This playful, feel-good interior trend is not for the faint-hearted, which is why we asked a colour expert on how to get it right in a grown-up, timeless way.
The reign of greige is coming to a halt with the bombastic and utterly happy dopamine decor that's slated to take over our lives in 2024. But how does one go from stealth wealth interiors to bold and bright mood-boosting spaces without falling into the Barbiecore trap? "Colour is a constant, something that is always around us and yet, not many people know how to work with colour confidently," says Lisbeth Larsen, the global colour manager at Jotun, the leading paints specialist. “The hues that surround us can have profound impact on our mood, But how often do you take the time to think about it?” And whilst going all out on this uplifting trend will never be in everyone's wheelhouse, a grown-up take can help more people embrace it.
Be Colour Conscious
In literature, colour is used as a tool for depicting emotion – namely pathetic fallacy – and while students may reach for the obvious red means angry examples, there is more to this than literary theory. The way we feel and the colours we choose are intrinsically linked. Light waves that hit the retina are converted into electrical impulses and sent to the hypothalamus – a part of the brain that controls our hormones and endocrine system – affecting how we feel. By becoming conscious of the colours around you, you can build a dopamine decor scheme that evokes positive emotions simply through colour. Not only can you use colour to impact mood, but the colours you are reaching for each day can also be used as an indicator of how you’re feeling.
Colour Me Personal
While the link between our mood and colour is a matter of fact, how each colour makes you feel is subjective. Your relationship with colours is controlled by you – but this will only happen once you start to understand the effect colours have on you. Take a deep dive into your wardrobe to understand which outfits make you feel your best and why. Look around you; which rooms and areas make you feel most calm. Start to build your own colour wheel – a great place to do this is Pinterest!
Paint YOUR Picture
Understanding your colour-emotion associations is not a simple task, particularly because, like our other senses, how we feel is commonly underpinned by our memories. This means that you cannot prescribe a certain emotion to a colour, as different shades of the same colour may resonate differently with you. For example, bright red is thought of as energetic or even dangerous, but a deep, sophisticated, historical red could evoke a sense of calm and security. Much of this depends on your memories – so while you may not understand why you feel the way you do about colours, there is a great opportunity to use colour to tap into the feelings attached to memories.
Colour in Spaces
We live in such a fast-paced environment that our stress-levels are ever-increasing. Thankfully, education in this space is developing and tips on how to slow down and combat stress are taking hold. While these are often linked to physical changes, start to consider your environment too – as working from home becomes the norm, think about how you can transform your working setup to make it stress-free. Nature is one of the most underutilised style guides and provides us with so many mood-boosting endorphins – consider bringing colours from outside in.
Colour your Life
Colour comes in many shades but also in many things… Everything has a colour, which means that when you think about colour you should look beyond your walls. Your clothes, accessories, décor all can bring colour to your life – even your car! Once you start to learn about how colours make you feel, the dopamine decor trend will feel more accessible. Small changes can make the difference – start with a rug and new lampshades and go from there.
There are No Rules
As colour trends come and go, it is important to remember that your own creative style is the only thing you need to listen to. While inspiration can always be sought after, it is your inner voice that will tell you what works and what doesn’t. “Be willing to be bold, a bit crazy and ultimately, fearless will come,” says Larsen.