Justine Knox

Find the feel-good factor in your home

Justine Knox

How does your home make you FEEL? Do you walk in and experience an uplifting emotion? A lot of us might feel relief when we get through the front door in the evening, but do you also feel … joy?

It’s a reaction which I always aim to inspire in all of the interiors that I design, and now there is a name for it:


Blending design with neuroscience to create homes that radiate positivity.

It may seem like just an “over the top” decorating style, but there is a lot of thought that goes into Dopamine Décor.

The science bit.

Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter, which is a chemical messenger in the brain that helps transmit signals between nerve cells (neurons). It plays a crucial role in various brain functions. Dopamine is released in response to pleasurable stimuli such as food, sex, and social interactions. It reinforces behaviours that are essential for survival and encourages the repetition of those behaviours by creating a sensation of pleasure or reward. Dopamine is involved in regulating mood, attention, learning, and motor control. Imbalances in dopamine levels have been implicated in several neurological and psychiatric disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, addiction, and depression.

“Dopamine Décor” applies to interior design choices that aim to create a visually appealing and stimulating atmosphere that evokes positive emotions and enhances mood thus releasing the hormone. Dopamine décor may incorporate elements such as vibrant colours, interesting textures, striking patterns, and innovative designs to captivate attention and bring a feeling of happiness.

It’s basically what makes YOU feel GOOD!

So, how does it work?

Personalisation and satisfaction: When you decorate your home according to your preferences and tastes, it creates a sense of ownership and satisfaction. This personalised environment can stimulate the release of dopamine and reinforces feelings of contentment and accomplishment.

Visual stimulation: Engaging and aesthetically pleasing surroundings can contribute to feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.

Comfort and relaxation: Creating a cosy and comfortable living space with soft furnishings, warm lighting, and inviting décor can promote relaxation and reduce stress. This conducive environment encourages the brain to release dopamine, as it associates the space with feelings of comfort and well-being.

Creativity and expression: The act of decorating allows for self-expression and creativity, which can be inherently rewarding and stimulating. Whether it’s selecting colours, arranging furniture, or displaying artwork, engaging in creative endeavors can boost dopamine levels by providing a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.

Sense of achievement: Completing home decoration projects, no matter how small, can instill a sense of achievement and pride. Accomplishing tasks like organizing a space, DIY projects, or successfully implementing a design idea can activate reward pathways in the brain, leading to dopamine release.

Overall, home decoration enhances dopamine levels by creating a personalised, visually appealing, and comfortable environment that promotes satisfaction, relaxation, creativity, and a sense of accomplishment.

So, how do you achieve it?

1)      Don’t feel you have to follow a trend. Colour and pattern choices are deeply personal and can evoke various memories and emotions. Just because a certain colour or wallpaper is popular at the moment doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right for your home.

2)     Follow your bliss. Consider your own experiences and associations decorating your home. Which happy childhood memories would you like to recall? Are they going to the park, or the beach? Do you have an object that you remember fondly? Start from one point and use that as a stepping stone.

3)     Be thoughtful. Consider which objects make you feel happy, and which don’t. Maybe changing the layout of a room can make the difference, or even adjusting the lighting. Dopamine Décor is very personal, and means something different to everyone.

4)     Start small. While many of you may envision extensive renovations, there’s no need to go to such lengths, just adding some interesting accessories offer’s plenty of options. The choices are vast: vibrant planters, snug throw blankets and pillows, and even quirky clocks are effortless additions to any room. And remember, if neutral tones bring you joy, they’re also a crucial part of dopamine-driven decorating, just make sure to add lots of interesting textures to avoid the glum and boring beiges. Just come to see us at Knox Design to get your creative juices flowing!

5)     Have confidence. This style of decorating truly is about expressing yourself, your inner essence, and your personality.

6)     Hire help. If you are overwhelmed by the process but feel the need for some extra “Dopamine Décor” in your own home, hire an expert in home staging or interior design, the rewards always outway the costs.

Need more help or inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, or listen to my new podcast for more.


Justine’s holiday colour guide

‘Tis the season to break away from the ordinary and tiptoe outside of your Christmas colour comfort zone. Seasonal decorating is so much fun, and it’s not permanent, so if you don’t like it, you can change it in an instant!

