A Complete Guide to the Pros and Cons of Galley Kitchens

June 12, 2024 | Andray Shcherban
modern galley white kitchen

Galley kitchens have been around for a long time.

The first designs appeared in the early 20th century. They were inspired by the culinary efficiency of railway cars, and this concept is still relevant today.

It’s a versatile layout that can be updated to suit any architectural style, and while they’re usually associated with smaller houses and apartments, galley kitchens can work in homes of all sizes!

If you’re planning to build or remodel a galley kitchen, pros and cons are an important consideration. Being aware of the benefits and drawbacks can help you decide if this layout is right for you and avoid common mistakes.

What is a Galley Kitchen?

galley kitchen with wooden cabinets

The term “galley kitchen” refers to a layout that has two parallel walls lined with countertops, cabinets, and appliances.

This floor plan creates an elongated working space in which every area of the kitchen is easily accessible. Ideal for smaller spaces, this popular kitchen type can serve as a walkway between areas of the home or as an enclosed area with three walls.

As with any layout, galley kitchens come with their own unique set of pros and cons. While this style may be perfect for some homeowners, others may find that the drawbacks outweigh the benefits.

Pros of Galley Kitchens

galley kitchen with lots of appliances and wooden cabinets

1. They’re functional and efficient.

You can adorn your new space with the most beautiful custom features and finishes.

But what good is a kitchen remodel if it isn’t also practical? Galley kitchens are known for their functionality and convenience. In a traditional galley kitchen, everything is easy to reach and accessible for people of all ages and abilities.

Because of the simplicity of the design, a galley kitchen is also pretty versatile. This floor plan gives you lots of freedom in terms of where you put appliances, storage, countertops, and other features.

2. They’re great for small spaces.

A galley kitchen can add value to a home of any size and style. But the layout is especially helpful in small spaces. If you live in a smaller house or condo, choosing a galley layout for your kitchen remodel helps you maximize the space you have.

Worried a galley floor plan will make your space feel more cramped? You can solve this issue by creating an open-concept galley kitchen. Simply replace one of the traditional “walls” in your kitchen with a peninsula, and open up the space!

3. They’re cost-effective to build and remodel.

Because galley kitchens are generally small, they tend to come with a lower price tag than other layouts. Kitchen countertops, cabinets, and flooring are usually a big portion of a remodeling budget. The smaller footprint of a galley kitchen helps cut down on these costs, freeing up more of your funds for appliances and decor.

Of course, although it can save you money on a remodel, having less space can also be a major drawback for some homeowners.

4. They offer extra privacy and separation.

Some people love a kitchen that’s open to the rest of the home. But there are pros and cons of an open-concept kitchen design, and many people prefer to have some separation. Traditional galley kitchens offer more noise control and privacy.

With a galley layout, guests won’t see your dirty dishes in the sink from the dining room, and you won’t have to listen to the sound of the TV when you’re trying to follow a recipe! 

A galley kitchen also gives you more design separation. In an open-concept kitchen, you have to consider the colors, patterns, shapes, and finishes in the rest of your living space. In a galley or other closed-concept kitchen, you can create a space all its own!

Cons of Galley Kitchens

white galley kitchen

1. They have limited storage space

In a compact galley kitchen, one of the biggest challenges is storage. While the design includes cabinets and cupboards, they have to share wall space with appliances and other kitchen necessities.

Because your workspace is narrower in a galley kitchen, you also don’t have the option to add a separate island like you would with an L-shaped kitchen layout.

There are a few ways to maximize storage in a galley kitchen, such as:

2. They can feel crowded.

Galley kitchens are very efficient because they allow for easy movement between workspaces.

But this can quickly become a problem when multiple cooks are involved. This layout can lead to congestion with too much foot traffic.

This is especially true for galley kitchens that are open on both ends, as guests and other household members may use the room as a walkway.

3. They tend to reduce natural light.

When it comes to galley kitchens, lighting can be a challenge. Because wall storage is so important in a corridor layout, it’s far more difficult to incorporate large windows into the space.

This limits the amount of natural light coming into the room, which can make the space feel smaller and less airy.

To make your home feel more spacious (even with a galley kitchen) opt for light, glossy paints and use reflective surfaces like mirrors to scatter light and make the room feel brighter.

4. They don’t allow for eat-in areas.

Galley kitchen layouts work best for homes with a designated dining room or eating nook.

This is because they don’t usually have enough space to add a breakfast table and chairs or an eat-in island. 

However, if you have a larger walkway in your galley kitchen and a wall lining one of the ends, adding a bench and small table can be a great way to design a galley kitchen with a breakfast area.

Ready To Start Your Galley Kitchen Remodel? Kamanski Construction Is Here To Help!

kitchen sink with stainless steel faucet

As a family-owned custom building and remodeling company, we at Kamanski Construction have worked with homeowners in South Carolina for over 30 years to give them the beautiful, functional spaces they’ve always wanted.

Whether you want to build a new kitchen or remodel an existing space, our experienced team has the knowledge and skills to give you the space of your dreams.

Contact us today to tell us about your space and find out how we can help!