Dopamine Decor is the interior trend we’ve all been waiting for, uplifting and bright. Forget the familiar prescriptive notion of changing your home decor to fit in… happily, this trend is all about you and what sparks your joy and it’s gaining momentum.
Lately, you might have noticed reports of increased optimism and positivity coming from the changemakers of interior design trends. Rather than a fickle trend, dopamine decor embodies this optimistic mood and allows everyone to share in the joy...the perfect antidote to dark winter months.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and hormone that affects your mood and is associated with feelings of pleasure. Hence dopamine dressing can make you feel happy and energised.
Not dissimilar to the maximalist decor trend, the idea behind the dopamine decor is that by surrounding yourself with joyful interiors that you connect with, you can stimulate feelings of intense happiness by giving your brain a healthy dose of decor-induced dopamine.
What is 'dopamine decor'?
Sophie’s signature style is dopamine decor personified, so who better to ask about the dopamine decor trend, “The concept behind it is to decorate your home in such a way that is joyful, positive, and uplifting,” she shares.
“The colours are bright, with bold patterns and a nod to nostalgia often verging on kitsch. It’s a design style that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is a celebration of decorating your home your way to make you feel happy.”
How to embrace dopamine decor in your own home
Feeling inspired to try dopamine decor but unsure where to start? Before you start contemplating the latest interior paint colour trends or the most popular living room paint colours, Sophie has this sterling advice, “To make dopamine decor work for you, you need to discover what colours and styles of decor make you feel your best."
"For example, you’ll know when you see certain colours how they make you feel, whether you find them uplifting, calming, or invigorating.” For some, this will mean leaning on the calming tones of the quiet luxury trend; for others, it will be bolder, more impactful colours like forest green.
Let’s explore ways to incorporate this great advice into your home’s interior…
1. Be playful and have fun
“Stand your ground with this 'trend',” Lisa says boldly. “It's a look that others might not get because your treasured items won't have an emotional tie to them. It's about truly decorating your home for yourself – like a favourite jumper or dress you feel good in - interior design yourself happy!” We LOVE this sentiment.
This trend is all about having fun and tailoring your interior to suit your individual taste, needs and lifestyle. Forget the notion of outdated interior design trends that are no longer in favour, if you love it that's all that matters.
Many trends encourage a playful approach to interior design but dopamine decor goes one step further with permission for potential rule-breaking in the quest for happiness. For example, if you love neon pink, then incorporate it into your scheme, as shown in the image above by Benjamin Moore.
Sophie shared this advice: “As someone who revels in hosting guests, my primary goal is to ensure they have an unforgettable time. Interior design has always been my tool for injecting fun into these moments, all while retaining a sense of personality and individuality through my styling choices.”
Staying true to yourself is the key takeaway from Sophie, “My advice is to resist bending to trends, don’t listen to friends’ opinions – and decorate your way, to make you happy.”
2. Add pops of personality
“Dopamine decor is less about a grand gesture and more about creating multiple happiness hits in your home," suggests Lisa. "The aim is to create small pockets of design joy around your home that really make you smile and boost your mood.”
If you’re wondering how to do this, “Achieve this by tapping into moments that make you happy,” she explains. “Dopamine decor is often tied to nostalgia; it could be a colour or wallpaper that links to happy childhood memories or using a treasured piece of art, furniture or blanket that's been passed down to you."
You don’t need to fully redecorate to embrace the dopamine decor trend, simply adding accents to a room scheme, like a cushion in your favourite pattern or some decorative objects painted in your favourite hue can be enough to spark some serious joy and give you a hit of dopamine decor.
Sophie suggests: “Infuse personality with patterned cushions to liven up your space”.
John Lewis ANYDAY Floral Crop Cushion
£20 | This joyful 50cm square cushion features an abstract floral print on weave, that is expressive without feeling overpowering in the pattern stakes. The combination of pale peach and sage green offers a soft approach to colour injection.
Christina Lundsteen Liv Cushion
£165 | With a distinct flair for colour and a penchant for pattern, this playful cushion has all the signature hallmarks of Danish designer Christina Lundsteen. the generous cushion measures 40 by 70cm.
Marks & Spencer Velvet Spring Bird Cushion
£17.50 | This beautiful 45cm cushion is trending at M&S and it's easy to see why. The uplifting colours, intricate bird illustrations and plush velvet make it a delightfully captivating scatter cushion to make a style statement on any sofa or armchair.
3. Texture is key
Interior designers will tell you that adding texture to a room creates depth, interest and interaction; this rings especially true for the dopamine decor trend. Sophie advises, “Integrate textural materials that evoke cherished memories and relaxation.” The same principles can be applied to emulate effortlessly chic Parisian-style decor.
