Galley kitchens: the curse of the city-dweller. Sure, these function-over-form workhorses might've been just fine back in the day, but in a post-prewar world, we're used to using the kitchen for socializing as much as for prepping meals—which can make these appliance-lined hallways a bit of a sticking point when apartment hunting.
But with great space challenges comes great opportunity for stylish solutions. We've spotted more than a few galley kitchens that have us reconsidering our previously dismissive stance. And while some are little more than a SMEG refrigerator wide, the occupants have managed to cram more than their square footage's share of style into these hardworking nooks. From luxe textiles to high-shine hardware, they're every bit as Pinterest-worthy as kitchens two or three times their size—and that's a feat worth celebrating.
Click through to see our favorite clever configurations for galley kitchens.
Just when we thought we were over the subway tile trend, this switch-up made us reconsider. Instead of the classic white subway tile with grey grout, this appealing colorblocked kitchen turns the timeless design on its head, using grey subway tile and white grout instead. And just like that, we're back on board with this look.
Light & Airy
Blame it on our recent all-green-everything kick, but there's something so light and refreshing looking about these ultra-pale sage green cabinets in an otherwise all-white space.
Galley kitchens can present some challenges because of their limited footprint, but they can offer some unique opportunities too—like using the distinct countertops to your advantage. This designer paired one butcher-block countertop with a stainless steel surround by the sink—two textures that create a unique (and functional) mirror image.
Orange you glad this kitchen isn't boring? Painting the interior of the glass-fronted cabinets in a bright, eye-popping shade might just be our new favorite kitchen remodeling trick—and if it encourages you to take the look to the next level with coordinating wallpaper, so be it.
Proof that any galley kitchen can look Instagram-ready if you know how to style it. Replacing standard-issue floor mats with luxe Moroccan textiles is a quick ticket to worldly, boho-beautiful vibes. (Want to embrace an even more eclectic look? Pair two similar-width rugs for a budget-friendly option that's jungalow-approved.)
When counter space is at a premium, it's time to think creatively. Hooks are a galley kitchen owner's best friends, and we love the pulled-together, polished look of an adaptable multi-hook system like this one—it's so much more refined than individual ones scattered about.
Star Light, Star Bright
When there's not much space to move, use every chance you can to draw the eye upward. While you might not be able to add a vaulted ceiling in your rental apartment (sorry, guys!), a unique light fixture (or three!) can go a long way toward making the space feel more open.
Cabinet of Curiosity
Not enough upper cabinets in your space? Rather than heading to the hardware store for some standard-issue options, forage at flea markets for unique vintage finds or pieces of furniture to repurpose. (We think this wall-mounted glass-front cabinet looks way cooler than anything you'd find in a custom cabinetry catalogue, tbh.)