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En Vogue Vivid

12.10.23

Colour took centre stage on the catwalk this year and the trend is now infiltrating the interiors’ world in a big way – it’s time to embrace Dopamine Décor, says L-J Andrew

It’s farewell to the little black dress. These days, it’s all about shouty, mood-boosting colour, darling. From New York to Milan, Paris to London, the bold and bright palette is back in fashion and Dopamine Dressing is all the rage.

The runways have literally set the tone – this season, we’ve seen a raft of neon collections, from the purple hues of Ulla Johnson to PatBo and Naeem Khan’s pinks and the glorious sunshine yellow that is Jonathan Simkhai. Many designers have jumped on the head-to-toe block colour look, while others have simply injected hints of brightness to lift their collections for the season ahead.

As Amber Butchart, fashion historian and writer, explains: “Essentially, Dopamine Dressing is psychological grounding to the ‘look good, feel-good’ concept. When you wear something you associate with happiness, you embody that emotion and feel happy.”

It’s hardly surprising therefore, that the world of interiors is now running with the trend. To boil it down - Picture your childhood bedroom: it might have consisted of colourful walls, an obnoxious, bright bedspread, an abundant stuffed animal collection and a poster of a teen heartthrob. Before you were thinking about aesthetics or figured out your sense of style, you probably just decorated with pieces that made you happy. That is the essence of Dopamine Décor.

“It’s the most joyful interior trend of recent years,” says interior designer, Becky Harrison. “Forget pristine and intentional curation – this is all about items that spark joy, colour pairings that invigorate you and basically anything that puts a smile upon your face. Throw out the rule book and start embracing true self-expression.”

Artisan lighting and homeware designer, Tom Raffield, adds: “With the rise of Dopamine Décor, we’re overjoyed to see a style that advocates the curating of a sanctuary that truly reflects who you are.”

Colour plays a huge part and is known to have the power to affect our moods, behaviour and even cognitive processes. By using a palette that evokes positive emotions, you can create a space that encourages productivity, creativity and relaxation.

Pantone didn’t pull its punches with this year’s colour of the year - Viva Magenta - which couldn’t fit more perfectly into the idea of using colour to bring joy and increase dopamine levels. Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of Pantone Colour Institute comments: “Viva Magenta is powerful and empowering. It’s a new animated red that revels in pure joy, encouraging experimentation and self-expression without restraint, an electrifying and boundary-less shade that’s manifesting as a stand-out statement.”

However, if you’re not seeing eye to eye with Pantone, there’s no need to worry. This trend isn’t about being in, it’s about personal preference. As psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo highlights: “It’s not about the colour per se, but rather what you associate with that colour.”

Studies have shown that being surrounded by hues that we prefer, is the key to evoking feelings of calmness and happiness, as well as helping with communication and problem-solving.

The biggest beauty in introducing colour to a room, is that it can be done in such a variety of ways. You can start off small – introduce a print here and furniture there or use it to make a bigger statement - furnish the entire room in pink plastic furniture, paint all four walls in your favourite colour or curate a stand-out feature wall fully committing to vivid hues, such as zesty yellows, punchy pinks and brilliant blues.

Texture can play a big part too. Velvet fabrics can offer a moment of joy in their silky softness, while washable fleece weave fabric feels as soft as a childhood teddy bear or snuggly blanket.

But colour isn’t the only way to flood our homes with the happy hormone - natural light is a powerful tool for mental wellness. Exposure to sunlight boosts mood, regulates sleep and even improves vitamin D absorption, which is at the heart of Dopamine Décor. Kati Curtis, of Kati Curtis Design, suggests: “Consider installing large windows, skylights or light-filtering curtains that allow for optimal sunlight. As a bonus, natural light also helps showcase the beauty of other décor elements.”

Although natural light has its benefits, it’s not always around, but the good news is artificial lights also have their part to play. “Incorporate various light sources to create layers of ambience,” suggests Tom Raffield. “Pendant lights suspended over a dining table will cast a warm, intimate glow during gatherings, while floor lamps in cosy corners invite us in for an evening with our favourite book. This balancing act of light will create a home that not only feeds the soul with a welcoming personality but is functional too.”

Another top tip, go green. Plants have been proven to reduce stress, boost productivity and improve air quality. Additionally, caring for a living thing can give a sense of responsibility and achievement, both of which trigger the release of dopamine. For the easiest life, some easy-to-maintain house plants include snake plants, peace lilies and ZZ plants.

The final element is the smaller touches. Art Consultant, Chloe Montez, explains: “Smiley motifs, eccentric shapes and eye-catching prints are all key; go all out or choose just a few pieces that spark joy to inject some extra happiness into your home.” Positive quotes can also be used to curate a mood-boosting space, whether that’s the modern classic ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ or ‘Drink Wine, Feel Fine’, these little motos act as a top-up boost every time you read them.

It’s time to throw out the style guides and embrace your personal vision of a Happy Home.

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