Scandinavian kitchen design – inviting cooking spaces with plenty of hygge

Addicted to modern interiors with clean lines and plenty of open space? Get inspired by our Scandinavian kitchen designs

Scandinavian kitchen design - a bright white and cream calming kitchen with a candle on the counter
(Image credit: deVOL)

Born out of rough Nordic winters that demand simplicity, efficiency, and a sense of cheerful elegance, Scandinavian kitchen design is all about a seamless blend of form and functionality wrapped in an inviting ambiance. There's something for everyone in this style as it can be warmed up with natural materials and rustic textiles, brightened with crisp whites and minimal furniture, or even weave in vintage items for added hygge.

We love how the style spans aesthetics and especially budgets and an added benefit of simple Scandinavian design is that whenever the urge takes to renovate the kitchen, you won't break the bank. From Scandi luxe to beautiful basics – take a look at our inspiring Scandi kitchen ideas.

1. Work the utility look

Nordic style kitchen in all wood and a pine trestle table

(Image credit: Joanna Laajisto)

If you have a small kitchen, the utilitarian aesthetics of Scandinavian style work well to make complete use of every inch on offer. Since minimalism, frugality and organization are an inherent part of the style, modular wall-mounted cabinets, sleek floating kitchen shelving ideas, and ergonomic worktops that put efficiency over form make up the core of Nordic-inspired kitchens.

This super basic but beautiful cabin house kitchen puts practicality at the forefront with only the essentials on offer. A simple wood trestle table matches the blonde wood cabinetry and a horizontal picture window ledge doubles as both a striking design element in the space as well as a spot to store daily use items.

2. Add a hint of color

Period room with small prep table with back cast irons on the wall and taupe window trims

(Image credit: Farrow and Ball)

Often bright whites are associated with Scandi interiors but in recent years we have seen a move to delicate kitchen color ideas that emulate the unmistakable clarity of northern light. Farrow and Ball's 'The Nordic Edit' embraces unexpected shades from their core the Farrow & Ball Archive with a special focus colors that correspond to the Nordic landscape and city architecture facades.

Going beyond the whites and greys we might traditionally associate with Scandi design, The Nordic Edit embraces bold and unexpected shades from the core collection of colors and the Farrow & Ball Archive.

3. Create a homely area with rugs

A wooden living area with a table and a navy blue rug

(Image credit: Nordic Knots)

Minimal Scandinavian interiors are the perfect space to weave in textiles in the form of an area rug. Choose a graphic rug to get the clean Scandi look like 'Plus' from Nordic Knots. This contemporary design has a minimalist aesthetic with an artistic touch. The rug brand's ethos is inspired by the nordic light, colors, and landscape

'We wanted to bring something from our home to every home,' says Liza Laserow, Founder of Nordic Knots 'And we realized that at the center for every beautiful Swedish home is a good rug."

4. Bright white and light hues

Bright white and cream calming kitchen with a candle on the counter

(Image credit: deVOL)

Think of Scandinavian style and the first thing that comes to mind is the color white. The harsh winters that have shaped the style dictated this color choice, as homeowners wanted an interior that was airy, cheerful, and moved away from the chill and gloom outside. A white kitchen is an obvious choice, as it maximizes the available natural light while creating a cocooning feeling.

'Scandinavian interiors have a pared-back style that is centered around clean lines and functionality in the prettiest way,' says Helen Parker, Creative Director at deVOL Kitchens. 'Cool muted colors and wooden floors create an ambiance that is warm and homely without the need for lots of ornamentation.'

5. Smart small space living

Chrome and wood open shelving units in a kitchen

(Image credit: String)

Nordic design is known for its efficiency and utilitarian nature and that is never more present than in their kitchens. String Furniture was designed in 1949 by the Swedish architect Nisse Stringing and is an icon of Scandinavian design. 

Stylish, smart, and flexible, this tiny apartment kitchen features an ingenious kitchen storage idea consisting of just three elements – the shelf, the wall panel, and the metal fitting and can be put together in an infinite number of configurations – here it houses all the essentials for a small kitchen and frames a two-seater dining table. Considered character is added to the space with a pair of black cane bentwood chairs and black industrial pendant light.

'What sets String apart is the iconic design and the simplicity in construction, which allows for infinite combinations, ' says Peter Erlandsson, Co-Owner and Director of String Furniture. 'The flexibility ensures that String stays relevant and because the design is timeless it’s enduring in look and feel. Simply put, it’s a classic that will enhance most interiors, whilst being modular enough to fit into many different circumstances and life stages.' 

6. Add nature inspired wallpaper

An oak display cabinet with Navy blue botanical wallpaper in a kitchen with

(Image credit: Boras Tapeter)

Not just limited to bright and minimal spaces, Scandi spaces are also known for their folk aesthetic, featuring plenty of rustic elements and prints inspired by nature. This richly hued kitchen pairs vintage oak cabinetry with a navy kitchen wallpaper patterned with wildflowers. Nocturne from wallpaper brand Boras Tapeter features a tight floral pattern, hand-painted in both light and dark shades.

7. Add character with raw wood cabinets

Bright modern kitchen with light wood grain cabinets and a pale green wall

(Image credit: Naked Kitchens)

The Scandinavian love of nature is well-known and this is reflected in the home through plenty of untreated wood and natural stone. Plain blonde wood is a cornerstone of Scandinavian design and is a deliberate statement of appreciation for nature’s beauty with natural wood grain always seen.

This wooden kitchen incorporates this natural grain into elements of a modern kitchen through raw wood handles and semi-clad cabinets.

'Here we have married together two different door finishes,' explains Jayne Everett, Design Director of Naked Kitchens. 'Our brushed limed grain oak and our smooth painted finish, along with two different handle styles to create interest whilst maintaining the simplicity that is key to the Scandinavian aesthetic.'  

8. Incorporate marble for Scandi luxe 

Kitchen with deeply veined white marble on the island, worktop and splashback

(Image credit: Mary Wadsworth)

Long-term lovers of Scandinavian design will be pleased to see the emergence of Scandi-luxe where pared-down Scandinavian design acquires a touch of luxury with brass details, copper touches and bright white veined marble.

'The owner of this cottage wanted an elegant Nordic feel,' says Craig Matson, Managing Director at Roundhouse. 'With pale finishes and simple lines. The classic Shaker-style doors were chosen in honor of the property’s period architecture. The marble kitchen splashback helps accentuate the room’s depth and ensures the island doesn’t steal the show. Deciding where to stop the marble was determined by the height 
of the first shelf. Besides, the owner wanted to fill the shelves with shapely ceramics and rustic treasures, which stand out against a plain backdrop.'

What is a Scandinavian style kitchen?

Creating a Scandinavian-inspired cooking space typically involves layering on accents of warm wood in the forms of cabinetry and flooring, paint colors in pale hues, and a minimalist yet textured backsplash. Sleek stools and scaled-back kitchenware complete this timeless design look.

What is Scandinavian home design?

What Is Scandinavian Design? Scandinavian interior design is a minimalistic style using a blend of textures and soft hues to make sleek, modern décor feel warm and inviting. It emphasizes clean lines, utility, and simple furnishings that are functional, beautiful, and cozy.

Rohini Wahi

Rohini Wahi is Content Editor for Livingetc Online. With a decade-long career in the interiors and design industry working as a journalist for premium lifestyle publications then delving deeper into the business as a trend forecaster, Rohini has amassed a wealth of global design knowledge that informs her work. She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home.