Design lovers are increasingly drawn to Helsinki for its Nordic design heritage and buzzing contemporary, though often unsung creative scene. The Baltic seaside city has a strong modernist vibe (Alvar Aalto’s functionalist buildings are a must-see) and many exciting new buildings that draw on this rich heritage.
Finnish design utilises natural light and connects with nature through its use of materials – all of which are seen in this collection of five modern properties for sale in Helsinki right now.
Lakeside house on Lauttasaari island, Helsinki
5 bedrooms; €3.98 m via Snellman Sotheby’s International Realty
A slice of suburban modernism with city views, secluded Villa Kataya is a 1970s brick house with a simple, flat-roofed form, rolling lawns and a waterfront location. It has a classically Finnish pale palette and long bands of windows that capture sunsets and high-rise skyline views in its lateral living spaces. A deep terrace with a hot tub connects the house to the west-facing grounds, where there’s a fire pit, sculpture garden and jetty.
A Ullanlinna flat inside a 1920s pink stucco block
2 bedrooms; €849,000 via Habita
Flexible layout and midcentury vibes await at this spacious central flat on the fourth floor of a 1920s block. Rooms branch off from a wide hallway with a curved ceiling arch and a wall-hung telephone. Its two reception rooms (one forms a library/workspace) can become a single space via double doors, making it ideal for gatherings and parties. Pine board-lined floors warm its palette while dual-paned windows pour in bright Nordic sunlight. A mix of period timber furniture and wall-hung oil paintings sit within its well-proportioned rooms which are ripe for modernisation, particularly the kitchen.
A recently renovated apartment in Ullanlinna
1 bedroom; €638,000 via Summit Sotheby’s International Realty
Artful, space-saving design and minimalist lines come together at this serene loft apartment, renovated to make the most of its 516 sq ft floorplan. It has open sightlines thanks to a steel-framed glass wall separating its bedroom and living area, which maximises light flow. Its restrained pale kitchen dissolves into the white walls and features a standout, dark grey island. The Ullanlinna flat has a mansard ceiling with dormer windows peering onto the city. It is part of an elegant yellow apartment block with stone detailing and two projecting facades topped with arched roofs.
Modern apartments in Ruskeasuo with green credentials
Studios and 1 bedroom flats; from €221,000 via Lehto
Living in central Helsinki doesn’t mean being cut off from nature, as this new-build Ruskeasuo district apartment complex shows. Designed in a low carbon way, with communal amenities, the white brick Kaski development is a 15-minute bike ride from the city centre and Central Park – a forest running the length of Helsinki home to flying squirrels and diverse fungi. Homes boast ‘well-equipped’ living spaces, balconies, and oversized picture windows. And all come with an RTS environmental rating, covering everything from their design to construction methods.
A modern house in Mellunkylä with a double-height volume
4 bedrooms; €595,000 via Habita
Monochrome rules at this modern clapboard house in Mellunkylä, which contains surprising vertical and horizontal spaces. A wood-burning stove and black steel staircase serve as the focal point, rising from the living room to the upper floor. Hygge vibes come from the high-shine grey floor and stacks of logs prepared for the fireplace, while the steel accents and black plywood kitchen are a moody counterpoint to the pale backdrops.