Countryside Colour Splash

  • Bring the rustic charm of the Mallorcan countryside indoors with some warm earthy tones.
  • Opt for rich greens, deep reds, and golden hues to create a cosy and inviting atmosphere.
  • Add vibrant accents such as mustard-yellow cushions or burgundy throws to amplify the holiday cheer.
  • Modernise classic ornaments by placing them in glass vases or using them on a statement wreath.
  • Try using natural materials like wooden ornaments, velvet ribbons, and pinecones.
  • Create a comfortable atmosphere with soft throws and rustic candles for that countryside holiday feeling.

Fuse Bold Shades

  • Dare to combine unexpected colours for a truly unique holiday home.
  • Merge coastal blues with countryside greens or experiment with unexpected pairings like deep navy and mustard.
  • Introduce bold, statement pieces like an emerald-green centerpiece.

Festive Colourful Twists

  • Put a modern spin on traditional holiday colours for a fresh and lively look.
  • Swap out classic red for cranberry or burgundy and introduce metallic gold for a touch of sophistication.
  • Consider unconventional choices like a royal blue Christmas tree or a chartreuse wreath for a playful yet stylish vibe.

Playful Lighting Accents

  • Revive your childhood Christmas memories with some multi coloured, playful and colourful lighting.
  • Illuminate your space with colourful candles in glass holders.

This holiday season, let your Mallorcan holiday home shine with a burst of color and creativity. Don’t be afraid to experiment, I want you to embrace the joy of using colour and transform your space into a vibrant celebration for the holidays.

Cheers to a vibrant festive season!


My Journey to Success in the Sun

I was thrilled to be included in the February/March edition of Brand You magazine which is aimed at women in business around the world.  Here’s my “Fempreneur Story” as told to Brand You.

Justine Knox

Following the crash of my parents’ hotel business in 1985, which left us having to start again from scratch without a penny, I decided to leave school early to start earning a living.  I was an eccentric, independent, and strong minded teenager,  and it was the hardest time in our lives, but I learned more from these experiences than school could ever have taught me.

I quickly understood that even if the worst happens, you can pick yourself up and start again, which is exactly what we did. There wasn’t the time to moan about what had happened, it was a question of survival and we worked hard to do that.  We had only been living on the Spanish island of Mallorca for a year, but coming from a family of hard working people who didn’t quit it never entered any of our minds to pack up and move back to the UK.

I learned to spot opportunities: between the age of 15 and 25 I ran my own babysitting service;  a cleaning company; worked nights in a bar where I learned to speak Spanish; set up the island’s first mobile Mobile Phone company (I worked out of my car and checked there was network coverage in the client’s village before selling them the unit); launched, ran and then sold a very successful children’s luxury clothing boutique stocking clothes I couldn’t possibly have afforded for my own two children, and even worked in timeshare which I had to quit because it felt so unethical, I couldn’t stand to think of being party to another couple losing their savings in a bad investment.

In my early 20s I met my husband Bruce, a.k.a. “The best decision I ever made”. He owned a dive school, but the lifestyle was not ideal for raising a family, so we sold his business and pivoted: Bruce had worked as a builder years before in the UK, and we sent word around the community in Mallorca that he was available for renovation work. 

Every business I had developed up to this point had prepared me, and given me insight into running a successful enterprise, but nothing had quite stuck. I liked earning money, but I wasn’t passionate about or inspired by what I was doing. However, as Bruce’s building work increased so his clients needed support and I found myself being asked to help choose tiles for their bathrooms or colour schemes for kitchens. I soon earned the reputation as the builder’s wife who “had an eye”, could speak and negotiate in Spanish, and didn’t like to see people be ripped off or waste their money on tat.  I discovered that I had a talent for visualising the ergonomic flow of a house and instead of just offering my opinion to my surprise and delight it was being asked for. It was around this time that “The House Doctor”, Ann Maurice, was very popular on TV. I watched her programmes avidly and dreamed of training with her. I explained to Bruce that I wanted to spend a small fortune on studying in the UK, which would mean leaving him in Mallorca with a business to run and two small children to take care of, and after only a couple of minutes thought he agreed! This was to be the second best decision I ever made. Although the concept of Home Staging for house sales was ahead of its time for the island, the interior design skills I learned through the courses I took with Ann took me to Educator Level and gave me the knowledge that I needed to reinforce my natural instincts of colour, form and flow.

