Dopamine decorating is on the up. Boost your mood with these expert tips

Dopamine decorating could be the key to a happier home...

bedroom with colorful bedding, pink walls and monochrome headboard
(Image credit: Habitat)

We bet you’re aware, be it consciously or unconsciously, of dopamine dressing – the idea of putting on a red dress, yellow jumper, or bright green tee, specifically to boost your mood and make you feel better. 

Wearing bright colors is an instant and effective way to lift your spirits, but can the same be said for decorating your home? Can a bright interior paint trend really make you feel happier at home? Dopamine decorating suggests that it can...

bedroom with colorful leafy wallpaper, headboard and pink cushions

(Image credit: Future Katie Lee )

Several studies (pretty much every one ever conducted) have shown that your surroundings can greatly influence your mood. The link between brightly colored decor – from bedding and lampshades, to rugs and more – and our happiness levels has come to light in recent months, as more and more of us are choosing to decorate boldly. 

Kelly Collins, interior design expert at Swyft (opens in new tab) has noted the shift in the number of people buying brightly colored sofas.

‘We’re definitely seeing people being bolder and braver with their design decisions. Before people usually chose a neutral sofa and bright cushions, but now it’s the other way around. Sales of our brightest orange sofa have shot up since the start of the year.’

living room with blue sofa and orange and yellow cushions

(Image credit: Future Katie Lee)

Lee Chambers (opens in new tab) is a psychologist and well-being consultant that specializes in color. He says that ‘using intense and bold colors in our spaces can generate physiological and psychological responses, and they also have the power to trigger nostalgia and bring back positive experiences.’ 

Nowhere is this more evident than at the popular London attraction – Dopamine Land (opens in new tab). You simply wander around colorful, textural rooms, and feel the burst of happiness hit you. It's marketed to channel the imagination of your inner child.

So it’s not just any bright colors that can lift us, we’ve got to choose the right ones that will affect us in the right way. 

Using brights to optimize your vibe

Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Dulux (opens in new tab) reveals how to choose bright shades that’ll optimize your vibe. 

‘Look at your wardrobe and the personal things you surround yourself with to find the colors that really make you happy. These are the ones that make you feel great when you wear them and the ones that bring back happy memories of childhood.’

From bright blue to sunny yellow, Nikki and Luke left no shade untouched when they transformed their 1960s home.

(Image credit: Chris Snook)

The link between vibrant colors and childhood can’t be underestimated. By rejecting the play-safe neutrals and getting more confident with color, we’re tapping into a more carefree, courageous and child-like version of ourselves. 

‘People aren’t worried about design rules anymore – they're being inspired by Pinterest to just paint rooms or go for a bold feature wall in whatever color they fancy. We’re finding that people, after lockdown, have a new-found interest and awareness of interiors and so they’re more confident to make bolder design decisions,’ says Collins. 

bedroom with pink walls, colourful bedding, and blue ceiling

(Image credit: Habitat)

After years of lockdown and stagnation, we’ve gained a whole new level of respect for our homes. And with a very understandable urge to go a little wild with life now that things are on the mend, it’s no wonder we’re looking to go statement with our interior colors too. And if it’s proven to make us happier, someone just hand us the bright pink paint pot please.

Amelia Smith
Amelia Smith

After joining Real Homes as content producer in 2016, Amelia has taken on several different roles and is now content editor. She specializes in style and decorating features and loves nothing more than finding the most beautiful new furniture, fabrics and accessories and sharing them with our readers. As a newbie London renter, Amelia’s loving exploring the big city and mooching around vintage markets to kit out her new home. 

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