Finnish wooden houses are famous all over the globe. The country’s interior design with its unique combination of Scandinavian functionality and Finnish traditional aesthetic earned itself a loyal following in many countries, Japan, China and USA in particular. But what is it about the Finnish home that makes it so appealing?
Sanna Luhaniemi might know the answer. Originally from Finland, 24 years old Sanna is currently studying design and styling at Kymenlaakso University of Applied Science. At the same time, she is also working for Studio Skaala, a commercial photography studio, with a primary focus on making arrangements for various kinds of photoshoots. There, she is assisting a long-term interior and prop stylist Minna Lilja. “I started a couple of weeks ago, so it’s a really new thing for me”, says Sanna. Her previous job was doing DIY projects for Deko magazine, Finnish popular interior design publication. “I’ve always wanted to do something creative and I think this is the right career for me”, confesses Sanna.
Indeed, since a very young age, Sanna knew that she would love to work in interior design. “First, I thought I was going to be an interior architect or something like that. And then I thought it’s too mathematical and not so creative”, remembers Sanna. “At school I took some architecture classes to gain a basic knowledge about interior design and really loved working in that field, but after focusing more on the photoshoot projects I realised planning and making them felt just right for me”. That is how she settled on interior styling, which is a combination of both.
Sanna credits her dad’s job as a carpenter as well as Finnish nature for her interest in interior design. “Because I grew up in the countryside and lived close to it”, says Sanna. “I feel really connected with nature and especially with wood as a material, it’s my favourite choice for most furniture and details. I really like forests and walking in there, I think there is always something inspirational around you”. The colour pallet trending in Finnish interiors is also inspired by the flora and fauna of the country. “I am not a big fan of colour, so I mostly use like black, white and grey but I’m trying to do something with more colours”, says Sanna. “Earlier, everything was like all white and it felt such a massive trend for a long time, but now that has been fading away for a while already, and I think that’s good. Now there’s more deepness and layers in interiors because using colours and different shades is more common and wanted among people. I think all these colours, especially dark ones, are coming as a trend even more, especially when combined with some kind of simplicity.”.
Sanna’s love for nature and clearness cannot be more reflective of the general trends in interior design in Finland. “Wood and other natural materials are probably always on top, they are such a Finnish thing. You can also see a lot of greens and plants everywhere”, says Sanna. However, to call Finnish design trendy would not do it justice. “”I don’t think Finnish people are going so much after trends when it comes to decorating”, says Sanna. “People are looking for more timeless things and solutions, and not like changing everything every half year because of a trend. The main thing is to find those little trendy details that fit into your own personal style”. She lists “functionality” as the main theme in Finnish design.
Therefore, it is hardly surprising that when HÄN asked Sanna to choose an interior design piece to create for our DIY project, she proposed a Finnish basket. Simple, fictional and timeless, a basket has been adored by the style icons like Jane Birkin and Audrey Hepburn. Perfect for picking berries and mushrooms in the forest on a bright summer morning, they can also be used as a great storage device to add some Nordic flair to your home.
Learn how to make Sanna’s signature Finnish basket here.
Check Sanna’s other interior styling projects here.
Words by Kira Kolosova.