How to organize a Scandi-style kitchen – where elegant simplicity meets functionality

From chaotic to calming, these five tricks will help organize any Scandi-style kitchen

A light wood kitchen with white countertops and large kitchen island
(Image credit: Bakes & Kropp)

Scandinavian-style kitchens are instantly recognizable. Their light color palettes, natural materials, and minimalist lines make these kitchens some of the best for stress-free cooking. 

Your Scandinavian kitchen design means nothing, however, if behind the beautiful (often wood) cabinet doors is a torrent of chaos and disorganization. 

From beautiful storage containers that coordinate with a Scandi aesthetic, to helpful tips on organizing a kitchen, these five tricks are essential if you want to master the seamless Scandi look and stress-free appeal of the Nordic way of life.  

How to organize a Scandi-style kitchen

There is no better place to start when organizing a Scandi-style kitchen than actual Scandinavian organization techniques. From Swedish death cleaning and cutting out kitchen clutter, to only keeping items and decor that make you feel happy and at peace, there are some great approaches to ensure that what you keep in your kitchen are life’s essentials and nothing more. 

Once you have decluttered a kitchen, you can turn to Scandi-style storage to keep things neat.  

1. Only keep essentials on hand

Chinese money plant on kitchen countertop with open shelving above

(Image credit: The Sill)

Much like organizing a modern-style kitchen, Scandi-style cook spaces prioritize functionality and practicality. As such, you should organize items so that only your most used things are left on counters, or at the front of cabinets and drawers, suggests Beth Lennon, professional home organizer and founder of Destination Decluttered

‘The fewer things on the surfaces of any kitchen make for a sleeker, more calm look. Keeping your most often used tools and seasonings within easy reach behind doors or in drawers will make meal prep and cleanup a breeze (and keep seasonings and oils fresher too, away from heat and light).’

2. Keep storage to the side

pantry with unpainted wooden frame and open shelving in white kitchen

(Image credit: Martin Moore)

If you truly want to master the minimalist look, you can keep the bulk of your kitchen storage off to one side – in a back kitchen, utility room, or a walk-in pantry, suggests Tom Howley, design director of the eponymous kitchen company:

‘A well-designed utility room can include a washing machine, tumble dryer, sink, ironing board and iron, extra storage for shoes, and even additional pantry space,’ he says. This takes some of the pressure off of the kitchen itself so you can maintain the Scadi aesthetic far more easily. 

3. Use natural materials

scandi kitchen with white cabinetry wooden island and base cabinets and green larder

(Image credit: Naked Kitchens)

One of the cornerstones of Scandinavian interior design is the reliance on natural materials such as stone and wood. When picking out the best kitchen organizers for your space, consider picking up baskets and containers that use these materials, along with glass and cork, to keep the scheme uniform. 

‘Cork is a clever and versatile material that’s inherently sustainable and brings warmth and texture to any surface or space, but it’s also ideal for insulating, which makes it great for kitchens’ suggests Bo Hellberg, CMO at String Furniture. ‘It combines the Scandi kitchen interior with a softer, organic material. Japandi-light, if you like, especially if you look at the wine rack or the cutlery dividers. And the cork underlays look great with any pots and pans.’ 

4. Keep counters clear

scandi kitchen with limed cabinetry with white larder and wooden flooring

(Image credit: Naked Kitchens)

Decluttering kitchen countertops and keeping kitchen counters clear is a must if you want to maintain the Scandi look, warns Lina DaSilva, professional cleaner and home organizer, founder of Toronto Shine Cleaning. This not only keeps your workspace clean and easily accessible but promotes the minimalist lines the Scandinavian style is famous for, she says. 

If you need to add storage, you can then consider using open shelving to keep the room light. 

When organizing open shelving in a kitchen, try to keep clutter to a minimum, only displaying items you regularly use, such as cookbooks, or your dinnerware sets, Lina adds. 

5. Pick transparent containers

scandi kitchen with wooden island and glazed cabinetry. Concrete pendant light hangs above island

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Just because the Scandi style promotes functionality doesn't mean you can’t organize some kitchen items just for the aesthetic. Where space allows, you could consider decanting food goods into jars and transparent containers to continue the clean lines into your pantry, suggests Catherine Snowden, professional chef and food blogger at Fascinating Sky.

‘Transparency is key in Scandinavian design. Clear containers can help you achieve it. They also keep your cooking space organized. Store dry items like rice, pasta, and ingredients for baking in them. They will appear compact and tidy, and you will be able to quickly view the contents and keep track of your cupboard supplies.’

With your Scandi-style kitchen organized, you now just need to maintain it. ‘Get in the habit of cleaning up as you go, or creating an evening closing shift routine to reset your kitchen, paying attention to surfaces and places where clutter tends to accumulate throughout the day,’ suggests Beth Lennon, professional organizer. ‘Doing an evening reset ensures you can feel good in your kitchen first thing in the morning.’

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.