Clean lines, decluttered spaces, and simple styling are what is resonating in interiors today. Add in light, warm wood tones, a neutral color palette, and functional furnishings and you have the modern, yet warm hallmarks of a space that embraces Scandinavian design (also known as Scandi style).

The History of Scandinavian Design

During the 1930s five Nordic countries started to re-shape interior design with a new take on minimalist styling that focused on simple living and comfort. These countries included Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland. It wasn’t until the mid-1950s until this style grabbed the attention of the International design world and coined its name, “Scandinavian” design style from a traveling interior design exhibit. 

From 1954 to 1957, the Brooklyn Museum started a traveling show called “Design in Scandinavia” that made its way through the USA and Canada making a lasting impression on the design industry. The intriguing event featured several innovative Nordic designers that focused their designs around a minimalistic philosophy. Designs were built around simplifying the daily lifestyle while embracing clean lines, and textures inspired by nature. But Scandi style was not only about clean styling and lifestyle but also had a strong focus on sustainability, solid craftsmanship, and eco-friendly products. This show and many exhibits that followed played a leading role in the influence of Scandinavian style around the world. Scandinavian style has continued to evolve over the years becoming a modern look that’s also a timeless classic. 

 

The Brooklyn Museum‘s 1954 “Design in Scandinavia” exhibition launched “Scandinavian Modern” furniture on the American market.

The Scandinavian Style Color Palette 

The color palette should be dominated by whites and natural-toned woods, the addition of dark blue, dark green, icy blues, and moss green bring the colors of nature indoors. 

 

This Scandi style mood board features Dura Supreme’s Dash door style in Lodge Oak Textured TFL.

The Scandinavian design almost always showcases interiors that use white as the dominating color in the color palette. The white brightens the space which is so important when being cooped up inside during the long dark winters that Nordic countries are known for.

Dura Supreme Cabinetry shown in the Linea door style in a Pearl paint finish.

But all white is not always the case. Instead of opting for the all-white palette, this Scandinavian kitchen adds a dose of deep blue. The warm wood accent and the minimal styling makes this kitchen a shining example of the elegant simplicity of Scandinavian style.

Photo by Nicolaj Bo™  

Incorporate accents of natural wood or lightly stained wood tones into the design to add texture and warmth to the room. Often you’ll see white painted cabinetry and walls, with natural wood floors, a lightly stained wood kitchen island or table, and small splashes of subtle greens and blues throughout the decor.

Dura Supreme kitchen design featuring the Linea door style by Dura Supreme.

Selecting Scandinavian Style Cabinetry

In the Scandinavian-inspired kitchen, the door style should be simple, a slab or flat panel door without ornamentation. Accent cabinet doors might feature a contrasting color or material to add interest or have a glass door, or modern aluminum framed cabinet door. Many times Scandi design will mix in some simple metal elements to complement the design. 

 

Cabinet construction is typically frameless (full-access) cabinetry not only because it’s a prominent cabinetry style in Europe, but also because of its ability to house additional internal storage space and its minimalistic appearance. 

 

Bria Cabinetry by Dura Supreme features Frameless (Full-Access) construction.

Design Elements of a Scandi Style Kitchen

Keep accents to a minimum for a clean and uncluttered feel. Add texture by using natural elements such as greenery and natural wood grains to bring the outdoors in. 

Tile by Fireclay Tile shown in the Feldspar 2″ x 6″ Tile | Design by Reserve Home

The design should be highly functional and focused on practical storage, comfort, and clutter-free environment. Floating shelves and open shelving are commonly used in replacement of wall cabinets in areas of Scandi kitchen designs to open up the space and create casual storage for every day used items like plates, bowls, cups, and other frequently used items. 

Tile by Fireclay Tile shown in the Chaine Homme White Wash Tile | Design by Mark Davis Design | Photo by Luis Costadone

Furniture and cabinetry that feature clean lines and decor with smooth rounded edges help capture the look of Scandinavian style. While products that are made from natural and/or sustainable materials represent the ideology of Scandinavian design and the vision of simplistic living. 

Tile by Fireclay Tile shown in the Feldspar 2″ x 6″ tile | Design by Reserve Home

Tile that stretched from floor to ceiling is a common feature. Tiles are generally used to add subtle texture. Many Scandi style kitchens feature traditional subway-tiles, historic-like brick walls, or minimalistic geometric patterns.

Tile by Fireclay Tile shown in the Mist 4″ x 8″ tile | Design by EJ Interior Design | Photo by Brad Knipstein

Touches of rustic decor and design elements are often added sparingly to soften and warm the bright and modern elements. 

Tile by Fireclay Tile shown in the White Mountains Glazed Brick |Design by The Fresh Exchange

Textiles are typically neutral or feature subtle blue and green hues. They are all about simplicity and casual comfort and may feature handwoven materials or simple geometric prints. Window treatments are typically limited or basic focusing on letting as much sunlight into the room as possible. Since most Nordic homes only enjoy daylight as little as seven hours a day, natural lighting is a prominent feature in many Scandi style homes. 

A kitchen with no window treatments to help as much sunlight come through at all times. Tile by Fireclay Tile shown in the White Mountains Glazed Brick |Design by The Fresh Exchange

A dining room with simple window treatments to let lots of sunlight in. | Design & Photo by Anastasiia Andreichenko

Is Scandinavian (Scandi) Your Interior Design Style?

Design & Photo by Anastasiia Andreichenko featuring Acrylic cabinets in a Scandinavian style kitchen.

Design & Photo by Anastasiia Andreichenko

Tile by Fireclay Tile shown with the Daisy tile | Design by Ann Edgerton | Photo by Andrea Calo

Tile by Fireclay Tile shown in the Feldspar 2″ x 6″ Tile | Design by Reserve Home

Tile by Fireclay Tile shown in the White Mountains Glazed Brick |Design by The Fresh Exchange

Photo by Nicolaj Bo™

Photo by Nicolaj Bo™

Kitchen design by Multiform, Denmark

Mandi Juskiewicz is the Marketing Communications Coordinator for Dura Supreme Cabinetry with 15+ years of experience in graphic design, web design, multi-media communications, photography, and social media technology.  Her accolades include the distinction of being named Kitchen Cabinetry Marketing Specialist of the Year 2019 in the 2019 Content Creator Awards held by CV Magazine and achiever of the Houzz Influencer Award. Her role at Dura Supreme allows her to curate the “best of the best” designs, cutting edge products and fabulously functional Dura Supreme kitchens across the country and feature them here for inspiration and design ideas!

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