What is an Alleyway Kitchen?

Home | Blog | What is an Alleyway Kitchen?

Reading Time: ( Word Count: )

An alley or alleyway kitchen is generally defined as a narrow kitchen where the sink, counter, and appliances form a central corridor or alleyway on both sides. They are also known as galley kitchens (named after a galley on a ship). The layout is simple – a design configured lengthways to accommodate every aspect of a kitchen in a narrower space.

How Popular are Alleyway Kitchens?

Alleyway kitchens can be as long as needed, but the general idea is that they are confined to a smaller area. Today, they are less popular when compared to open floor-plan kitchens because, by definition, they feel more confined. An open floor-plan kitchen feels less cramped allowing you to entertain guests easily while you’re in the kitchen. Many apartment buildings or older homes built in the 1960s or historical buildings that were renovated have alleyway kitchens. Since they are not nearly as popular today, most newer apartment buildings have open floor plan kitchens that are flat or U-shaped.

Are Alleyway Kitchens a Good Choice?

Alleyway kitchens don’t have much width, but they are a good choice in restricted spaces because they use space efficiently. That’s why many commercial kitchens and restaurants in major cities incorporate this kitchen style too. It allows for efficiency while working without taking up precious floor space when it is limited.

Highly Functional Alleyway Kitchen | www.phillyaptrentals.com

Their main purpose is functional, cooking and preparation. The dining area will usually be separate because of the limited kitchen space available.

How to Make Your Alleyway Kitchen More Functional?

If you’re moving to an apartment with an alleyway kitchen, and you don’t like the layout, there’s not much you can do. However, if your landlord is willing to make the improvements and you’re willing to pay for them, you could ask him/her about the possibility of them adding:

  • Adequate lighting to brighten up the space – use ambient and task lights, along with pantry and cabinet lights if possible.
  • Find ways to bring in natural light by opening (or adding) windows to make it feel less confined.
  • Add appliances together to bring all cooking components like the oven, stovetop, microwave, and fridge in one area, and set the clean-up area separately.
  • Avoid too many additions like breakfast bars and islands because they take away space in an alleyway kitchen. Stick to the basics like cabinets, drawers, stoves / ovens, sinks, refrigerators, benchtops, and dishwashers.
  • Push kitchen cabinets to the ceiling to make the most use of storage space.
  • Use lighter color tones to open up the space in your alleyway kitchen. Lighter colors tend to reflect light instead of absorbing it, which can help make a smaller space look bigger.
  • Demolishing one end of the alleyway kitchen to open up the space (and extend the countertop). You will lose cabinet space but this will make the apartment feel less confined.

Using these ideas will help your alleyway kitchen become more functional while accommodating different kitchen tasks simultaneously.

What are the Advantages of Alleyway Kitchens?

Some of the advantages of alleyway kitchens include –

  • Since they are smaller, they tend to save space and allow for more room in other areas of your home or apartment.
  • Smaller cabinets and benchtops mean reduced cost of re-doing the kitchen since the space is limited.
  • Make good use of limited spaces, allowing for a more functional cooking environment.
  • Separating kitchen smells and activity from the rest of the apartment home

What are the Disadvantages of Alleyway Kitchens?

Cramped Alleyway Kitchen | www.phillyaptrentals.com

Some of the disadvantages include –

  • Tend to be tight in space for more than one person working in the kitchen at the same time.
  • Benchtop space is limited which doesn’t give you much room to work.
  • All appliances tend to be more compact, which can make storage a little more difficult.

At the end of the day, alleyway kitchens are popular in older apartment buildings or smaller, space-constrained apartments because they give you maximum functionality within a confined area. If it’s not your style, you can always look for an open floor plan kitchen which would allow for more space and comfort.


* indicates required

Don't Forget to Share this post! If you like it!

Fidelity Management – Our content has been featured or mentioned nationally by some of the industry’s best websites including:
ApartmentGuide | Rent.com | MyFirstAmartment | RENTCafe | The Balance …and many more



Editor’s Picks

Ben Franklin Bridge leading into Philadelphia at sunset


Stay a Smart Renter. Join the Group!

* indicates required

Related Articles

What Are the Most Common Utilities?

What Are the Most Common Utilities?

Utilities, including electric, water, and potentially gas are a part of every apartment rental. However, whether utilities are included or not included, does not mean an apartment is more or less expensive. Someone always has to pay for utilities -- either you or the...

read more
What Does All Amenities Included Mean?

What Does All Amenities Included Mean?

If you're looking for a new apartment, there's a good chance you've seen the phrase "all amenities included". As appealing as this may sound, it's essential to understand what "all amenities included" means and how it impacts your overall cost. What Is an Apartment...

read more
Can I Back Out Of An Apartment Application?

Can I Back Out Of An Apartment Application?

Yes, generally, you can back out of an apartment application as long as you haven't signed a lease. However, be prepared that you will likely not be refunded your application fee or any deposits paid. Before you sign a lease to rent the apartment, unless explicitly...

read more
Skip to main content
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap