How to make a gallery kitchen appear bigger

A gallery kitchen, or galley kitchen as it is often called, is a type of kitchen which was originally found on ships and planes where space is of a premium, and the long narrow shape was the only possible design. The narrow space where slaves and criminals who worked the oars of ships were chained is also called a galley.

These days, many homes are built with galley kitchens to save space. However, there is no doubt that this style of kitchen can be cramped. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to maximise the space of a galley kitchen, so they not only look super stylish but provide a convenient space to prepare meals and socialise.

Improve the lighting

One way to give the illusion of more space in a gallery-style kitchen is to improve the lighting.

If, for example, there is a door that leads on to a garden or balcony, fitting glass into the door will let in daylight and create a sense of greater space.

Similarly, if there is a skylight or windows in the galley, be sure to make optimum use of the light they provide by avoiding cluttering the glass with curtains, blinds and other objects.

If your galley lacks sources of natural light, check that the artificial lighting is sufficiently bright for safety, while avoiding being uncomfortably harsh or dazzling.

Use white to bring brightness and create the feeling of space  

Use as much white colour as is possible in a galley kitchen to reflect the light and create a feeling of more space. If possible, swap dark kitchen surfaces with worktops boasting lighter tones, and paint walls and even the ceiling in white to brighten up the space and make it feel and look bigger.

Add open shelving

Introducing open shelving into a kitchen that is sparse on space is another sure-fire way to improve the look and functionality. Closed cabinets can make a small kitchen feel dark and slightly claustrophobic. Replacing them with stylish open shelving will make the space feel significantly more open, light and, importantly, bigger.

By the same token, make use of any free wall space by using metal racks, hooks and so on, to hang pots and pans.

Add some spice to the flooring

Plain flooring is often the preferred type of flooring in a gallery-style kitchen. However, being bold with pattern on the floor can be a creative and imaginative way to bring some panache to a gallery kitchen that’s void of ample space.

Mixing and matching small and large patterns on the flooring can be an effective way to spruce up and a small, narrow kitchen, as can playing with darker and lighter colours to help draw the eyes to the whole of the kitchen and create the impression of greater space.

To help make the most of a kitchen space, no matter what size it is or style you are wanting, working with an experienced and qualified interior designer can be a sensible move to help make the most of what is arguably the most important room in a house.

Jonathan Caplan

About the author

Jonathan Caplan

I co-founded New ID Living with my brother, Daniel and over the years we have developed and expanded the business together including the purchase of a flooring company...
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