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Scandi kitchen ideas – Ways to work the cool and calm Nordic aesthetic

Embrace one of the most alluring interior design styles in the heart of your home with everything from flooring and paint to accessories

If your heart wants a modern and clutter-free kitchen filled with light, Scandi kitchen ideas are for you. Scandinavian-style kitchens bring to mind crisp white walls, pale wooden worktops, clean lines and minimal fuss. But thanks to injections of warmth through accessories, materials and lighting, they never feel cold. They're a curious and difficult-to-master blend of minimalist and cosy.

While most Scandi schemes start with white walls, there's plenty of scope to bring in colour and pattern. Plus, if you find cooking stressful, a Scandi kitchen might be the perfect backdrop to help you stay cool, calm and collected.

(Future PLC / James French)
Display items you use every day

Nordic countries are famous for their minimalistic and streamlined style. However, this couldn't be achieved without a few clever storage solutions. Keep worktops clear with shelves and hanging racks.

Shelves are a great way to store items that you use every day like crockery, or tea and coffee caddies. Hang mugs and chopping boards from a rail for easy access when you need them.

Hanging cooking utensils on a rack beside the hob is an easy way to give your kitchen a more homely feel and it'll free up space inside kitchen cupboards, too. The same goes for a ceiling rack for hanging up pots and pans.

(Future PLC/Colin Poole)
Embrace neutrals

At the core of Scandi kitchen ideas is the theme of neutral spaces. Stick to a restrained colour palette for a sophisticated and Nordic inspired theme.

Tonal shades will add interest to the look without adding jarring colourways to take it away from the Scandi style. This will keep it chic and neatly in line with stylish modern kitchens.

(Gunter & Co/Mary Wadsworth)
Hide clutter in floor to ceiling cabinets

Floor-to-ceiling cabinets are a genius way of hiding clutter that can gather on kitchen counters. Invest in a cabinet with space to hide a microwave, kettle, coffee machine and other gadgets that clutter up worktops. Some cabinets have hidden worktops in that you can set up as a breakfast station.

You simply open them up when morning rolls around and close them behind you as you dash out on the school run.

(Future PLC)
Combine woods and black shades

For the most contemporary take on Scandi kitchens, go for a combination of strong, linear blacks and natural woods. Although technically opposites in terms of style, the two marry together beautifully and perfectly combine the modern vibes of Nordic living with the back to nature vibes of the area's history.

(Future PLC/James French)
Bring the outside in

Scandi kitchens - and, for that matter, Scandi style in general, celebrates the beauty of nature. Make this work in your space by bringing as much of the outdoors into your home. It'll boost light levels, too, making it perfect for even small kitchens. Plant in your garden strategically, so you're looking out at abundant greenery and textures.

Inside, reflect this with pale green touches on cabinetry and, of course, fresh flowers and foliage.

(Future PLC)
Make it sociable

Nordic homes are inherently inviting and sociable spaces. In your kitchen, you want to create a room where everyone feels welcome and one way to achieve this is through seating.

Include bar stools at your kitchen island so guests can gather around while you cook. A dining table gives even more seating, making sure the space is inclusive to everyone.

(Future PLC/David Parmiter)
Let the light in

Scandi summers are full of light, while the winters have very little sunshine, so their homes are designed to let in as much light as possible year-round. Take this on in your kitchen by opting for a glass-topped side return, or row of skylights. The back of the kitchen could have sliding or bifold glass doors.

Mirrored and glass surfaces are a welcome addition, to help bounce around even the lowest of light sources.

(Future PLC/James French)
Use natural materials

Add texture and interest to your kitchen by using a variety of natural materials and finishes. Rattan, weaves and glass all embrace simplicity, while adding depth to potentially otherwise flat and glossy space.

(Future PLC)
Make a feature of glass storage jars

Simple Scandi kitchens include making a feature of the everyday essentials, as shown here. Add interest to open kitchen shelving by decanting dried goods, such as flour, pasta and rice, into clip-top glass jars and lining them up on a shelf.

Storing fruit and veg in natural hessian baskets is an affordable way to add relaxed country style to your kitchen. Try adding colour by growing herbs in zinc pots, too.

(Future PLC/Douglas Gibb)
Stick to a white colour palette

You can't go wrong with white kitchens when creating your own Scandi-style kitchen. 'For Scandinavian kitchen interiors, a cool light colour palette is advised to create a sense of purity and calmness,' says Darren Watts, Design Director, Wren Kitchens.

This makes it perfect for making the most out of smaller spaces. Add warmth to the space by pairing the white with wooden and copper accents. In a small kitchen, space is at a premium so make the most of every inch with open shelves for everyday items above the sink, as seen in this kitchen.