Stepping into the limelight as “Justine Knox, Interior Designer”, took a little bit of getting used to, but with each successfully completed project and opportunity offered I gained confidence. The business expanded beyond my professional services to encompass the “Knox Design Store” which started as my showroom and developed into a stand-alone store for unique home furnishings which I source from all over Europe. The business employs 9 full time staff, plus the trusted tradespeople that I repeatedly contract for reformation work on my projects. My parents got back on their feet as well, they are still living in Mallorca, and are still the brilliant example that I admire and cherish dearly. Bruce and our daughter Marisa work with me in the business, and Jack, our son, has gone into hospitality, working as a Superyacht chef.

I’ve now been an interior designer for 20 years. The value that I give to my clients comes from who I am: my life experiences, all the tough moments and the breakthroughs, have increased my skill set, and inform my decisions. About 70% of my business comes to me through word of mouth. When I am designing a home for a new client, I do so after I have spent a great deal of time learning about their lifestyle, getting to know them and deciding if we will fit well together. I want to make sure that I can express their personality in their home, and make it a beautiful but practical and comfortable place for them to live in.  Once I am sure of that then the fun begins!

The greatest asset in my business has been my husband Bruce. He’s always motivated me, yes he will ask me tough questions about my decisions, but in the end he’s always supported and encouraged me. Even though we have a multimillion euro business that we started from nothing, I don’t consider myself a millionaire. My priorities are always to pay the rent, pay the staff, pay the bills, I invest in the business, and if there is anything left then I pay myself. I still save up for the things that I want.

I am known for my use of colour.  Clients now seek me out because they want me to push them out of their comfort zone. A client recently said to me “If we were left to do it ourselves, everything would be grey!” Mallorca has a vibrant colour palette of the blues of the sea and the sky, the greens of the countless pine trees, the creams and beiges of the beaches and rocks and the hot pinks, oranges, yellows, reds, and purples of the native wildflowers that grow here. There has been an accepted “look” in the luxury housing market of stone, black and cream, but I find it quite dull and soulless. I believe your home should inspire you and make you smile when you walk through the door, and for me an easy way to access that joy is through the use of gloriously rich colours. I’ve reached a stage in my business where I only take projects on if they want colour, and a little bit of craziness!

My tips for other business people:

  1. Invest in yourself. Seek to continue to learn at whatever stage of your life you are at.
  2. Don’t be afraid to take a risk. Without taking that step you won’t get anywhere.
  3. Identify who your ideal clients are, and then only work with them.
  4. Be prepared to work extremely hard when you are founding your business, but don’t accept that as the norm forever. Plan for the day when you can start to take some time off to enjoy your success.
  5. Aim to scale, and hire with your head and your heart.
  6. Implement systems in your business which you can use remotely to delegate whilst you are away.
  7. Hiring staff is a skill in itself, don’t rush it, ask the right questions and listen to the answers.

Creating homes to love and live in


Award-winning designer Justine Knox is firmly established within Mallorca’s home décor and construction scene. As the CEO of Knox Home store with 20 years of experience, the British designer is regularly called upon by foreign homeowners for help. She is a trusted point of contact for those with a second home on the island who wish to transform their property into the Mediterranean getaway of their dreams. 

The interior and beyond 

Although known primarily for her interior design work, over the years Justine has built a further catalogue of property services including: home staging, project management, consultations and property search. Her business covers all aspects of home design, from easy-to-fix handyman jobs to building a house entirely from scratch. She is at the forefront of every one of her projects with a dedicated, specialist team right by her side. Having built her own home in Mallorca (and others too), Justine is well aware of the processes involved and what paperwork is required. She is as practical as she is creative, meaning that the logistics of renovating a property come just as easily. The end result is a home built to an exceptional standard in its quality of construction, layout and interior. 

A stress-free home 

Property owners in Mallorca who feel uninspired as they walk into their home should book an appointment with Justine. Her Knox Home store in Son Bugadelles is where her pick of the best furniture and design brands are based, but when it comes to completing a full project, Justine is on hand wherever her clients need her. From seafront villas to city apartments and superyachts, Justine is ready to redesign and reform whatever is required. The back and forth exchanges with suppliers, finding a reliable builder and choosing colour schemes is all taken care of. All you have to do is arrive with your suitcases and turn the key of your brand new home – perfectly executed and ready to move into today. 


