How to Open Up a Galley Kitchen


28 Sep How to Open Up a Galley Kitchen

Continuous linear counter space is the key to a great kitchen; unfortunately, the galley kitchen makes achieving that goal challenging. The best way to open up your galley kitchen is the knock down some walls, but if those costs are too exorbitant to tackle at this time, here are some design strategies to open up a galley kitchen.  


  • Lighten Up – Go with lighter colors for your cabinetry, countertops, floors and backsplash. Darker finishes make a room feel cozy, but in a galley layout it can turn a bit claustrophobic. That doesn’t mean you need to go stark white with all of your finishes, but strategically mix cream finishes, bright backsplashes – whether metallic, glass, or textured, along with stainless steel appliances. The combination of lighter tones will visually exaggerate the size of the room.
  • Unique Texture – While too much texture will make an small space feel tighter, it is important to pick one element of your design to highlight. We would recommend you create visual interest with the countertops, backsplash, or the floor. Not all three – you must pick one. An awesome new product that has recently hit the market is 3D Tile. With a bit of visual movement, you can open up your small space. If you are going with glass backsplash to brighter the space, think about a countertop that has strong veins, or a flooring with creative texture. This biggest mistake people make is too much white, the impact makes the space look sterile. Texture will enhance the design.
  • Optical Illusion – Tricking yourself into thinking your kitchen is more spacious than it really is can be difficult. There are a few ways to accomplish this task. First, clear your countertops; think storage. Install some ingenious tiny house style storage, like a lazy suzan in a corner cabinet, or tall thin pantry doors with pull down drawers inside. Hide the clutter because it will feel bigger and cleaner. Second, lay your floor tile lengthwise and your backsplash vertically to create the illusion of a longer kitchen with higher ceilings. Also, mount your lower cabinets off the ground. Making sure that the cabinets are not flush with the flooring will provide visual space. These are just a few tricks of the trade.
  • Brighter is Bigger – Similar to using lighter colors to broaden the space, reflecting light effectively can also provide visual expansion. Here are some kitchen lighting ideas that should help open up your cozy galley kitchen. Run two rows of recessed lights above both sides of your upper cabinets and utilize tape light under your upper cabinets and along the toe kick of your lower cabinets. The tape light will reflect off your backsplash, counters, and flooring giving the space an airy feel.
  • Hammer Time – If you can afford a little construction, we recommend installing a pass through between your interior wall to the room beyond. If it is possible financially, but structurally you need the wall, keep two columns while installing a large opening between the two rooms. Your kitchen will immediately feel larger; especially, if you place bar stools on the other side for guests. Keep in mind, the pass through option would remove upper cabinet storage, so this option isn’t without sacrifice. Another minor construction trick only works if there is a door at one end of your galley kitchen. Widen the width of the door to the width of your kitchen. Most doors are only 30 inches, but if you remove the drywall framing of the traditional door, and widen it to mirror the width of your kitchen the space will truly expand.


While a galley kitchen layout may not be ideal, there are ways to maximize the smaller space’s potential. Don’t give up on the limited square footage, use these techniques to expand your space.