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DIY Sauna Design: Creative Ideas for Your Sauna

by Max
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DIY Sauna Design - Creative Ideas for Your Sauna

Saunas have long been recognized as sanctuaries of relaxation, providing respite from the chaos of daily life. But why settle for a basic, cookie-cutter sauna when you can transform it into a haven of creativity? When building a DIY sauna, you can choose the exact size, shape, features, and accessories to make it your own design.

From lighting and ambiance to materials and finishes, you can customize your DIY sauna to meet your needs. Not only will this offer an inviting and comfortable atmosphere, but your sauna will also be an excellent addition to your home.

Whether you’re designing a sauna from scratch or want to enhance an existing one – our creative sauna ideas will inspire you to start designing!

What to Consider Before Choosing a DIY Sauna Design

If you’re excited to start styling your sauna, there are five essential factors to consider first.

Each of the following points will determine what creative sauna ideas are most appropriate for your space and lifestyle.

Sauna Location

Where you’re planning on building your sauna will certainly impact how creative you can get with the design.

If you’re using a pre-existing room in your home, this removes the need to construct an entirely new structure. However, if you’re looking to install a sauna outdoors or in another part of your property – this offers more creative options.

The location will also impact the overall available space. The size of the sauna will determine which features you can incorporate and how much furniture, lighting, and accessories you can fit.

Total Budget

The sky is the limit when it comes to designing a sauna – but the reality is it can be an expensive endeavor. Before you start sketching out ideas and shopping around for materials, it’s important to have an understanding of your total budget.

Your budget will narrow down the range of feasible options for your space and the features you can afford to include. Consider your ideal design and what you’re willing to compromise on to keep within your budget.

Heater Type

There are many different sauna types, including Finnish, infrared, and steam saunas. Then within these categories, there are even more variations in heater type. Certain heaters may be more suitable than others depending on the sauna style you wish to create.

For example, an electric heater will require wiring and other electrical installations, while a wood-burning heater will require a chimney.

Consider the heater type when deciding on your creative sauna design – you may find one type more suitable for your space than another.

Weather Condition

Depending on where you are in the world and where you’ll be building your sauna, the weather conditions should also be considered. You want to ensure your outdoor sauna is equipped to withstand all elements and any extreme temperatures or storms.

So long as your sauna is built with a good foundation, solid walls, and a weatherproof roof – you should be good to go.

Although, extreme weather conditions may affect how creative you can get with the outside of your sauna. There are some great additions that would look awesome with any DIY sauna, but specific considerations should be made for some climates.

Wall and Floor Materials

The interior of your sauna should be crafted with materials that are conducive to the heat and humidity of the environment. Cedar, hemlock, and other types of wood are ideal for the interior walls, flooring, and benches. But this doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with the look of your sauna.

You should research the available material and use this as a starting point for your design. Keep reading to discover some inspiring aesthetics and materials that can be used to create a unique sauna look.

17 Creative DIY Sauna Design Ideas

Constructing your sauna is just one step in creating your dream space. You may find the most creative ideas come to you as you select materials and work out how to maximize the available space.

To help, we have gathered some of our favorite DIY sauna design ideas. Choose which elements will work best for your sauna from our list below – and start piecing together your own special design!

1. Expand on Your Bathroom

Your at-home sauna doesn’t need to be a completely separate structure – you can incorporate one into your existing bathroom. This is especially useful if you’re working with limited space in your home and want to maximize the use of one room.

Section off a corner of your bathroom and add a wall or two. You can then turn this small, previously redundant space into a luxurious sauna!

Just be sure to insulate the sauna room correctly and use water vapor-resistant materials. Adding a sauna is a great way to add extra character to your bathroom without taking up any outdoor space.

2. Style With Reclaimed Wood

Use reclaimed wood from a local source to give your sauna an interesting texture and atmosphere. While we don’t want to use reclaimed wood on the inside of the sauna, the exterior walls of your sauna can be clad with reclaimed wood and create a rustic aesthetic.

Reclaimed wood can be an inexpensive way of adding a unique style to your sauna without breaking the bank.

If you’re wondering why we don’t use reclaimed wood on the sauna interior, it all comes down to the fact that it may be coated in paint or varnish. We want to only use natural, heat-resistant materials for the sauna interior – like cedar.

3. Choose a Color Scheme

Do you want your sauna to have a calm, relaxing atmosphere? Or do you want it to be an energizing and invigorating space?

You can paint the exterior of your DIY sauna any way you like! If your garden has a beachy, boho vibe – why not keep your sauna design light and airy with white walls? Or, if you prefer darker, bolder colors, a deep navy or forest green would look great!

