The Finnish home is light-coloured. Usually a home consists of a living room, kitchen, and one to three bedrooms. In addition, there is a bathroom and often a separate toilet as well. Many homes also have their own sauna—in apartment buildings as well. According to statistics, there are about two million saunas in Finland!
- Detail: The colours used in Finnish homes are often very light. Walls are often white or grey. The reason for light-coloured walls is the dark autumn and winter season. White reflects light and thus light walls make the interiors feel light and spacious also when it is dark outside.
Welcome to a Finnish home! You enter via the hallway where you leave your coat and your shoes. In Finnish homes, people usually wear only socks, except at parties where shoes are used.
There are closets in the hallway, because in Finland outdoor clothing is often kept in a closet. Shoes are also sometimes stored in closets; however, especially in homes with children, there may be piles of shoes in the hallway. Storage space is the key to a functioning hallway.
- Detail: There is usually a small vestibule preceding the hallway in Finnish single-family houses. It is the first area after the entrance. Its purpose is to prevent cold air from flowing inside. In families with children, people usually leave the dirtiest outdoors wear in the vestibule and sometimes clothes can also be rinsed there which makes it easier to keep the house clean.
Next, the guest is guided to the living room. In a Finnish home, the living room has traditionally been the place for family gatherings and conversation. It has also been the room used for entertaining guests and for serving coffee and pastries.
The television has been the centre of the living room and all members of the family have watched television together sitting on a sofa. There has traditionally been a coffee table in the middle of the room.
However, Finnish living rooms are changing. Television is not anymore necessarily the centre of attention in the living room and there may not be sofas anymore. Bookshelves that were the standard pieces of furniture in living rooms 20 years ago are becoming quite rare. Instead, the living rooms of today may have laptops and projectors. However, the living room in a Finnish home is still the place for relaxation and entertainment.
- Detail: A sofa is the key piece of furniture in a Finnish living room. According to surveys, older generations prefer leather upholstery and the younger generations prefer fabric upholstery on their sofas. The most popular colour for sofas is brown.
The kitchen has traditionally been the heart of a Finnish home. And it still is. In more and more homes there are open-plan kitchens, but separate kitchens are still quite common as well.
In a Finnish kitchen, there is a dining table and cabinets around the table top and sink that often include domestic appliances as well.
In a Finnish kitchen, there is usually a cooker including an oven, a refrigerator and freezer unit, a dishwasher, and a microwave oven. There is a cooker hood above the cooker. Although there is a dishwasher in most homes, there is also a sink in the kitchen. Above the sink, there is usually a dish-draining cupboard that is a Finnish invention.
There is a separate dining table in the kitchen even if there is a separate dining area in the home. People usually have at least breakfast at the table in the kitchen.
- Detail: Finnish invention invented by Maiju Gebhard—dish-draining cupboard—can be found in almost all Finnish homes. Maiju Gebhard was working for the TTS Institute (Työtehoseura) and in her work she wanted to help especially housewives. She developed the dish-draining cupboard in 1944/45 and her invention very quickly became hugely popular. The factory production of these cupboards was started already in 1948.
The Finnish master bedroom used by the mother and father usually has a double bed with a bedside table on each side. There is often a reading lamp on the bedside table, because Finns like to read in bed. There is a bed spread on the bed in the daytime and it is often accompanied by pillows and a blanket. Bedrooms often have large wardrobes and sometimes there is also a separate walk-in wardrobe.
- Detail: According to surveys, Finns sleep best in a discreet and simple bedroom. Finns do not favour romantically decorated bedrooms.
When you see a room filled with colours in a Finnish home, it is usually a child’s room. Rooms for children are for both playing and sleeping. For school-aged children, there is also a desk and a lamp for homework. There is usually a wardrobe in a child’s room as well.
In many families, all children have their own room.
When children grow up and leave home, children’s rooms are often refurbished as libraries or studies.
- Detail: According to the Children’s Media Barometer, only very few 0–8-year-olds in Finland are allowed to use media tools in their own room. However, 27% of 7–8-year-old boys are allowed to use gaming consoles in their own room.
Today, bathtubs are quite rare in Finnish bathrooms. Instead, there is a shower installed in a shower stall or behind a shower door. Bathrooms usually have a toilet as well. Several bathrooms also have a washing machine and a tumble dryer. If there is a sauna, it is located next to the bathroom.
- Detail: Finns appreciate design in their bathrooms. According to studies, one third of all Finns would like to have a touch-free flushing toilet.
Saunas are very common in Finnish homes. If guests are invited over, for example, on a Saturday night, they are often invited to sauna as well. The decoration of a sauna is usually very simple, but in recent years the decoration of saunas has also been invested in.
In apartment buildings and terraced houses saunas are often heated by electricity. A traditional wood-heated sauna is considered a luxury. The temperature in a Finnish sauna is about 80 degrees. Time spent in sauna varies: some like to stay there for hours and some only sit there for a few minutes. Usually, people spend about half an hour in the sauna. With guests, the time spent in the sauna can be several hours.
Many Finns like to have a beer after sauna. Some also like to have grilled sausages grilled on the sauna stove.
- Detail: When Finns want to treat themselves, they go to sauna. According to a survey, 53% of Finns reward or treat themselves by going to sauna. The second most popular way of treating oneself is eating chocolate; it is a way of treating oneself used by 36% of Finns.
A yard has become a more and more valued part of the Finnish home. Yards and gardens are maintained in single-family houses, terraced houses, and apartment buildings. Finnish yards usually include an area for barbecuing and an area for children to play. These areas often exist in the yards of apartment buildings as well. In apartment buildings and terraced houses, for example, mowing the lawn is done by a maintenance company. Parking spaces and garages are also essential parts of Finnish yards.
- Detail: According to the Kotipuutarha gardening study, about 59% of Finns have a yard or garden in their use. About 25% grow plants on their balconies and about 28% have a vegetable patch.
- The average floor area of a Finnish home is 79.9 m2.
- The average floor area of owner-occupied housing is 96 m2 and of rental housing it is 55 m2.
- 47% of Finns live in single-family houses, 33% in apartment buildings, and 20% in terraced houses.