The award-winning interior designer shares what’s new at Knox Design

  1. Since our last meeting in 2020, what has changed at Knox Homestore? 

During the pandemic we continuously worked on improving our service and efficiency for our clients. I used the time to do various online courses and seminars that I wanted to do for some time. We are now a very productive and efficient team all working under one roof. We can be very thankful that at Knox Homestore we survived and thrived. 

  1. We hear you’ve earned a certificate in estate agency – congratulations! What does this mean for your clients? 

As an interior designer, I work very closely with my clients to understand their preferences and aspirations. They are not often physically on the island so I make decisions on their behalf. Gaining this certificate in estate agency means I can offer a highly personal and tailored property search service that takes care of every aspect of creating a holiday home in Mallorca including the post-purchase reform and design. The whole nine yards! 

  1. What do you wish more people knew before buying a property in Mallorca? 

Many people are naïve when it comes to purchasing property in Mallorca, unaware of the paperwork and red tape involved at all levels. This is where I can provide a lot of assistance, dealing with lawyers, notaries, town councils for permits, and selecting reputable trades people for the refurbishment. I speak Spanish fluently and understand what is involved. From finding the right property to reforming, furnishing and decorating it, I can guide the clients through the process and make it stress-free. 

  1. Tell us one thing about Justine Knox that very few people know. 

I am a very sociable person and spend my day surrounded by people, but perhaps most people don’t know that my best moments are spent soaking in my hot-tub in a corner of my garden with a good book and a glass of wine in hand. Bliss! 

  1. Any new projects on the horizon? 

I always have lots of ideas and projects in the pipeline. Right now, I am focused on developing the Knox Homestore, the Justine Knox Design services and getting started with the property search service. I have also been designing some bespoke furniture pieces for my clients recently and there are always other things that come my way which keeps my job fresh and exciting. 

  1. Can you impart any final words of wisdom for anyone new to Mallorca? 

This is a magnificent place to live, but do not be deceived: island living can be costly, and buying and renovating a house here is a complicated task. Choosing the right people to advise you in whatever project you might be considering is critical to a stress-free life. You need to find someone who is highly experienced, speaks the local language and that you can trust. I can promise this will make the process faster, easier, enjoyable and hugely exciting. | 


I put my heart and soul into my projects

For many home-owners deciding to renovate their property in Mallorca, stress and worry is paramount. Who do we trust? How do we guarantee reliability? These are the types of questions that circle between friends on the island, who after discussion, will eventually settle on the name, Justine Knox. Interior designer, home-staging consultant and CEO of Knox Design. Her over twenty years of renovation work on the island has gained her unwavering reputation, where most of her clientele come solely from word-of-mouth. “The most effective form of marketing” we remark, as we meet Justine at one of her latest renovation projects in Cas Catalá. A beautiful home for a German couple, who following suit, were referred to Justine through friends of theirs.

We’re taken on a tour of the new home, which before renovation, had so much orange pine that Justine says it was more like a “Swiss chalet”. Now, after three months of hard-work, Justine and her team have turned the place into a luxury villa fitted with solar panels, new decking and high-tech entrance. As Justine shows us around, her team busily work around her, painting, mowing the lawn and adding the final touches. “This couple are due to fly-in next week, so it’s all on course” she says, side-stepping to double check the position of the TV. News that the couple were happy to stay in Germany throughout the renovation and leave all of the work to Justine, is testament to her clients trust in her. “With experience, you get to know what your clients want” she says, outlining the flowery “wild-card” wallpaper behind her. “I put my heart and soul into my projects. There’s no stress for my clients, they come straight off the plane and into their dream home.”

Not only is it Justine’s warm-hearted nature that has gained her a vast client network, but her on-point organisation skills too. Without much thought, she reels off ten different projects on the go, all of which have their own Whatsapp groups, spreadsheets and product lists. “If in five years’ time I get a client that wants to replace a vase, I can have that product number within minutes” she says, pointing to her phone. We pause for a moment, while one of the builders pops his head in with a question. Justine is quick to give him direction. Her ability to go from us, to her phone to the builder is astonishing. “I am a multi-tasker” she says smiling, before calling herself a good problem-solver too. “In this line of work, the trick is to always have a solution.” The problems, she says, her clients never need to know about. It is after all, why they put their trust in Justine Knox and her team.