How Do You Modernize a Galley Kitchen?


Small kitchen makeovers can be tricky. If you have a galley kitchen, for example, and you wish to remodel it, coming up with options that allow it be both efficient and space-saving can take some thought. But if you’re excited about making changes, here are some ideas to get your started. But first…

How Do You Modernize a Galley Kitchen?

What’s a galley kitchen?

A galley kitchen gets its name from a galley on a ship, where you would find this particular layout. It’s a long, narrow kitchen that looks like a hallway. One or both sides can be lined with cabinets. Often, the appliances (dishwasher, stove, and refrigerator) are all on one side but could be on either.

You’ll find them in some smaller homes likes condos or apartments, but they were also popular in houses built prior to the 1960s. They were thought to be space-saving and well-organized because everything was close together in one place. But as the average home grew in size, so did kitchens. These days, the galley kitchen is less common.

However, if you have one and are looking for ways to remodel and make the kitchen look and feel larger, consider these options for renovation.


Lighten it up

The biggest complaint about galley kitchens is that they tend to be quite dark. That’s because everything is rather close together with little room for natural light. So, you’ll need to be clever in order to fix that so that it IS lighter or, at least, seems lighter.

Obviously, adding windows would be ideal so if you have room to do that, talk to a contractor about making that happen. In addition, if there’s a door from the kitchen to the exterior, make sure it’s not just a solid door with no windows. Make it a door with lots of glass and little wood so that you get maximum light.

Paint can help, too. If you paint your walls in a space-enhancing color – generally a light, neutral color – your galley kitchen will certainly feel larger. If you don’t like white or off-white, consider a light gray, which is quite popular these days, or a pastel color.

If natural light remains a problem, talk to a lighting expert about choosing lights that can help brighten your food preparation areas and that add a “natural” rather than an artificial look.


Choose cabinetry with clean lines

In a narrow galley kitchen, you don’t want to have cabinets with a lot of “gingerbread” on them, so to speak. Something with clean lines, like flat door fronts without panels, is ideal. This not only makes your kitchen look larger but also more contemporary and up to date.

Flat-panel cabinets are available in a wide variety of colors and materials. Again, if you opt for something light, your kitchen will look larger. Consider white, off-white, or gray. If you want to mix it up a bit, you could choose gray cabinets for the bottom and white for the top or vice versa. It’ll still “open up” the kitchen, but you’ll be adding a little variety that’s quite interesting to the eye.

Another option is cabinets with glass doors. These will reflect any light that’s in the room. This way, it not only appears brighter but actually IS brighter in the room. The glass cabinets also give you the opportunity to display some of your loveliest bowls, dishes, and other pieces.

Open shelving could help as well. The less wood you have in your galley kitchen, the more open and bright it’ll appear.

You’ll want to keep your hardware simple as well. Narrow pull knobs in your favorite metal finish are ideal. These can be used on both doors and drawers.


Keep flooring understated

Light-colored, non-patterned floors are generally the right choice for narrow galley kitchens. Patterns, like those you’d find on ceramic or vinyl tile, will make the room look closed in. A more suitable option is a vertical planked floor, either in hardwood or a durable laminate. It’s easy to install and matches just about anything. And because your galley kitchen is small, even a hardwood floor won’t cost an arm and a leg.

The experts at Mr. Cabinet Care have plenty of experience enhancing old galley kitchens to make them look more modern and up to date. We have ideas to share with you that will help you take your galley kitchen from dark and uninviting to light-hearted and user-friendly. For more ideas, log onto or call us to schedule a consultation with one of our kitchen remodeling professionals.

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