Small Kitchen Design Tips

A small kitchen might be just the space for you. Just take our advice and elevate the beauty and functionality of your galley kitchen today.

Written by:Angela Johnson
a galley kitchen with light green cabinets, farmhouse sink, open wooden shelving, white quartz countertops, a wooden widow, and subway tile.

Cambria design shown: Torquay™

Top 5 Galley Kitchen Design Tips

A galley kitchen can still be beautiful and functional. From galleys to tiny homes and tiny kitchens, these five small kitchen design tips have you covered.

1. Use Space-Saving Solutions: Scaling Appliances and Multifunction Fixtures

Optimize your small kitchen with space-saving solutions like smaller appliances and incorporating multifunction fixtures. A standard 30- to 36-inch-wide oven and cooktop area can often take up much-needed countertop space. Look for conveniently sized 20- to 24-inch-wide ovens and stoves that can slide into the tightest areas. Some options also offer side-opening doors for maximum flexibility. 

Look for dishwashers that save space. Some are the size of a standard cabinet and come with all the wash cycles and features you need. Look for slim refrigerator models like this retro-style mint green Smeg for a style that’s to scale.

Eliminate bulky storage needs by selecting a sink with an integrated cutting board or colander. (Take a look at Kohler for some stylish options.)

a galley kitchen with dark countertops, beige quart countertops, and stainless steal appliances

This galley kitchen from Vern Yip features efficient appliances and hardworking Cambria Darlington™ countertops.

A galley kitchen with white subway tiles, white upper and lower cabinets, a mint green Smeg fridge, gray quartz  countertops, and a small window by the fridge.

A mint Smeg fridge, gray Cambria Carrick™ countertops, and floor-to-ceiling storage optimize every inch of this small kitchen.

A close up of a sink with white and gray veined quartz countertops, brown cabinets and a black pullout faucet with a cutting board built into the left side

A sink with an integrated cutting board pairs with easy-to-clean Cambria Skara Brae™ countertops for a sleek prep station in this loft kitchen.

2. Embrace Color in Your Small Kitchen

Bright hues can infuse energy and bounce light around a room. Consider a light backsplash paired with darker cabinetry or countertops to open up the kitchen.

Discover the charm of small galley kitchens that beautifully integrate shades of blue and gray in their countertops and cabinets.

a modern galley kitchen with white cabinets, blue-ish gray quartz countertops, black appliances, and gray tiled floor

Galley kitchen by Normandy Remodeling with blue-gray Cambria Parys™ countertops.

a tiny home with bright blue cabinets, white quartz countertops, open shelving, a blue door, trim, and ladder, and white cladding walls,

Traveling tiny home kitchen by Movable Roots features Cambria Ella™ countertops.

Upper and lower cabinetry can vary in color, material, and style. This two-toned kitchen draws the eye upward with its marble-like Torquay quartz countertop and backsplash, and white upper cabinets to contrast the sage green cabinetry.

a kitchen with light green lower cabinets, white upper cabinets, both with gold handles, a farmhouse sink with silver faucet, and miscellaneous kitchen appliances and supplies sitting on the counters.

Two-tone white and sage green cabinets pair with Torquay countertops and backsplash in Jaclyn Johnson’s Cali-chic kitchen.

Don’t forget about plants and greenery for a fresh pop of color, as in this tiny home kitchen renovation by Tiny Canal Cottage featuring Weybourne Matte™ countertops.

small, vintage looking kitchen with white cabinets, open shelving, two small windows, overhead lighting, and a center table made from wood.

Renovated tiny home kitchen featuring Cambria Weybourne Matte.

3. Elevate Your Galley Kitchen with Smart Storage Solutions

Use smart storage solutions to elevate your galley kitchen style. Open shelving can showcase eye-catching dishware and décor, while expanses of a wall can highlight a dazzling backsplash. Explore quartz backsplashes and tile backsplash ideas.

Look for alternative storage spaces, such as placing baskets or containers on top of your cabinets.

a galley kitchen with light green cabinets, farmhouse sink, open wooden shelving, subway tile, and one window with wood trim giving lots of natural light

This cheery, green kitchen from the Happy Tudor features Ella quartz countertops and artfully styled floating shelves.

a close up view of a green tile backsplash with gray quartz countertops, open shelving, a rounded cutting board, some books and other miscellaneous decorations

Carrick quartz countertops are paired with Mercury Mosaics subway tile and open shelving.

4. Use Countertops as Dining Space

Maximize the functionality of your small kitchen by using countertops as versatile dining spaces. You don’t need an island to achieve this—a peninsula layout or modified galley works well.

a modern kitchen with a white quartz waterfall-edge peninsula that is perfect for eating meals at

An open Torquay waterfall-edge peninsula is the perfect breakfast spot in this small kitchen. Space by Motiani Design. Photo by Tessa Neustadt.

A typical galley kitchen layout features a narrow walkway with cabinets and appliances lining opposite walls. Offering efficiency and utility, it’s perfect for the practical homeowner who separates cooking from socializing. A modified galley layout provides an open feel and option for added dining space.

To open up the space, consider replacing one of the runs with a parallel island allowing for flexibility, as in this galley kitchen renovation from Casey Knips. Check with a trusted contractor to see if it’s feasible for your home.

a galley kitchen with oak cabinets, white quartz countertops, wooden beams and vaulted ceilings, a farmhouse-style door leading to a patio, and an island with 2 bar stools

An open galley layout offers dining bar functionality in this tiny home kitchen featuring Torquay quartz countertops.

a simple kitchen with dark brown cabinets, white quartz countertops, and plenty of natural lighting.

Modified galley kitchen renovation features Cambria Newport™ countertops and breakfast nook.

5. Let the Light into Your Galley Kitchen

Enhance your small kitchen’s ambiance by maximizing natural light. Make your spaces bright and practical with a mix of ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. Ambient lighting is the general lighting in a room diffused to create a certain mood or ambiance. Task lighting illuminates a galley kitchen’s work surfaces while accent lighting highlights certain items, such as a kitchen cabinet or shelf.

a neutral kitchen with herringbone tile floors, open shelving, glossy subway tile, light oak countertops, white quartz countertops, black appliances, and a farmhouse sink

A mix of light fixtures offer functional beauty in this small kitchen renovation featuring Ella Matte™ countertops.

Show Off Your Small-Space Style

Ready to plan your small kitchen remodel or update? Bring your vision to life by crafting a moodboard of your selections. Order a sample of your favorite Cambria quartz design for your perfect countertop fit.

Share your kitchen project with us on social media using the hashtag #MyCambria. We can’t wait to see your small-space style!

[Updated on 12/05/2023]

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