Trending Towards Joy: The Dopamine Decor Phenomenon

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A 1953 Bungalow refreshed with Dopamine Decor in Canada | Credits : Lauren Kolyn
A 1953 Bungalow refreshed with Dopamine Decor in Canada | Credits : Lauren Kolyn

Trends flicker in and out of vogue like passing clouds in the world of interior design. However, there exist enduring concepts that resonate deeply, transcending the fleeting allure of aesthetics. Enter “Dopamine Decor” – a design philosophy rooted in the science of happiness.

Understanding Dopamine Decor

Dopamine, often dubbed the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, plays a crucial role in our brain’s reward system. It’s released when we experience pleasure, whether it’s from indulging in delicious food, accomplishing a goal, or simply basking in a cozy environment. Dopamine Decor harnesses this principle by curating spaces that stimulate the senses, evoke positive emotions, and nurture the spirit.

This trend takes a departure from minimalist principles and celebrates abundance, layering spaces with the elements that evoke happiness. Whether achieved through meticulous color palettes, playful pattern combinations, or purposeful arrangements, the objective is to fashion an environment that deeply resonates with the homeowner’s individuality. Ultimately, the essence of dopamine decor transcends mere aesthetics, aspiring to create a profound emotional connection with the occupants, tapping into their sentiments and cherished memories.

Dopamine Decor: Why & Where?

The concept of dopamine decor emerged as a spin-off from the “dopamine dressing” movement seen in fashion. On platforms like TikTok, it’s become a talking point, sparking interest and discussions. Essentially, dopamine decor is about using vibrant colors and bold patterns to lift our moods. It’s a departure from the idea of “dopamine detox,” which suggests limiting pleasurable activities. Instead, dopamine decor actively seeks to create more joy in the spaces where you spend most of your time. This trend challenges traditional design rules and invites us to think deeper about how our surroundings impact our mental health.

Lavender & Laurel Home
Lavender & Laurel Home

Many researchers have proved the efficiency of consciously designed spaces in managing the stresses of modern lifestyles. After hours of nerve-racking work, entering a space that boosts energy levels & naturally works to uplift mental well-being rejuvenates the soul from within. This feature of Dopamine Decor has actively taken over home decor and is becoming popular in Gen-Z-inspired Workplace Design and Cafe and Restaurant interiors as well.

Smart Decor Pte Ltd. (Singapore & Malaysia Interior Design Firm) recently released a glimpse of their Office Interior inspired by the Dopamine Decor Trend, stating, ‘DOPAMINE DECOR FOR AN OFFICE: WHY NOT?’ A lifeless space is given a subtle uplift with unconventionally bold and colorful pieces of furniture, a pop-up accent painting, and to balance the high, a pastel green display on a neutral white base.

Office Design with this trend by Smart Decor | Instagram
Office Design with this trend by Smart Decor | Instagram

F&B businesses are famous for going crazy with interior design trends, proving the Dopamine surge in the latest Cafe & Restaurant settings. Salom Pallete (Gandhinagar) by Vivid Design Design Studio utilized the principles of Dopamine Decor to curate this masterpiece.

Based on shades of poppy pink, upraised with black & white textures, color-drenched contrasting pieces of furniture, elaborate graphics in niches, and incorporation of nature accentuates the space with a strong and expressive look.

Salmon Palette Project by Vivid Decor | The Architects Diary
Salmon Palette Project by Vivid Decor | The Architects Diary

How to Attain the ‘Feel Good’ Rush

To a casual viewer, this style may appear chaotic, but there is a method to the seeming craziness. Rather than viewing our spaces as simply practical settings that should be modest and unobtrusive, dopamine decor encourages us to consider what would make our spaces feel wonderful. Here are a few tips on how you can apply this style to your space:

  1. Neutral Base with a Splash of Accents: A neutral base doesn’t have to be a neutral color. One can choose their ‘Hero color’ and go monochromatic with its shades on the walls. A subtle base makes space for flashy accents like ‘Baroque Pop’ accessory.

    Image by Amelia Stanwix via Bed Threads | Aesthetics of Joy
    Image by Amelia Stanwix via Bed Threads | Aesthetics of Joy
  2. Colour Bathing: Blending contrasting hues in the same space can certainly lift your spirits. Putting together complimenting parts of a color wheel might seem daring, but you can mellow the contrasts to make them more suitable for daily living. This concept is put to use quite gracefully in a vibrant hotel apartment in Jaipur, designed by Marie-Anne Oudejans.

    Hotel apartment by Marie-Anne Oudejans | Jaipur, India | Architectural Digest
    Hotel apartment by Marie-Anne Oudejans | Jaipur, India | Architectural Digest
  3. Play of Textures & Patterns: Consider how the materials and finishes you choose work together and feel to walk on, sit on, or sleep in. Sit with yourself or stakeholders of the space. Try to create a set of textures & patterns that you or the client might want to experience while traversing through different zones. The variety of textures and materials in space allows for surprises and fascination to emerge.

