The UN's World Happiness Report 2022 has crowned Finland as the happiest country in the world – for the fifth consecutive year in a row. The country, that continues to occupy the top spot, is a global leader in terms of quality of life – but how does a happy country equate to a happy home?
When it comes to modern decorating ideas, you could do far worse than steal notes from the country that continues to dominate in terms of happiness and Scandi-cool style. But, despite its host of decorating quirks, there is one feature that continues to define Finnish style: natural materials.
According to Finnish designers, natural materials are a staple of their native design. However, organic decor pieces are having a moment in homes far beyond Helsinki. Here's how to celebrate this sustainable interior design trend, according to those who have mastered its timeless aesthetic.
Why are natural materials popular in Finland?
According to designers, Olli and Saana from Saana ja Olli (opens in new tab), Finland's relationship with natural furnishings is rooted in the country's heritage.
'Finland used to be a sparsely populated and poor rural country before our economic rise into the modern nordic welfare state in the 20th century,' the design duo explain to Livingetc.
'Our rural background can be seen in the respect of natural materials because that was all we had. Natural materials bring warmth into the space and are timeless. They make spaces easier to breathe in and calm down the restless modern mind.'
Designer Johanna Lehmuskallio (opens in new tab) adds that Finland's love for natural materials has a correlation with the nation's love for being inside. Johanna explains that Finnish people spend approximately 90% of their time inside their homes – meaning their emphasis on quality materials and design is important.
'It truly matters what kind of place we live in, sleep in and work [in],' the designer says. 'Authentic natural materials, spacious rooms, and a clear, minimalistic design are important to the Finns. The aim is to create a serene place.'
Why you should embrace the natural material trend
While natural materials are beneficial in terms of their quality and timeless aesthetic, designer Annu Nykänen from Lova Co Interiors (opens in new tab) emphasizes their place in the sustainable design movement too.
'Nowadays the artificial side of the world is growing faster than before and this is the reason why natural materials can be the solution to that phenomenon,' she explains. 'Trying to connect these two worlds is a way to return to the origins and also continuing to do the maximum effort for the climate change, that is a very important topic.'
And like Johanna and Olli and Saana suggest, these natural materials have a positive impact on your wellbeing – something that is ever important in the modern interior design world.
'It has an important benefit for people,' Annu says. 'Natural materials, with their soft colors, can bring peace to the human soul and connect them more to nature and their home.'
It's time to rewrite your design notes, with influence from a global powerhouse.
Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc’s homes titles, including Livingetc and Homes & Gardens. As a News Writer, she often focuses on micro-trends, wellbeing, celebrity-focused pieces, and everything IKEA.
Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and expansive collection of houseplants.
How can I make a KALLAX unit look more expensive? 6 simple tricks to get this IKEA favorite to feel more luxurious
These easy alterations will turn your IKEA KALLAX from listless to luxe, even if you're a DIY novice
By Lilith Hudson • Published
Natural gas grill vs propane: is there any difference between the two types of gas grill?
Wondering whether you should choose a natural gas grill over propane? We look at the differences in cost, convenience, and more
By Caroline Preece • Published
This easy painting trick can make your home seem happier - even scientists agree
Your color choices impact your wellbeing – this stylish trick may be the secret you've waited for
By Megan Slack • Published
Explore Project Ö: A Scandi-cool cabin on a private island in Finland's Archipelago National Park
Nestled amid an organic paradise in the most joyful nation on the globe – this is the ultimate happy home
By Megan Slack • Published
Expert tips for creating a happy gallery wall without sacrificing style
A chic gallery wall doesn't need to lack personality – this is how to spark joy in the most fashionable way possible
By Megan Slack • Last updated
Five interior design lessons from Finland – the happiest country in the world
Does a happy country begin with a happy home? These native designers share how to spread joy throughout your decor
By Megan Slack • Published
Niksen is the new Hygge - Could this Dutch concept help create a happier home?
A daily dose of niksen will help you combat the stresses of daily life - according to research by Habitat, it's just one way of creating a happy home
By Ginevra Benedetti • Last updated