It’s winter, and with short days, long nights, and chilling temperatures, a little pick-me-up can go a long way. Enter ‘dopamine decor,’ a trending approach on social media that aims to lift our spirits through items designed to spark joy and embrace cheerful and playful decorating styles.
As far as interior design trends go, they really don’t come any more cheerful than this. According to Emily Piepenbrink at The Happy Ginger Company, this approach “is rooted in design that stirs joy up in your soul. It expands the requirements of good design from form and function to form, function, and happiness. If Marie Kondo popped into your place, you could kindly turn her around because everything you’ve added to your space contributes to your overall joie de vivre.” Think bright colors, whimsical fabrics, and tactile materials — don’t be afraid to add!
Whether you’re a natural maximalist or simply looking to try something new, delve into winter’s happiest trend with everything you need to know about dopamine decor.
Dopamine Decor 101
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Dopamine decor effortlessly toes the line between vibrant and whimsical without veering into garish or kitschy territory. Jonathan Adler offers a valuable tip, suggesting, “Think of your home like an outfit your eccentric, rich aunt might wear and layer, layer, layer. As long as you start with a chic foundation, it will work.” Additionally, interior designer Artem Kropovinsky emphasizes the importance of balance, suggesting the incorporation of a few more subdued pieces to anchor the playful ones, allowing them to shine.
With these insights in mind, you’re well-prepared to embark on your dopamine decor journey.
Dopamine decor breaks away from the monochromatic interiors of previous years, embracing vibrant hues. According to Piepenbrink, “No more whites and neutrals and emotionless palettes. Whatever your favorite color is (consult your wardrobe for inspiration if needed), add it to your rooms. Even a small shelf painted in that color can make a significant difference!”
HAY Spiral 6-Pack Assorted Candles
“Add a host of bright pillar and taper candles in pinks, oranges, and yellows to add some cheer to your winter home,” suggests Piepenbrink, adding, “Warm toned candles are an instant dose of happiness.” This playful spiral set from Nordstrom is just what the doctor ordered.
This Jonathan Adler mirror whisks you away to the French Riviera circa 1950. The combination of rattan and lacquered steel exudes elegance, luxury, and, above all, vibrancy. Place it in your entryway for a daily mood boost as you step out the door.
Marie Plum Coupe Cocktail Glasses, Set of 6
Chicago-based fashion designer Azeeeza created this ultra-saturated color story for CB2, offering a playful take on the classic barware style. The broad bowl and casual stem create an unpretentious and slightly cheeky feel, while jewel tones add an air of opulence.
Elevate your colors with patterns — bonus points if they create some sort of movement. Piepenbrink recommends achieving this through curtains. Patterns can range from abstract to florals, though the interior designer is quite fond of polka dots.
Missoni Home Keith Towel Collection
Missoni, renowned for busy patterns and vibrant colors, has been secretly coded as dopamine decor all along. Choose from Missoni Home’s towel collection, including bath towels, bath sheets, and bath mats, for a sophisticated everyday pattern.
House of Hackney Flora Fantasia Floral Wallpaper Roll
Price: $5.60/sq. ft.
Floral wallpaper may seem daunting at first, but House of Hackney creates some of the best floral designs — timelessly elegant and full of fun. This bold living room wallpaper idea is sure to elevate your space.
Vertical stripes add height to your window, creating the illusion of a taller ceiling. The unexpected combination of blue and mustard yellow brings intrigue, while a semi-sheer material makes these the ideal living room curtain idea.
“And art. Every room needs some art,” insists Piepenbrink. Hunt for the best wall art that “involuntarily make you smile and add them to your cart.”
AP8 Guy Bourdin Framed Print, 40” x 29”
This enigmatic image, captured in 1978 and untitled, exudes mystery with its gorgeous blue hue — a true conversation starter and a delightful addition to any gallery wall.
Harry Allen transforms everyday objects into art, as seen in this hand bowl. Equal parts sculpture and kitchen organizer, it is visually striking and brings joy in abundance.
Caliente Framed Wall Art by Minted
In vibrant orange, magenta, and green, this abstract wall art effortlessly generates an instant grin. Available in various sizes, it suits every room and preference.
Recognizing that an indoor garden brimming with plants bring forth life and vitality into a living space, Piepenbrink encourages you to “Embrace your inner gardener. Plants make you feel less alone. Introduce a few easy-to-maintain varieties (start with snake plants and philodendrons) in cheerful terracotta pots, and relish the company they provide.”
Amima Terracotta Table Vase
At just 5” tall, this small terracotta vase is absolutely charming. Hand-thrown by artisans in India, each one is unique, embodying the eclectic charm of dopamine decor. Use it as a standalone accent or to house your favorite plants.
Diane James Home Rose & Hydrangea Faux Floral Arrangement in Glass Cube
Diane James Home offers high-quality realistic artificial flowers, and this arrangement is among the best on the market — so realistic! Lush faux roses and hydrangeas are beautifully displayed in a glass vase with artificial water, bringing everlasting beauty to any space.
The leopard trend revival is already dominating 2024, and this vase embraces it in the best possible way. Channel your wild side with this ultimate dopamine decor piece, perfect for a mantle or bookshelf.
For more vibrant ideas, refer to design lessons in color theory explained.