Between the Lines

Despite the priority being on functionality, galley kitchens can also be beautiful spaces brimming with character.

Tall cupboards and wall units on both sides increase the feeling of being boxed in, but leaving one side low can be ideal if it opens into a wider living space. But that’s not to say that you can’t incorporate tall cabinets into one wall. In narrow rooms you need to utilise all available space.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a large dining kitchen or an open-plan extension, but that doesn’t mean that a small kitchen can’t look great. Most commonly found in Victorian terraced houses, galley kitchens are seen in homes up and down the country.

The name historically comes from the galleys of ships, and the compact galley-style kitchen can still be found on boats, submarines, and aircraft today. their design principles are ergonomic, optimising the minimal space to maximise storage and work areas, making it easy to move around.

Photo: Hogwood House

Pale, light-reflecting colours such as white and cream look best in a galley kitchen. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean an all-white kitchen is the only option. Soft shades, like sage green, duck egg or soft neutrals work well in a small kitchen.

Colours, materials, and finishes are important in any kitchen, but especially so when you’re trying to enhance a tiny space like a classic galley kitchen. Common trends for kitchens of all sizes include light and neutral colour schemes, with natural materials like warm woods and granite or quartz.

The reflective nature of high gloss kitchen cabinets makes them an ideal choice for small kitchens, and galley kitchens are no exception. Alternatively, if you’d like your cabinetry to have a little more texture, Shaker-style kitchen cabinets can add some character. They’re decorative enough to create visual interest without being overly ornamental or clashing with other décor, and Shaker kitchens are perfect for neutral palettes.

Photos: Above –

Photo: Bedroom & Kitchen Flair (

With a galley kitchen, you need to maximise every square inch of storage space. Consider open shelving like in the lovely galley kitchen shown above.

Just because your galley kitchen is small doesn’t mean you can’t create a calm and sophisticated atmosphere with carefully selected colours and materials. Too much detail can make a small kitchen feel cluttered even when the counters are clear, so you’ll need to put some thought into planning your fittings and accessories. Light is vital in making a narrow galley kitchen seem larger than it really is. Never underestimate the influence of strategic lighting. Layer your lights by installing task lighting in key areas – like spotlights or downlights underneath cupboards or shelves, or plinth lights at the base.

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