Your shopping cart is empty.

Small galley kitchen sandwiched between two dining areas

Amy Unruh
May 13, 2019

I have a galley kitchen with one countertop on each side of my oven and my sink. That's the only counter space in the kitchen. Four small rectangular areas good for just about nothing unless you like subpar, unhealthy meals poured out of a bag every night. We've had to add a sideboard just to have room for some countertop appliances, but I have no place to prep food, and I tend to cook from scratch. Because the kitchen is completely open to the breakfast dining space, I'd like to add a countertop that attaches to the cabinet just behind the trashcan in the attached photo and curves around, stopping halfway between the two galley walls, creating a peninsula. I wanted to add cabinets and a countertop, but we can't afford a complete cabinet remodel and they no longer make the cabinets in our house. I've thought of just having a countertop height table there, but they are too long. I have 50 inches with which to work. I've looked at kitchen islands but half of what I'm purchasing will be unusable because it will be cut off by being flush with the side of the cabinetry. I'm just looking for some suggestions on how best to utilize that space for food prep and to perhaps do double duty as a breakfast bar. I have about $500 with which to work, so insider ideas on where to get secondhand items that could help would be really appreciated. It doesn't have to be sleek and sophisticated, just workable and not horribly ugly.

Comments (24)

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    stand in the doorway by the fridge and take another photo showing the other direction

    500? I sure hope you guys are handy. you could try and do a little peninsula. or get one of those moveable islands and stick it there.

  • girl_wonder

    I’m having a hard time picturing this entire room. If you can post more pics or a sketch of the area, it might help people respond with good suggestions.

    There are a lot of small kitchen carts that might work. (And some have wheels, so they can be moved). Target has some low priced ones (that you need to assemble) but just an FYI. You can try Craigslist but it’s unpredictiable.

    If it were me, I’d try to de-clutter and get as much stuff off the counters as possible ASAP to max out what you have. It’s hard to tell, but is that a white spice rack sitting on the counter? Can you mount that on the wall? Can any of the other stuff get moved out (like that pink thing, which may be a child’s toy?) I can’t see the sink area, but it seems like there may be a longer run of counter there across from the fridge. It would be great to move the toaster oven...maybe onto a cart or, in the short-term, maybe a small table where the trash is.

  • loobab

    Either a peninsula where the current trash can is, or purchase or modify or build a table and add locking casters and use it as a peninsula in that location.

    Lots of people are getting rid of perfectly serviceable sturdy solid wood tables that you could use for that purpose. You are best off getting a rectangular table.

    You could add the casters at the bottom, make sure the legs are thick enough and sturdily attached.

    You can buy locking casters from Rockler or your home center store and paint the table white or whatever color you like.

    You can cover up the table buy buying a piece of wood whose size matches the size of the table and attaching a "skirt" all around.

    The skirt is a piece of wood that would be 3-4" long and 1/2 -1" thick that would be attached to to top piece that would hold it in place. The top wouldn't even need to be nailed down or glued down.

    You could get the whole thing made inexpensively at your local lumbar yard.

    I would also suggest using the space you have more efficiently.

  • Pam A

    Do you have an Ikea nearby? They are great sources of inspiration for low cost and efficient uses of space. Some of their stuff looks very "Scandinavian Dorm Room" but some is brilliant.

  • Laura Villar

    Can you take a few more pic’s

  • njmomma


  • salex

    I'd suggest also looking at workbench-type tables at home stores. I have one temporarily in my kitchen that has adjustable legs and is 4' long by 2' wide: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Gladiator-4-ft-Hardwood-Top-Adjustable-Height-Workbench-in-Hammered-Granite-GAWB04HWEG/206390557

  • doods


  • Amy Unruh

    Thank you for all of the comments so far. I'm going to post four photos, and I think I can only do one at a time on here.

    So just a few answers to the comments so far ... I don't think moving my daughter's kitchen will help the space. It's right where the doorway to our bedroom is, so there's nothing else that can be done there. There isn't any area in the kitchen where efficient use of space will give me the food prep area I need, like for rolling out dough and being able to use a cutting board alongside a bowl, or even being able to use a large cutting board. I did move a couple of things. We had part of an old blender on one of the countertops because my husband likes to use it, even though I got a new one, since it does individual size smoothies. But I've been wanting to move it out of the way, anyway. The toaster oven hasn't been set up until a few days ago and has definitely made things more cramped, but I'm planning to get a kitchen shelving unit over by the window to put that on. The white, plastic spice rack can't be wall mounted, but I do have a friend that is making me a spice rack that'll mount on the inside of my pantry door.

    Overall, though, I simply need some extra space, since I'm a from-scratch cook, and I do things such as baking bread, fermenting, and soaking and sprouting. I also like to juice, which can take some prep space. I'll be looking into a few of the ideas presented here.

