The World’s Most To-Die-For Saunas

Design Elements to Look for in a Sauna

  • A feeling of space
  • Good lighting
  • Appealing decor
  • Enhances its environment

If there’s one thing that screams ‘luxury’ in the middle of winter, I think it has to be a great sauna. There are lots of good saunas to be found, but the best have something a bit more special. The best saunas make us feel good before we even turn them on – they don’t just deliver warmth to our bodies; they nurture our very souls. They exhibit lines and features that make them things of beauty to enrich the time that we spend in therapy and meditation. Before you buy an infrared sauna, here’s something to get you in the mood.

The world’s best saunas create a feeling of spaciousness when we’re inside them. This doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily large – in fact, some of the saunas that do it best are quite small when it comes to floor space. No, providing a feeling of space comes down to the materials used, the dimensions employed, and color combinations that draw the eye outward. Historically, this sort of effect was limited to using light-colored woods in a sauna’s manufacture, as light colors tend to make a room feel larger, whereas dark colors tend to make a room feel smaller. However, with modern building technology and materials, we have a huge number of options at our fingertips – and a number of the best sauna designers across the world have taken the opportunity to create some magnificent designs. Take the sauna below (from Küng Sauna in Switzerland) as an example: even from inside what might be a relatively small space, it looks and feels like part of the larger bathroom.

Nothing can spoil the mood faster than stepping into a sauna, closing the door, and getting an immediate feeling of being closed in. We want to feel warm and comfortable, not stuck in a tiny box! Great sauna design includes light, airy surroundings that don’t make us feel hemmed in.

sauna-3modern sauna


At heart, humans are diurnal creatures. That means that we’re programmed to function best during daylight hours. Hence, light is very important to us! It tells us when to wake up and when to go to sleep. Utilized correctly, it can be an integral part of any therapy.

The days of hiding your sauna in your basement are well and truly gone. Today’s saunas are designed to complement any décor and become the focal point of a room or outdoor vista.

Great saunas also have great lighting that can be used to highlight design features, soothe, or energize you. Again, this is an area in which modern designers have a huge advantage, with a swathe of technological advances in electric lighting that allow you to dim, brighten, or change the color of the lights. What’s more, a good lighting system can be modified using a remote control or a smartphone app – or preprogrammed beforehand – meaning that you don’t even need to stir from your seat in order to change the lighting to suit your mood. The sauna below – another Küng design – marries natural light and colored artificial light to create a sauna that looks great, day or night.

While the traditional cedar-lined sauna is and probably will always be a classic, modern saunas offer a truly mind-boggling array of décor options. From woods in an array of stains to metals and plastics – and of course glass – there are possibilities to suit any surroundings. With the advent of infrared saunas you don’t even need to worry as much about heat-proof substances, as these newer-style saunas operate at lower temperatures to provide a gentler therapeutic session. This has further broadened the number of materials available for use in saunas of all types – not to mention the colors! While many manufacturers still use primarily light colors in their display models, it’s possible to custom order many saunas in whatever color might suit your tastes and your existing interior or exterior design scheme.

The best saunas also match with and enhance their surroundings. Take the example below by Casagrande & Rintala in Norway – see how the materials used augment, not detract from, the stunning scenery all around? And just imagine the view and the feeling of serenity from inside! While not all of us can aspire to a lake in our backyards in which to float our saunas, we can choose a sauna that can be a feature point in a room or outside.


lakeside saunalakeside sauna interior


It’s also nice when our saunas have something a little unique and special about them. While great designs are timeless, it can still be fun to incorporate some more unusual features to create a certain ‘wow’ factor. That’s why we love the red cedar barrel cedar from Almost Heaven Saunas. It combines all of the traditional appeal of an old-fashioned cedar sauna with a unique shape that would look great in almost any environment:


Traveling sauna Barrel

italian tram sauna

Italian Tram Sauna

prague cycling sauna


Prague’s cycling sauna

sauna duck


Duck Sauna

gondola sauna

Gondola Sauna

sauna car

Sauna Car

You’ll note that all of the saunas that we’ve showcased in this article have all been quite different. The one thing that they have had in common is their designers’ commitment to quality, beauty, and comfort. In their own ways, each of the saunas encompass these ideals and bring them into the reach of ordinary people like us.

From traditional wood-lined walls to modern frameless glass; from rectangular box shape to barrels and sleek curves; from hot stones and water buckets to carbon fiber heaters… the saunas of today truly can provide something to meet anybody’s tastes.

That’s why we’ve classed them as ‘to die for’ – because they are truly things of beauty that can bring a little bit of magic into the everyday world.

Remember these design elements: space, lighting, décor, and environment. Find a sauna that pulls all of these elements into a single beautiful package, and you’re sure to end up with a sauna that you’ll not only use again and again, but you’ll appreciate as an integral part of your home for years to come. You can check out even more weird and wonderful infrared saunas on our Infrared Sauna Youtube Channel.

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