Anne Hathaway's kitchen layout is stylish, hard-working and would suit even the narrowest of rooms

Single or double, a galley layout makes the most of modern-day kitchen zones and works like a dream for keen cooks

Anne Hathaway
(Image credit: Getty Images / Daniele Venturelli / Contributor)

Galley and linear kitchens are the obvious choice for narrow rooms but can also be the star of large spaces, too. So much has changed in the design and use of our kitchens over the last decade, but something is reassuring in how the galley kitchen layout has adapted to the new-found sense of space and thrived. 

American actress Anne Hathaway's modern rustic kitchen, which she shares with her husband, jewelry designer Adam Shulman, showcases one of the best kitchen layouts as it suits most spaces without too much compromise, especially if you have a small kitchen.

Named after a space-efficient ship's kitchen, galleys were originally designed to be compact, ergonomic, and ultra-efficient, maximizing every inch of space for both storage and preparation. 

In today's kitchen, the two options – single galley compromising one long run of units, or double galley with parallel runs – give rise to a particularly efficient cooking space. 'Galleys can be really stylish,' says Hugo Tugman, chairman and founder of Architect Your Home. 'Long line of countertop create strong horizontal planes that look incredibly sleek.' Anne Hathaway's kitchen is no exception to this rule. 

'Often a hallmark of older homes, galley kitchens can be thought of as being dated and cramped due to their narrow layouts and parallel counters,' says Elizabeth Sherwin, creative director at Naked Kitchens. 'However, for maximum efficiency when short on space, a galley kitchen excels. Its two parallel counters make all points of the work triangle equally accessible, plus – due to the nature of the layout – there are no awkward corner areas so all kitchen cabinets can be easily utilized.'

‘I love a classic galley kitchen,’ enthuses Seattle-based designer Heidi Caillier. ‘They just feel so intimate and special, and there is something very appealing about them practically. They force you to be thoughtful in how you lay out every inch, and I also like the mentality of using "all" of your kitchen versus just that one corner between the range and the sink.’ 

Decorated in the right kitchen cabinet colors, Heidi also believes that galley kitchens can feel really cozy, ‘like a warm, inviting cocoon’. A mix of cabinets and open shelves, similar to Hathaway's, will ensure it feels light and airy. Using pale colors in a long, narrow kitchen is a great way to open up the room and helps to reflect and diffuse the available natural light. In this modern rustic kitchen, the pale, almost sage-like shade, inspired by its namesake herb, sage green is a perennial favorite if you want a timeless kitchen cabinet color.

To maximize galley kitchens you simply need clever and creative kitchen storage ideas. A good kitchen designer will be able to come up with solutions for the trickiest of spaces but if you feel you want to explore the room’s potential further, and are perhaps considering structural work, it is worth consulting an interior designer or architect. 

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Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.