Get the Scandi-Style Kitchen Look Without Breaking the Bank
When your kitchen is in need of a refresh and you don't want to invest too much, take a leaf from the Scandinavian style
While Scandi kitchens tend to be pared-back havens of restful tones and clean lines, colour is often used to inject a little joy. Pale blues and greens are easy on the eye, but don’t be afraid to add pops of bright orange, yellow or blue.
If there’s one thing that Scandi kitchens are not, it’s uptight. Taking the pressure off yourself and aiming for a casual, liveable kitchen rather than one with designer-perfect looks can be positively liberating … and far more interesting than a sleek kitchen devoid of personality. If your kitchen needs more storage, don’t be too precious about it – open, utilitarian shelving takes nothing away from this feelgood kitchen. A linen tablecloth, candles and and a vase or two of leafy greens can turn any kitchen into an inviting place to be.
Natural light in the home is an instant mood lifter and Scandinavians do whatever they can to up the feelgood factor during their long, dark winters. White walls – and even floors – are an easy and economical way to amplify whatever light you have coming in.
The owner of this Sydney apartment removed the lino and carpet throughout and painted the walls, floors and ceilings white. To add warmth, he then added recycled wooden ceiling beams and made the countertops out of old slabs of French oak.
See the before and after photos
Scandi-style may be big on clean lines and uncluttered surfaces, but it’s also about timber, leather and natural fibres – raw, honest materials all. Open timber shelving is an easy way to achieve this, and gives you the opportunity to put glasses and dinnerware within arm’s reach.
If you’d love to replace some or all of your kitchen cabinets, there’s no need to spend top dollar; but do make sure your carpenter comes with reliable references, or that the modular kitchen you’ve ordered is of a high enough quality that its good looks won’t fade too soon. Cheap materials can chip, dodgy hinges can sag, and inexpensive handles can quickly lose their lustre. Go for a less luxurious countertop or sink if it means you can spend more on doors and drawers – they need to be able to sustain heavy use to keep on looking smart.
It’s no coincidence that many of the most iconic mid-century architects and furniture designers all hail from Scandinavia – Hans J Wegner and Arne Jacobsen are Danish, and Alvar Aalto comes from Finland, for example. Take advantage of the enduring love affair with mid-century design, and update your kitchen chairs, lighting and accessories. Mid-century pieces are a perfect match with Scandinavian style.
Designer dining chairs you need to know about
A welcoming space is a comfortable space, and the easiest way to achieve it is through soft, texture-rich furnishings. Sheepskin – faux or otherwise – draped over chairs entices people to sit down and stay a while; woven jute or cotton rugs in earthy tones soften hard surfaces, and the green leaves of pot plants or leaves in vases bring the form and feel of nature indoors. And who can resist the pile of cut logs in this Swedish kitchen?
Even the tiniest kitchens can become the place people gather for conversation and conviviality when there’s a stool or two upon which to perch. A seating area that doubles as extra prep space is a smart use of space when a kitchen footprint is finite.
The secret sauce of Scandi style comes down to creating simple, restful spaces that are easy on the eye. And that means putting all but a smattering of beautiful objects out of sight. That toaster, kettle, blender and juicer that tend to live on the countertop? Find them another home.