Why is a Scandinavian kitchen high on our wish lists?

Step into a Scandinavian kitchen and you’ll find yourself immersed in a world where simplicity meets functionality, creating a haven of warmth and charm. Originating from the Nordic countries – Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland – Scandi style kitchens have become a sought-after trend, as people opt to add a touch of Nordic elegance to their homes.

Scandi style: This kitchen beautifully captures the Scandinavian aesthetic with its use of light wood, a pendant light scheme and a kitchen island. Credit: Pinterest.

Evolution of Scandinavian kitchen design

Scandi kitchens have a rich history that’s evolved over the years. The kitchen forms the social hub of Scandinavian homes, and historically they were designed to combat the harsh winter climate, Nordic nights and limited daylight, focusing on maximising natural light and embracing minimalistic aesthetics. The emphasis was on creating a cosy space where families could gather around a spacious dining table and share hearty meals. Over time, this practical approach fused with modern interior design elements, resulting in the sleek and timeless look we associate with Scandi style kitchens today.

Key features of Scandi style

The hallmarks of Scandi kitchen design are clean lines, a neutral colour palette and the use of materials such as warm wood and stone. While often embracing a minimalist design, they are always skilfully streamlined and aesthetically pleasing. 

Open shelving, lots of natural light and functional furniture further contribute to the airy and uncluttered ambience that gives a feeling of more space. These kitchens are a perfect blend of form and function, combining style with practicality. While beautiful design, whether in a contemporary or classic style, is the key element, practicality is also important in a Scandi kitchen: all items must be functional and beautiful. To ensure the look is not sterile or cold, layers of colour and texture are added, and the effect can be both contemporary and traditional.

Stylish serenity: Typical features of a Scandi style new kitchen include the use of natural materials, light colours and a breakfast bar. Credit: Pinterest.

Why a Scandinavian kitchen is so desirable

The sleek, stylish design of a Scandi kitchen makes it an appealing choice for many reasons. Versatility is the key factor: whether you live in a cosy cottage or a stylish city apartment, the Scandinavian aesthetic seamlessly integrates with various interior design styles.

Additionally, the emphasis on sustainability aligns with the growing eco-conscious mindset, making these kitchens a popular choice for those seeking both style and ethical design in a new kitchen. Their functional space also means that they are low maintenance, for instance, easy-to-clean stainless steel appliances are often incorporated into Scandi style kitchen designs.

In a world where simplicity is celebrated, the Scandi kitchen stands as a timeless testament to the beauty of functional design. So, if you yearn for a new kitchen that exudes warmth and sophistication, consider embracing the charm of Scandinavian design – in the long run, this trend has truly stood the test of time.

Scandinavian kitchen design: The Honeyfield kitchen from the Harvey Jones Arbor Kitchens range features a kitchen island and pendant lighting.

Understated Scandi style

Practicality blends with cool in a Scandi kitchen, according to Melissa Klink, Creative Director at kitchen designer Harvey Jones.

The stunning craftsmanship and simplicity of Scandinavian design has enduring appeal and Scandi-kitchens continue to be incredibly popular. Using clean palettes, an appreciation for nature and functional artistry, the essence of the Scandinavian lifestyle and home aesthetic has truly found a place in British homes. 

Scandi-inspired kitchens have clean white walls, layered with soothing neutral cabinetry paired with simple repeated hardware, timber accents and tactile surfaces. Scandinavian style is all about the balance of only having what you need in the space while ensuring the design connects back to the homeowner and their style. 

Scandi kitchens often feature only base cabinetry to open up a substantial amount of space for the more decorative side of the design, whether that be through spotlighting smaller details like handles, or using open shelving to display purposeful accessories and artwork. Scandi-style is always bright and airy and keeping cabinetry to base units only allows both natural and incandescent light to filter throughout the space, while also providing an architectural base. Decorative lighting can also become a real feature in the space. Practical, understated and cool, Scandinavian kitchens are here to stay.  

Scandinavian kitchen design ideas:


The colour palette Scandi kitchens generally adopt comprises muted pastel tones, white tones, light blues, greys, and green to create a sense of calm. White cabinets are popular and contrast well with darker blues and black: Scandinavian blue, a muted tone of blue blended with grey is a great choice that makes a statement against a neutral background.


Efficient lighting is essential given the Scandinavian dark nights and is a key part of kitchen design. Drop pendant lights provide a warm glow and look great over dining tables, while undershelf lighting will complement the main lighting in a room.

Kitchen ideas: The use of muted greys and a striking pendant light scheme over a wooden dining table create a sophisticated atmosphere in this kitchen. Credit: Pinterest.

Traditional materials

Wood is a tactile material that creates a warm feel in Scandi kitchens, despite their often austere, simple layouts. Cabinets in light wood or subtle paint tones are effective in reflecting light back into the room. European oak brings the benefit of warm wood to floors and herringbone pattern flooring is a classic Scandinavian style, along with cabinets made from limed wood which gives a whitewashed finish. Adding rugs to wood floors adds character and cosiness.

Scandi style: Contrasting wood tones and white cabinetry emphasise this kitchen’s clean lines and feeling of space. Credit: Pinterest.


Practical and clever storage solutions are important in a Scandi kitchen. Well-organised pantries and larders are popular, along with efficient storage behind cabinets and inside drawers, such as pull-out storage for pans. Kitchen ideas including dedicated places for herbs and spices, glasses, and wine are often incorporated into kitchen design.

New kitchen: Scandi style is created here by introducing a large dining area, pendant lights and a functional layout. Credit: Pinterest.


Scandi style includes wooden bar stools, banquette seating, wishbone dining chairs, open shelving and tables made from light-coloured wood with overhead lighting. Other key pieces include a breakfast bar, a kitchen island, a double larder, a utility cupboard, and tall cabinets.

Today’s Scandinavian kitchens

While Scandinavian design has influenced Europe since the 1950s, today’s interpretation of the Scandinavian look blends with other kitchen design styles. Shades of white and taupe can be combined with industrial elements such as stainless steel, and the look works well with Shaker-style carpentry. The calm Nordic aesthetic continues to have an enduring appeal and Scandi kitchens are proving to be versatile, current and highly desirable.

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