Dopamine Decor May Be the Secret to Your Happiest Home Yet

This trend—like dopamine dressing—is all about putting your personality front and center, which never goes out of style.

Picture your childhood bedroom: It might have consisted of colorful walls, an obnoxious, patterned comforter (neon pink zebra, anyone?), an unnecessarily abundant stuffed animal collection, posters of your favorite teen heartthrob. Before you were thinking about aesthetics or figured out your sense of style, you probably just decorated with pieces that made you happy. If that was you, guess what? You’re probably already pretty familiar with dopamine decor.

Colorful dopamine decor style room

David Tsay | Design: Better Homes & Gardens

To follow the dopamine decor trend—like dopamine dressing that came before it—you just need to focus on surrounding yourself with furniture, art, and objects that make you happy. Think about what you would be happy to wake up to in the morning, whether it’s a certain color you love enough to try out the monochromatic look or retro kitchen appliances—whatever brings a smile to your face, goes. 

Dopamine decorating is also a way to limit consumption and be more conscious of sustainability when it comes to buying new decor pieces.

“Dopamine decorating encourages us to be thoughtful about our purchases, perhaps only buying what we need and love, versus the over-consumerism that occurs when appealing to trends,” says Grace Baena, interior design expert at secondhand furniture brand Kaiyo. “In design and furniture shopping, the thrill of the hunt is completely dopamine-inducing, particularly when you come across a gorgeous, unique piece.”

Shopping for vintage home items has taken off within the last few years as people are making more of an effort to reduce their environmental impact. It also allows you to explore your decor style more in depth—mixing pieces creates a look that’s specific to your personality.

The pandemic also forced people to really think about whether they enjoyed spending time in their space. Plus with work from home on the rise, we’re spending more time at home than ever.

“[During the pandemic] many began thinking about their individual taste and separating it from the trends and styles they might have adopted without much consideration in the past,” Baena says. “Unlike the constrained minimalist aesthetic we’ve seen in recent years, as well as overly-trendy and ‘IG-worthy’ spaces, home dwellers are now honing their style, and putting their own personalities forward with more collected items, juxtapositions, and mixing. This eclecticism often results in a vibrant color palette and unique look.”

The next time you’re scrolling on TikTok and feel the need to order a trendy throw pillow or side table, ask yourself if it’ll actually make you happy to look at for the years to come. Instead of buying those short-lived decorative accents, keep an eye out for classic pieces that show off your interests and unique style (if it’s still your childhood stuffed animals and boy band posters, that’s totally fair), and you’ll get a mood boost every time you step into your home. And if you can, shop secondhand—it’ll still give you the rush of a new purchase.

“In the age of fast-furniture, people are realizing that trend cycles are unrealistically quick and harsh on our planet,” Baena says. “Older pieces carry their charm and character into every home. Our community of caretakers, or as we call them, the regeneration, believes in secondhand first for a love of the planet and the thrill of the hunt.”

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