Innovation in Sauna Design

A new generation of architects are rewriting sauna design. The powerful trend: sauna as the new social, community-creating “hangout”. Whether you are designing a commercial sauna or a home sauna, the new wave of sauna design can be used to inspire a Zen environment to both recover and relax! The process of building a home or gym sauna can be very exciting! However, there are a lot moving parts that need to be addressed to ensure a smooth transition to a dream sauna build. Set your DIY sauna up for success and make sure to read through our blog to discover more innovations for saunas and embrace a new age of creative saunas!

You see it in Gothenberg, Sweden’s new design-forward, port-side, public sauna, made of recycled, rusted steel, and built for “cultural debate, hedonism and business” or in Prague-based H3T Architekti’s quirky, saunais-for-everyone, mobile/pop-up concepts: from floating saunas in lakes or saunas hanging from bridges to saunas on wheels.

How Much Space does a sauna need?

The best way to look at this sauna design is to recognize how much space was needed for the sauna. Every design is going to require a different amount of space, if you do not now how to measure the space for a commercial or residential saunas contact an expert for help. However, there are some best practices to ensure you get the most out of your desired sauna space:

  1. Determine how much are you can dedicate for the sauna while keeping in mind guests comfort. 
  2. If you are looking for a sauna to fit 2-3 people, dedicate 24 inches per person or approximately 600mm. Leave a bench long enough for someone to lay down roughly 80 inches or 2000mm. 
  3. Make sure you leave room for a stove (sizes vary on brand) we recommend Scandia sauna heaters for the best sauna heat.
  4. For the height 2100mm-2300mm or 84 inches-90inches. This will allow enough space between upper and lower benches and comfortable seating arrangements. 
  5. Lower bench position at a suitable distance from the upper bench for a comfortable footrest and easy up and down. 
  6. Depth will all depend on the length and placement of the benches and stove, after you get all those measurements, make sure you leave room for a walk way and for the door.


We can wrap this up by making sure you love the space you picked for your spa project and you can picture your dream sauna being located there. 

Löyly Public sauna

Helsinki, Finland’s stunning public waterfront sauna complex, Löyly, an eco-friendly pyramid composed of wooden slats, with the saunas (including an ancient, antioxidant Finnish smoke sauna), vast terraces, and restaurant all open to the sea. And where after a social steam you can jump in the harbor or through a hole in the ice in winter.

where is the best sauna location?

Locations can vary depending on the project, best practices recommend installing or placing your DIY sauna near your bathroom. This is the most optimal location because of the high moisture levels and temperatures involved. This location allows an easy transition between the sauna and your bathing facilities. Additionally, positioning the sauna adjacent to the waterproofed and specially designed bathroom area ensures efficient management of similar environmental conditions. 

SAUNA The Well

The Well (near Oslo, Norway), the Nordic region’s largest bathhouse. A new, sprawling, three-level fantasia of 15 saunas (from a jungle sauna to a cinema sauna to an Austrian loft sauna where Aufguss events are performed) – with 11 pools and 100 showers set to attract 100,000 daycationers a year.

Indoor or Outdoor Sauna?

When deciding between an indoor or outdoor sauna for your home, it’s important to consider your preferences and lifestyle. Indoor saunas offer convenience and the ability to easily access relaxation in the comfort of your home. They are excellent for utilizing existing space like a bathroom or basement and can add a touch of luxury to your daily routine.

On the other hand, outdoor saunas allow you to immerse yourself in nature while enjoying the sauna experience. Being closer to nature can enhance the relaxation process by engaging your senses with the sounds and aromas of the outdoors. Outdoor saunas also offer more flexibility in terms of design and size since they are not confined by indoor space limitations.

Ultimately, whether you choose an indoor or outdoor sauna, both options can provide a range of health benefits and a rejuvenating retreat in the comfort of your own home.

Sauna preparation

Normally, saunas do not emit a ton of humidity when being used. However, a common sauna practice is to pour water over sauna rocks on the heater, to get a deep detoxifying sensation. Always make sure the sauna you build is properly ventilated and if you are dedicated a room to a sauna make sure you use a high quality vapor barrier. It is also recommended to apply a high quality sauna wood oil this treats the cedar and can increase the life of your sauna!

SALT’s Arctic amphitheater sauna

The Norwegian cultural project SALT’s Arctic amphitheater sauna, the largest (and certainly one of the coolest) public saunas in the world, where 100 people gather for “group sweatins” on tiered benches facing the Norwegian Sea (looking out through a wall of glass) – all while experiencing theater, readings and art exhibits (or having a cocktail at the bar while grooving to Norwegian electronica.) A portable project, the vast SALT sauna is set to move to northern cities in places like Iceland, Ireland, Scotland, Alaska and Russia after 2016. 


Proper Sauna and Steam Ventilation

Proper ventilation is crucial for the best performance of your sauna or steam room, regardless of how it’s constructed or elegantly designed. Ignoring ventilation can significantly diminish the sauna experience, so it’s imperative to prioritize this aspect.

Respecting local building codes and design standards is essential. For new constructions, it’s advisable to engage a heating and ventilation specialist to calculate the required ventilation volumes. However, as a rule of thumb, aiming for a ventilation rate of around 2 liters per second per square meter is a good starting point. Additionally, consulting the manufacturer’s instructions for your sauna stove is vital before finalizing the placement of ventilation openings.

Typically, a properly ventilated sauna will include an inlet positioned beneath the stove, near the floor level, and an outlet located opposite the stove, normally in the lower portion of the room’s internal height. This configuration allows efficient air flow and ensures a comfortable sauna experience for users. 

Hot Box Sauna (SCOTLAND)

What sauna accessories will elevate the sauna design?

There are a variety of different options you can add to your sauna to elevate a sauna. One thing to consider, is making sure the wood you use for the sauna is thermally modified. Grade A (knot free) Cedar planks are a common choice. Now back to our recommended accessories:

    1. True-Tile Flooring or Duckboard flooring
    2. Sauna Lights
    3. Top-Rated Wood Oil
    4. Himalayan Salt
    5. Sauna Brush
    6. Bucket and Ladle
    7. Or Mix and Match your own!

The Overall design of your sauna should be handled with care and precision. Make your sauna dream a reality and let the inspiration this blog brings help you on your next project. Again, if you ever have questions refer to an expert to help guide you through the process of designing you sauna. No project is to small, even if it is a home sauna design or a giant commercial sauna design, always follow the best practices to ensure the sauna quality and installation is smooth!