Is there anything more enjoyable than imagining all the kitchen work you could get done in your kitchen if money and time were no object?

We’re easily swayed by any thoughtfully designed kitchen, but those with a Scandinavian influence always catch our eye. Perhaps it’s the lack of extraneous details and the focus on texture instead that draws the eye, rather than flashy graphics or a plethora of colors. Whatever it is, we find that perusing a few images of Nordic-chic spaces has the same calming effect as attending an hour-long session of our preferred yoga.

But what the Swedish and Danish design experts take for granted isn’t always so obvious to us Americans. It can be challenging to adopt a “less is more” philosophy in everyday life; therefore, we are always on the lookout for inspiring kitchens that encourage us to quiet our inner chatterboxes and focus on the essentials. In any case, make an effort. While it may be difficult to let go of a lot of cabinets in favor of open shelving, the resulting sense of space is well worth the hassle of Kondo-ing your kitchen.

Here, we present tips and ideas for a gorgeous Scandinavian kitchen.

– Pure Contrasts

While contrasting islands have been on-trend for some time now, nowhere is the contrast between the island and the rest of the cabinetry more pronounced than in this ultra-modern, natural wood kitchen. Contrary to expectations, the black island makes the room feel quite cozy (and serves as a de facto focal point.)

– Elevate Shelves

As opposed to their American counterparts, Scandinavian kitchens seem to exude a sense of calm. We are concluding that getting rid of the ceiling cabinets is the best option. Having some of the shelves open (or even just one long one) makes the room feel lighter.

Double up on lower cabinets and drawers if you worry you won’t have enough storage space despite your love of open shelving.

– Let There Be Light

To us, dark floors are quintessential Scandinavian, especially when paired with white countertops (double points for a waterfall edge). Of course, the lighting in a kitchen is the most vital factor. Both a single sculptural pendant and a grouping of them can give a room a sleek, modern Nordic feel.

Cabinets with no hardware other than a simple open and close mechanism, especially when finished in a smoky light grey, have an undeniably modern vibe. But if you feel like you’re missing out on the opportunity to display prized possessions in an open setting, install open shelving at a lower level on your kitchen island.

– Internally Lighted

Having morning coffee here seems like the perfect way to start the day. Kitchens with plenty of natural light from large windows and additional task lighting mounted on the wall above the stove or sink provide the best conditions for home chefs. Perhaps if we switched out all the wall sconces for task lighting, we wouldn’t have been so dismayed by the results of our culinary endeavors.

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