Galley kitchen ideas: 14 stylish looks to inspire a makeover

These galley kitchen ideas prove that small spaces can still be big on style...

Galley kitchen ideas
(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

Looking for galley kitchen ideas? We get that even this popular kitchen design isn't always the simplest to create – whether you've got a big or small kitchen space – so you've come to the right place for advice and inspiration. 

Our round up of stylish galley kitchen ideas will show you how to make the most of this type of kitchen space, without compromising on style. Covering everything from layout ideas, storage solutions and tips on making your space seem larger, to lighting and incorporating interiors trends to suit your personality, keep scrolling ahead of your galley kitchen overhaul to make it a success.

Find more kitchen ideas on our ultimate guide. 

How do you arrange a galley kitchen?

Kitchen wallpaper ideas

(Image credit: Little Green)

The best layout for a galley kitchen will depend on how much space you have. If you have a bigger area to work with you could include a breakfast bar or a wall hung table, while if you're working with a small space, you'll have to be more creative and incorporate pull out tables and fold up chairs too. We take a look below at different galley kitchen layout ideas so check it out and match our suggestions to your space for a successful turnout. 

1. Make easy updates to your existing galley kitchen

small galley kitchen with white and pink scheme and monochrome feature wall by tile mountain

(Image credit: Tile Mountain )

Whether you're a renter looking to make landlord-friendly alterations, or a homeowner seeking affordable solutions for a tired galley kitchen, creating the kitchen of your dreams could be as simple as a lick of paint.

From bright, happiness-inducing shades, to moody and atmospheric interiors, painting is the easiest way to incorporate trends. Don't let the idea of DIYing put you off, either, as our handy guide to painting kitchen cabinets will talk you through the steps. 

We love the millennial feel of this pop of pink in this galley kitchen, especially when paired with a statement piece of monochrome artwork.

2. Make the most of natural light

white galley kitchen with tiled flooring and large windows by magnet

(Image credit: Magnet)

Looking for space-stretching galley kitchen design ideas? Creating a focal point at the end of a galley kitchen is a powerful design tool that draws the eye, making a small space feel longer and larger. 

This trick is particularly effective if you're fortunate enough to have windows at the end of your galley kitchen, as natural light is also helpful in creating the illusion of space. Pair with white and light wood kitchen furniture to complete the look. 

Remember what we said about focal points in galley kitchens? Creating a gallery wall at one end of your kitchen – particularly if it's the wall you see when entering the kitchen – is an effective means of achieving this elongating effect.

We'd recommend browsing sites such as Desenio, Etsy or Society 6  for prints and picking up frames from Ikea – the Ribba Frame is an affordable favorite. 

Inspired by this kitchen? Take a look at these quirky gallery wall ideas and recreate your own. 

4. Be creative with a dining space in a galley kitchen

Kitchen by B&Q

(Image credit: B&Q)

Working out clever ways to include even a pull-out or fold-up table without sacrificing tons of floor space will be a real bonus. After all, if you've got a small galley kitchen, it's unlikely you've got a great big dining room, too. So, work with your kitchen designer to include a breakfast bar or a wall hung table – or one that can pull out from under a work surface, and pick chairs that fold up too, so you can have floor space when you need it and dining space when you need it, too.

5. Choose sleek cabinets (with plenty of storage potential) for a contemporary feel

galley kitchen with white and grey scheme and light wood cabinets by wren kitchens

(Image credit: Wren Kitchens)

Opting for kitchen cabinets with a sleek finish is a great option if you're keen to design a galley kitchen that has a distinctly contemporary, yet compact feeling.

When designing your galley kitchen, plan the storage you'll need with precision, and bear in mind that open shelves will keep everything to hand but need to be kept neat; that deep drawers are better than base cabinets for maximizing space; and that wall cabinets should be as shallow as possible if your kitchen isn't to feel too narrow.

Specially designed corner units are an especially useful addition, allowing you to make use of space that might otherwise have been wasted. Speak to your kitchen designer about space-saving features during the early stages of design and development. If you need any more advice on what to ask a kitchen designer then have a read of our guide. 

