What is dopamine dressing? Meet the fashion-inspired interiors trend that will cure your winter blues

Dopamine dressing is all about using color in the home to make ourselves feel better – the perfect remedy for a grey winter's day

Dining area with red walls, dark floor and green rug, blue table and coloured chairs.
(Image credit: Future)

Even if you aren't familiar with the term 'dopamine dressing', you've probably experienced the concept yourself. How many times have you reached for a brightly colored clothing when faced with a miserable grey sky outside? It might seem futile, but surrounding ourselves will color can actually do great things for our mental health, and that's what the dopamine decor trend is all about.

As is the case with many interior design trends, dopamine dressing's roots can be traced back to the fashion world before it began to infiltrate our homes. The idea is that, just as a brightly colored sweater can make you feel more buoyant, as can the way we decide to play with color when styling our homes.

Gone are the days of grey homes; we've all started to appreciate bolder colors through our furniture and paint ideas lately, but have we been brave enough? To truly reap the benefits of dopamine decor to help cure those winter blues, we've asked some designers for their advice on how it should be done.

Lilith headshot for bio
Lilith Hudson

Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. She's committed to sharing articles that help readers embrace emerging trends and keep up-to-date with changing styles in the home. For this piece, she spoke with leading designers to learn how to embrace the dopamine dressing trend; the perfect rescue remedy for the winter blues

What is the dopamine dressing trend? 

Before we jump into the different ways you can hop on the dopamine dressing trend in your home, it's worth clarifying what it actually entails. 

Essentially, dopamine decor is a simple way to help us feel better through design, be it through patterns, your furniture, or your paint ideas. 'Dopamine décor can be interpreted as using color, pattern and tactile furnishings in your home as a way to make you feel happier,' says color and design consultant, Suzy Chiazzari

'You might start off small, by introducing a print here and a colorful sofa there,' she adds, 'or you might fully commit to vivid colors, such as zesty yellows, punchy pinks, and brilliant blues to dress homes and evoke feelings of happiness.'

How to embrace the dopamine dressing trend

A living room with bold shapes and colours, an exposed brickwork wall and colourful blocked carpet, and blue and green colours, under a skylight

(Image credit: Jon Day Photography)

You might be wondering what colors you ought to be using to fully embrace the dopamine dressing trend. While color psychology does teach us that certain hues affect us in different ways - green evokes tranquillity, blue for feelings of stability, and pink is uplifting - you shouldn't let this dictate the shades you choose in your home too much. 

The best thing you can do is choose your favorite colors that make you happy. As Suzy explains: 'Color is emotive and personal, and we all react to them differently depending on how they make us feel.' If in doubt though, opt for colors that have a strong association with cheeriness. 'Yellow is proven the best color to boost your mood and release that essential serotonin when you’re feeling a little low,' says Yvonne Keal, a design expert at window treatment brand Hillarys

She adds that there's no need to go overboard by color-drenching your room in yellow (even though it's said to improve your well-being). 'Try adding just a few yellow accents to your interior to reap the benefits,' she says. 'Sunshine yellow and dusty grey are a match made in heaven, as the colors complement each other balancing out the intenseness nicely.'  

a dressing room painted in a bright color

(Image credit: Ansel Olson photography. Design: Sawyers Design)

Although you should let your personal preferences direct your design in the case of dopamine decor, it's worth giving thought to which room you're decorating and switching up your color palette accordingly.

While bright orange is wonderfully uplifting, it might not be the best choice when it comes to colors to help you sleep. Instead, spare a thought to how you can use color to aid relaxation, like blue and green. 'I love the idea of curating a personal sanctuary space - like a reading nook or tea room where you can restore and recalibrate - with the help of color,' says interior designer Tommy Lei in Kaiyo's trend report

That said, you don't have to rely on muted pastels in the bedroom - after all, this trend dares us to be a bit bolder than that. 'With the rise of dopamine décor and more people using their bedroom for recreational uses more than ever before, introducing pops of color could be the perfect way to subtly inject some positivity into your bedroom without this impacting on your sleep quality and quantity,' says  Sammy Margo, sleep expert at Dreams

In more convivial spaces, like the living room or kitchen, why not be a bit braver? Use bolder shades that not only uplift you, but act as a talking point for guests. 'Orange is a bright and fun shade, making it the perfect color for entertaining friends and family,' says Yvonne. 'As we enter fall and the nights start to get longer, a vibrant orange can be used to uplift the room, making it feel like summer all year round.' 

Velvet cyan sofa, Wayfair
Color me happy

Velvet cyan sofa, Wayfair

Go bold with this velvet two seater sofa from Wayfair, the perfect way to add a pop of color to your space. The mid-century modern style is bang on trend, and with 16 bold colors to choose from, you're spoilt for choice. This is a statement piece of furniture like no other.

Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.