Don't panic if the bold colours and patterns we've looked at so far aren't sparking joy for you; this technique of layering textures is one that even neutral lovers can wholeheartedly embrace.
Opt for a combination of fabrics and materials as seen in the image above from Loaf. Velvet or boucle makes for a luxuriously tactile sofa experience, especially when paired with fluffy throws, linen cushions and a deep-pile rug to nestle your feet into.
4. Appeal to all the senses
Dubbed a “Sensory spark” by Sophie, this style secret is not just about what you can see. Much like the art of scent-scaping your home, it pays to consider all the senses to ensure the maximum appreciation of your dopamine decor. “Engage all the senses through fresh flowers and carefully curated playlists,” she suggests.
So, take inspiration from Furniture and Choice (above image) and light your favourite scented candle, snuggle with your favourite cushions, turn up your favourite tunes and experience the sensory joy.
5. Curate a personal collection of joy
Unlike specific colour trends, like the sage green trend, there are no strict guidelines and when it comes to dopamine decor, opting for soulless generic items or simply ‘adding to cart’ is not going to cut the mustard either. It’s all about curating a collection of treasures you feel a joyful connection to.
Lisa has the following advice, “We all love a bit of shelf styling. Dopamine decor means, instead of doing something carbon copy that could be in anyone's Instagram feed, you include items that spark joy for you."
Suggesting: “This could be knick-knacks from holiday, coloured glass or ceramics from your childhood, or quirky items that have meaning for you. As long as the item triggers happy memories, it's in.”
6. Stay consistent to your design style
The idea behind dopamine decor is to improve what's already there. The aim is for it to feel authentic to your personal style, or it won't have the desired effect on your mood. The underlying optimism of this trend results from people assessing their living space and amplifying the bits they love, like the icing on the cake.
Lisa has this top tip, “You can 'layer' dopamine decor over any design style. Stay consistent with the decoration throughout your home, through a consistent colour palette or design aesthetic, and then layer on the accents and objects that make you happy.”
Consider a playful and vibrant mural like that shown in the image from Wallsauce if bold colour and pattern are your thing. A cushion or vase might work for those who prefer a more muted palette.
7. Shine a light on your joyful interiors
A considered lighting scheme will help set the mood and enable you to emphasise the positives in your room. As we saw with Autumn decor ideas, layered lighting is key to creating a balanced and appealing space.
Well-thought-out lighting is also essential to get the most from your dopamine decor, as this interior trend focuses on how a space makes you feel. “Set the mood with strategically placed lamps and candlelight for an intimate ambience,” says Sophie.
Lighting can be decorative and functional, so consider choosing a floor lamp with pizzaz or a beautiful table lamp, like the Pooky models shown above, to achieve optimum results.
8. Dabble in dopamine hosting
Dopamine decor is not just about the paint on your walls and the cushions on your sofa; this feel-good trend extends to how you decorate and style the areas of your home that you use for entertaining.
As Sophie explains, “The trend has gone even further this year with the rise of ‘Dopamine Hosting’ from research gathered by Campo Viejo which found that using bold colours and patterns increased people’s enjoyment of wine by a whopping 32%.”
In case you are wondering, “Dopamine hosting is a movement that sees our entertaining spaces in our homes undergo a joyful, colourful boost to ensure ours and our guests’ enjoyment is heightened."
"With party season nearly here, (time to plan Christmas party themes) it seems an optimum time to talk about how we elevate our spaces for the benefit of great ambience,” says Sophie. “Enhance dinner parties with low-level floral arrangements that encourage meaningful conversations”.
Our experts agree that dopamine decor is where it's at. Now we know how to incorporate it into our interior design it's time to start feeling the benefits.
What are the benefits of dopamine decor?
"Anything you do that releases pleasure releases dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that encourages you to do more of what you love," Sophie explains. "Many people have found their passion is making their home environment as beautiful as it can be. What I love about dopamine decor is it also positively affects the other people in your life."
"Of course, none of this is surprising to me. How we decorate our homes directly impacts our sense of self and how we feel about the world, and has the power to make us feel our very best."
Talented designer Lisa agrees, “I typically advise clients not to be led by trends when it comes to the interior design for their homes - but Dopamine Decor is something we can all get on board with because, by its very nature, it's personal,” she explains.
Why is dopamine decor so popular right now?
Sophie gives her opinion on why dopamine decor is so on-trend, saying: “I think its popularity is a reaction to a few things. Lockdown got people thinking about their decor in a different way, which resulted in people using more joyful colours to refresh their interior spaces and boost not only their own moods but those of their guests as well. While we’ve moved past the pandemic, world events are still a source of worry and concern, so embracing a palette of joyful colours in our home decor to create a happy sanctuary is what this trend is all about.”