Offshore power systems will be characterized by a large penetration of power electronics converters and power cables, resulting in complex behaviors that can be quite different from traditional AC systems. Analyzing such systems is challenging due to their complexity and the relative lack of experience. In this context, performing laboratory tests in scaled down model network have significant relevance to verify simulation models and to test equipment and control methods in a controlled environment. The design of the laboratory needs to be a compromise between the capability to accurately reproduce the real system behavior and the practical constraints on ease of use, equipment size, cost and safety. This paper summarizes the main design considerations for a laboratory infrastructure dedicated to research of future offshore grids and the possible challenges. The laboratory facility developed jointly by NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) and SINTEF Energy Research is described with examples of the experimental possibilities. Copyright © 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd.