This trend is a staple design feature in the happiest country in the world

Finland is a world a leader in happiness and style – Native’s reveal its definitive design tip

Finnish style room with natural materials
(Image credit: Saana ja Olli)

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.  

Finnish style room with natural materials

(Image credit: Saana ja Olli)

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.'

Finnish style room with natural materials

(Image credit: Saana ja Olli)

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

Finnish style room with natural materials

(Image credit: Saana ja Olli)

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.'

Finnish style room with natural materials

(Image credit: Annu Nykänen / Lova Co Interiors)

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.