17 February 2022
The galley kitchen is a tried and tested, ever-popular layout suited to small apartments and houses. However, you don’t have to have a small space to benefit from the galley kitchen configuration. It can also be used in large kitchens or open plan layouts. This article explores the pros and cons of galley kitchens and the various ways to make the best of their potential.
✏ Table of contents
The galley kitchen describes a configuration that features two linear stretches of appliances, cabinets and worktops facing one another. Essentially, forming a corridor that must be wide enough for cabinet and appliance doors to open freely. That’s why the galley kitchen is sometimes called a ‘corridor’ kitchen.
Typically, there is access at either end of the galley kitchen, rather than a wall or other obstacle at one end. The only exception would be a window to an external wall providing natural light.
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The word ‘galley’ refers to the kitchens of historical ships used for trading and warfare. Today, the term encompasses the kitchens of aeroplanes and trains; any compromised space where food is prepared. Given that, traditionally, and today in contemporary restaurants, the galley kitchen caters for scores of people, its design must be optimum.
The room we know today as the kitchen first became popular in UK houses during the first decades of the 20th Century. Resembling the pantries or sculleries of larger, grander houses, but planned around a single person with mod cons like running water and gas cookers. The kitchen layout we know today emerged around the 1950s, with the introduction of the fridge freezer.
The average size of the UK home is just under 729 sq. ft. (68 sq.m.), smaller than the average European home, so being clever with the use of space is key to home décor.
The galley kitchen is typically a separate room, but it can be incorporated into a larger space. It’s all about careful planning and efficiency in the galley kitchen. Doing more with less is what efficient design entails.
The contemporary kitchen is based on the work triangle, the relationship between cooking, cleaning and storing food. In other words: the space between the hob, the sink and the fridge. This concept is reflected in the galley kitchen, which perfectly satisfies this layout.
As the number of people per household continues to decline in the UK, the galley kitchen has increased in popularity. More and more people are either living alone or in smaller family units. The traditional galley kitchen is the best choice for single occupancy or smaller households. But what are its pros and cons?
|☑ Pros||☒ Cons|
|#01 Most efficient kitchen layout||#01 Specific home layout is required|
|#02 The work triangle can be easily achieved||#02 It can be claustrophobic|
|#03 Everything is within reach||#03 There is less available storage space|
|#04 Plenty of counter space||#04 It can easily feel crowded|
|#5 Considerable cost savings|
The galley kitchen does not have to be entirely enclosed within two facing walls. The layout can also be achieved using a half wall or an island within an open plan area. Storage is more restricted, but the space feels less claustrophobic. Although only one side of the kitchen will have wall cabinets, sufficient storage can be achieved with floor-to-ceiling pantry units and clever planning. Here are a few more suggestions to help you make the most of your galley kitchen.
The ‘holy grail’ with the galley kitchen is to make it look and feel larger. This can be done on a restricted budget in a variety of ways.
There’s no need to compromise on kitchen décor with the galley layout. The following ideas will help you create a stylish and practical working kitchen:
With an island layout, you can benefit from all the advantages of the galley kitchen without the claustrophobia. Storage and high-level appliances are arranged against the back wall.
The important working triangle relationship is maintained however, which is highly efficient in use. Meanwhile, the island provides a sense of openness and doubles as a breakfast bar or informal dining area, with stools for seating.
Depending on the floor plan configuration, the galley kitchen meets all of the requirements of a contemporary kitchen while taking up the least amount of space. In practice, the galley kitchen is best suited for small households and two-story homes (or duplexes) with limited floor space.
The minimum distance between base cabinets is 3 ft (or 90 cm). However, if the kitchen is used by more than one person, a width of 4 to 5 feet is recommended (120 cm - 150 cm). This allows for a better flow and working conditions.
The following are the five most common kitchen layouts:
A neutral, bright and reflective colour scheme will help compensate for the reduced size of the galley kitchen dimensions. The cabinets, walls and worktop colour palette contributes to the sense of space. Choose a light-coloured stone or composite to reflect as much light back into the space as possible from the worktop.
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1. E6.70 Roble Alba, E3.70 Gris Carbono Gosh
2. E7.90 Roble Cuero, E4.90 Limo Mate