Upgrade Your Home’s Vibe with Dopamine Decor

Think of this as a valuable lesson that’s simple to understand in theory, yet challenging to put into practice: Your home’s appearance should bring you joy. It sounds reasonable when you contemplate the spaces you inhabit, but when it comes time to intentionally design them, things can get complex.

There’s often the obstacle of dealing with old furniture and the necessity of sticking to budgets. Living with others means having conversations, and hiring professionals requires initiating discussions. Amidst all these decisions, there’s the constant pressure to settle on a style that’s both timeless and trendy. It’s no surprise that many of us opt for the familiar IKEA furnishings we stumbled upon in our twenties.

But what if the key to surrounding yourself with happiness wasn’t a major renovation or a complete overhaul of your space? What if it could be achieved through something called “dopamine decorating”? Viewing it through this lens allows you to select colors and styles that resonate with your mood, ultimately crafting a home that brings a smile to your face. “Color has a significant impact on people’s emotions within their homes,” says design expert and artist Annie Sloan, renowned for her creation of chalk paint. “I believe that color should be strategically used to align with the desired mood of a space.”

If you aspire to create a home that evokes warmth and contentment, heed the advice of these three designers on incorporating dopamine-driven decor.

What Is Dopamine Decorating? 

What Is Dopamine Decorating? 

Think of dopamine as a messenger in your brain, signaling moments of pleasure, whether they’re significant events or everyday details. Ideally, all decorating should align with this sense of bliss. However, various external factors complicate achieving this: financial constraints, personal preferences, trends, resale value, and more. Yet, one of the most unexpected challenges in prioritizing your happiness in decorating is discerning what truly brings you joy, rather than catering to someone else’s aesthetic preferences.

For example, do you find tranquility by the beach, or do you prefer the serenity of the mountains? Are you drawn to a camel-toned leather bag, or does a vibrant red canvas tote catch your eye? When you envision your favorite movie settings, what imagery comes to mind? These responses can serve as inspiration for a color palette that resonates with you and can guide your room’s design.

“Colors possess the power to soothe, energize, and motivate us,” notes interior designer Alvin Wayne. “My design ethos leans towards ‘organic modern,’ drawing inspiration from nature while incorporating bursts of color and vintage elements.”

Specific hues can also evoke a warm nostalgia, fostering a connection between your home and cherished memories. “I encourage people to use color to evoke memories of special people and places,” advises interior designer Dabito. “Whether it’s introducing a yellow sofa reminiscent of a charming cottage in New Orleans, displaying a cherished Le Creuset Dutch oven passed down from family, or showcasing artwork crafted by friends, selecting colors tied to your personal narratives transforms memories into tangible experiences within your home.”

How to Use Color to Set a Mood 

color for Dopamine Decor

Once you’ve determined which colors best reflect your personality, the next step is to integrate them into your living space.

Start with Easy Upgrades

Dopamine Decor

While many of us envision extensive renovations, there’s no need to go to such lengths—renter-friendly upgrades and accessories offer viable alternatives, ranging from peel-and-stick wallpaper to coffee table books. The options are limitless: Vibrant planters, snug throw blankets and cushions, and quirky clocks are all effortless additions to a room. And remember, if neutrals bring you joy, they’re equally valid in dopamine decorating.

“It’s essential to have a solid foundation of neutrals before introducing colors, and even small pops of color can breathe life into a space,” remarks Sloan.

Decide a Color Scheme

Decide a Color Scheme

Sloan advises streamlining a room’s color scheme to three key hues: a neutral, a soft tone, and a bold shade, tailored to the space’s purpose. “For a cozy and serene ambiance, consider incorporating deep tones like navy blue, emerald, or charcoal gray. Conversely, for areas requiring vibrancy and productivity, opt for bright, light colors that inspire energy: Think hot pink, fiery red, or sunny yellow, ideal for kitchens or hallways.”

While certain shades are conventionally neutral—such as black, beige, and cream—others can also fulfill this role. “Green, in particular, serves as a versatile neutral and complements various colors,” observes Dabito. “I enjoy pairing green with hues like yellow, blush, orange, or even aubergine.”


In conclusion, embracing dopamine decorating and harnessing the power of color can transform your living space into a haven of joy and comfort. By carefully selecting colors that resonate with your personality and mood, and incorporating them thoughtfully into your home through simple upgrades and a well-defined color scheme, you can create an environment that truly reflects your unique style and brings happiness into your everyday life.

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