What Is a Pullman Kitchen?

The Pullman kitchen layout is common in apartments and small homes where space is at a premium.

Kitchenette at Heart

The Pullman kitchen design is long, with cabinets and cooking fixtures on one side or both, and a narrow walking space. They're named after the long Pullman sleeper cars of the railroad travel era. Pullman kitchens are designed to be hidden in many cases and to take up as little space as possible.

A Pullman kitchen in its strictest sense classifies as a kitchenette; it is smaller than a traditional kitchen and may occupy a part of a living or family room or a studio area. Such a kitchenette might have screening or panels to close it up when not in use.

Compact and Concealable

Offering an advantage for tight spots since it is the most compact kitchen design possible, a Pullman kitchen design often exists in an alcove, where appliances, cabinets and counters are recessed. Doors, whether folding, sliding or on hinges, can be moved to completely conceal the kitchen, closing it off when you are not cooking or have company over. The ability to close off the kitchen or disguise it came in handy for accommodating a gathering in the cozy home.

Mobile Eating and Work Space

A Pullman kitchen does not provide as much counter space as other kitchen designs, meaning if you want to perform certain cooking activities, especially those that are preparatory and require the use of countertops, you must make use of a mobile workspace. Tables or carts that have a tabletop and that have locking wheels provide stable yet mobile solutions for food preparation as well as for eating. You can wheel them away into a corner when you close the doors over the kitchen.

Modern Day Pullman

Because Pullman kitchens economize space, they are commonly found in small apartments, especially open-space studio apartments with cabinets and appliances fixed on a single wall. The Pullman style plays out in larger kitchens, too: With a third more floorplan, you can have another full-length bank of cabinets, countertop, fixtures and appliances. HGTV reports a trend in larger kitchen spaces that incorporate a Pullman kitchen setup on one wall and a large island, with a wide walk space in between -- "Galley style with a walk-through corridor."