Sauna: design ideas, inspiration & pictures

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What is a sauna?

A tiny log house that gives people an opportunity to enjoy a heat therapy session is known as a sauna. The word boasts of a Finnish origin. Finland is also the country where you would find the longest and most illustrious history of saunas. With people from the Scandinavian countries migrating to North America, the popularity of saunas spread like wildfire.

Countries like Canada soon came under its spell. They became permanent features of luxury spas, hotels and resorts. Yet for many years, the high installation charges of saunas kept them out of bound from the homeowners. The invention of electric sauna heaters and later infrared saunas changed this. Now modern homeowners can easily enjoy a relaxing sauna session without stepping outside their homes.

What are the benefits of using a sauna?

Though like Turkish hammam many heat bathing facilities exist in other parts of the world, saunas enjoy a steady following and a large user base. One of the prime reasons of its popularity is its numerous health benefits.

* Saunas help you energise your mind and body. 

* Sauna sessions have a de-stressing effect on your mind. 

* Sauna gives you some relief from chronic aches and pains. Many people suffering from arthritis find a heat therapy session in saunas especially useful. 

* Saunas help you remove toxins from your body. 

* Regular sauna users are said to have a healthier and brighter skin. 

* If you are suffering from sinus infections, then saunas can help you get rid of the problem. 

* They are useful for promoting cardiovascular functions. 

* Sauna sessions are also said to have positive effects on people’s weight loss goals.

Different types of Saunas

Saunas are available in a variety of styles. The following are some of the most popular sauna types for your home:

Finnish sauna – In Finland, almost every residential building boasts of a sauna. Finnish prefer classic wood-burning saunas and often build them on their backyard. These saunas use wood burning stoves to produce heat.

Steam sauna – Steam saunas combine both heat and humidity to produce the necessary therapeutic experience. The heat of the interior atmosphere tends to be less intense than traditional saunas. Though steam baths offer similar benefits, they are not considered to be actual saunas by many.

Infrared sauna – This type of saunas are very popular in the urban dwellings of Canada. They are portable and can easily be installed in virtually any nook and corner of your home. Instead of wood burning stoves, these saunas utilise infrared heaters.

Smoke Sauna – Smoke saunas are popularly known as “savusaunas”. In this type of saunas, water is poured on heated stones to produce the necessary effect. They are easy to build and cost effective. Smoke saunas are also favoured for their rustic style. Outside Finland, they are very popular in the Baltic region.

Electrically heated sauna – Electrically heated saunas are another popular choice for contemporary home owners. They can be easily placed in spa style bathrooms and used for an invigorating heat therapy session. These saunas use electrical heaters in place of traditional stoves.

What are the costs of having a sauna at home and its maintenance?

Modern inventions like infrared and electric saunas, made them very affordable for today’s homeowners. By spending as little as CAD 1200, you will be able to buy a quality prefabricated sauna. These saunas are easy to install in small bathrooms or other vacant areas of a tiny apartment. They can be used by one family member at a time.

Bigger and more luxurious bespoke saunas can be built in less than CAD 7500. These saunas can accommodate 6 to 7 people at a time. To have a custom built sauna in your home spa, you may discuss your requirements with a spa designer. The cost of maintaining a sauna is not too high either. Even if you are a regular sauna user, you will be able to manage the facility in less CAD 50 per month.

The advantages and disadvantages of installing a sauna inside your home or outside it

Traditional saunas used to be installed outside the house. The bathers could often enjoy the views of the stunning landscape of the Scandinavian countries. The same advantages still apply for saunas built outside your home, especially if you live in a scenic area of the country. You can build a spacious sauna this way. You can also position one close to your swimming pool.

Not everybody is privileged to have a sprawling garden though. Under such a scenario, it is better to install a sauna in your spa bathroom. Installing saunas in the interior of the house would give you greater amount of privacy. You will have the plumbing and electrical system already sorted out, if you position your sauna in your bathroom. These saunas are smaller in size and take less space than the saunas built in the exterior of the house.

How to determine the colours and materials while designing a sauna?

Sauna colours are determined by the type of wood in use. Though you may buy one of the pre-fabricated designs with funky colours, it is better to retain the natural wood texture and tone for a luxurious feel. The most important raw material of a sauna is wood. For their durability, wood types like aspens, red cedars, spruce and walnut are favoured for designing a sauna. While walnut boasts of a dark tone, spruce shows a pale yet warm shade.

Lumbers sold for saunas are oil treated and create no discomfort under high temperature. The other important items needed for building a sauna are galvanised nails, ventilation system, sauna lighting, stove or heater. Sauna vents are designed close to the floor and just under the benches.

What are the furniture and accessories needed for a sauna?

Except for simple benches, saunas hardly need any other furniture and minimal amount of accessories. Due to its hypoallergenic qualities, aspens are preferred for sauna benches. Accessories like wooden headrests, tubs, ladles, essential oils, bath towels and a thermometer are needed for the interiors. To induce an element of fun, you may also decorate the interiors with a sculpture of sauna spirit.