Dec 16, 2020

Smart Galley Kitchen Remodel Ideas

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No, we did not misspell “gallery-” today we’re talking all things galley kitchen! If you’re unfamiliar, a galley kitchen refers to the type of kitchen that looks kinda like a hallway. They’re characterized by a narrow walkway lined with kitchen cabinets and counters on either side. And yeah, they’re known for being on the smaller side.

If you’re the proud owner of a galley kitchen, you’re in good company. According to kitchen designer Jennifer Gilmer, about 85% of new homeowners choose to have a galley kitchen. In the age of having too much crap that you need to Marie-Kondo away, having a smaller space turns out to be pretty appealing. In a petite kitchen, there’s way less free cabinet space for all your junk. Plus, the overall kitchen area takes up much less house space than other kitchen styles would.

That space-saving aspect will also come in handy when we start to look at remodeling costs. After all, less countertop space and fewer cabinets means that you have to buy fewer countertops and cabinets in a remodel. Or, in the case that you inherited your galley kitchen, your kitchen makeover will cost way less than your friend’s probably will. 

And hey- less money spent on remodeling means you can splurge on other things! You could put that money right back into your kitchen by opting in for some nice new appliances, or save up for something fancy in another part of the house.

It’s important to note that when you remodel a galley kitchen, it’s best to work with what you’ve got. Yes, we may all dream about having a kitchen with a breakfast bar, but c’mon. A breakfast bar is not gonna fit in your bite-sized galley kitchen.

So, instead of tearing the place up, make use of what you’ve got! Here are some galley kitchen remodel ideas to give your narrow kitchen a little more umph.

Optimize Your Cabinets

A galley kitchen remodel with optimized cabinet space and combination of light and dark colors to make the space feel expansive
In a galley kitchen, space optimization is the name of the game. You can put in lazy susans and roll out shelves to make the most of your cabinet space! Plus, if you want a clean aesthetic, try lighter colors, or dark cabinets with light surroundings. Courtesy of

When it comes to remodeling your kitchen, one thing you’re gonna want to think about is how you’re using the space. After all, a galley kitchen is fairly compact, so the question becomes: where can we find extra room?

Well, one great way to use a galley kitchen’s space to your advantage is through cabinets! Cabinets are the storage space of kitchens, and your galley kitchen is no exception. The way that you utilize that storage space is going to be key to keeping your space organized and decluttered.

To optimize your cabinet space, why not revamp your cabinet interiors? In a typical cabinet with a swinging door, there tends to be a lot of unused space towards the back. That’s why we recommend installing roll-out shelves! 

Roll-out shelves are a great way to reach the back of your cabinets quickly, maximize storage space, and simplify your pantry organization. Additionally, if you’ve got a large vertical cabinet, you can optimize space even further by installing a lazy susan!

Beyond just the function of cabinets, though, you could also revamp their look. If you’re looking to repaint, there’s a lot of great options out there. Just be sure to err on the side of lighter or neutral colors. While some dark colors are ok when combined with light surroundings (like in the picture above), a total dark-on-dark aesthetic can make your kitchen feel smaller than it actually is.

Rethink Your Sink

A galley kitchen remodel with a wide, farmhouse sink
While a farmhouse sink might work out in especially large galley kitchens like this one, they may not always be your best option. When scouting sinks, make sure to take your space into consideration. Courtesy of Herringbone Kitchens.

One hidden cost of installing a new sink is countertop space. Take drop-in sinks, for example. They’re popular in DIY remodels, but they have built-in rims, meaning that they take up a surprising amount of countertop space. In a galley kitchen, that kind of surface area is precious, so be careful what kind of sink you install.

In this case, we would recommend that you install an undermount sink. They’re less popular with DIYers because they’re a bit finicky, but trust us- they’re a great investment. For starters, the sink in an undermount sink is installed underneath the countertop, meaning you don’t have to worry about losing counterspace. Plus, they’re great for easy cleanup! You can just wipe food or liquid messes directly off the countertop and into the sink.

Counters You Can Count On

A galley kitchen remodel with ample counter space
In a galley kitchen, counter space is a hot commodity. Make sure you’re using yours to your advantage, and to do it in style! Courtesy of The Architecture Designs.

Speaking of counters, why not give them a little bit of a pick-me-up while you’re at it? If you want to change the look of your countertops, remember the earlier tip about color schemes. Lighter and neutral colors will make your space feel brighter and lighter, but too many dark colors might make the space feel smaller.

Some great materials for counter remodels in a galley kitchen include light-colored granites, or else a nice, neutral butcher block!

Invest in Appliances

A galley kitchen remodel with new appliances
If you want your galley kitchen to feel brand-new, why not go in for an upgrade? Switching your old appliances for new ones is a great way to update your kitchen without tearing down any walls. Courtesy of

Well, that just leaves one thing. Is your kitchen functioning the way you want it to? Does your oven actually close, or do you have to prop a chair against it to hold it shut? 

As we mentioned earlier, one of the great things about a galley kitchen remodel is that it’s fairly inexpensive. So, why not splurge on your appliances? Nothing makes a space feel new like new technology, and chances are, your appliances have been there for a while. 

When it comes to upgrading appliances, it’s all about function. You’ll want to have a hard think about your fridge, stove/oven, dishwasher, and microwave. Are they meeting your standards? Or are they just ok? If you answered the latter, then go hog wild! You’ll probably need to make sure that your new appliance fits in the same space as the old one, of course. However, once that’s all squared away, you can get anything you like! 

If you’re looking for a real upgrade, the very best is a great place to start when looking for large kitchen appliances. Or, if you want less traditional appliances, you could get fancy and go in for a smart fridge, or even a voice-controlled microwave!

So what are you waiting for? With these tips, you’re sure to accomplish the space-saving kitchen of your dreams. We hope that you have fun remodeling, and that your galley kitchen becomes as fun to cook in as it is to look at!

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