also provide a spot for casual dining. Look for narrow island designs to fit galley kitchens. Islands should be at least 36-42 inches wide for seating.

Storage Solutions

No kitchen has enough storage, but galley kitchens need to be extra savvy with organization. Here are ideas for maximizing storage in tight spaces:

Tall Cabinets

Use wall cabinets that reach all the way to the ceiling to get every inch of vertical storage. Glass cabinet doors also keep the space feeling open.


Inserts, racks, and compartments inside drawers and cabinets neatly corral all your cooking gear in compact galley kitchens.

Open Shelving

Wall-mounted open shelves above the counters provide a place to store frequently used cookware within easy reach.

Pantry Cabinet

Even a narrow floor-to-ceiling pantry cabinet tucked at one end of the galley kitchen can house all your dry goods and staples.

Appliance Options

Galley kitchens work best with apartment-sized or slimline appliances. Consider these options:

Compact Appliances

Look for smaller refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher models specifically designed for small kitchens. You can find 18 to 24 inch wide options.


All-in-one appliances like the microwave/convection oven or fridge/freezer drawer units blend two appliances into one. This saves space.

Drawer Dishwashers

Dishwashers that fit into a standard base cabinet and pull out like a drawer are perfect when undercounter space is limited.

Backsplash Ideas

The backsplash is both decorative and functional for protecting walls from splatters and spills. For galley kitchens, consider:


A classic choice, subway tile or mosaic tile backsplashes add interesting texture. Use white or light colors to reflect light.


Stainless steel, tin, or aluminum metal backsplashes give an industrial vibe while being easy to clean.

Glass Tile

Glass tile backsplashes suit modern styles. The glass reflects light to make the space brighter.

Flooring Considerations

With the spills and footsteps inherent in kitchens, flooring needs to be durable and water-resistant. Options like:


Tile, poured floors, and vinyl plank floors stand up well to heavy use. Avoid carpeting.


Tile, vinyl, linoleum, and sealed concrete are good at handling spills, leaks, and moisture.


Vinyl plank flooring adds affordable style that resembles wood or stone. Or stick with easy-clean tile.

Lighting Tips

Proper lighting prevents a galley kitchen from feeling dark and dreary. Ideas such as:

Task Lighting

Linear LED lights installed under wall cabinets directly illuminate counter work zones for food prep.

Natural Light

Situate the galley along an exterior wall and add a window or skylight to allow daylight to enter.

Avoid Overhead

Overhead lighting can create shadows in the narrow galley space. Stick to task lighting and natural light instead.

Design and Decor

Storage and efficiency may be the priority, but you still want your galley kitchen to look stylish. Decor tips:

Color Scheme

Paint or stain cabinets in light, airy colors like white, light gray, or pale blue to open up the space.


Strategically hung mirrors reflect light and create the illusion of a larger, more expansive kitchen.

Plants, Art

Warm up the sleek, modern aesthetic of a galley kitchen by adding greenery, art, rugs, and other decorative accents.

Galley kitchens may be narrow, but they can also be stunningly efficient spaces. Focus on choosing space-saving layouts and equipment along with storage solutions and design elements that make the most of every inch. With smart planning, your galley kitchen can maximize function and style within a tight footprint.