A galley kitchen is long and narrow, named after the galley (kitchen) on a boat. While many apartment-and-condo hunters cringe at the mention of a galley kitchen, the reality is that while they may be small, they make very efficient use of limited space – a consideration when you are dealing with an oddly-shaped or constricted floorplan.
You will commonly find such a feature in apartments or lofts where it has been necessary to use the available space to its maximum efficiency. Oftentimes with this type of setup, you end up with counters on both sides, which can be handy for cooking and preparing food because you can place pretty much everything you need within an easy arms-reach.
However, this compact little kitchen needs to balance with the flow and simplicity of the overall design of the space or it can backfire. Since your traffic patterns (how you move about the room) are constrained, refrigerator doors can’t stick out or open the wrong way, and cupboard handles and door pulls shouldn’t protrude so much that they impede your workflow or become a nuisance.
In this situation, a little planning goes a long way. From choosing the right cabinetry to optimal placement of appliances and fixtures, you can have a galley kitchen that is both beautiful and functional.
Renovating a Galley Kitchen
At McDermott, we have reworked many, many a galley kitchen for our clients. Some jobs have been major renos and some were aimed simply at making the space more workable while tying it in with the rest of the décor.
But it’s not always about making the space bigger. Opening up walls to provide more space is something we always look at, but sometimes it just can’t be done. Whether it is because there simply isn’t enough space to grow into or that the wall is structural, we need to look at what’s going to deliver the most value and also what’s best in terms of the bigger picture.
Ideally, we like to create the illusion of space where space is limited. There are several ways we do this:
1. Open shelving
Open shelves can lend an airy, spacious appeal while providing much-needed storage. Shelving can be stacked as high as the ceiling, offering practicality as well as visual appeal.
2. Cabinetry makeover
Existing cabinetry can be transformed by replacing the central door panels of the cabinets with glass or even chicken wire.
Counter-height fridges and other appliances open up extra counter space and general head-room in a galley kitchen. If you are the type of person who does not do a lot of cooking or if the unit is intended for short-term or seasonal use, this is certainly a viable option.
Fridge or freezer drawers can be added as well, giving you great functionality without taking up too much space. You will sacrifice a little storage, but this can be offset with over-the-counter cabinetry or shelving.
4. Hidden amenities
Small appliances like microwaves can be hidden behind doors that flip upward, making the most out of an alcove and keeping the lines clean and sleek.
5. Creative storage
Slide-out vertical storage is also great to make use of small spaces like that three-inch gap between the wall and the stove. This type of storage is perfect for spice racks or to stow other pantry-type items.
Ample natural light is ideal for a galley kitchen as it opens up the room and gives it a more spacious look and feel. To answer this need, adding a skylight is a perfect solution.
7. Tile, paint, trim
The right combinations of tile, trim, and paint can also transform a galley kitchen. Lighter or brighter colors are preferable as darker shades can make the kitchen feel cramped or moodier.
8. Creative lighting
If there is no access to natural light in the galley kitchen, the right lighting can make up for it. Choose lighting fixtures that provide some shimmer or reflections to add dimension.
9. Open up a wall
If it is possible to open up a wall, you could add a bar. This would serve two purposes, as it adds a new, casual dining space and it opens up the kitchen to the rest of the house. During one of our galley kitchen projects, we removed the base cabinets and took down a wall to provide more visibility and openness.
Have you got a galley kitchen that needs a fresh outlook? Drop us a line today. We would love to talk to you about how we can help.