  • damiarain

    I think a cart is definitely a good direction. You don't have to worry about "half of what I'm purchasing will be unusable because it will be cut off by being flush with the side of the cabinetry" - if you get an open cart this this, then you just access the shelves from the breakfast nook side. Unfortunately they don't make this cart any more but originally it was $450 so in your price range (we had it in our counter-less galley kitchen for years and it made the space soooooo functional)

    As mentioned above, Ikea could be a good source if there's one near you

    - RIMFORSA Ikea cart ($499), just turn it so the drawers face the nook

    - BROR ($150)

  • apple_pie_order

    Your widest existing counterspace is over the dishwasher. It's big enough to roll out a pie crust.

    I suggest you buy a skinny new dishrack. Move it to the left side of the sink. Put it away (under the sink) after drying the dishes every time for a month to get used to the new habit. Or get a dishrack that is made to fit into one bowl of the sink. In the long run, you could get a $150 standard Moen faucet that's low-slung instead of high-arched, so you could add a European-style dishrack under the shelf and above the sink.


  • girl_wonder

    I agree with apple. There is definitely potential here. Can you put the dishrack inside the sink? (that's what I do) Or just use the dishwasher? FWIW, I was at a plumbing store last week and there's a new fad called a "workstation" kitchen, where you buy cutting boards that fit over the sink to create a large workspace. You might be able to find something that works with your standard sink. Even if you don't use that cutting board to cut on, it could create a flat surface, so if you chop on the counter above the dishwasher, would could have that cutting-board-counter available as counterspace.

  • valinta
    I used to have a similar setup in a previous home. Tried to review all previous comments, but if I repeat something I apologize.
    Use kitchen table for big dough rolling projects.
    Put pots, pans, small appliances in the basement on shelves until needed. Usesideboard to store dinnerware, freeing up cupboard space to get things off the counter.
    The toaster / oven on the countertop could use a room of it's own. Would a smaller toaster work? I had a big one until it caught fire! A small toaster could be put in lower cupboard after use.
    The hardest thing to get used to is NOT having everything out in sight. Also, the most pleasant experience.
  • bpath Oh Sophie

    I have a skinny dishrack that suspends over the edges of the sink. It's about 7" wide and does take up some sink space, but reaches only halfway down so I can still use the sink. It's just right for plastic cups, travel mugs, knives, anything not going in the DW.

    I had a kitchen with only the counterspace you have on ONE side of your kitchen. I got a cart to put in front of a window (probably where a small breakfast table was supposed to go) and it held all the appliances. I had a narrow (11") elfa drawer unit with a butcherblock top next to the range just to hold my cooking utensils. Those things can hold a lot.

    I was left with the 2' completely clear on either side of the sink for prep. Since they were completely clear, it was enough.

    Also, 1' bookcases in the breakfast nook hold a lot of utensils and small appliances. You can put them in baskets if you like the look better.

  • gargigg
    I have a small galley kitchen (narrower than yours!). My suggestion is get as much stuff off the counters you have . If you rarely use your dishwasher, it can be your dish rack. If not, put something like this to the left of your sink (I have this and it’s worth every penny). Can the toaster oven go somewhere else? Maybe a stand where your trash can is now located? Or even on the shelving u it in the dining space. Is there s reason you don’t have a table there? You could put a counter height island there with counter stools and it could double as work space and casual eating space
  • smalloldhouse_gw

    Another small galley kitchen person here. Mine is also a corridor between rooms. We renovated a few years ago but I'm considering adding a short peninsula because I can still use more counter space. You might try Craigslist - I've been looking there because I want to be sure before we add more cabinetry, and it seems like there are often some of the Ikea or other "kitchen islands" or bar tables available.

    I agree with the recommendations to minimize what's on your counters. We got rid of the toaster oven entirely and haven't really missed it; replaced with a small pop-up toaster. I keep a cutting board over my sink (keep meaning to get a custom one that is routed to stay put) - it extends my prep space and also hides any dishes that haven't made it into the dishwasher. Instead of a dishrack on the counter, I have one of these over the sink dishracks - it rolls up and goes under the sink when not in use.

  • shwshw

    It looks like you have a 3rd entrance into the kitchen, next to the fridge. It also looks like you do not use the entrance into the room where you have a chair and a childs toy in the entranceway. If you don't use that entry I would buy something that can sit across that doorway giving you more counter space.

  • RedRyder
  • shwshw

    Here's a diagram of what I imagine your kitchen floor plan looks like with my thought of adding a piece of furniture like damiarain suggested.

  • PRO
    Rachel Zylstra, Realtor

    I think I would approach this in 3 steps:

    1. Go through entire kitchen and get rid of anything lingering in the cupboards that you don't need.
    2. Determine how to organize cupboards to optimize space. There are tons of options for pull outs, organizers on the back of doors (like the spice rack you are having built!), the drying racks others have suggested . The goal is almost nothing on the counter!
    3. Buy a large moveable island that could be used as an extension of the counter by the sink. The Ikea one posted above with 2 large drawers and a large shelf looked great!

    I totally understand the toaster oven. I am very attached to mine. ;)

Loudon County's Hardscape and Landscape Expert in Outdoor Living
Sponsored Products

    Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268 (Mon-Sun).