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The Scandinavian kitchen is a really relaxed yet ultra-stylish look that has made its way across the waters from Scandinavian homes and into the mainstream of general kitchen trends for 2014. The typical décor reflects the simple, chic style of Scandinavian homes but also their need to draw in the maximum possible amount of light. This is because in the Scandinavian lands of Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland it can typically get light late in the morning and dark early in the evening so natural lighting within homes is in short supply.
Finding the means to receive and retain natural light is consequentially essential. Solutions include large glazed windows and skylights for an airy setting, as well as lighter colours that will better retain natural light within the home, and for the longest possible duration. The outcome is a kitchen setting that is cool yet relaxed for cooking, dining and entertaining. Generally this same approach is introduced throughout the entirety of a Scandinavian home but if you just want to limit this style solely to your kitchen then here are some ideas for how to achieve it:
Scandinavian kitchen colours
Typically the Scandinavian style revolves around pale and delicate colours, usually cool whites, or else soft contrasts of tone and texture within a bright and airy setting. In combination with this the Scandinavian style is also recognisable by its simplicity and minimalism within design, although soft geometric patterns and textures will often appear. These prevent a white décor appearing bland or monotonous. Similarly a burst of bold colour might feature as a focal point for the room, drawing attention and standing out against the remaining neutral colour palette.
What’s more, as white features heavily within the furniture palette, the Scandinavian style is ideal for small kitchens as white will always make a space feel bigger than it is. You can enhance this impression further by using the same colour for the walls as for your furniture, making the space seem larger still.
Scandinavian kitchen cabinets
Whilst minimal in appearance and usually with a white or light exterior, Scandinavian kitchens are conversely highly functional and well-equipped by nature. Typically they will have built-in appliances and integrated storage solutions which make effective use of the space that’s available. Often open shelving features heavily too, softening the look from a sharper more minimalist kitchen appearance.
Unlike minimalist kitchens, the style of Scandinavian kitchens cannot usually be described as either overly modern or contemporary; instead they often strike a fine balance by successfully incorporating different features from either modern or traditional settings. For example, white Shaker style, handled kitchen units are as likely to appear as white high gloss or white matt handleless kitchen units; yet the style never really inclines too much in either direction.
Scandinavian kitchen Décor
In accordance with the cabinetry, the décor in a Scandinavian home is usually not overly modern or contemporary in appearance but exudes a fresh yet warm and comfortable feel.
Wood accents often contribute to this tone, with natural and light finish woods offering a subtle yet stylish contrast against the profusion of whites. For example, it might be exposed wood ceiling beams, wood worktop, flooring, table top or chairs. Most Scandinavian homes include a dining table, whether in an open plan or enclosed kitchen. This is a valued addition, and makes this style popular for families who are keen to ensure time for one another.
Scandinavian kitchen lighting
As already stated, a bright and airy space is at the heart of this kitchen look so including as much natural lighting as possible will help achieve it. Flooding a room with light is not solely about the fresh look it creates but natural light makes using the kitchen easier and more enjoyable. It also provides a happier and healthier kitchen setting. Options for allowing natural light might include tall bay windows, bi-fold doors and skylights. These should be counterbalanced by spotlights, ambient lighting and recessed lighting where needed.
Scandinavian kitchen flooring
Flooring can impact largely on the overall kitchen look, particularly in affecting how bright or dark the room appears. Along with the rest of the décor, Scandinavian home flooring is typically light and natural in tone. In previous eras black and white checkerboard flooring was popular within this kitchen style. This still features but is more-often being phased out in favour of white paint, natural wood flooring or white washed floors. These latter options bring warmth and are very much in keeping with the desired bright and welcoming style. No matter what look you want to achieve you should remember that a kitchen floor is a hardworking region of a kitchen so should be durable, resistant and easy to clean.
Scandinavian kitchen accessories
As mentioned in relation to colours for this theme, bursts of bright colour will often appear in a Scandinavian kitchen and frequently these are within kitchen accessories. Whilst not so popular in UK homes, rugs are common to Scandinavian kitchens and offer an easy means for a lively injection of colour. Alternatively it might be a brightly coloured set of chairs, pendant lamp shade, plate set or even bright hues within a vase of fresh flowers. However it is introduced, the bold accent adds a fresh feel and stands out vividly and deliberately against the rest of the décor.
Ensure the Scandinavian kitchen look works in your home
Beautiful though this look is, the Scandinavian kitchen is a look that must be kept clean in order for it to work. White furniture and decor within the home are very striking but require more effort to maintain than darker colour schemes. If you anticipate this being a problem then you might consider toning down the white and introducing some darker but still complimentary finishes and accessories. You might even combine some of the elements of the Scandinavian kitchen with those from the industrial kitchen look, bringing a subtle sense of drama to your Scandinavian kitchen, whilst retaining its classic chic style.