Galley kitchens – the best colours, storage and appliances

If you’re not blessed with a huge kitchen, it doesn’t mean you can’t be creative with the space. We’ve already shown nine fabulous galley kitchen layouts to help make the most of your room. While you’re working out the best layout option for your kitchen, or if you want an upgrade for your galley rather than a full overhaul, there are other options to consider. Here, we outline the best colours, storage and appliances for your galley kitchen.

What are the best colours for a galley kitchen?

Light or neutral colour schemes are recommended for small galley kitchens, as they help to create the illusion of space.

“If you’re looking to make a statement, try incorporating colourful accents to inject some creativity into your design,” says Jen Nash, head of design at Magnet.

“But that does not mean you cannot experiment with a darker colour palette. You can incorporate darker colours by using lighting to enhance the space. Different lighting conditions can affect how a dark shade looks in your kitchen. Natural light, artificial light, and the direction of light can all influence the perceived colour.”

How can I maximise storage in a galley kitchen?

For a functional kitchen that lacks space, creating storage can seem like a challenge. However, there are always plenty of storage solutions you can make work.

“Impressive ceiling height is something we are lucky to have in many British period homes, so let’s use it. Our cabinetry offers tall units and stacking configurations to help you exploit the height of the space, creating elegant proportions and drama. Finding a place for those items that need a place but are not necessarily accessed every day,” says Jen.

“Alternatively, larders are incredibly functional and can be designed to suit your needs, with an array of features available to make whatever space you have work best for you. From pan drawers to open shelving and wine racks to spice drawers, a larder cupboard is a perfect addition to enhance the practicality of your kitchen.”

Open shelving can be a great way to store items, and you can also make them decorative. 

Jen adds, “Fill them with ornate jars, beautiful crockery and your best kitchenware, while putting your less aesthetically pleasing items in closed cupboards.”

Wooden kitchen shelves against white tiled wall

What appliances are suitable for a galley kitchen?

Since space is limited in a galley kitchen, it’s important not to have too many appliances. It’s also worthwhile looking for built-in appliances, as these give your space a streamlined feel. Consider whether it would be possible to move your laundry appliances to another area, for example a bathroom, and edit countertop appliances down to those you use every day. 

“You could hide appliances in cupboards or larders, especially those that are not frequently used or that you prefer to keep out of sight,” suggests Jen.

“But you should ensure that the larder has enough depth, width and height to accommodate the appliances you want to store. If you are storing appliances that generate heat or require ventilation, such as microwaves or coffee machines, ensure that the larder has adequate ventilation to prevent overheating and allow air circulation.”

Specifying appliances for a galley kitchen requires careful thought, advises Tom Howley, design director at his eponymous kitchen company.

“If you have set aside the space for a walkway of around a metre, standard oven or fridge doors will compromise a considerable portion of that space when opened. A key tip is to fit built-under appliances,” he says.

“This will provide lots more workspace, leaving views across the kitchen at eye level uninterrupted. Built-under draw fridges and dishwashers work brilliantly, as well as ovens with doors that slip back underneath the oven itself.”