Your kitchen is the place where you spend all of your time preparing and cooking food for yourself and your family, so it is important to have a kitchen that is comfortable, offers all of the correct equipment and appliances, and, ideally, is designed to minimize the time it takes for reaching and searching. This is where the galley kitchen comes in. A galley kitchen is one that is long and narrow, with counters/working space on opposite sides and a central walkway between them. They are designed not only for the most efficient use of thin kitchen spaces, but also for ergonomics. When working in the kitchen, you typically have what is called a “working triangle”. A working triangle is the space most commonly utilized between the most-used appliances: the refrigerator, sink, and range/oven. What the galley kitchen does is reduce the area of the working triangle. While the galley kitchen is definitely not designed with open floor plans, large kitchens, or multiple cooks in mind, they certainly have many benefits when they are taken advantage of. Benefits include: custom designs, saving space and money, easy accessibility, and large amounts of cabinet space.
It may not seem like it, but galley kitchens are customizable. Counter space in a galley kitchen can be as long as you want or your kitchen space allows, but its width should ideally be between 7 and 12 feet with a minimum of 3 feet (preferably 4 to 5 feet) between countertops. Some kitchens are just naturally wide. If you desire to transform a larger kitchen into a galley kitchen, a U-shape layout can be used. This layout makes a U-shape out of the counter space in order to make the working corridor and triangle smaller by running counters parallel to each other.
Unfortunately, U-shaped kitchens often do not have as much cabinet space because there is no wall for attachment. Short galley kitchens may have less counter space, but all of the necessary appliances within the working area. Long galley kitchens may be divided into different working areas. For instance, the prep area may include the refrigerator, sink, and a lot of counter space for chopping, mixing, and other activities, while the cooking area may include the range/oven, counter space for plating and finishing touches, cabinets with dishware, and perhaps even a dishwasher. Cabinets can be designed all the way up to the ceiling or as low to the counter as desired, though the former gives the kitchen an imposing feel and the latter might make you unable to store small appliances on the counter. You can also choose to include a window in the kitchen or not. While windows add fantastic natural lighting, they reduce storage space.
Saving Space and Money
Obviously the galley kitchen is a huge space-saver in the home. While a small home or apartment may utilize this kitchen design out of necessity, a larger home benefits equally by saving space that can be used for other rooms, perhaps being able to allocate more space to a dining room. All appliances will be located within the central kitchen area, which opens space that might have otherwise been for a large refrigerator. Cabinets are designed to take full advantage of vertical space in the kitchen for plenty of storage space. In addition, roll-out cabinets and/or lazy-susans can even further improve look of cleanliness by maximizing usage of available space, making the kitchen feel larger than it actually is.
Saving money might also be an incentive to have a galley kitchen. While there may be long expanses of counter space, there are no islands or large surface areas requiring counters. This is especially rewarding if you plan on having a more pricey design that features granite countertops. In addition, the cabinets will be in a row, making it possible to use stock cabinets instead of ones with custom shapes.
With all appliances factored into the kitchen design and layout, the galley kitchen makes everything accessible within the work triangle. Walking from appliance to appliance or from counter to appliance while doing food prep can be a huge time waster, which is what the galley kitchen aims to reduce.
One limitation of many kitchen designs is availability of counter space. Galley kitchens can offer long expanses of counter spaces which are not only practical, but also look nice. A combination of a lot of cabinet space and long countertops means that your kitchen will be less cluttered. The small work area and ease of accessibility gives an added benefit of easy-to-clean countertops!
Whether you are looking for a new home or re-designing the kitchen of a current home, the galley kitchen is always a classic choice for people who spend a lot of time in the kitchen.