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Scandinavian design spans far beyond the bounds of what you or I will ever see at Ikea. Sure, the beloved Swedish retailer gets about every facet of the style right. But the design-forward folks who are conquering and living the envy-inducing aesthetic IRL are thinking so far into the future that we can barely keep up.

In order to fuel our inspiration for any and all things Nordic, we need to actually go inside the homes of Scandinavians to get a real sense of how they’re designing and decorating right now. While we’ve seen Scandinavians play up muted, moody color palettes and raw textures in their homes in the past (these are just two core elements of what makes Scandinavian style, well, Scandinavian), their style has seemed to be steering in a more colorful, sculptural, and experimental direction as of late. Although whitewashed rooms and streamlined living will never fully leave their repertoire, a handful of style-minded individuals have been making major waves in the realm of interior design, particularly when it comes to the kitchen.

Want their coveted look all to yourself? Ahead, we share all the inspiring design lessons we’re stealing from seven dreamy kitchens across Scandinavia.

Keep Your Retro Kitchen

An outdated kitchen is typically the first thing any self-professed renovator or new homeowner would feel tempted to touch. However, let’s imagine a world where Formica countertops, checkered laminate floors, and tiny cabinets aren’t considered taboo. Doesn’t look so bad, right? This darling mint green cooking nook makes a serious case for a 1950s comeback—not to mention, fresh pastel colors.

Bring in New Metals

Architect and A-list Airbnb host Justine Bell’s refreshing Copenhagen rental is a vision in copper and steel. While we tend to think of kitchen backsplashes in terms of subway tile, this ultra-contemporary, metallic scene proves to be primed for top chefs in-the-making. While dark metals can feel especially industrial, a cool copper can provide fresh balance to a space and can be made to feel more feminine with a hint of hot pink.

Grid It Out

If there’s one thing Scandinavians do well, it’s lines. Famed for their linear sensibility and squeaky-clean design aesthetic, it’s no surprise that Nordic spaces are embracing any and all forms along the straight and narrow. An alternative substitute for subway tile, a ceiling-to-counter gridded backsplash is not only a more visually interesting way to play with depth in the kitchen, but it also lends itself to other graphic features and basic shapes in the room.

Think Pink, But Be Practical

While picking the color of your cabinetry is a very personal choice (and many of us tend to side with a muted blue or all-white scheme), this dreamy Danish space makes a powerful argument for pink. The key to conquering a hue as playful as this? Keep everything else minimal. Here, there is no fussy hardware or elaborate backsplash or messy open shelving to disrupt the aesthetic pleasure and color of the room.


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Woods are the New Neutral

Just like white or a warm gray, an array of wood tones will act as a soothing color base in a space as functional and lived-in as a kitchen. Got a killer ceramic collection? Reclaimed wood shelving is a great way to show off your favorite cooking staples and other prized dishware.


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Make Your Open Floor Plan Optional

In this minimal, Nordic home, a set of paneled glass doors not only allows light to effortlessly access both the kitchen and the hallway, but it also introduces the added bonus of flexibility. For families with kiddos or small-space dwellers with cranky roommates, this fix is a savvy way to closet the kitchen off from the rest of the home without visually disrupting the overall energy and flow.


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Embrace Patina

Whether simply subjected to the wear and tear of time or recreated at the hand of man, there’s something decidedly eye-catching and a touch familiar about a kitchen that looks like it’s weathered. When we look at the surfaces in Danish blogger Fie Froling’s L-shaped kitchen, we can almost feel what it’s like to move and cook about the space.

See more Scandinavian design stories: 

The Best Scandinavian Feeds to Follow On Pinterest

Tour a Scandinavian Farmhouse Situated in the Heart of Texas

The Best Online Stores for Your Scandinavian Design Obsession