While the world has largely returned to “normal” since the chaos of 2020, there are a few things from the pandemic era that have stuck, and one of them is what I like to call dopamine decor. You may have heard of the fashion movement called “dopamine dressing” during the sad months of COVID. Named for the neurotransmitter that sends jolts of happiness to the brain, it’s all about dressing in bright colors and bold prints in an effort to consciously lift your spirits. Now fashion has moved beyond fashion into the world of home decor, because why radiate happiness only through your clothes when you could fill your entire house with it?
After getting used to spending so much time inside our four walls during those life-changing pandemic years, it makes sense that people would also want to incorporate this happy trend into their homes. If you want a steady trickle of dopamine when you walk in the door, consider ditching your neutral decor for this fun and eclectic trend.
What is the dopamine bandage?
Fashion psychologist Dawnn Karen, a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology and author of Dress Your Best Life, originally coined the term “dressing on dopamine” as a catchy way of saying dress to improve your mood. In an interview with Byrdie, he described the dopamine boost we get from “wearing something crazy and whimsical that doesn’t match, polka dots or leopard print, tutus or bright colors.”
Like many trends in the modern world, the dopamine patch achieved mega-popular status through social media, especially Instagram and TikTok. Fashion influencers were quick to implement the trend on their feeds, and bloggers and interior designers were eager to put their own spin on the concept. Thus, the trend migrated into the home decor sphere to give us dopamine decor.
Does it really make you happier?
Dopamine decor sounds cute and all, but does it really make a difference in your mood? According to a variety of experts, the answer may be yes. As psychologist and wellness consultant Lee Chambers told Real Homes: “Using bold, rich colors in our spaces can trigger physiological and psychological responses, and they also have the power to trigger nostalgia and bring back positive experiences.”
Momtaz Begum-Hossain, color theorist and author of Hello Rainbow: Finding Happiness in Color, further explained the mental and emotional effect of color in an interview with Cosmopolitan. “There is more to color than being an aesthetic. It is a powerful source of energy that can affect our feelings, moods and emotions,” he said. “There is no limit to the uplifting and positive effects we get from color; It’s almost like a natural high.”