    Pinterest
    Pinterest
  4. Juxtaposition of styles: Colorful planters, cozy throw blankets and pillows, and even funky clocks are easy elements to fold into a room. Go bold and add your favourite piece of art to the wall, or big colorful pillows to your sofa.

    Decorilla
    Decorilla
  5. Dramatise with Color & Materiality: Success with bold colors can only be successful with the correct balance. Yellow, orange, roses, and fuchsia are bright colors, while grey and beige are more muted, and act as providers of happiness.

    Wallpaper is an easy method to make a room more cheerful. It works well in small, less-used spaces such as mud rooms, powder rooms, pantries, and can benefit from a dopamine boost.

    Leroy Merlin
    Leroy Merlin
  6. Sustainable Approach: One of the more inconspicuous features of dopamine decor is sustainability and the creativity that comes with it. Upscaling the items you are emotionally attached to essentially does away with the pressure and obligation to keep purchasing newer items. It encourages a sense of individuality and personality that dopamine decor asserts.

    Cabinet Makeover with Dixie Belle | Faff Designs
    Cabinet Makeover with Dixie Belle | Faff Designs

Some More Cues for Styling with Dopamine Decor

  • Incorporate dynamic lighting elements to enhance the mood and atmosphere of your space.
  • Mix and match vintage finds with contemporary designs to add character and charm to your space.
  • Integrate biophilic design elements to connect with nature and promote well-being.
  • Incorporate aromatic candles, soothing music, or tactile textures to create a multi-sensory experience that enhances comfort and relaxation.
  • Display cherished photos, heirlooms, or meaningful artifacts that evoke fond memories and spark joy.
  • Prioritize mindful organization by investing in storage solutions to create a clutter-free and harmonious environment.
  • Create cozy reading nooks with comfortable seating or set up a gaming area with bean bags and consoles for entertainment.
  • Switch out textiles, accessories, and artwork to reflect the colors and themes of each season, creating a dynamic environment that feels fresh and inviting year-round.

    Interior of a vibrant living room by The House That Lars Built | Spoon Flower
    Interior of a vibrant living room by The House That Lars Built | Spoon Flower

Labelled as the “happiest design trend” of recent times, the concept of dopamine decor is making waves around the world, as consumers curate places that prioritise comfort and joy. The online realm, including social media platforms, showcases numerous instances of this lively and diverse design style.

Experts claim that there is no rule book for attaining a perfect Dopamine infused look. It is much more subject and diverse. Remain true to yourself- your personal aesthetic can be an outstanding source of inspiration. Ultimately, what could be more fulfilling than creating an interior environment that brings boundless happiness and contentment?

References

  • https://www.architecturaldigest.in/story/move-over-barbiecore-dopamine-decor-is-the-new-happiness-trend/
  • https://www.homesandgardens.com/interior-design/dopamine-decor-ideas
  • https://www.realsimple.com/dopamine-decorating-8387063
  • https://www.forbes.com/home-improvement/design/dopamine-decor-ideas/
  • https://www.livspace.com/in/magazine/dopamine-decor-trend
  • https://aestheticsofjoy.com/dopamine-decor/#:~:text=Dopamine%20decor%20is%20the%20idea,patterns%20to%20boost%20their%20moods
  • https://www.hindustantimes.com/lifestyle/art-culture/dopamine-home-decor-for-diwali-2023-elevate-your-space-with-a-feel-good-interior-flair-this-deepavali-101699772890432.html
  • https://blog.spoonflower.com/2022/10/11/dopamine_decorating/?utm_source=Emarsys&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=221023+Promo+25%25+Off+Wallpaper+Last+Chance+%2B+Dopamine+Decorating&sc_src=email_892878&sc_lid=111850747&sc_uid=7jjsSoVrQQ&sc_llid=423420&sc_customer=da2662cbe972ec56eca2fdd946a15d69367f002e8131d1c5132674b26df827fe
  • https://moodsinteriortrends.com/trends/dopamine-decor-rethinking-color-trends-in-interior-design/
  • https://thearchitectsdiary.com/restaurant-designed-with-subtle-reflection-of-both-tropical-and-sophistication-vivid-decor/
  • https://www.instagram.com/smartdecorsolution/
  • https://www.indiatoday.in/india-today-insight/story/why-dopamine-decor-is-the-hottest-new-design-trend-2438146-2023-09-20
  • https://medium.com/@rpmore77/the-science-of-happiness-exploring-dopamine-decor-for-a-joyful-home-2dc8d4287dc3
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Mehar Deep Kaur
An Architect and Urban Designer by vocation, Mehar Deep Kaur is an accomplished educator and writer in the realm of architecture and design. She helms an academic journal, dedicated to disseminating knowledge about the built environment, and has authored multiple research papers on sensitive urban development, published in esteemed peer-reviewed and Scopus Indexed journals. An innovative designer at heart, she holds patents for her designs, focused on optimizing multi-functionality within compact products. Mehar is also empanelled with some online education platforms as a mentor and course instructor. The young academician is driven by the belief that living a deeply fulfilling and meaningful life requires approaching every endeavor with unwavering passion (Meraki).

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