What is dopamine decor? Interior designers love this happy home trend

Dopamine decor is one of our favorite design styles, so we've deep-dived into what the sunny style is about

Dopamine decor is so beautiful. Here are three pictures of it - one of a pink living room, one of an orange living room, and one of a green living room
(Image credit: Wayfair / @juliecylt / Dani Dazey Design / Divine Savages)

For those wondering, 'What is dopamine decor?' you're in the right place. The bright and vibrant home trend is one we've fallen in love with here at Real Homes, and we know you will, too.

We've spoken with design experts who are big fans of it to find out what it is, where it's come from, and how you can get the look in your home. It's all about sunny shades and patterns you feel good using, which can be used in any-sized home.

While interior design trends can come and go, dopamine dressing is one we don't see fading into the background. It's so universal, but you can still make it unique.

Deep-dive into Dopamine decor

Whether you're looking for small space interior design trends or ones for a bigger place, dopamine decor is a dreamy choice, easily implemented.

We've broken down all the useful info from our panel of design experts, as well as picking out gorgeous buys to help you sprinkle dopamine decor joy into your space.

What is dopamine decor?

A green living room with a wall shelf of colorful books, a green couch, and a coffee table

(Image credit: Dani Dazey Design / Divine Savages)

If you’ve seen it around on socials but aren’t sure what the phrase exactly means, we’ve asked the experts for an exact definition. 

“Dopamine decor, a hot trend in interior design (and long overdue in my opinion), merges style with neuroscience to create spaces that radiate positivity,” explains Carla Bast, design principal at Carla Bast Design.

A picture of Carla Bast, a woman wearing a blue blazer and white shirt
Carla Bast

Carla Bast is the design principal at Carla Bast Design. With over 25 years of hands-on experience, she has honed a keen eye for space planning and design while gaining in-depth expertise in renovations and trends such as dopamine decor.

This is inspired by the idea our surroundings impact our mood, so plays into thoughtful design with a happy vibe. 

“It thrives on creating spaces that spark joy and uplift your mood — think vibrant colors, playful patterns, and quirky accents which make you smile just because,” says Heather Knight-Willcock, interior designer at Heather KW Styles and expert for ShopGoodwill.com.

A picture of Heather Knight-Willcock, a woman wearing a white shirt and blue jeans
Heather Knight-Willcock

Heather Knight-Willcock is an interior designer based in Southern California. Her refined, approachable style has earned her a reputation for creating engaging and inspiring residential and commercial spaces. She is a huge fan of decorating with dopamine decor.

Your home is your space, so having it give you the most joy possible is a wonderful idea.

Where did dopamine decor come from?

A pink living room with a yellow couch, rattan table, and pink stools

(Image credit: Wayfair)

It has been a hugely popular Instagram and TikTok interior trend in 2024, but it hasn’t just come out of nowhere.

Heather explains, “It's a natural response to the need for positivity in our surroundings. With everything going on in the world, people are seeking ways to inject a bit of happiness into their homes.”

This is because the wave of minimalist homes has been exchanged for maximalist homes filled with personality.

“Consumers are craving spaces that make them feel happy and highlight their interests and passions,” says Ashley McCollum, color expert at Glidden Paint by PPG.

A picture of Ashley McCollum in a black shirt
Ashley McCollum

Ashley McCollum is a color expert for PPG’s Architectural Coatings business in the U.S. and Canada, which includes Glidden. Prior to joining PPG in 2017, Ashley’s career was heavily focused on color and visual merchandising for retail environments. She loves using color to transform spaces, which is a key part of dopamine decor.

Making a space tailored for you and your family will allow you to enjoy it all the more.

How to decorate with dopamine decor

A blue bookshelf with colorful books on it, with a truck, flowers, and a lamp on it, and wall art behind it

(Image credit: Molly Mahon)

If you want to start bringing your personal brand of pizazz into your home with this cheerful style, there are plenty of ways to get going.

“The best way to find these pieces without breaking the bank is by searching for one-of-a-kind treasures with vintage or thrift pieces,” Heather says.

She recommends looking at secondhand stores such as ShopGoodwill.com for curated finds that elevate your dopamine decor game.

“I like to look for sculptures, vases, or artwork that can be bumped into this playful with a bit of vibrant spray paint or a fun DIY,” Heather says. “Mix and match bold colors, incorporate fun textures, and don't be afraid to add whimsical touches like art pieces or playful accessories.”

For example, we love this Colorful Balloon Dog Print from Desenio and this Cherries Tufted Pillow from Urban Outfitters, which both fit the dopamine decor vibe perfectly.

A pink bed with white and green bedding and a nightstand with a green lamp

(Image credit: Molly Mahon)

It’s not just decorative pieces you can use to achieve this look — you can even go bold on the walls with the best paint colors for small spaces.

Ashley says, “Play with patterns and prints to add some fun to your walls. You can use paint to create your own wall mural or wallpaper that features your favorite animal, flower, or scene.”

Some happy paint colors Ashley loves using include green for harmony and balance, pink for love and comfort, yellow for warmth and happiness, and coral for warmth and invitingness. She recommends Glidden's Coral Silk, which is one of its most popular corals.

A living room with two bookshelves, a gray couch, a pink seat, and a yellow coffee table

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Don't be afraid to go down the nature route to balance out the bright and beautiful colors you’ll be bringing in.

Carla says, “I like to incorporate nature with indoor plants and natural materials for a calming touch.”

One of our favorite plants has to be the pothos plant (also known as a Devil's Ivy plant and avaialble at  Walmart), as it's low-maintenance and seriously striking.

She adds, “Let go of the thought of how your home should look and opt for what will make you happy in your space.”

Decorate with what you love and don’t be afraid of color — these are the most important things to keep in mind with dopamine decor.

Shop the dopamine decor look

If you've fallen head over heels for dopamine decor, we've rounded up some beautiful pieces which are sure to make you smile.

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article. 

If you’re still looking for a steer on dopamine decor, our best advice has to be just listening to your heart. Carla finishes by saying, “There are no ‘rules,’ so dive in, infuse joy, and watch your spaces come alive with positive energy.”

For more trends centered around personality, you may also like to try bookshelf wealth, which is taking over shelves everywhere.

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.