Who doesn't love the cool, calm and collected vibe of a Scandi-style kitchen?
When it comes to clean, uncluttered kitchen design, nobody does it better than the Scandinavians. With their sleek, streamlined surfaces, clever storage for hiding clutter, and light, muted colour palette, Scandi style kitchens appear brighter, lighter and super stylish.
Inspired by the cool colours of the landscape, pale kitchens are a natural choice in Nordic countries. They look sophisticated, but do require textural interest. Keep the palette to a specific range of whites and cool greys, adding some metallics for extra warmth and to make your kitchen feel brighter and more spacious, without compromising on the minimal feel.
In terms of texture, not all of your surfaces have to be made from the same material. If there’s a finish you particularly love, but practicality is an issue, consider using it as a highlight in an area with less heavy traffic. If designed and fitted cleverly, this can add visual interest and texture to your kitchen. Plywood is the material of the moment for kitchen cabinets. Its humble beauty is reminiscent of Thirties Scandinavian modernism. Expanses of white marble also create an elegant, luxurious feel without compromising on simplicity.
Storage is also a key element of Scandinavian kitchen design. If you have the luxury of a separate room next to the kitchen, think about converting it into a pantry – these traditional features are back in vogue. Floor-to-ceiling cabinets also help to create a sleek, uncluttered look, and nothing says ‘clean and contemporary’ like handle-free cabinetry. For more inspiration, browse these stylish Scandi style kitchen designs.
Floor-to-ceiling cabinets create a clean, uncluttered look, but to keep them from appearing flat, choose a finish with interesting texture. This design is the Qi kitchen by Japanese design studio Nendo for Scavolini, which comes in a pale wood laminate with a beautiful grain.
Get the look: Project details Scavolini’s Qi kitchen is shown here with a Hono Elm laminate wall system, from £15,000, at Multiliving. For a similar light fitting, try the A440 pendant, £472, by Artek at Skandium. Native & Co sells Japanese kitchenware that would complement this look, including wood caddies and cast-iron tea kettles.
White and warm metal is a foolproof combination if you want your kitchen to feel brighter and more spacious, while maintaining that minimal feel. Copper is a good partner for timber flooring and tan leather seating and can also work well for structural elements such as splashbacks, where it will acquire a rich patina over time.
Get the look: This ultra-simple kitchen is transformed with a glamorous copper splashback, which is complemented with parquet flooring and leather bar stools, £150 each, by Rockett St George. T&S Architectural has copper splashbacks from £255.78 – the material will tarnish over time, which is part of its charm, but you can protect it with coatings and polishes from Everbrite.
White and ivory tones make the most of natural light levels and allow you to be creative with accent colours and materials. Earthy shades such as terracotta or copper are not only on-trend, but will also soften bright whites and introduce cosiness and warmth.
Get the look: John Lewis of Hungerford’s painted Urban kitchen, from £25,000, has a modern Shaker feel and features a wealth of concealed storage to create a neat, minimal look. A row of industrial-style copper pendants adds a warm glow – Cox & Cox’s Industrial Copper pendant, £150, is a good match.
Nothing says ‘clean and contemporary’ like handle-free cabinetry. It’s a good look to go for if you’re installing a lot of units at wall and floor level as it gives a more streamlined feel. Equally, if your kitchen is small, it makes for an uncluttered space. With this type of cabinetry, you’ll need to be extra careful about opening and closing mechanisms – push doors should open easily and smoothly, even with wet hands.
Get the look: This bright, white Bulthaup kitchen, price on request, has a distinctly Scandi feel, with the lightness of the space accentuated by lifting the base units off the floor. Recessed spotlights complement the streamlined design – we like Dyke & Dean’s ultra-minimal version in white or black, £220. For similar pale wood flooring, try Dinesen’s Douglas fir, from £65sq m.
Look for units with discreet finger notches or slots, which are functional without compromising a sleek profile.
