Galley kitchens are becoming more popular than they have been in decades; the compact space, affordability, and proximity of storage make this style ideal for home cooks or those who want to conserve space. However, planning a galley kitchen can be difficult because you want to save space without being too cramped. How small is too small for a galley?
The best width for a galley kitchen is 10-12 feet (3.05-3.66 meters). This allows for adequate space between the two countertops and a good depth for your cabinets. Galley kitchens can be slightly smaller if they are for single-occupancy homes (a minimum of 7 feet or 2.13 meters wide).
This article will discuss the different sizes and layouts of a galley kitchen and how an ideal width will affect each one. We will also look at open and closed plans for galley kitchens and less common galley layouts (such as islands and single counter kitchens).
The Best Width for a Galley Kitchen
A galley (or corridor) kitchen is excellent for safety, efficiency, and size reduction in a home. Many serious home cooks prefer them because of the closeness of all kitchen appliances and countertops – which is why they are commonly used in restaurants. Some like them because of the small footprint in the house or because the kitchen is hidden from the main socializing areas.
There are several factors to consider when you are putting in a galley kitchen. If your home is right for it, you need to plan the layout, the “work triangle” (where your main three kitchen elements will be placed), and most importantly, the size.
If your kitchen is too small, it will be cramped, and you won’t get work done without bumping into one another. If it’s too large, it almost loses its efficiency!
The ideal width for a galley kitchen is 10-12 feet (3.05-3.66 meters). If you live alone, it can be somewhat smaller at 7-12 feet (2.13-3.66 meters).
You need deep enough cabinets to hold your storage, space for a refrigerator, sink, stove, and ideally 4-5 feet (1.22-1.52 meters) between the countertops. This holds true (with only slight variations) for whichever style of galley kitchen you choose.
Popular Galley Kitchen Counter Styles
There are three types of counter layouts for standard galley kitchens. These are each corridor-styled and have their pros and cons regarding efficiency and cooking safety. While the ideal width of 10-12 feet (3.05-3.66 meters) remains the same, there are considerations for how wide the counter space should be in these varying layouts.
The three most common kitchen layouts all have one side of the full countertop. The opposite side varies, with an entire countertop, an island countertop, or no countertop at all (just storage).
All three work in small spaces and can vary as to the length. There’s one other great benefit to having short countertop runs in a small kitchen – the price! There are more affordable countertop options for small spaces than larger ones.
A galley kitchen with two opposing countertops is the most common type. With the areas for food preparation, cooking, and storage within easy reach, it models efficiency and kitchen safety. The ideal width for a double counter galley is 10-12 feet (3.05-3.66 meters).
At the very least, 3 feet (0.91 meters) between counter spaces will provide adequate turnaround space. Ideally, it’s no wider than 5 feet (1.52 meters) apart, or you will lose efficiency. The double counter is also where the work triangle becomes most important – you want equal lengths between your storage, food prep, and cooking spaces (usually with two elements on one countertop and one on the other).
The double counter galley kitchen is the best style for maximum cooking efficiency. This layout prevents huge kitchen messes and keeps everything within the eight-foot (2.44-meter) work triangle. It also offers more counter and storage space than the other styles and remains the most popular galley kitchen layout.
If you are looking for a more expansive space between the two sides of your kitchen and have a more extended corridor, you might be looking at a single counter galley kitchen. It doesn’t have the same efficiency levels as a two-counter galley but can increase storage space (usually, one side of the kitchen is full-length cabinets and a refrigerator).
The ideal width for a single counter kitchen can be a little wider, as the cabinets and drawers on the non-counter side will pull out and take up space at times. An alcove or pantry can also go in the wall, allowing the room to feel more spacious and not quite so much like a common hallway.
An entire wall of cabinets can feel a little lopsided at times, so it’s essential to have cabinets above the countertops. The width of a galley kitchen with a single counter is about the same or a little wider, but the length sometimes needs to be stretched for more counter space. Galley kitchens come in varying sizes, as long as the distance between work areas isn’t much longer than eight feet (2.44 meters) apart.
A galley kitchen with an island is the most open and spacious layout. You can still have your ideal work triangle layout without much more air traffic and floor space. The island can have a sink or just an extra countertop for food preparation, and you can even add chairs for a more sociable galley kitchen.
The ideal width for a kitchen with an island is still 10-12 feet or 3.05-3.66 meters (ending at the island’s end). The room will feel more spacious because of the space on the other side of the island, but it will remain safe and efficient. This also prevents the cooking part of the kitchen from getting too much foot traffic, which is safer.
Galley Kitchen Corridor Styles
Traditionally, most galley kitchens are closed at one end to prevent the kitchen from becoming a thoroughfare for the rest of the house. Usually, they consist of two separate countertops with storage above and below and space for a sink, stove, oven, and refrigerator.
These kitchens are small and efficient for cooking.
However, some corridor kitchens do have an open corridor layout. This is more common in galley kitchens with a single counter or island but can be seen in more traditional double counter galleys. The open corridor allows for more space and light and prevents the kitchen from feeling cramped.
A closed corridor kitchen is more common in galley kitchens. The ideal width is still 10-12 feet (3.05-3.66 meters) to accommodate your storage and cooking space. Despite what you might think, this won’t feel cramped, especially if you install a window or open space above your sink (where there are no cabinets).
It’s also essential to have good lighting in your kitchen if one end is closed off or if you have low ceilings. Many people choose to have a large window above the sink and lots of natural light coming in from the kitchen’s open end. Space efficiency can easily combine with lighting for the perfect galley kitchen.
If you have an open corridor galley kitchen (with entrances at both ends), you must maintain safety for anyone passing through while the kitchen is in use. This is especially important if you have kids or animals that might run around while you are cooking.
To keep it safe, you might have to sacrifice a little of the efficiency of having counters close together. If your kitchen is also a thoroughfare, a more expansive galley kitchen that is 12 feet (3.66 meters) or more would be ideal. You can also make it an island galley kitchen to increase space between countertops and make the layout even more open.
Final Thoughts on the Ideal Galley Kitchen Width
Whether you are looking at a single counter, double counter, or island galley kitchen, you can pretty much stick to the same ideal width: 7-12 feet (2.13-3.66 meters) for single occupancy and 10-12 feet (3.05-3.66 meters) if more than one person is planning to live and cook there.
If you have the right width, you can cook in your galley kitchen with optimal comfort, efficiency, and safety!