How to adopt a Scandinavian style kitchen
When we replace our kitchens, we often have a general idea in our head of what we want it to look like. In fact, often, we can have obvious general ideas of how we want the kitchen to look. Still, when it comes down to making the (many) design decisions, we find it’s actually a lot more difficult than we first thought, transforming that beautiful image in our head into a fully finished kitchen.
One big stumbling block to designing your kitchen is the absolutely absurd abundance of choices available for every tiny design feature. When we realise there are literally hundreds of tap types to choose from and that each part of the kitchen presents a similar array of options, we become overloaded; we can’t decide. The whole process becomes a difficult chore rather than the joyful experience it should be.
The best way to deal with this issue is to adopt an overall plan, a distinctive style that we are trying to achieve. That way, when it comes to making design decisions, we know what we’re aiming for, and we know what we can immediately exclude.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through how to achieve a Scandinavian style kitchen.
What exactly is a Scandinavian style kitchen?
In true Scandinavian style, their kitchens are designed to be highly functional and aesthetically understated and employing the principle of minimalism. Another key goal is achieving a well-lit, open-plan space that is perfect for hosting guests and having nice big family dinners together.
Practicality is high on the agenda of a Scandinavian style kitchen, but that doesn’t mean they lack style, far from it. Elegant design and neutral tones combine to make Scandinavian kitchens look gorgeous and welcoming.
There are several top tips that you can use to achieve this, so let’s run through them.
As kitchen cabinets take up a considerable amount of space in the kitchen, they draw the eye to them, meaning it is essential to get them right.
While many kitchens suit high-gloss cabinets, Scandinavian kitchens do not. Because the overall desired style is soft, it’s best to opt for matte kitchen cabinets. This cabinet style reflects a lot less light than its glossy counterpart, resulting in a muted and cosier effect.
To add further depth and texture to the kitchen, you could go for an in-frame style kitchen, not to mention a touch of luxury.
Again, we’re trying to achieve a soft, warm, welcoming colour scheme, so it’s important to stick to a few tried and tested colours.
Whites, creams and greys are a staple of Scandinavian design; however, if that is a little restricted for your tastes, perhaps go for some light pinks, soft blues or even a little terracotta to really accentuate that warm glow.
If this is all sounding a little too rigid for you, don’t worry. You aren’t following a rule book here, simply a guide. There are many different shades of the aforementioned colours to choose from, plus there are plenty of opportunities to add splashes of colour with your accessories and furniture.
If there is one thing the Scandinavians love to honour in their kitchens, it’s nature. And what better opportunity to do just that by incorporating a hardwood worktop into your kitchen.
The great thing about wooden worktops is they add gloriously unique texture to the room. And because there are so many colours and styles to choose from, this is a chance to make your mark on the room.
If the wood isn’t your thing, perhaps a slate worktop would work for you. These worktops' dark colour will contrast with the lighter colour scheme, providing a focal point for the room that makes an exquisite design statement.
The floor is another area where you can bring in a nod to nature by going for some hardwood flooring. Ash will give you a light, airy feel as it is a naturally lighter wood, whereas something like oak will allow you to go a little bit darker while still retaining the lightness you want to ensure the space feels open and inviting. If you’re going for Scandinavian, it’s best to avoid the dark woods like walnut and mahogany.
That said, you certainly don’t need to go for wood, with plenty of other options such as laminate, tiles or even concrete. The key is to maintain a light colour scheme to let the rest of your kitchen stand out.
Scandinavians place a big emphasis on spending time with family, especially at mealtimes. What’s more, they also love to host dinner parties for friends and extended family.
To help make your kitchen a special place for family dinner and hosting parties, we suggest spending some time picking out the perfect dinner table. This will act as a centrepiece in the room, which is great from a design perspective, but it also makes your intentions clear; you value hosting people and making sure they’re having a great time.
If space is in short supply, some great space-saving tables fold out to accommodate more people when need be. This can be a way of making sure the table doesn’t dominate the space too much.
Similar to flooring, lighter woods are the preferred style for a Scandinavian look.
As the winters make the daylight hours extremely short in Scandinavia, they are forced to put a lot of thought into ensuring their kitchens are still light and open places to be, even in the winter.
This is achieved by going for quite a several different lights, which allow the mood to be changed depending on day and season.
As your dinner table will be your hosting area, large pendant lights will work here, bathing the entire area in a rich glow for those dinner parties long into the small hours.
Besides that, make sure you have plenty of functional lighting, that is, your downlighting that shines on to your work surfaces. Additionally, the strategic placing of tall standing lamps and wall-mounted lights will allow you to create a relaxing atmosphere. In particular, uplighting wall lights cast their light up the wall, meaning the bulb's brightness is hidden from view, creating a lovely ambience.
Minimalism and practicality are important factors when designing a Scandinavian kitchen, so well thought out storage space is vital.
If space allows, fitting a kitchen island can be a way of dramatically increasing your available storage space with the bonus of a greater worktop area.
Another way to increase storage is by fitting a floor to ceiling cabinet. Most kitchen cabinets are either below the worktop or at head height but don’t reach the ceiling. By fitting a floor to ceiling cabinet, you provide yourself with an excellent storage solution.
A variation on this is a very slim and tall pantry cabinet. These neat storage solutions can be filled with all your condiments, spices, pasta and rice, freeing up much valuable space in other cupboards.
Sticking with the storage theme for a moment, your means of storing your items don’t have to all be hidden away. Rather, you can turn a storage solution into a design feature.
Metallic racks are an excellent addition to any Scandinavian kitchen as they are efficient; they show character. You can hang your knives and utensils here for easy reach when preparing meals.
Tea and coffee are a staple part of life for most households, so why not make a show of your prep area. A sleek glass kettle, glass jars for the tea, coffee and sugar, and a stainless-steel mug holder complete with your favourite mugs will make a design statement out of coffee—a win-win.
Another way to introduce nature to your Scandinavian style kitchen is by inviting it inside. Some well-placed plants will not only add colour to your room, but some studies indicate having plants inside can increase your focus and reduce stress levels.
Rather than the traditional picture, why not make a hanging basket a feature on an otherwise plain wall.
To score highly on the practicality meets style front, place a row of potted herbs along your windowsill. Good for the soul and good for the soup.
The Final Say
Having read through this guide, we truly hope you have a clear idea of what a Scandinavian style kitchen looks like and what steps you can take to achieve that look.
Ultimately, it’s your kitchen, so it’s your call. If you like bits and pieces of the Scandinavian style, take the bits you like and maybe call it a Scandinavian-ish kitchen. Play around with different ideas, and don’t be afraid to adapt and change things to suit your unique preferences.