(Future PLC/David Giles)
Cast a warm glow with pendant lighting

Light is incredibly important in Nordic design due to the long dark winter days. Scandinavians tend to create pools of light with low hanging pendant lights. Be playful with your kitchen lighting with a slick design or splash of colour like these lovely pale turquoise shades. They will be at eye level, after all. Muted blues and greens are oh-so Scandi.

(Future PLC/Colin Poole)
Add warmth with oak

A Scandi scheme can instantly be warmed with the addition of natural surfaces. Oak worktops, freestanding furniture or an open shelving unit will add character and lend a laid-back country vibe.

Of course, open shelving is ideal for storing glassware, kitchen tools and cookbooks – a great way to add colour and a vintage look to your neutral Scandi kitchen, too. Use houseplants to add colour and welcome the outdoors in.

(Future PLC/ Colin Poole)
Make space for a dinner table

Gathering together for meals as a family is incredibly important in Scandinavian culture. Make space for a dining table or breakfast bar to ensure the kitchen is the heart of the home.

A dining area is also a great space to add warmth through texture and colour. Opt for a wooden table, soft furnishings and fresh flowers to add depth to the open-plan kitchen.

(Future PLC)
Add authenticity with wood

Wood finishes are a key part of creating an authentic Scandinavian kitchen. However, wood isn't just for floors and worktops. Opt for wood or wood effect kitchen cabinets to showcase the natural material.

'Look to light coloured wood like beech or ash for flooring, dining tables or worktops if budget allows,' suggests Hayley Simmons, Head of Merchandising, Magnet. 'Avoid stained or varnished woods for countertops as the raw, natural, untreated look is much more in-keeping with Scandinavian style.'

(Future PLC/David Giles)
Try two tone cabinets for a designer look

While most Scandinavian design relies on a muted colour palette, don't be afraid to add personality with a splash of colour. 'If colour is a must in your home, look to pale greys, pinks or blues but use these sparingly for maximum impact,' advises Hayley from Magnet.

Stick to a simple colour palette that highlights the design like in this kitchen. The two-tone cabinets emphasise the clean lines rather than detracting from it.

(Future PLC)
Add metallic accents

Metallic accents – especially copper – will add warmth to a minimal white kitchen colour scheme. When working with a limited colour scheme play with textures, shapes and finishes. You'll earn extra style points if you invest in some copper pans, both practical and pretty.

(Future PLC/David Giles)
Accessorise with houseplants

House plants are a great way to soften the functionality of the space. 'Don't be afraid to accessorise with textured placemats, wall hangings or rugs in the kitchen,' says Hayley from Magnet.

'Complete the look with some fresh flowers, houseplants or potted herbs for another nod to nature that's typical of Scandinavian style.'

(Future PLC/ David Giles)
Pair statement flooring with white walls

Sticking to a neutral colour scheme doesn't mean you can't have some fun with the design. Opt for playful geometric kitchen flooring like in this kitchen. The bold zigzag pattern is made up of sleek clean lines featuring the Scandi style dream team – white and wood. However, it is also bursting with personality.

Nordic design might be neutral and minimal, but it is important that you find a way to stamp your personality on the space.

(Future PLC/David Giles)
Work in subtle pastels

If you want to add colour to your all-white scheme choose diluted colours that feel soft alongside the neutral base of white. Pastels are the perfect pairing, from baby blue and mint green to powder pink, adding a subtle accent colour without overpowering the effortlessly simple ethos of Scandi styling.

(Future PLC/David Parmiter)
Choose wire storage

Give your kitchen a back-to-school look with wire kitchen storage. A simple unit is the ideal place to store tumblers. Tupperware and clip-top glass jars. Be selective about what to display so the overall effect is attractive, not cluttered.

(Future PLC/Emma Mitchell)
Invite a friendly touch with family photos

If there's one thing we've learnt from the practice of Hygge, it is to surround ourselves with items that make us feel happy. What could be happier than filling the space with treasured photos of loved ones.

Welcome framed photos into your social kitchen space to echo the sentiment. Use coordinating frames to prevent the look from feeling cluttered and overpowering. Remember you're looking to make a statement, but keep it simple.

(Future PLC/Johanna Henderson)
What is a Scandi kitchen?

Painting a large area of a wall in chalkboard paint to create a noticeboard is a simple Scandi kitchen idea that brings character to a pared-back room. For a more contemporary look, paint a section of wall from floor to ceiling and use a chalkboard pen to create a menu-inspired artwork. Write happy affirmations or messages to welcome guests, use the wall as suits to make your home feel happy.

(Future PLC/Tom Meadows)

Embrace one of the most alluring interior design styles in the heart of your home with everything from flooring and paint to accessories