Inspiring Tips to Mimic a Scandinavian Kitchen in Your Rental

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Interior design is an unpredictable field, with trends coming and going more frequently than the opportunity to remodel or redecorate. As such, opting for a timeless style is the most practical choice in the long run. When it comes to kitchen design, you want something that is both durable and stylish—because much of your time will be spent there.

One of the most fruitful designs for kitchens—recommended again and again by designers—is Scandinavian. This style focuses on minimalism, practicality, and clarity, and its features are appropriate for a wide variety of people, apartments, and tastes.

scandinavian kitchen cabinet

However, to achieve this style, there are certain areas you should focus on—including textures and colors—more so than furniture choices. For instance, try to find a unit with stainless-steel appliances, which are easy to clean and elegant. As for the rest of the design, you don’t have to necessarily change much; that’s because simply working with lighting, colors, and small details will transform any kitchen.

Color Palette

The signature Scandinavian style comes from its open and light feel, primarily because white is its central color. For example, creamy, white tiles with dark gray tiling grout are an elegant and practical solution. Or, if you want to bring the design into 2020, think about incorporating champagne details through rugs or curtains.

Once you’ve laid down your light background, it’s time to add contrast. Select a dark, navy blue for your larger pieces and combine that with golden accents. Or, alternatively, go for a fully sophisticated look with dark gray or even black furniture. Depending on which color scheme you choose, you can also add colorful details in olive, mint, yellow, or red.

modern scandi kitchen

Textures & Materials

Scandinavian kitchens are smooth and sleek with straight lines and minimal features. Therefore, you want countertops that are strong, easy to clean, and primarily functional. To really embrace the Nordic feeling, try to find a natural material like wood, especially oak and pine. Or, for a more modern Scandi kitchen, choose a concrete or marble countertop and search for wooden floors when browsing your rental options. You could also incorporate wood in smaller accents, such as cutting boards or chair legs.

wooden features

Additionally, Nordic kitchens can sometimes have a cold feeling, so integrate soft, plushy materials—such as comfortable chair cushions or maybe a soft cotton rug in the transition area—to subtly make the space feel cozier.


One of the most important aspects of Scandinavian kitchen design is lighting. The signature style is to hang long, thin lamps—usually in threes—in either black or a metal of your choice. In particular, brass, gold, and copper work great. For the lighting itself, depending on your personal preference, choose either a warm, yellowish light or a cool, white hue.

nordic kitchens

Apart from this main lighting feature, you can also incorporate lights on dimmers at the entrance of the kitchen, as well as above the stove. If you have a larger kitchen, you might also add a standing lamp to brighten darker corners.

Details & Décor

Now, for the fun part: it’s time to personalize it. If, so far, none of the recommendations seem possible for you, rest assured; you can mimic the Scandinavian style with just a few details. Remember, it’s all about cleanliness, order, and creating a clutter-free environment; so, if you store everything properly and have just a few items on display, adding some Nordic features will create that Scandinavian feeling.

As we discussed, consider incorporating natural elements into your décor. Invest in roughly finished, hard wooden cutting boards to display, as well as a central element that utilizes river stones. Also, have a potted plant or a vase with freshly cut flowers on the counter, but keep the color variation to a minimum with a dark, rich green foliage and white or very lightly colored flowers.

scandinavian kitchen

Moreover, if you want to add artwork, keep it as minimal as possible. Of course, your decorations should be aesthetically pleasing, but don’t forget that Scandinavian kitchens are, first and foremost, practical. As such, invest in kitchen accessories that are both beautiful and functional.

As with all interior design, these are not rigid instructions; feel free to incorporate the elements that are right for you and adapt any aspect to fit your lifestyle and preferences. In the end, it’s all about how you feel in your own home, so don’t be afraid to experiment with the colors and textures you enjoy.

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Mihaela Buzec is a senior writer and online content developer for RentCafe. She covers topics about everything related to the renting lifestyle, from decorating and interior design to finding the right apartment, frugal living, money saving advice, and more. She dives deep into topics of interest, writing well-researched comprehensive guides on subjects such as renting with pets, saving on utilities, or avoiding rental scams to help renters stay informed and live smart.

Mihaela holds a BA in English and German Language and Literature, an MA in Current Linguistics, and she is currently pursuing a PhD in neurolinguistics.

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