You also don’t have to confine yourself to one color. Consider adding texture and depth with different shades of your chosen color palette. The best thing about coming up with your own DIY sauna design is that you can make it fit you and your style.

4. Add a Growing Roof

Create a fun addition to your sauna design by adding a living roof. A living roof is essentially a garden on top of your sauna, and it can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. It will provide an extra layer of insulation and looks fantastic when combined with other sauna design features.

If you decide to go for a living roof, add a waterproof membrane and drainage mat to ensure the water runs off and doesn’t seep into your sauna. This is an extremely important consideration when you are building an outdoor sauna. Choose plants that thrive in your climate and need little to low maintenance for the best result.

5. Use Natural Stones

If you’re looking for a rustic, natural sauna look, why not combine wood and stone?

Natural stones, like granite, can be used to create an earthy look in your sauna. You can use them to add texture and color to the sauna interior. A stone feature wall, or flooring, can be a great way to add interest and style to your sauna design.

You can even combine different types of stones for an eclectic look. And if you want to add a bit of sparkle, why not try some pebbles or glass tiles? This is an easy way to elevate your sauna design and make it stand out.

If you’d prefer to keep the interior of your sauna purely wood, try landscaping the exterior with some natural stones. Create a flower bed or winding path leading to your sauna with some rocks – this will look beautiful and make your sauna even more inviting.

6. Add Some Lighting

Lighting is an essential part of any sauna design, be it a DIY sauna or a standard one. It’s important to have the right lighting in your sauna – not too bright and not too dim. Too much light can ruin the calming atmosphere of your sauna, while too little will make it hard to see.

The best source of lighting for your sauna is natural light. If you can, try to position your sauna to catch the most sunlight through any windows. If you cannot do this, try adding some LED lights inside your sauna to provide a soothing glow.

Here are some creative sauna lighting ideas to consider:

  • Apply LED strip lights under the benches in your sauna for a modern look.
  • Add starry lights on the ceiling for a celestial feel.
  • Use colored LED lights to create a personalized atmosphere depending on your mood.

Chromotherapy, or color therapy, is a great way to improve your mental well-being. Consider investing in some lights that allow you to switch between different colors – they’re a great way to make your sauna design even more special. For example, yellow can be used to boost your mood, while blue is a great way to relax.

7. Incorporate a Window

Windows are an extremely cost-effective way to add light and style to your sauna.

If you have a fantastic view, why not make the most of it by adding a window? This will bring in natural light and allow you to enjoy the outdoors while you relax in the sauna.

You can use any size window you like, from a small porthole to a full wall-to-wall window.

The glass also doesn’t have to be plain; stained or textured glass can add an elegant touch to your sauna design. Don’t forget about the color palette of your sauna when designing the window. Choose colors that complement each other and don’t clash with the rest of your sauna design.

No matter what type of window you use, always ensure it is installed correctly – it must be properly sealed to retain heat.

Double-paned, tempered glass is what you should use for any window style. It will help keep your sauna well-insulated and is less likely to shatter.

8. Play With Shape

Your DIY sauna design ideas don’t need to stop at colors and materials. The shape of your sauna can play a big role in the overall aesthetics of the space. Instead of going with the usual rectangular shape, why not try something more creative? The only limit here is your available space and DIY skills.

Here are some fun shape ideas for your sauna:

  • Oval-shaped: This elegant shape can make the most of a small space.
  • Octagonal: With eight sides, this is a great way to create an interesting focal point.
  • Barrel-shaped: A traditional round sauna shape that can add a calming vibe to your space.
  • Hobbit-style: With the sloping roof, this style creates a cozy and whimsical sauna design.

Sometimes, where you’re building your sauna will determine the shape. The great thing about DIY sauna designs is you can make it as big or little as you like. This means your sauna can fit into those awkward spaces in your home that would otherwise remain unused.

9. Use a Shipping Container

Hear us out – this may not be the most obvious choice, but it can be an excellent design idea for those who want something unique from their DIY sauna. Shipping containers are perfect for building an outdoor sauna!

Shipping containers are designed to be tough, durable, and weatherproof. They are also a complete structure that can be insulated and modified to your own specifications.

With a shipping container, you can take advantage of natural light by adding windows and skylights for maximum brightness. You can also customize the interior to fit your needs.

10. Install an Outdoor Shower

One of the most critical factors in maintaining your sauna is to keep it clean. Like you wouldn’t get in a pool or hot tub without showering first, the same goes for a sauna.

Installing an outdoor shower in your backyard is a great way to encourage people to shower before using the sauna. This helps keep your sauna clean and hygienic for all users.

