When you live in a city, galley kitchens are a reality. They’re everywhere. If you don’t have one, one of your friends probably does.
Galley kitchens present a unique set of challenges because of their limited space and aisle-style layout. This can make using the space a huge pain, especially if the original layout isn’t conducive to cooking with ease.
A galley kitchen doesn’t have to be your nightmare kitchen. With proper workflow and the right design, it could become the kitchen of your dreams.
We talked to our designer Wael Bakr about design solutions for your galley kitchens. Wael has been with Laurysen for 6 years, and has designed many beautiful, functional galley kitchens in that time.
Galley Kitchens Are Not a Design Choice
Not many people choose a galley kitchen on their own. “It’s the architects. Galley kitchens are often built in smaller homes and apartments,” Wael explains. The kitchen works in the space, but not so much for the people who end up living there.
When people come to him asking him to design a galley kitchen, it’s because they already have one that doesn’t work. We’re betting that sounds familiar.
The Biggest Complaint? The Lack of Storage
So what’s the biggest complaint people have about their galley kitchens? “It does depend on the family, but the amount of storage space is the number one complaint,” Wael says.
The constricting space means that your storage options are limited. For people who have a lot of cookware, a galley kitchen often won’t have the room for it.
Another complaint Wael has heard a lot is about the working triangle – or rather, the non-functioning triangle. “For many people, the working triangle (the layout of the sink, stove and fridge) doesn’t work.”
Design Solutions for Your Galley Kitchen
Wael has some go-to design solutions to make your galley kitchen not only functional, but fun to use.
1. Always Look at Layout First
Wael always starts with the layout of any kitchen, particularly when it comes to the working triangle. The sink, stove, and fridge are the core of your kitchen, and it’s important to determine if they’re staying or going somewhere else.
“I always try to have a minimum of 3 feet between the stove and the sink for preparation,” Wael says. “Depending on the size of the space, these dimensions can be adjusted.”
The stove should also be close to the serving area, and the fridge close to the sink. This gives you a more seamless transition between collecting, prepping, cooking, and serving.
Play with Placement
“The galley kitchen is excellent for what I call one-chef kitchens,” Wael explains. “If there is one person in the family who does the cooking, than they can move from station to station with no interference.”
If your family has a host of culinary fanatics, or even if the chef just needs a little help with prep, a galley kitchen can propose some problems. “Multiple chefs will be bumping into each other,” Wael says, explaining that in a galley kitchen, there’s a lot of back and forth.
To compensate for the extra people in the restricted space, Wael recommends scattering the appliances further apart. Arranging your appliances for the space will let everyone have a little more room to negotiate.
2. Go Vertical with Your Storage
Once the layout has been determined, Wael recommends going vertical with your storage. “We’ll go all the way to the ceiling,” he explains.
With only two walls to work with, you have to make the most out of all the available space. You may need a step stool to reach the very top, but you’ll be able to keep all of your kitchen gadgets and cooking utensils in your kitchen.
Design Tip: Use organizational tools and accessories to keep your kitchen as efficient as possible.
3. Go Horizontal
If you can’t – or already have – gone up, then go out. That’s one big benefit when it comes to a conventional open-ended galley kitchen. “It gives you the opportunity to expand,” Wael explains. “You aren’t limited by the room.”
Extend your kitchen into the rooms it joins up with to give yourself the extra room you need. This could be adding more cabinets and drawers, or even just a little extra surface to work with.
“I’ve extended countertops, and added a leg for support, to create a breakfast nook where 2 or 3 people can sit. It compensates for an island, and creates a dining area,” Wael says.
We’ll Design a Galley Kitchen That Works
Whether it’s in galley, L-shape, or U-shape form, a kitchen is only as good as it’s design. “Every space has its own charm and its own challenges,” Wael says.
“Families and kitchens are very unique. Every design is a custom design,” he adds. Wael, and our other designers, take the time to custom create a kitchen design that will do what you need.
Come to us with your galley kitchen problems, and we’ll give you design solutions.