30 Scandinavian Kitchen Designs for an Effortlessly Cool Look

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Scandinavian design has managed to reign supreme in the world of interiors over the last few years, proving it's as timeless a style as any. The aesthetic combines form and function with clean lines, championing simplicity and effortless cool, making it perfect for kitchens. Scandi style tends to appeal to homeowners looking for an au courant culinary space that feels minimalist, and yet visually interesting and full of personality.

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Traditionally, Nordic color palettes tend to be either neutral or dark in the kitchen but can also include a pop of color to make the space feel inviting. Above all, the celebrated style upholds fine craftsmanship and the use of quality materials. Ready to give your culinary headquarters a sleek makeover? Here are 30 ideas to help you design the Scandinavian kitchen of your dreams.

1. Combine the kitchen and dining area in an open space.

For most homeowners, the kitchen is often the heart of the home, which makes sense — that's where the food is, after all. If you have an open layout or eat-in kitchen, or you're designing a culinary space from scratch, continue the Scandi theme into your dining space, too (as seen in this Oslo apartment). The end result will be a cohesive finish that lends a cozy feeling of warmth and togetherness.

2. Keep it bright and airy with light wood finishes.

In this Norwegian apartment, the birch plywood cabinetry defines the space, while a white oil treatment lightens the wood floors. Plywood is a great material to consider in a Scandi kitchen design, as it's inexpensive and can create a modern and streamlined look.

3. Embrace a subdued palette.

This Stockholm apartment proves that not all Scandinavian kitchen designs sport ultramodern aesthetics. With glass cabinet doors and a white tile backsplash, this setup leans slightly farmhouse, but thanks to the defining gray palette and petite appliance size, it feels a bit more European.

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4. Or, consider a bold color scheme.

In this century-old Swedish apartment, the open kitchen design is exceedingly modern but far from cold thanks to the canary yellow paneling on the backsplash, island, and cabinetry. Just keep in mind: A look like this is very custom, so you'll need an interior designer or architect to help you out.

5. Go sans hardware.

Copenhagen-based Reform CPH, which makes stylish fronts that fit IKEA cabinets, has quickly become one of our favorite sources of inspiration when it comes to Scandinavian kitchen design. Unfortunately, the brand's products aren't yet available in the U.S., but Reform's styles have inspired us plenty to nix cabinet hardware in favor of an ​even more​ streamlined cook space.

6. Welcome high contrast.

Out in the suburbs of Oslo, you'll find this secluded cabin with thoroughly modern interiors. Like many Scandi kitchens, there's heavy use of light wood, but the real impact comes from black cabinetry, fixtures, and countertops. It might seem cold, but it complements the austere surroundings beautifully.

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7. Keep it minimal.

Simplicity is a pillar of Scandinavian design, and when it comes to the kitchen, there is no shortage of opportunities to embrace the concept, including your breakfast nook. Cue this minimalist dining setup by Skälsö Arkiteckter that's equal parts stylish and versatile — bonus points for the fact that it can double as extra counter space in open kitchen layouts.

8. Let the outdoors in.

The outdoors are an ever-present element in Scandinavian style, which means that you can always count on spotting nature-inspired motifs in various designs. While it's easy to incorporate florals and greenery by way of upholstery, doing so in the kitchen can be more challenging. Instead, allow picturesque views of the outdoors to stand in as a key design feature by investing in large windows and doors, as witnessed in this setup by Skälsö Arkiteckter. A few houseplants here and there wouldn't hurt either.

9. Style open shelving.

Bring a dose of style and personality to an otherwise minimalist, Scandinavian kitchen design with open shelves. Use the storage solution as an opportunity to display your best dishware and then weave in fresh greenery and textured accent pieces for good measure.

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10. Make it monochrome.

When selecting a color palette for a Scandinavian-inspired kitchen, make a statement with a monochrome finish. Pick a key hue and include subtle variations to avoid a flat finish, and then filter in contrasting accents — think brass hardware or matte black fixtures as seen in this stunning design spotted on Entrance — to give the space a dynamic feel.

11. Sneak in a farmhouse touch.

Scandinavian design isn't all about stark minimalism with modern accents. In fact, it can take on a wide range of stylistic variations — farmhouse included. Cue this spot designed by Prospect Refuge Studio. Channel the Nordic countryside by balancing out a modern space with rustic touches like butcher block countertops and farmhouse-inspired lighting.

12. Skip the upper cabinets.

Keep your modern kitchen grounded by skipping out on upper cabinets — à la this design spotted on Entrance — for a more streamlined and minimalist finish. Make up for the lost storage space with a functional island or bring in a freestanding unit that can contrast the scheme with flair.

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13. Bring in a pop of blue.

The use of bright colors may feel uncharacteristic of Scandinavian design, but pastel tones and whimsical elements are a mainstay of the aesthetic. This blue and white cook space from Naked Kitchens illustrates that even saturated hues can fit in with a minimalist and modern concept.

