A fresh look at the Scandinavian secrets to successful kitchen design

With the world currently obsessed with Danish (and Scandinavian) design, it’s no surprise that Denmark has reformed the kitchen industry with its export of stylish minimalist designs. The clean look, with its streamlined cabinetry and neutral tones, has become a key trend, perhaps due to the fact that more homeowners want flexible open-plan living, where the kitchen is integrated into the rest of the space.

Designer, Katrine Martensen-Larsen private kitchen illuminated by natural daylight. © kmldesign.dk

Designer, Katrine Martensen-Larsen private kitchen illuminated by natural daylight. © kmldesign.dk

Minimal and clean

The Danish kitchen steers clear of clutter by going with a basic but visually appealing layout. White walls and cabinetry run through most of these kitchens with wood elements and flooring adding warmth. Images of super-stylish Danish kitchens are always impeccably finished, with no trace of disorder in sight; it seems keeping things pure and simple is the secret to smart kitchen design.

Don’t buy stuff that you don’t need for your kitchen,’ quips Danish interior designer Katrine Martensen-Larsen when asked about the best way to achieve a minimalist kitchen.

Many people are impulse buyers and hoarders, so this advice might be hard to follow, but the trick is to be savvy with storage solutions – just don’t have it all out on show. Martensen-Larsen hides her rarely used items, such as bulky juicers, blenders and mixers, in storage units, rather than keeping them out on the worktop.

White window panes and candles blend in softly into this kitchen. © kmldesign.dk

White window panes and candles blend in softly into this kitchen. © kmldesign.dk

Warm Lighting

While the minimalist style of the kitchen is important, one of the other elements that makes Danish kitchen designs so successful is that the Danes put a significant focus on lighting, using both natural daylight and artificial light fittings to create the perfect scheme.

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© Granit Chartered Architects

The clever positioning of windows, mirrors and even mirrored surfaces can make a room feel larger and brighter and will help enhance the clean, minimalist look, especially when combined with a mix of practical task lighting and mood lighting.
Renowned Danish designer Knud Kapper Hansen agrees that the way forward is to create timeless, streamlined designs.

‘We need to make modern classics again. We did right after the Second World War, and it was a success,’ says Hansen. ‘We have to nurture the next generation of young designers who can make these modern classics again that will become icons of Danish design.’
But Hansen says that it’s not just about opting for the right style – in order to achieve a truly modern classic design, a designer must spend a lot time researching and testing the product to come up with a kitchen that will last.

The continuation of this kitchen into a segment for entertaining guests  © kmldesign.dk

The continuation of this kitchen into a segment for entertaining guests © kmldesign.dk

Herringbone Wood Floor

There’s little doubt that the floor is a crucial consideration when designing any kitchen. If you’re going with the Danish style, herringbone hardwood floors would do the trick. Herringbone has a rich history as a traditional floor pattern in Europe. It can be installed in several configurations, and when used with a pure white base colour, herringbone floors radiate warmth and practicality.

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© Kitchen Unknown

Practical Storage

The Danish kitchen is usually quite spacious, even when installed in a small area. This is often due to practical storage design like placing cabinets on narrow side walls instead of main walls. Grouped cabinets are practical space savers – and you’ll often find these cabinets using leather pulls instead of knobs. These leathers are not only convenient and stylish, but thoroughly Danish. Find out how to conquer kitchen clutter with these kitchen cabinets trends.

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© Erin Berzel Photography

The kitchen has always been a functional space – and often doubles as a social area in modern homes. No one knows this better than the Danes with their minimalist yet timeless kitchen designs leading the way in Denmark, and indeed the world.