Showering after a sauna is also ideal for cleansing the skin and closing the pores. Having an outdoor shower located next to your sauna is a nice added luxury, and it gives users the convenience of quickly cooling down before heading back inside.

11. Up the Health Benefits

Saunas are amazing for so many reasons – from relaxation to detoxification. To make the most of your sauna experience, you can add a few extra features to enhance the health benefits further.

Sauna steamers are a type of sauna with even more humidity and heat, which helps you sweat more. Adding therapeutic aromas, like eucalyptus, lavender, or rosemary, can also provide further benefits. Eucalyptus, for one, is known to help clear sinuses.

A salt wall is another great feature to add to your sauna. This is a wall made of salt blocks, which can help purify the air and provide a calming atmosphere. Pink salt installations, or even a Himalayan salt lamp, can also create a soothing environment.

12. Create a Sauna and Steam Room Combo

Traditional dry saunas are great, but why stop there? If you’re lucky enough to have a large area for your DIY sauna, consider combining it with a steam room.

A steam room is similar to a dry sauna, except the atmosphere is much more humid, and the temperatures tend to be slightly lower. Steam rooms can be great for relieving congestion, opening up pores, and providing relief from muscle tension.

Adding a steam room to your sauna space can create a great multi-purpose area that everyone can enjoy. Start off in the sauna, then move to the steam room for a refreshing and rejuvenating experience.

Of course, this is much more complicated and expensive than building one or the other. However, this could be a great option if you want an all-inclusive DIY sauna design.

13. Build a Log Hut

If you opt for a traditional wood-burning sauna, a dedicated wood storage space is ideal.

As you have to source, chop, and store the wood somewhere where it won’t get damp, you might want to consider building a log hut. This looks great as part of your sauna area and is a practical storage solution.

A log hut can also create an inviting entrance to your sauna. This is a nice way to add some extra character and charm to your space. The style and size of the log hut will completely depend on your preferences and available space.

14. Customize Your Seating

When it comes to seating, the options are endless. You could go for traditional wooden benches or get creative with custom-built seats to fit perfectly in the space.

If you’re feeling bold, why not even build an entire seating area? This could include deep, comfortable chairs or even a lounger so you can fully relax while in the sauna.

One creative sauna idea that increases both comfort and usability is adding some feet or backrests. You can either buy these separately or craft them using the same materials as your sauna. Small additions like this can make a huge difference to your sauna experience – and can be easily moved around when necessary.

There are many different materials to choose from when deciding on your sauna seating. Always choose a natural wood material that is free from knots, cracks, and splinters. Sanding the wood smooth before you put it in your sauna is also a must.

15. Add a Changing Room

Consider using some of your allocated space to create a changing room for your DIY sauna, which is a great design twist. This is where users can keep their belongings and change into their towels/swim clothes before entering the sauna.

A changing room doesn’t have to be large, and you can easily make it as simple or complex as you’d like.

The key is to plan ahead and make sure everything you need has a designated space. This helps keep your sauna looking neat and organized and ensures users can comfortably get ready for their sauna session.

16. Create a Complete Outdoor Spa

If budget is no object, you can really take your sauna design to the next level and create a complete outdoor spa.

Start with an inviting patio area which you can fill with lounge chairs, fire pits, and outdoor dining furniture. Then add a hot tub or jacuzzi alongside your sauna – you can even connect them for an ultimate experience.

Decorate the space with ambient lighting, lush plants, and calming colors to complete the look. Adding a sound system and speakers can also help create a truly zen atmosphere.

With all this in place, you’ll have your own private spa oasis – the envy of all your friends!

17. Add Some Finishing Touches

Finally, don’t forget to add a few finishing touches to your sauna design. This could include some colorful towels and robes hanging from hooks or additional shelves to store your products. Some storage baskets can also be useful for keeping things tidy – and for storing extra towels.

The bucket and ladle for water are also an important part of the sauna experience. Choose a set that really embodies your sauna design and adds a subtle decorative element. You can even have these personalized for a unique touch.

There are so many different styles and designs you can choose from when it comes to your DIY sauna. All that’s left is for you to get creative and make the space your own!

Final Thoughts on Our Creative Ideas for Your Sauna

As you can see, there are plenty of creative design ideas to make your DIY sauna space truly one-of-a-kind. Whether you’re creating a traditional wood-burning sauna or an all-out outdoor spa, you are only limited by your imagination, space, and budget!

With the right materials and design, you can create a custom sauna that is perfect for relaxation – and one that you can enjoy for many years to come.

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