14. Design with rustic pieces.

A juxtaposition found in Scandinavian kitchens is the combination of modern minimalist surroundings paired with rustic touches. Case in point, the weathered, vintage dining table in this stunning setup from Stadshem, which combines old and new with effortless flair.

15. Hang culinary essentials.

One constant you'll notice in many Scandinavian kitchen designs is the use of utensil racks prime for stashing a slew of culinary tools and accessories. A bonus for those who are short on cabinet space, the functional add-on is great for making sure your culinary staples are easily accessible.

16. Layer textiles.

While traditional Scandinavian design may be all about sleek lines and streamlined elements, a playful detail here and there never hurt. So, in lieu of standard flooring, opt for something with a little more flair. We're loving Dor Design House's riff on the concept with the use of fish scale floor tiles.

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17. Add an industrial note with stainless steel countertops.

If you also happen to love industrial style, too, there's no rule that you can't combine the two aesthetics. In fact, this minimalist cook space from Vipp does just that by pairing stainless steel countertops and sleek black cabinets. The light walls and backsplash tile offset the intensity of the dark hue, while the wooden accents add a welcome dose of warmth.

18. Give it a boho twist.

As mentioned, there is no rule against incorporating other aesthetics into your Scandinavian kitchen to create a rendition that mirrors your personal style. In this sun-drenched culinary space by Kate Walker Design, boho touches by way of the woven pendant lights infuse the space with a warm note and loads of visual interest.

19. Showcase a classic subway tile backsplash.

A subway tile backsplash is as timeless as it is aesthetically pleasing, and in Scandinavian design, it's definitely a staple. When it comes to the kitchen, the rectangular tile can fit in with just about any color scheme or material, lending a sleek and polished finish.

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20. Install a breakfast bar.

Don't let cramped quarters sway you from living out your Scandi kitchen dreams. Make the most of the space that you do have by incorporating features that will serve more than one purpose. For example, something as simple as fastening a slab of wood to the wall can double as anything from a minimalist breakfast bar to extra counter space.

21. Mix and match seating.

When it comes to furnishing the eat-in area of your kitchen, create a laid-back feel with a setup comprised of an eclectic assortment of seating options. A small dining table paired with bench seating and a pair of chairs is ideal and oh-so-chic.

22. Go for black and white.

Create a high-contrast look for a minimalist kitchen design by settling for a palette of two tones. Black and white never fails to please and can withstand the test of time with a polished effect that exudes elegance.

23. Celebrate raw materials.

A big part of Scandinavian style is the use of raw materials. In a kitchen, this can take the form of plywood cabinetry or even wood-paneled walls. Here, the concept combines the two with a minimalist finish, channeling the aesthetic's signature simplicity.

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24. Complement with an accent color.

A Scandinavian-style kitchen doesn't necessarily need to feature a strictly neutral palette. Sneak in a pop of color by way of a bold backsplash or floor tiles to add interest. We're loving the splash of personality the pastel blue-green tiles add to this sleek culinary setup.

25. Introduce warm tones.

Given the sleek simplicity that's characteristic of Scandinavian-style kitchens, bringing in a handful of warmer tones can help offset the intensity of an otherwise stark scheme. Warm wood details, introduced by way of accent stools or open shelving, will do the trick.

26. Opt for herringbone flooring.

Invite an unexpected dose of interest to a minimalist kitchen with herringbone flooring. Note that it doesn't necessarily need to entail a saturated hue — instead, go for a moody shade of black like this scene spotted on Topp Tiles. Opt for a matte finish and use the dramatic shade to invite a sense of depth to a small space.

27. Pay attention to craftsmanship.

If you're in need of a quick primer on Scandinavian style, remember this: The aesthetic is all about quality craftsmanship and the beauty of natural materials, as proven by this earthy kitchen from Nordiska Kök. From the well-made cabinets with a streamlined design to the nearly seamless limestone island, every detail is thoughtful and makes a statement.

28. Check it out.

A cheeky detail is always welcome when it comes to Scandi-chic spaces — the key is to incorporate it with an effortlessly cool touch. Checkerboard floor tiles fit right in with the concept, all the while complementing the straightforward characteristics of the aesthetic.

29. Extend the theme.

Raw, lightly stained wood is a common feature of many Scandinavian kitchen ideas, and this one by Emily Henderson hits all the right notes. Extending from the cabinetry down to the floors, the natural material lends a warm, organic detail to an otherwise minimalist scheme.

30. Work in a bit of luster with brass fixtures.

Soften up an all-white modern kitchen with unexpected pops of warmth by way of lustrous fixtures and hardware. The sleek hanging wall sconces in this minimalist Scandinavian design not only serve a functional purpose but a design-forward one as well.

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Anna is a New York-based writer and editor with a penchant for travel, design, and interiors.