Get the look:
Harvey Jones’s new Linear Edge kitchen, from £18,000, is its first handle-free design and features discreet finger-pulls inspired by dovetail joints. It can be painted
in any colour you like (it’s shown here in Farrow & Ball’s Pigeon estate eggshell). For a similar light, try the Vessel pendant, £264, by Holloways of Ludlow. Michael Marriott’s ash Bird stool, £186, by Very Good & Proper at Twentytwentyone, is similar.
In tight spaces, units with a flush finish and pull-out drawers can be more practical – as seen here with this bespoke sink tucked into the corner of a kitchen. There’s more storage recessed into the wall behind.
Get the look: Kitchen designed by Interior Elegance London, price on request. For a similar tap, try Vola.
In a pared-down white kitchen, it’s easy to add a personal touch without overwhelming the eye. Open shelves for displaying your best crockery and glassware are one way to do this, but we also like the idea of creating an art wall, just as you would in your lounge or hall. Just ensure your pictures are protected from steam and splashes with glass-fronted frames.
Get the look: The bespoke units were designed by Daulby and Tickle. For similar light fittings, try Retrouvius.
Plywood can look surprisingly luxurious with a lacquered or oil finish that highlights its grain and with the right preparation prior to installation, it’s sturdy and hard-wearing. It’s lightweight, though, so heavier worktops may not be compatible. Many companies now specialise in this eco-friendly finish, including Uncommon Projects and Sustainable Kitchens.
Get the look: 31/44 Architects designed this birch-plywood kitchen, price on request, teaming
it with dark stone floors for added luxury. For lights like these, try Design House Stockholm’s Form pendants,
from £172, at Skandium, which also sells Artek’s Table 83, £1,457.
Expanses of white marble create an elegant, luxurious feel without compromising on simplicity. Choose carefully – certain types of marble are more porous, and thus liable to staining, than others. The stone is sold in grades, so check that you’re using one with low porosity and have it sealed regularly. A high-tech quartz composite is a great alternative as it's impervious to stains, scratches and cracks and is resistant to heat and cold. It also comes in various thicknesses and can be used anywhere, from worktops to walls and floors.
Get the look: This kitchen island and splashback are clad in Caesarstone’s Statuario Maximus quartz, from around £300sq m, which resembles Italian Statuario marble, but is non-porous and easy to take care of. For similar lighting, try the Saturn pendant, from £690, from Hector Finch Lighting.
Here, classic Carrara marble was used to construct an island, worktop and splashback in this kitchen.
Get the look: Try Gerald Culliford for a variety of white marbles, from £250sq m. The cabinets are bespoke oak designs by Aldworth James & Bond. Find the NA4 oak stool, £245, by &Tradition at Nest.co.uk.
With store cupboard essentials and gadgets hived off to one side in a pantry, walls are freed up in this white-and-wood kitchen, creating a light, airy feel.
Get the look: Humphrey Munson designs bespoke walk-in pantries, from £10,000. For a wide range of wicker storage baskets, try Garden Trading.
Hidden behind tongue-and-groove panelling, this storage cupboard is almost invisible once the doors are closed.
Get the look: If you don’t have a deep wall to build storage into, try Ikea’s Metod corner cabinet with storage carousel, from £167 for a space-saving design; and The Cotswold Company, which sells standalone units, from £299.
As they’re a relatively small area, splashbacks are an ideal place to add personality to a pared-down kitchen. Stick to muted tones and focus on texture, pattern and shape. Porcelain tiles are highly practical as they’re resistant to everyday wear and tear, whereas natural stones will age over time. Think beyond the conventional border-style design and extend tiles all the way up to the ceiling to accentuate a room’s height. And if you’re using pale colours, pay extra attention to furniture and fittings. Subtle tones feel soft and peaceful, but it’s important to add statement pieces such as lighting, artwork and appliances.
Get the look: A cream stove (try Aga) and huge splashback in light grey tones bring warmth to this otherwise all-white space. Smallbone of Devizes makes hand-painted kitchens similar to this one. For individually cut tiles with a beautifully irregular finish, try Fired Earth’s Stonelustre range, £299.71sq m. Maisons du Monde is good for freestanding kitchen storage.