Galley Kitchen Designs

Let's jump straight in and take a look at layout options for galley kitchen designs.

The idea of this page, and others in the kitchen layout ideas section of this site is to concentrate on kitchen layout options, and save you spending hours browsing through interiors photos with different looks but similar layouts.

For all the layouts below there would be some flexibility for location of appliances.  See How to Design a Kitchen for info on placing your appliances.

This page forms part of the kitchen design layout series on house plans helper.

I’ve done up layouts for double run galley kitchens (with cabinets on both sides) and single run galley kitchens with cabinets only on one side.

Double Run Galley Kitchen Designs

A double run galley kitchen needs 42 inches (107cm) between the aisles at a minimum.  48 inches (122cm) is recommended, particularly if there’s circulation going through the kitchen – see the kitchen dimensions page for more on aisle width.

Here’s a layout which might be situated in a very narrow part of a house which is effectively a corridor – just like a galley on a ship in fact.  This arrangement is hard to live with if there’s too much circulation going through the kitchen.

Double run galley kitchenDouble run galley kitchen design

Here’s a layout that might be situated in an alcove close to the dining area.  In this set up, if there’s enough storage it can be nice to have one wall of the kitchen open to the dining area, either a peep through wall or a peninsula (effectively a galley with an island).

double run galley kitchen in an alcove
Double run galley kitchen with peninsula

In the peninsula design above there could of course be a 1½ or double width peninsula that could accommodate an eating counter.

If you have a particularly long narrow room, leaving space at the end for a table can be a great solution.

Double run galley kitchen with table

And there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have an eating bar or eating counter in a galley kitchen.

Double run galley kitchen with eating counter
Galley kitchen with a full wall of units opposite a one and a half depth counter

This is a double run galley kitchen with one wall of full height units.  Of course this means no counter space on that wall - so the one and a half depth counter space makes up for this.

Single Run Galley Kitchen Design

Single run galley kitchen cooking surface center

Single run galley kitchen design with cooking surface at center

So how do you handle the kitchen triangle in a single run galley kitchen layout?  I haven’t come across any guidelines on this but having the cooking surface in the middle seems to be the most popular arrangement.  I think this makes sense from a storage point of view.  The way I see it with the cooking surface in the center you get food out of the refrigerator and the surrounding cupboards for preparing food (with a quick dash over to the sink for washing if necessary) move on to the cooking area, the clean up happens to the other side of the cooking surface and all the crockery and cutlery can be stored around the sink and dishwasher.

You could argue that because the sink is used in both food preparation and clean up that it should be in the middle – there’s plenty of single run galley kitchens set up like this as well.

Single run galley kitchen sink centerSingle run galley kitchen design with sink at center

A single run galley kitchen may be facing a table.

Single run galley kitchen facing a table

Or facing a wall for more privacy.

Single run galley kitchen facing a wall

If you have the possibility of building a kitchen alcove into your design, you can put a little galley kitchen that's open plan with the doors open but with the ability to shield the kitchen view by pulling across the pocket doors.  In the design below there's not really enough room to work with the doors closed behind you, but you could make it deeper if this is a requirement for you.  Check out the kitchen dimensions page for more on space requirements.

Galley kitchen in an alcove with pocket doors

If there’s a little more room a run of thin shelves can be added for extra storage.

Single run galley kitchen with shelves

Read more about aisle width requirements for your galley kitchen designs.

Tiny Galley Kitchen Designs

There are several free standing ‘kitchen cupboards’ available which provide cook top, oven, refrigerator, prep area, sink and storage all in a width of just 48 inches or 1.22cm.  Now this design wouldn’t be in line with all the recommended kitchen dimensions – but if you’re tight for space there’s always room for a kitchen.

Tiny galley kitchen design
Tiny galley kitchen design 3D


The main goals of good kitchen design layout are to...

  • Have sufficient counter space.
  • Have sufficient storage.  Have a look at some different kitchen storage solutions and kitchen storage ideas.
  • Have an effective layout, including a kitchen triangle (I call it a kitchen polygon!)
  • Have the right amount of ‘preparation privacy’ for you.  That’s the amount of physical and visual privacy from the dining area and the rest of the home.

So now that we’ve had a look at all the layouts let’s discuss how these kitchens perform in relation to the kitchen design layout goals.

Counter Space

Counter space is no problem in a double run galley kitchen but can quickly become an issue in a single run arrangement.  If there's a table nearby the single run it can be used as extra counter space until it's time to sit down for the meal - in fact I find it quite relaxing to sit at the kitchen table to peel the potatoes!


Much like counter space - there is plenty of storage in a double run arrangement.  Single run galley kitchens have less storage, but then again they're likely to be in smaller homes so there will be less crockery, glassware and cutlery to store, but not necessarily less pots and pans and ovenware.  If the dining area is near by a credenza or side board can be invaluable for supplementing the storage space.

In a single run kitchen with a window there's even less storage space available.

Layout Effectiveness

The thorn in the side of many galley kitchens is that they're often necessary as a kitchen layout because there's a circulation path going through the middle.  Maybe the kitchen is in a corridor, or has full height doors at the end going out in to the garden.

Provided the circulation isn't overwhelming a double run kitchen functions very well with an effective kitchen triangle.  A single run kitchen layout is a little less effective but not as much as you might think.  In the galley kitchens that I've used, the lack of counter space has more negative impact on the layout of the kitchen than the fact that the appliances are all on one side.

Preparation Privacy

Double run kitchens by their very design tend to be private from the dining area.  For single run designs that are open to a room it's quite the opposite.  Some single run kitchen designs include full length doors or curtains that hide the kitchen almost entirely when it's not in use.

Galley Kitchen Design Observations

Here's a few images to illustrate the concepts we've been discussing and a few other observations besides.

Place your mouse over the pictures to view my comments.

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