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Kitchens Jun 22, 2024

Top 5 kitchen cabinet ideas for galley kitchen


The galley layout is usually a narrow, long kitchen with two rows of cabinet units on both sides. The corridor runs down the middle. The galley kitchen can be open on both sides or closed by a wall or pantry. With their narrow layout, galley kitchens often require careful planning and smart design choices to maximize space and functionality. This space-saving and lucrative layout is popular in many homes due to its efficiency and practicality. A galley kitchen can feel quite spacious with large windows and wise lighting choices. Thoughtful wall colours, glass reflective backsplash and slim hardware will make it airy and comfortable. And numerous cabinet ideas can further enhance the functionality and aesthetics of your galley kitchen.

Optimize your galley kitchen layout with shallow cabinets

To avoid a crowded, long space, it’s best to carefully plan where you will place your cabinets and cupboards. You should have enough space to store your essentials and move around comfortably. Shallow-depth kitchen cabinets are perfect for achieving this balance, offering storage without encroaching on valuable space. Here are some ways to optimize your galley kitchen layout with shallow cabinets:

  1. Use shallow wall kitchen cabinets to maintain an open feel in the kitchen. Many design magazines offer open shelves to save openness in the galley kitchen but this is not the only option. Installing shallow kitchen cupboards can help keep your countertops clear and free of clutter even if the room for top cabinets is limited. You can even upgrade their storage capacity by extending the overhead wall cabinets close to the ceiling.
  2. Put your pantry cabinets and fridge to one side. It is not necessary to have each wall perfectly mirror the other, consider placing tall, long cabinets along one wall, leaving the space on the opposite side for sink and shallow dish cabinets. This will allow you to feel as if the units don’t tower over you. 
  3. Incorporate shallow kitchen base cabinets on one side of the galley kitchen. While a full-depth 24-inch countertop is mounted on one side of the galley you may want to reduce the depth of the opposite row to 18 or fewer inches. This bench with shallow bottom cabinets may act as a breakfast bar or an additional worktop. Shallow base kitchen cabinets are a great option for narrow kitchens, offering storage at a lower level while still allowing ample floor space. These cabinets can house pots, pans, and other kitchen essentials without intruding into the walking area.
  4. Choose narrow kitchen cabinets for small spaces. Narrow pull-out drawers are specifically designed for small spaces, such as next to a fridge. They can be used in areas where standard-sized cabinets would be too bulky, ensuring every inch of your kitchen is utilized effectively. A narrow pull-out fits into tight spaces, provides extra storage where you thought none could exist, and helps maintain a sleek kitchen design.
  5. Look for hidden storage options. Hidden storage such as pull-out racks, corner cabinet carousels, and built-in organizers, can significantly increase your storage capacity without taking up additional cabinets. These clever solutions help keep your kitchen tidy and ensure that every inch of your galley kitchen is used efficiently.

Cabinet measurements and sizes for narrow kitchens

If you want to ensure that your galley kitchen is efficient and flows well, make the counters at least 7-12 ft in length with minimum 3 ft between parallel rows. If it is shared by several cooks then aim for 4-5 ft width.

The standard size for an undercounter cabinet is 24 inches, but there are also reduced depth cabinets available, which is 18 inches. The reason base cabinets don’t go deeper than 24’’ is that they are difficult to access. The deeper the cabinet, the harder it is to reach items at the rear.

Usually, kitchen wall cabinets come in either a depth of 12 to 18 inches. For a narrow galley kitchen choose 12’’ shallow cabinets with glossy finish or glass cabinet doors. Upper cabinet height will differ depending on space available. As they will need to be placed 18 inches above the counters, you should choose your kitchen wall cabinets after you’ve chosen base cabinets and countertops. The cabinet that hangs above a kitchen sink should be 24 to 36 inches high.

For pantry cabinets that hold canned goods and dry food, the depth of 12-15″ is appropriate. The 24-inch deep pantry is perfect for small appliances like blender, mixer, toaster, kettler etc.

When a homeowner wants to reface existing cabinets because of cosmetic reasons, or replace them with a similar cabinet layout, it’s usually enough to measure the length, depth and height dimensions of existing cabinets from the outside. 

How to make a galley kitchen look wider

Bright kitchen design

One effective strategy for saving space while meeting all your needs is selecting smaller appliances, like slim refrigerators, compact dishwashers and narrow stovetops that integrate smoothly into your kitchen’s layout without disrupting its essential work triangle of sink, stove and refrigerator.

To create an airy feeling in your kitchen, opt for light colours on your cabinets, walls and countertops. Soft blue or eggshell white hues reflect more light, giving the illusion of more space. Furthermore, installing task lighting beneath cabinets will illuminate food preparation areas further adding to this sense of space.

Keeping the pathways clear between work areas is crucial for easy movement in a galley kitchen. Wide and free aisle ensures that you can navigate through your kitchen without any obstacles, making it feel more spacious and functional.

Natural light plays a significant role in making a kitchen feel open and connected to the outdoors. Maximize the natural light that enters your kitchen by keeping windows uncovered. This allows the most light to penetrate the room, creating a bright and inviting atmosphere.

Organization is key when it comes to galley kitchens. By keeping everything tidy and well-organized, your galley will feel more spacious. Drawer dividers can help separate cutlery and utensils for easier searching; hanging racks/hooks provide convenient storage solutions for pots/pans/utensils for fast and convenient access, freeing up counter space. By following these ideas, you can maximize the potential of your galley kitchen layout and ensure it meets both functional and aesthetic considerations.

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