9 Scandi-inspired small kitchen ideas — we love this modern look

Embrace the Scandi-inspired small kitchen ideas making our home experts swoon for an updated, effortless aesthetic

Small kitchen with gray countertop and pendant lights
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It makes sense that Scandi-inspired small kitchen ideas are taking off due to their timeless look. Known for their paired-back, effortless vibe, Scandinavian homes are usually calming spaces featuring plenty of natural light, neutral tones, and sleek furniture. 

We know small kitchens can be difficult to work with. A lack of storage, a cramped space, and perhaps not the prettiest decor can make a teeny, tiny kitchen feel overwhelming. But these Scandi-focused tips will can change all that. 

We've spoken to the best in the business, from interior designers to home experts, on how to incorporate a calmer, more minimalist approach in your small kitchen for a Scandi look.

Scandi-inspired small kitchen ideas

Get the Scandi design look for your kitchen, no matter its size. Here, a range of experts share nine tips on colors to use, accessories to invest in, and quick tweaks to bring the gorgeous Scandi aesthetic into your small kitchen.  

1. Highlight classic Scandinavian design

Kitchen with wooden table and vases of tulips

(Image credit: The India Edit)

Scandinavian design ideas are famous the world over, so if you want a shortcut to giving your kitchen the Scandi look, investing in a classic Danish or Swedish design piece is a great way to do it.

Joy Aumann, realtor and founder of LuxurySoCalRealty says, "We think of a small kitchen as a tight, unsophisticated space that's bound to be ugly, simple, and cluttered, but it really doesn't need to be the case. What's more, a small kitchen can have a Scandi look without costing much. First, think about how to keep things simple, the Scandi way."

"For me, this means buying one or two Scandinavian furniture pieces and really focusing your budget on that, rather than anything else. The best example I can think of is a wishbone chair. There's plenty of them around and they're so chic.”

Joy Aumann

Joy Aumann is founder of LuxurySoCalRealty and a realtor committed to delivering the most personal, efficient, and transparent real estate experience possibltate.

2. Display herbs in earthy, terracotta pots

Open shelves in kitchen with terracotta plates

(Image credit: STRAW LONDON)

Scandi design is rooted in a connection to nature. A superb way to channel that vibe is to start growing an indoor herb garden in earthy terracotta pots.

Joy continues, “Really lean into natural materials for a Scandi look. Materials that are textured like wood, stone, and terracotta give that natural grit, which is perfect."

We love these classic terracotta pots available on Amazon for a cottagecore feel.

"Growing herbs is pretty and practical. You can use them in cooking or even as a cocktail garnish. Store in open cupboards and shelves, or use as a simple, natural centerpiece in the middle of your dining table," says Joy.

3. Put up floating shelves to minimize clutter

Small kitchen with floating shelves and dishes on display

(Image credit: Living Room Danishly)

In a small kitchen, it makes sense to embrace better storage solutions and get rid of bulky cabinets that can make the space feel smaller. Finding new places to store plates and cookware in a small kitchen means showing off your collection.

Interior designer, Rudolph Diesel, says, "Clutter is the enemy of Scandinavian design. In a small kitchen, I suggest keeping your countertops free from unnecessary items and making use of smart storage solutions. Install floating shelves to display your favorite kitchenware or invest in stylish storage baskets to keep things organized and out of sight."

We particularly like these wooden floating shelves from Target which have a simple, natural feel. 

Rudolph Diesel

Rudolph Diesel is a London-based Interior designer and founder of Rudolph Diesel Interiors. 

4. Give your walls a lick of light-colored paint

Neutral kitchen with small floating shelves

(Image credit: The House On Forest Hill)

It's a no-brainer that lighter paint colors can make a space feel bigger, so it makes sense to apply this logic to brighten up a small kitchen. Plus, it's the Scandi way, so you can tick off the trend!

Rudolph agrees, explaining, “Scandinavian design typically relies on a light and airy color palette. I recommend choosing white or light-colored walls, as they create an illusion of space and enhance the natural light in your kitchen. Soft greys, pastels, or pale blues can also work well to add a touch of serenity.”

If you're stuck on what paint color to use, you can't go wrong with the Rust-Oleum Studio Color paint in the shade of coconut from Walmart.

