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.

Comments are closed.