“Dopamine Decor” Is the Happiest Decorating Trend of 2023 — Get the Look

published Dec 11, 2023
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A pink tabling in a white-walled living room with four chairs and a book display stand.
Credit: Don&Dandy

If all of the TikTok-inspired decor trends of the past couple of years are starting to give you whiplash, you’re not alone. Between Barbiecore, quiet luxury, mermaidcore, the clean girl aesthetic, and so many more, there’s no denying the social media platform’s influence on interior design. However, if there’s one decorating trend to come out of TikTok in the last year that feels truly timeless and joy-inducing, it’s dopamine decor

What Is Dopamine Decor?

Currently sitting at over 124 million views on TikTok, dopamine decor is all about letting go of expectations of how your home “should” look and gravitating toward whatever makes you happy. Think of your childhood bedroom before you cared about design trends or what was considered “cool.” You probably filled it with only items that you loved, right? That could be personal mementos, photos of loved ones, and maybe even a poster (or two) of your favorite band. 

That’s the key to channeling dopamine decor: Rediscovering pieces that spark joy to make your home feel happy, inspiring, and personalized to you (some youthful nostalgia, if you will). In that way, it’s arguably equal parts a lifestyle shift and decorating movement. But don’t worry — I’m not suggesting you recreate your exact childhood bedroom here (those boy band posters and questionable paint choices can stay firmly planted in the past). However, they’re certainly worth tapping for inspiration.

“Dopamine decor, at its heart, is all about what makes you smile — so it’s going to look a little different in every home,” says Kathy Kuo, CEO and founder of Kathy Kuo Home. “I like to think of dopamine decor as the result you get when you let your inner child help out with decorating.”

Although the trend varies from person to person, there are a few hallmarks and commonalities that have seemed to arise. For example, bright and cheerful colors, luxurious fabrics, and whimsical accents appear to be popular aspects of dopamine decor, Kuo says. Nevertheless, nothing is off the table — especially because the aesthetic caters to your own unique preferences. 

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

How to Embrace Dopamine Decor at Home

So how can you get started transforming your home into a dopamine-infused personal oasis? While there are no hard-and-fast rules, interior design experts have a few tips to help you get started.

“The dopamine decor trend is deeply personal because it is grounded in the idea of reflecting the personality of those who live there,” says Cami Anderson, co-founder and principal designer of Seattle-based interior design firm ARDEN+SIENNA. While colorful, maximalist designs tend to be a staple of this TikTok aesthetic, a subdued, minimalist look can absolutely still be classified as dopamine decor if that’s what makes you feel at ease, as well. 

As a starting point, Anderson recommends evaluating what you were drawn to in your childhood (think: colors, patterns, motifs, and more). Are there certain items that evoke happy memories or spark joy when you look at them? Use those as the center of your design, and then work them into your existing setup. That’s the beauty of this trend — you can primarily concentrate on small, cheerful touches to give your home a dopamine decor makeover, rather than redecorating entirely. 

“The good news is this trend is all about what makes YOU happy, so anything goes!” Anderson adds. Essentially, channel your inner child, and have fun decorating!