What is ‘dopamine decor,’ and why are so many Gen Zers embracing it in their homes?

Gone are the days of decorating one’s home for resale value or to keep up with the Joneses. Instead, Gen Z is all about embracing “dopamine decor.”

What is dopamine decor?

According to Katie Rose Morgan (@kate_rose_morgan), a U.K. home decor influencer who loves color, dopamine decor is all about outfitting a space with your personality.

“It’s decorating your home with pieces that make you happy and show your personality, and I’m not one to promote trends, but I do want to see more people doing this,” she explained in a TikTok.

Dopamine decor is in line with the changing home trends that HGTV explained are in store for the future. For instance, HGTV described the minimalist, gray color schemes and decor that have dominated interior design for the past decade as “drab, lifeless and draining.”

Instead, as HGTV explained, “carefree” designs that promote colors and “relaxation” for the people actually living in those spaces are taking over. HGTV even noted that the trends moving into 2024 can be summed up as “Minimalism Schminimalism.”

Like Morgan, other TikTokers have been fully embracing the rise of more-is-more in their dopamine decor — and when it comes to what qualifies as dopamine decor, anything goes. Essentially, if it makes you happy, it’s in. That includes everything from flooding your house with your favorite color, incorporating vintage pieces or piling on seasonal decor.

“Decorate for YOU,” said DIYer @thiscolourfulnest.

“My home is my happiest place,” explained thrifter Lauren May (@laurenmayble).

“I love houses that look like homes,” observed @rosewolf2000.

Why are so many people turning to dopamine decor?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ June 2023 report noted that 34% of Americans now do all or some of their work at home. So it may be that people are embracing dopamine decor as a way to make the spaces they live in — and since the pandemic, work in, relax in, work out in and eat in — more fun.

“Do what makes you happy in your home,” explained Jenn Todryk, HGTV’s No Demo Reno Designer, on her Instagram account (@theramblingredhead). “Your home should be a special space to you, a sense of safety and comfort and ultimately be decorated to bring you joy! You do YOU!”

To accurately capture the sentiment, accounts have been using home decor and DIYer Annika Hinds’ audio to accompany their dopamine decor:

“I never understood when I was a kid how adults had their own apartments and their own houses, and they didn’t make it super fun and colorful and have swinging chairs and hammocks and trampolines. And I’m an adult now, and I decided to make my childhood dream come true, which is why I live here. And I have all those fun things.”

“I love this! Honestly I started to decorate my house like a HGTV show at first but now I love to personalize,” admitted @siennart_.

“Who wants a sterile lot of nothing,” added @nerdyflowerchild.

Is dopamine decor expensive?

As dopamine decor floods the Internet, some commenters have expressed concerns about affording a unique and personal space.

“But it’s so expensiveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee,” wrote @niapizzeria on Avigal Adam’s (@avigailadam1) TikTok.

“Money is most of the reason and dismissing that is reductive,” added @rieldragon.

“It’s because we’re poor. Still using decor from my dorn, thx,” noted @prairied.

“Bc I’m not rich Barbara,” said @fizzy.colala.

Adams responded to some of the comments on her TikTok, writing: “1. I used to be poor and worked really hard to achieve this and 2. It’s not so much money as it is the vision. Amazing things happen on low budgets.”

Other commenters agreed with Adams, arguing that money alone can’t give someone a space that actually makes them happy, so the dopamine decor trend is bigger than just a bank account alone:

“I think her point is that even adults with the money to do things like this still don’t do fun stuff with their house,”@iknowaplace_ wrote.

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