What's a Scandinavian Kitchen?
its emphasis on natural light, clean lines, and painted wood, Scandinavian
style is an excellent look for a contemporary kitchen. The innate
simplicity and charm of the approach creates a sympathetic background
for modern living.
you find a kitchen built around the latest appliances and fixtures
a little too stark and functional, but want to avoid a full-blown
rustic look, Scandinavian strikes the perfect balance between tradition
style originated in eighteenth century Sweden as the homespun Nordic
version of classicism, copied in humble local materials. Yet while
the look has character and distinction, period detailing is restrained.
style is easy to recreate and need not be expensive. Basic ingredients
include simple curtaining and upholstery in ticking and gingham,
chalky cool colors featuring on the walls and woodwork and plain
tiled or sanded wooden floors. If you don't wish to start from scratch,
you can give existing kitchen cabinetry a facelift with a light
wash of color, or replace cupboard doors with stock versions in
keeping with the look. Homey touches, such as stenciled decoration
and folksy artifacts, provide a cheerful lived-in look with the
On the whole, the Scandinavian palette is pale and cool, but never
insipid. Paint is the key finish, for walls, ceilings, woodwork,
and built-ins. Surfaces are matte and soft-looking, rather than
hard-edged and glossy.
influences are toward the cool end of the spectrum, favoring gray-greens,
blue-grays and blue-greens. If your kitchen needs more warmth, a
pale ocher or creamy yellow is a good option. You can paint the
shell of the room in a pale version of your chosen color, and highlight
woodwork or cabinets in a stronger tone, or simply paint the background
white for freshness. Avoid pastels because these lack the depth
and luminosity associated with Scandinavian decor.
areas are always a good idea in the kitchen, particularly behind
the sink and stovetop. You can choose plain ceramic tiles in white
or pale grays and blues to tone with the decor, make a graphic checkered
pattern, or inset decorative or pictorial panels in a plain background.
The warmth of the look relies on an extensive use of wood, which
is always painted and never left in an unfinished or natural state.
Existing doors, wooden moldings, and architraves can be painted
in a slightly stronger shade of the main color. Choose eggshell
rather than gloss for a soft finish.
paneling unifies built-in elements and provides a durable, washable
surface where walls are likely to be splashed or spattered, behind
the main work surface and sink for example. Tongue-and-groove boarding
taken two-thirds of the way up the wall provides a sense of enclosure
Kitchen floors need to be practical, resilient and easy to clean.
The classic Scandinavian style flooring consists of pale, sanded
boards, bleached to a light tone. Other types of wood flooring,
including hardwood strip, would work equally well, provided they
are not stained dark. Tiled floors of various descriptions are also
suitable. Keep the effect, light and simple.
your kitchen also serves as a place to eat, you may wish to mark
the distinction between the two areas of activity with a change
in floor covering. Natural fiber carpeting in sisal, seagrass, or
coir makes a sympathetic treatment for an eating area, if you can
keep spills to a minimum.
Combine discreet, serviceable modern fixtures such as recessed ceiling
lights or spots for working areas with contemporary pendant fittings
over the dining table. Glass or plain pleated paper shades or period
style lanterns strike the right note. A simple chandelier in dull
metal rather than crystal makes an attractive focal point.
Partial paneling, to wainscoting or high-shelf level, is a popular
way of treating walls. The wood is painted in a typical shade of
blue to set the color theme for the room. The wooden tongue-and-groove
boards and the plate shelf above make good display surfaces for
kitchen utensils and ceramics. The wall above the paneling and the
rest of the woodwork is kept a crisp white.
Accessories spell out the roots of the look. In this case, handmade
mosaic plates, painted jelly molds and a copper pan hanging on the
wall are all traditional gestures towards a bygone, self-sufficient
age. Hand-crafted wooden and metal models can nod in the same direction.
Window treatments are kept simple and unobtrusive - sill-length
curtains or shades are most appropriate, usually in plain or checked
Well-sealed woodstrip flooring really suits the look. Stripped,
bleached and varnished floorboards are also suitable. Otherwise,
the smooth, clean finish of vinyl, stone or ceramic tiles is ideal.
A combination of blue-painted cupboard doors and curtained unit
fronts help to define the smartened-up rustic image. Wooden cooktops,
dining table, and cane chairs conform with a general bias towards
the use of natural materials. Other kitchen apparatus is conspicuous
by its absence or is carefully concealed.
Built-in fittings: Scandinavian-style base and wall units are available
from major home furnishings stores. Unit fronts should be made of
wood, either with simple moldings or in tongue-and-groove paneling.
The wood is usually painted in traditional blue, gray, or green
colors. A subtle paint effect, such as stenciling or whitewashing,
may be applied according to personal taste. Solid wood or granite
countertops are traditional, but simulated wood or stone finishes
on synthetic countertops are reliable substitutes.
can revamp old units simply by replacing the doors and painting
all cabinets in a suitable color. Otherwise commission a carpenter
to make new doors in tongue-and-groove, or, if your units are standard,
you may be able to change the door style from stock supplies. It
is even less expensive to hang curtains over unit fronts, using
gingham or ticking tightly gathered along a covered wire.
on furniture: If your kitchen is large enough to include an eating
area, furnish it with a plain wooden table and chairs. There are
a range of contemporary and traditional styles from which to choose.
Look for clean lines, natural or painted finishes, and classic proportions.
Old farmhouse chairs can be painted to match the woodwork; add small
touches of freehand or stenciled decoration for a pretty effect.
Benches or settles are also in keeping with the look. Neat seat
tie-on cushions or bolsters covered in ticking, gingham, or stripes
treatments: Let in plenty of light with flimsy, unlined curtains
in checked or plain cotton. Cafe curtains, with or without matching
fabric tiebacks, are suitably modest. A soft fabric valance adds
a simple flourish.
Throughout this website, statements are made pertaining to the properties
and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products. These statements
have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and
these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat,
cure or prevent any disease.