6. Make the most of high ceilings

kitchen with white cabinets and wooden tops by dar lighting group

(Image credit: dar lighting group)

They're characteristically short on floor space, so galley kitchen designs that maximize the height potential of a room are a real bonus.

If you're worried about ceiling high cabinets making your kitchen feel small and boxed in, we'd recommend opting for a crisp white finish. White is space enhancing and timeless (meaning you won't go off it as soon interiors trends change). Pair with woods and a stripped back brick wall or metro tile design for a sophisticated, Scandi finish. You can actually create an exposed brick wall yourself, just follow our step-by-step guide.

7. Incorporate dark shades without overwhelming your space

While it's true that the easiest way to create the illusion of space in a small, galley kitchen is to opt for an all-white kitchen scheme, this doesn't mean you have to shy away from darker shades entirely. So, fear not, lovers of the dark and atmospheric kitchens trend, it's not entirely off limits.

Kitchen cabinets with a darker finish – we love the idea of a deep, inky blue – along with black, aluminum frame windows and dark wood accessories successfully hint at a moodier feeling interior style without overwhelming a small space.

For more black kitchen ideas check out our full gallery. 

8. Or go for an all over white scheme 

small shaker style kitchen with arger and white colour scheme

(Image credit: deVOL)

And if you want to keep everything light and bright in a galley kitchen, a totally white scheme can look really stylish. Also it's clearly making this small space look so much bigger. If you want to break up all the white, mix in some glass fronted cabinets too and add some contrast with your choice of flooring.

If you love this kitchen as much as us, check out our white kitchen ideas gallery. 

9. Use accessories to inject colour into a space

galley kitchen with white scheme and black counter tops and red blind by english blinds

(Image credit: English Blinds)

Another way to inject color and create a space-enhancing focal point (there's that design trick again) is to choose a brightly colored blind which will offset an otherwise monochrome scheme and add interest to the kitchen.  We have loads more practical (and of course beautiful) kitchen window ideas in our gallery so check those out too. 

10. Add interest with patterned tiles

Tile patterns on the wall, or floor, are a great option for incorporating color and character into a galley kitchen, especially when they're used in small quantities. This gorgeous, light blue kitchen maximizes space with ceiling high cabinetry and proves that galley kitchens can be a haven for color. 

11. Prioritise storage solutions in galley kitchens

Keeping the surfaces of a galley kitchen clear is vital as clutter makes a space appear smaller. You'll also want to prioritize maximizing surface space for food preparation. This means choosing the best small kitchen storage solutions. In addition to space for storing crockery, cutlery and the dreaded Tupperware, you'll also need space to stow away the coffee machines and food processors that have the tendency to be left on display in larger kitchens. 

Be sure to check our more small kitchen storage ideas in our guide too. 

12. Choose open shelving to enhance your space

galley kitchen with white cupboards and wooden surfaces by wearth london

(Image credit: Wearth London)

Open shelving is a great kitchen storage alternative that works well in a galley kitchen. In addition to costing less, overall, than kitchen cabinetry, open shelving also allows for a more relaxed, unfitted finish.

Opting for a darker shade of paint, or tiles, behind the shelves is a great way to add interest and dimension to a space, without overwhelming it. Style shelves with only the prettiest pieces from your kitchenware collection. What's more these sort of galley kitchen design ideas don't eat up a lot of budget.

13. Up the interest with different materials and textures 

Incorporating different textures – think a combination of wood, stone, concrete and glass – is a great galley kitchen idea as it creates interest and detracts from the size of a space. 

We love the use of dark woods, light stones and glass that make this galley kitchen feel dynamic, well designed and, ultimately, more spacious. The addition of a small, one-seater bench makes for a great dining table solution if you live alone. 

14. Choose the right sized tiles for your space

When designing a small, galley kitchen, it's important to remember that the size of the tiles you choose can make a big difference to the finish of a space.

As our handy guide to choosing the right tiles for a small kitchen explains, opting for glossy, metallic or mother-of-pearl finish tiles will enhance a space by reflecting light and giving a grander sense of proportions. 

Looking for more small kitchen design inspiration?