7 Organizing Ideas to Steal from Galley Kitchens

updated Jul 17, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

Galley kitchens are a classic apartment-kitchen layouts — but they can leave cooks feeling a little crunched for space. As you can imagine (or maybe even know from experience), counter and storage real estate usually comes at a premium in these long, narrow spaces. On the plus side, the folks who cook in these sorts of kitchens often have some super smart tricks for making the most of their small spaces.

Whether you happen to have a galley kitchen, or you’re just in the market for some good tips, we’ve rounded up seven of the most creative organizing and storage ideas we found in galley kitchens featured in Apartment Therapy House Tours. Let’s get to it.

Credit: Gabrielle Delaney

1. Keep your counters as clear as possible.

In a kitchen without tons of extra counter space, you’re going to want to keep what little you do have as clear as possible. You know, so that you have room to work! We love how these New York apartment renters brought their paper towel holder to new heights (and saved valuable surface area) by mounting it on a cabinet. They also moved their canisters to shelves on a wall. Look at all that space they now have to chop, mix, and serve!

2. Use your windowsills for more storage.

If you have a windowsill in your kitchen, consider this your permission to use it. These Brooklyn renters livened up their industrial galley kitchen with some greenery, but you could store cookbooks, utensil crocks, serving pieces, or just about anything on your sill. 

3. Use a shelf as extra counter space.

This NYC renter hung a long, narrow shelf in front of his window to create space. He can stash ingredients there while he works on the other side or he can even pull up a chair and sip a coffee at it. Just be careful: You don’t want to put too much pressure on a shelf like this, as you could rip it out of the wall.

4. Install shelves wherever you can — even if they’re tiny.

Speaking of shelves! Shelves are incredibly useful and they don’t even have to be all that big to make a difference. These homeowners in California found space for a tiny shelf, which they then styled up nicely with little decorative items. Try a small shelf for little odds and ends that don’t quite fit anywhere else.

5. Put your backsplash to good use.

This galley kitchen in Philadelphia has a rod for hanging utensils, and you can easily DIY your own. (Yes, even if you have a tiled backsplash.) Also, take note of that magnetic knife rack. It’s another great way to put that space between your counters and upper cabinets to good use.

Credit: Abe Martinez

6. Or hang things from your upper cabinets.

Maybe you don’t want to (read: can’t) drill into your wall or tile? Maybe you’ll feel better about adding hooks to the underside of your upper cabinets or shelving? This Berlin apartment has hooks hanging from the shelf (look to the right of the photo) and a bar with S-hooks hanging from those. Your landlord probably won’t notice holes there when it’s time to move out.

7. Hang your cutting boards.

Most cutting boards have a hole for grabbing … and for hanging! Hang your cutting boards on the wall, like in this Brooklyn apartment and you’ll free up some counter or cabinet space.

Do you have a galley kitchen? Got any other smart ideas to share? Leave them in the comments below.