Dopamine Dressing Your Home

Originally posted 13th June 2023 by News Corp Australia and written by Samantha Landy 

Creating an interior that evokes ‘joy, pleasure and positivity’ has become a hot design trend. Find out how to make your home a happy place

Dopamine dressing may be one of the hottest home design trends going around, but adopters should keep their personal preferences front of mind.

National Gallery of Victoria curator of contemporary design Simone LeAmon warns the “colours and design styles that … evoke positive emotions for one person may not have the same effect on another”.

But those who find the right balance between reflecting their tastes and injecting bold colour palettes, textures and patterns could achieve true “self-expression and individuality”.

RELATED: ‘Queen of colour’ shaking up black-loving Melbourne

LeAmon’s home is filled with colour and self-expression. Picture: Eugene Hyland

Dopamine dressing has emerged from a “growing understanding of the impact our physical surroundings can have on our emotional wellbeing”. Picture: Eugene Hyland

LeAmon says dopamine dressing gained prominence during the pandemic, when housebound Aussies sought to “create sensory spaces that promote feelings of happiness, joy, pleasure and positivity”.

“There is a growing understanding of the impact our physical surroundings can have on our emotional wellbeing,” she says. “Aesthetics can influence our mood and psychological state.”

Paris design icon India Mahdavi – whose work is on display within NGV exhibition Pierre Bonnard: Designed by India Mahdavi until October 8 – has also “championed this trend by showcasing bold and unconventional colour palettes, mixing patterns, and using unique materials to create visually stimulating spaces”.

For Mahdavi, colour is “not just about being beautiful”, but bringing energy, joy and light into a room.

A combination of vibrant and soothing colours is recommended. Picture: Eugene Hyland

Queen of colour India Mahdavi has created the scenography for new NGV exhibition Pierre Bonnard: Designed by India Mahdavi. Pictured: Peter Narzisi and William Bennett with Pierre Bonnard’s Coffee (Le cafe) 1915. Picture: Tim Carrafa

LeAmon recommends some basic steps before starting to dopamine dress your home.

“First, maximise the natural light,” she says. “Consider using mirrors strategically to reflect light and create an illusion of space.

“Second, ensure good air circulation and ventilation in your home (by letting) in fresh air, or using air purifiers and plants to improve air quality.

“Third, declutter.”

Then, follow these steps to achieve a dopamine-inducing effect.

Dial up the dopamine

-Use a combination of vibrant and soothing colours – eg. yellows, oranges and reds for areas where you want to encourage activity and creativity, and calming blues and greens in spaces meant for relaxation.

-Incorporate personal items that reflect your individuality and bring you joy alongside statement pieces that act as focal points in a room, such as vintage, industrial or contemporary furniture or an original artwork.

-Add contrasting textures to spaces where you relax and use patterns strategically to stimulate the senses, via rugs, throws, wallpaper, curtains or furniture upholstery.

-Create mood lighting by using task and accent lighting instead of ceiling lights, dimmers, and bulbs that enable coloured light (eg. a calming soft yellow at night).