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How Simple People Live in Finland: A Teacher Shows Her Home

I love watching how simple people live — what kind of houses and apartments they have, how they arrange their life, what furniture they buy, and how they make their modest homes cozy with affordable things.

Such stories always inspire me — first, you can find interesting ideas for your own budget, and second, it’s curious to peek into someone else’s home and see how people from different professions live in other cities/countries.

The hero of today’s story is an art teacher from the provincial Finnish town of Loviisa (population just over 14 thousand). She lives in a wooden house built in 1922 with her husband, also a teacher, and their little daughter.

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© Niclas Mäkelä

Tuuli (that’s the teacher’s name) is walking towards the house with her daughter.

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© Niclas Mäkelä

This is how the house looks from the outside.

They bought this house just a couple of years ago when the pandemic was raging around the world. Before that, they rented a 2-room apartment in the neighboring town. But after quarantine, remote work, and monotonous life within four walls, the couple decided to buy their own house — even if it’s old but spacious.

They didn’t have much savings, so the family had to take a mortgage for 20 years. But the monthly payment made them happy — it was less than what they paid for the rented two-room apartment.

What does the house of a provincial teacher look like? And why did I feel better after seeing these photos? Here’s a mini-tour.

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© Niclas Mäkelä

The house is 170 square meters. There are 5 rooms, a kitchen with all conveniences, a bathroom, and a large yard.

Tuuli always dreamed of living in her own house. She was drawn to the special atmosphere — wooden floors, a stove, space, and flower beds in the yard.

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© Niclas Mäkelä

At the time of purchase, the house was in good condition. The previous owners took care of it and did repairs on time. The only thing Tuuli and her husband had to fix was the roof and do some cosmetic repairs in the kitchen.

In the house, as is customary among Finns, there are many old things. Some of them came from elderly relatives (for example, a chandelier from the 1950s in the hallway — a gift from grandma and grandpa).

— All our furniture was bought at flea markets or brought to us from different places. Some things were given by parents and other relatives, — Tuuli said in an interview for an interior magazine.

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© Niclas Mäkelä

You can see the house (and the repairs) are old. The base color here is white, complemented by bright details: a blue staircase, green plants, vintage rooster toys, books…

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© Niclas Mäkelä

Sliding glass doors in the hallway (you can see them better in previous photos) lead to a small room. There’s just a wall-to-wall wardrobe for clothes and a small rest area with a sofa.

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© Niclas Mäkelä

And this is the living room. The base is again white, but look at how many bright spots there are! The room looks like an artist’s palette with splashes of color.

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© Niclas Mäkelä

The house is heated with firewood and underfloor heating.

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© Niclas Mäkelä

Atmospheric interior details. The hostess made these vases herself — she loves pottery and is always making something with her hands.

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© Niclas Mäkelä

The interior reveals a creative personality in the hostess. She boldly mixes colors. Sometimes she chooses bright yellow wallpaper, sometimes she paints a wall salmon color. Interesting details here include: a handmade rug by a great-aunt, a velvet chair from a flea market, and a Japanese print over the dresser — a gift from friends for her 30th birthday.

— Colors are the most wonderful thing in the world for me. I’m an art teacher and I paint, so I can spend a lot of time picking shades. A gray-black-white interior isn’t for me. I don’t even know why people in Finland are shy about using bright colors in their homes and apartments, — says Tuuli.

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© Niclas Mäkelä

The kitchen wallpaper was left by the previous owners. But Tuuli decided to repaint the wooden panels in turquoise (they were boring white before).

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© Niclas Mäkelä

The fabric for the kitchen bench was also chosen by the hostess, matching her taste and the turquoise-green color scheme.

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© Niclas Mäkelä

They decided to leave one wall in the kitchen without finishing — the hostess likes the texture of the old brick, which gives the house a special vintage atmosphere.

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© Niclas Mäkelä

The bedrooms (there are two — adult and children’s) are located in the attic. The rooms are small with sloped ceilings, so there’s only space for beds and wardrobes. The wallpaper in this room is from Boråstapeter.

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© Niclas Mäkelä

This is how the children’s room looks. It’s light and bright — just like the rest of the house. An interesting fact: the old wooden crib was given to the family for free — someone was giving it away on social media.

This concludes the tour of the teacher’s house. Unfortunately, there are no photos of the bathroom. But it seems clear how bright and simple this family lives.

Qualified interior designer and article author specializing in home and residential interiors since 2021. My favorite topics include Scandinavian design, reviews of English cottages, as well as simple and light ideas for apartment decoration.

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