Galley Kitchen Designs

Galley Kitchen Designs And Makeovers

Many older homes have galley style kitchens where the room is very narrow and cabinets line two walls facing each other that are only a few feet apart.

While can be very convenient for the cook because there are less steps in the “work triangle”, it poses other challenges when it comes to making the room feel open.

How do you make a narrow room feel open? We’re going to show you how to give the illusion of more space, and give you examples, kitchen remodel photos, plus galley kitchen ideas for very old buildings.

Galley Kitchen Ideas

If you’re lucky enough to have one or more windows in your galley kitchen, you’re off to a good start, but careful planning is key.

Since it can take months to orchestrate, never mind implement galley kitchen makeovers, you’ll need a quick fix.

These kitchen remodel photos show one window at the end of a very narrow room. A garish fern design wallpaper was painted white as a temporary fix, giving the owners time to explore different galley kitchen designs.
galley kitchen photo after the wallpaper was painted, making it less busy looking

If you absolutely can’t stand to live with orange, pink or lime green countertops, for $25-$75. you can paint them with special formica paint, or a kit to give you a granite look.

Formica paint can also can be a life saver if you get stuck renting a flat with a hideous kitchen in a great location. Just be sure to clear it with your landlord first 🙂

Once you have your new galley kitchen designs on paper, you can price and order materials, interview and hire contractors, get approvals/permits from cities and co-op boards, and finally – move to the demolition and construction phase.

Of course it helps if you have somewhere else to live during this time because it’s going to be loud and dirty. This is the main reason why homes that are move in ready sell faster and for more money than fixer uppers. In these days of falling house prices, fixing up your galley kitchen before you sell may be the best way to recoup your investment, but do your research first.


If you have to live there during your kitchen remodel, then you’ll want to cordon off the demo area with sheets of plastic over doorways to keep the dust from infiltrating the entire space.

Galley kitchen makeovers in older or pre-war buildings, most likely need electrical upgrades too, so factor that into your budget before you start the job and then it won’t seem like more bad news from your contractor.

Custom kitchen cabinets can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks to come in, so once you have your galley kitchen professionally measured, you’d better get cracking on that.

In the galley kitchen designs below, the homeowner found out too late that the Ceasarstone countertops she wanted to use were back ordered several weeks, probably because it was a brand new color.

Also, when the new kitchen cabinets arrived, they looked more warm in tone than she had seen in the show room, causing her to re-think the backsplash tile color.

Moral of the story: If you’re flexible and go with the flow, these little hiccups won’t ruin your day. It may take a little more time to make lemonade out of the lemons, but many times you’ll end up with a better finished product. Why is that? Well these on the fly decisions you’ll be making are more spontaneous and occur when many of the other elements are already in place, so you can see the big picture a little better.

Get ready for the amazing transformation!

The new galley kitchen has light, creamy, cabinets, countertops, and subway tile backsplash along with stainless steel appliances to reflect light. A pull out faucet is mounted cadi-corner to make room for a deeper under mount sink.
after kitchen remodel photo featuring light warm colors, great lighting, and simple lines

To duplicate the look in this galley kitchen design: The Kitchen cabinet color is Linen, Cesarstone Countertops in Buttermilk, kitchen backsplash is Calcutta marble, which has both gray, white and creamy to gold tones. Wall Paint is “paper white” which is a gray/white. Pendant lights from Restoration Hardware, and the Range is GE Cafe series.

“Before” photo of breakfast nook. Storage closets on the left were removed to make way for a table that seats four.

Now a cheerful breakfast nook and butlers pantry transitions perfectly with the remodeled kitchen. A table with glass top and sleek legs helps the room feel more open.

Color Schemes For Galley Kitchen Designs

The more narrow the space, the more important it is to keep colors light and avoid busy patterns.
warm light yellow cabinets combined with orange tiled backsplash and warm wood keep this kitchen with no windows from looking dark

Dark kitchen cabinet colors can make the space feel more closed in, but one option is to use bold colors on the bottom, and keep the top row of cabinets, as well as the walls a lighter color.

Light warm colors helps keep this small kitchen with no windows from feeling dark.

Limit patterns to one area to keep a small room from looking cluttered.

Balance a dark color with lighter everything else. The dark countertops in this example work well because the cabinets and flooring are light, and kitchen backsplash has warm, light to medium tones. If the flooring were dark, the countertops would look better in a lighter color.


More Galley Kitchen Design Ideas

  •  Use wall or corner mounted faucets to make room for a larger sink.
  • Use several different sources of light including: under cabinet, pendant or directional ceiling lights. Hang lights high enough to keep the visual space open.
  • Cabinets with glass doors, glass shelves, and interior lighting can help brighten the room. For kitchens without windows, line cabinets with mirrors to add extra sparkle.
  • For old buildings with radiators, make custom wood covers with venting on the top and/or sides to create clean lines and update the look.
  • Mount knives and utensils on walls saving space and making it much easier for the chef to reach them.
  • Buy or install organizers, especially slide out drawers, to make the most of the kitchen cabinet space you do have.
  • Take advantage of the many compact kitchen appliances now on the market. There is no need to sacrifice modern convenience for cabinet space.

A well designed kitchen can make your home more enjoyable and lead to a better return on investment if you decide to sell.

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