Galley kitchens probably won’t make it to anyone’s list of dream kitchen layouts, but it can be on the top of your list if you have limited floor space to spare. In today’s post, Ritco Group, Inc. takes a look at galley kitchens and how they can be a great fit for your home.
What Are Galley Kitchens?
The name “galley kitchen” is derived from the kitchens of the same name found in ships, trains or aircraft. Galleys consist of two parallel runs of equipment separated by a corridor or aisle. In addition to allowing efficient movement between work areas, the floor space has some allowance for movement, particularly when the vehicle is at sea or in the air. In homes and small restaurants, work areas in a galley kitchen typically consist of essential work areas such as the sink, prep area, and cooktop; refrigeration is usually located at the far end. In homes and restaurants, galley kitchens typically lack a kitchen island or a banquette.
Pros of a Galley Kitchen
A galley kitchen offers benefits that make it ideal for kitchens with small footprints.
- Space efficiency. Galley kitchens make the most use of a limited space. Since the work areas are parallel to each other, overhead space can be organized into symmetrically arranged cabinetry. One can devote all or most of the countertop space to work areas without needing to accommodate odd corners.
- Comfortable flow. A typical kitchen layout would make use of the kitchen triangle, a standard layout plan where three key work areas — usually the stove, the sink and the prep area — are placed within a few paces of each other. The idea is to make kitchen work as efficient as possible by minimizing movement between any two points. In a galley kitchen, the same efficiency can be achieved with more than just three points. For example, you can arrange your galley kitchen so it’s easy to move between four or more work areas.
- Easy to clean. A galley kitchen layout is simple and does not have odd corners, which makes it easy to clean and maintain.
- Requires less lighting. A small kitchen requires fewer lighting fixtures, which allows for easier planning and potential energy savings. Natural lighting coming from the windows can also be used in full effect, especially when combined with a light color palette.
Cons of a Galley Kitchen
We have mentioned that a galley kitchen does not work in all kinds of floor plans. This means there are a few things you need to consider before you incorporate it into your kitchen remodeling plans:
- It’s mostly utilitarian. Just like its namesake, galley kitchens are not intended to entertain guests — on trains, galleys have their own car that separates them from the passengers. Unless your floor plan allows opening one side, a galley kitchen will be purely utilitarian. Having said that, a kitchen hidden from view is ideal if you need to focus or simply want to surprise your guests with your cooking.
- Limited storage. Since it has a relatively smaller footprint, a galley kitchen will have limited space for a refrigerator and pantry. If you buy supplies as often as every one or two days, this limitation may not be a problem.
- Small sink area. A large farmhouse-style sink may be at the top of your must-haves, but it may not be ideal for a galley kitchen. Instead, find a smaller sink and have it installed as an undermount to make the most of the available countertop space.
- Limited aisle width. A narrow aisle increases the risk of people bumping into each other, which can be a safety hazard if one person is carrying a hot pan or a full stock pot. A galley kitchen aisle should be wide enough to allow easy movement between work areas.
Design Factors to Consider
Once you have weighed the pros and cons of a galley kitchen, there are a few factors you should take into account when designing its layout.
- Overall layout of your home. Draw out a rough floor plan to see how a galley kitchen will work with the rest of your home. Sketch it out or render a 3D model (or have someone do them for you) to visualize it. As we mentioned above, a galley kitchen can have one side open, which is ideal for an open floor plan.
- Existing plumbing and utilities. Are there existing plumbing and gas lines in the kitchen area? Keeping close to the original plumbing is a great way to keep remodeling costs down, but don’t let it get in the way of ergonomics — improving usability, after all, is one of the reasons why people remodel in the first place. The existing plumbing may not be worth keeping, or even compromising with, if sticking to it will make the kitchen more difficult to use.
- Vertical space. Given a galley kitchen’s limited footprint, you have to make the most out of available storage space. A well-designed overhead space can help make the most use for storage. To ensure accessibility, the topmost doors should have a top hinge, ideally with an operator arm (similar to awning windows) to prevent the cabinet door from accidentally closing shut on your fingers.
- Color palette. A light color palette can temper the otherwise crowded look of a galley kitchen, and can help spread light into the room. An all-white kitchen is a great starting point, but neutrals and pastels work just as well. Use dark colors sparingly, just for accents if possible. A dark-to-medium countertop and stainless steel appliances should provide enough contrast.
- Focal point. A utilitarian kitchen would look sterile, so make sure that there is space for a focal point or two. A large piece might not be ideal, but a small framed print or something similar may be better. A small accent light can be installed to highlight the piece.
Ritco Group, Inc. is the contractor to go to, whether you have an interior remodel or a new construction in mind. Give us a call at (931) 381-0175, or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.