Can dopamine decor make your home a happier place to be?


You’ve probably heard of the new fashion phenomena – dopamine dressing. You know, when fashion’s finest don brightly coloured garms in order to ‘spark joy’ and give their moods a big ‘ol boost. From neon pink blazers to lime green trousers, lilac handbags and spring green mules – dopamine dressing is taking the fashion world by storm, but what about its sister trend? Well, say a very brightly coloured hello to dopamine decor, because while dopamine dressing might be the wellbeing and fashion trend du jour, can it have the same effect in our homes? What exactly is dopamine decor, and how are we meant to do it?

Dopamine decor can be interpreted as using colour, pattern and positive quotes in your home as a way to make you feel happier. You might start off small – by introducing a print here and a coloured piece of furniture there, or you might fully commit to colour. And I guess you’d say I’m in the latter category (you’ll see). But does transforming your home into something that resembles a box of Crayola really make a difference when it comes to mental health benefits? I think it does. Hear me out…

dopamine decor ideas

Mollie’s dopamine decor living room.

Mollie Quirk

I’ve been delving into brightly coloured homeware for a number of years now, and it really got a boost back in lockdown. I’d just moved into my London flat with my mum and before the pandemic hit we overhauled our new abode – muted pinks, greens and lilacs and creams. We wanted a calming home that still had a hint of colour, but feeling low and in need of a boost come the summer, we both knew it was time to step it up a notch.

“As somebody who has suffered with anxiety and depression since 2015, it was incredible to see how quickly I began to feel uplifted”

Before the words dopamine dressing or decor were even muttered, I started ordering a load of brightly coloured tins of emulsion and dived headfirst into the colour palette, so to speak. Bubblegum pinks, pumpkin oranges, fiery reds, funky 70s themed wallpaper, and huge mural-type illustrations painted onto pieces of furniture. As somebody who has suffered with anxiety and depression since 2015, it was incredible to see how quickly I began to feel uplifted just by injecting some brighter and bolder colours into my home.

Modern Colour Theorist and Author of Hello Rainbow – Finding Happiness in Colour Momtaz Begum-Hossain explained, “There is more to colour than being an aesthetic. It’s a powerful energy source that can impact our feelings, mood and emotions. We often talk about ‘adding colour’ when we feel that something is missing and colour provides the antidote, it can transform how we feel in an instant so in that respect colour does affect our mental state.”

dopamine decor ideas

Mollie Quirk

With a bright green TV cabinet, a pink and yellow cupboard, a rainbow covered coffee table, an orange desk, a pink sofa and a hand-painted floral mural painted on the top of my dining table – I started to be pretty impulsive with the dopamine decor trend because it just felt so good, and I’m so glad I took the plunge. As Colour theorist Momtaz says, “There is no limit to the uplifting and positive effects we get from colour, it’s almost like a natural high, colour puts a smile on our face and when we radiate positivity it rubs off on others.”

Momtaz also explained how colour links with our subconscious; “this is the part of our mind where we store memories and experiences and colours can help us conjure up those moments. It could be happy memories of childhood nostalgia, reminders of a family holiday or significant dates like weddings; when we see certain colours it reminds us of happy times and so the whole notion of dopamine decor is us enjoying colours because of the feel-good factor they give us.”

“All the colours, patterns, positive quotes and funky ornaments spark joy and bring back memories and a sense of nostalgia”

It’s true, too. For me, all the colours, patterns, positive quotes and funky ornaments spark joy and bring back memories and a sense of nostalgia. But before you get to the stage of really appreciating colour, according to Momtaz, you kind of have to embrace it even if you aren’t ready. Her philosophy, ‘Hello Hue’ is all about “saying ‘hello’ to colour and welcoming it into your life,” she explained. “It encourages you to prioritise colour every day, for when you do that and make an effort to enjoy and experience colour you’ll see the positivity of colour in action.”

If you’re looking to incorporate colour into your home – it’s entirely up to you how full on you go with it. Personally I’ve kept my bedroom cream and pink for calming properties, while the rest of the flat – balcony included – is splashed in colour head to toe.

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Momtaz recommends certain colours for certain areas within the home if you’re new to dopamine decor, like red hues for kitchens “to keep us energised while we cook or prepare food”. Orange for communal spaces like living rooms because of its “uplifting qualities”. And blue hues for bedrooms because of the calming properties they exude. If you are unable to paint due to renting rules try removable wallpaper or, “a gallery wall of images, photos and art prints is a fun way to introduce colour and you need to worry about getting bored because they can be changed as often as you like,” or add vibrant ornaments to a bookshelf, or simply up-cycle an old piece of furniture.

As somebody who has embraced colour in all its glory, I can vouch for the way it has improved my mental wellbeing and mood. I only need to step inside my living room, glance at my pink sofa and 70s inspired wall, positive quote print and colourful furniture and I feel brighter and more uplifted. To me, dopamine decor is here to stay and I doubt I’ll ever tire of my rainbow-filled life.

Our dopamine decor picks

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