Despite the long-held opinion that galley kitchens are designed purely for usefulness and to minimize space, a galley kitchen remodel can incorporate beauty with function. Start planning your galley kitchen remodel by looking carefully at what you have. Look at what works and what doesn’t work. Look at what you like and what you don’t like. Then start dreaming.

A galley kitchen can be as beautiful and elaborate as you want to make it. A well-designed galley kitchen can accommodate every style of cooking, from the person who wants to warm prepared meals in a microwave to a gourmet chef. In fact, one of the advantages of galley kitchens is the economy of space and movement when cooking.

Start with the design and layout. How will your work triangle be most efficient? What appliances or fixtures should be on each wall? What should be across from the sink and beside the sink? How many doors or points of entry into the kitchen do you need to work with? Do you need more than one point of entry? Would your kitchen be more efficient if one of the doorways was closed? Would your kitchen look and feel larger if you removed part-walls between the kitchen and the room next to it (dining room, breakfast room)? You might be surprised by the difference this change would make in the feeling of more size and light.

Once you have decided on the layout for your kitchen, you will need to think about maximizing all of the available space. How much cabinet space do you need? Are there more decorative and creative ways to store dishes and cookware than in the traditional kitchen cabinets? Is there a way to use open plate racks, for example?

Now it’s time to start thinking about materials. If your kitchen will be open to an adjoining room, you might think about using flooring and wall color to bring the rooms together. You harmonize countertop and furniture colors as well. Your kitchen style will help you narrow the field of available choices in cabinetry. Choose the wood and the style that fits with your home. Choose countertops that will be both beautiful and functional. Then choose the appliances that fit your needs and the sink that will accent your décor.

When planning a galley kitchen remodel it is always important to keep in mind the trade-off between the size of the appliances and the amount of counter space you will lose by installing larger appliances. Also consider how you want to allocate space for the stove or cook top and the oven. Do you want an oven at eye level or one that is beneath the cook top? What size will your refrigerator be? Will it have a sleek front and be closely aligned with the floor standing counters?

Although utility is the first concern in a galley kitchen, there are choices you can make that will make the finished room look larger and more open. For example, cabinets with light finishes and with glass panels will make the room look brighter and larger. Eliminating cabinet door or drawer pulls or using very sleek styles will also contribute to a spacious feel.

If your galley kitchen is like many others, there will not be a window to bring in natural light. The location of the kitchen in the home might not offer the opportunity to add a window. In that case, consider if you can bring in light from an adjoining room. Consider also, other ways to bring in natural light. The first option might be to install a skylight. If your roof line does not lend itself to a skylight, you can also consider installing a tube light or two. Consider bright track lighting or ceiling fixtures combined with task lighting under wall-mounted cabinets.

With creativity, imagination, and a sharp eye for function a galley kitchen remodel can create the functionality and the beauty you want. Whether you are planning an economy remodel, an average remodel, or a major custom makeover, your galley kitchen can be everything you want it to be – and maybe more!