5. Bring the outside in

Small kitchen with dark cabinets and wooden countertops

(Image credit: Sixty Seven Belmont)

Natural floral displays and hanging plants are another way of incorporating the best plants for small spaces into your Scandi-inspired kitchen. 

Keely Smith, lead interior designer at JD Elite Interiors, shares several ways to do this. She says, “Bringing nature inside is important for the Scandinavian style. Even tiny kitchens can showcase houseplants and plant wild floral installations. 

“My top tip is to display freshly cut flowers, dried grasses, or even rustic branches in a wide, open glass vase in the middle of a table or on a wooden countertop."

Keely Smith

Keely Smith is a Lead Interior Designer at JD Elite Interiors. She is a designer and artist living in North Vancouver, BC. She has over 10 years experience working with design studios, private companies, and as a freelance designer.

6. Woven pendant lighting

Small kitchen with dining table and pendant light

(Image credit: Our Neutral Ground)

Back to natural materials and one of the easiest ways to nod to this trend is with woven accessories. Seek out storage baskets, decorative stools, or pendant lampshades, in a range of seagrass, bamboo, rattan, and wicker.

The earthy color really stands out in a neutral small kitchen and adds lots of texture to an area that might otherwise look a little dull.

We love this example from influencer Our Neutral Ground, which shows how impactful a simple pendant light can be, especially two together.

7. Show off your stylish tableware

White kitchen cabinet with glass door

(Image credit: The House On Forest Hill)

While storage is everything in a small kitchen — especially a Scandi one — sometimes you can make the most of the space by showing off the tableware you love. 

Keely continues, “Open shelving is key for both functional small kitchen storage and that effortless, airy, Scandi look. Focus on the wall space above the work area — remove the upper cabinets and replace them with solid wooden shelves. Store dishes, glassware, and linens openly, rather than hiding them away. Adding gold or brass accents to the shelf edges adds a touch of warmth too.”

Not every kitChen might have space for this, but vintage-sourced or thrifted old cupboards with glass fronts like this accent shelf from Wayfair can be a really nice way to try this look too.

8. Get your hygge on

Kitchen with dining table and gingham tablecloth

(Image credit: Patricia Rodi)

Don't have any budget at all to give your small kitchen a Scandi feel? There's one special thing you can do — light one of our favorite scented candles

We're sure you've heard of hygge — the Scandi phenomenon which is all about embracing winter and being cozy. Well, you can get this warm, homely feel by filling your space with candles. 

No need to go for anything fancy. A simple white tapered candle or a budget-friendly scented candle like this H&M Home candle, is perfect, too.

9. Use textured kitchenware to create depth

Kitchen with open shelves and greenery

(Image credit: Patricia Rodi)

As we know, the Scandi ethos is all about connecting to nature and so you'll find in many Scandi kitchens natural materials are at the forefront. William Horton, co-founder of Homebody Forever, says that layering texture is a great way to do this. 

"Incorporate different textures through materials like wood, ceramics, and linens. A wooden cutting board, ceramic vases, or linen tea towels can add depth while maintaining a minimalist look," he says.

I especially love the way influencer Patricia Rodi uses her wooden chopping boards as decor accessories. Get a similar look with this olive wood cutting board available on Amazon.

William Horton

William Horton is the co-founder of the cozy Homebody Forever community, which he shares with his wife.


Do I have to use neutral colors in a Scandi-style small kitchen?

No, not necessarily! Don't feel you have to stick to monochrome shades or even tamer hues of beige and brown, but it is best to opt for natural tones or calming colors. So, slate blue, forest green, pale yellow — all of these kind of colors can also look really nice and create a Scandi feel.

How can I improve storage in a Scandi-inspired small kitchen?

Try utilizing space you wouldn't usually think about such as on top of cupboards or underneath the counter, where you can add a textured, linen curtain to cover up your clutter. Another idea is to use in-drawer dividers to ensure everything has its own place and give your kitchen even more zen. 

From geometric patterns on vases and tableware, to ceramic touches across candle holders and vases, textures, and prints are another great nod to this aesthetic.

If you're still looking for ways to bring Scandinavian style to your home, take a look at our take on Scandi bathrooms with plenty of ideas on smaller tips and accessories.