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9 Mood-Boosting Interior Design Styles


a bedroom with a colourful dopamine decor colour scheme

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Thoughtful interior design is a powerful tool for fostering positive emotions.

 

Enhancing the functionality of our homes can assist us in navigating daily life with greater ease, while an optimised visual aesthetic can elevate the atmosphere. When done simultaneously, the result is an environment that’s conducive to better well-being.

 

In this article, we will explore 9 different design styles, all of which have your mood in mind.

 

The right interior design style looks hugely different for everyone. Whatever your needs look like, your home should support you in fulfilling them. Perhaps you feel overwhelmed by heaps of clutter or crave a tranquil space to help reduce stress after a long day.

 

Though some of these styles lift your mood through brightness, vibrant colours and satisfying textures, don’t assume you can only achieve mood-boosting décor by painting your walls yellow and filling every room with sunflowers.

 

A few of the interior design styles we’ll talk about focus on optimising convenience and functionality, while others are more avant-garde in the way that they stimulate your mood, touting the use of darker colours or bold design elements to create a specific atmosphere or emotion.

 

So, let us explore these nine mood-boosting interior design styles.


 

1: Hygge

Savouring Slow Living: Comfort, Cosiness, Candlelight 

a cosy living room with a brown leather couch, plants and artwork on the wall

Overview:

The Danish Norwegian word Hygge pronounced “hoo-ga” dates back to the 1800s, its closest literal translation being "to console" or "to comfort". 

 

Nowadays, it describes a relaxed, contented mood, or a lifestyle centred around cosiness, laughter, and quality time with loved ones.

 

It's also often used to refer to a popular interior design style, with a focus on cosiness, comfort, and simplicity.

 

Elements:

A true Hygge space includes lots of soft furnishings, and tactile textures, pivotal aspects of Hygge's interior design.

 

It's all about including snuggly elements and softening the harsh edges of your décor.

 

By enhancing the ambience using the Hygge guidelines, you can create a comfortable place to nurture your well-being and socialise with treasured friends. 

 

Tips:

To cultivate peace of mind and restfulness, use plenty of pillows and blankets on your couch and bed, soften hardwood floors with plush rugs, select furniture with curved edges and craft cosy spots in your home to fully unwind.

 

Adopt a simple and minimalistic approach to your aesthetic. Leave plenty of room for movement and reduce clutter, allowing for a more mindful and functional environment.

 

Want to learn more about Hygge? Read our article: 10 Rules of Hygge | Hygge-Fying Your Home and Lifestyle

 

2: Dopamine Décor

Joy in Every Corner: Quirky, Playful, Colourful

a living room with a blue velvet couch and the wall behind covered in framed artwork and posters

Overview: 

Dopamine decor is an interior design approach, commonly incorporating vibrant colour palettes and tactile textures to achieve an abundantly decorated home that brings joy, a.k.a. triggers a dopamine (the "happy" hormone) release in the brain. 

 

Studies show our environments have a significant effect on our psychological health.  which is why dopamine decor is widely used to help improve mood and provide opportunities for playful, creative interior design.

 

Elements: 

Having taken social media by storm, Dopamine Decor's focus is injecting fun and personality into the home. 

 

Aim to create an environment that's visually pleasing to you, one that gives you a little boost each time you admire it. 

 

Typically, you'll find enthusiasts of the trend adorning their spaces with:

 

  • Quirky, statement furniture.

  • Chunky, sometimes oversized, ornaments.

  • Varied coloured palettes that might include playful pastels and neon hues.

 

If you’re a fan of this level of eccentricity, then great! But don't be afraid to adjust the style to your level of quirkiness.

 

The wonderful thing about dopamine décor is that there aren't any limits or rules. So, if your design choices are centred around sparking happiness, you can't go wrong.

 

Tips: 

A fun exercise is to think back to your dream childhood bedroom – how would you have decorated it?

 

Did you want fun posters and artwork covering every inch of wall? What colours did you want it painted? Did you crave shelves filled with assorted ornaments, souvenirs, or memorabilia, each with a unique story?

 

Examine the style of your inner child (or teenager) to help inspire your dopamine décor design.

 

Consider wandering around thrift stores looking for distinctive items with plenty of character. Play with odd shapes and fun colours. Explore unconventional patterns and quirky art.

 

Comfort can also play a part in the perfect dopamine décor. Include plush cushions and rugs, and things that feel pleasing to the touch. These enhance how pleasing the space is to all the senses.

 

Want to learn more about Dopamine Decor? Read our article: 7 Ways to Boost Your Mood with Dopamine Decor

 

3: Wabi Sabi

Beauty in Imperfection: Blemished, Organic, Humble

a wabi sabi style living room with an upcycled wooden sofa and a wicker rug

Overview:

Traditionally, Wabi Sabi is a Japanese philosophy which usually refers to both aesthetics and lifestyle, its focus being beauty in imperfection. The Wabi Sabi ethos appreciates that which is authentic, simple, and naturally weathered and beautiful.

 

In interior design, Wabi Sabi embraces minimalism and rustic elegance, favouring natural materials and neutral colours. The goal is a humble, organic space which creates a calming atmosphere, helping to achieve a clearer mind.

 

Elements:

Wabi Sabi is more of an approach to aesthetics than a specific style.

 

A true Wabi Sabi space includes plenty of natural fabrics and materials to create a grounding and visually soothing atmosphere.

 

You’ll see enthusiasts including exposed stone, unfinished wooden surfaces, and hand-crafted décor elements.

 

There’s a strong focus on appreciating imperfections and seeing the artful beauty of aged or blemished items. This might include exposed knots in wooden countertops or handmade pottery featuring visible thumbprints and asymmetrical shapes.

 

Aim for a simplistic aesthetic. Adopt a less is more approach and avoid overwhelming any space with too much clutter.

 

Tips:

Avoid mass-made décor and opt for items that express authenticity or are one-of-a-kind, e.g. a handcrafted wall hanging or an upcycled dresser.

 

Bring the outdoors inside by including greenery and raw, natural elements. Houseplants, terrariums, water features and dried flowers are all great additions to enhance the rustic atmosphere.

 

Include rich materials in the form of linen, wicker or rattan and textured stone. Don’t be afraid to include things that are rough in texture or have visible imperfections.

 

When it comes to colour, stay neutral, opting for earthy tones in browns, beiges, and greys, perhaps utilising white and cream as base shades for walls.

 

Don’t be afraid to use splashes of colour but aim for rich, natural shades such as terracotta, mossy green and burnt umber to fit in with the simplistic and organic aesthetic.


Want to learn more about Wabi Sabi? Read our article: Japanese Wabi-Sabi: Beauty in Imperfection in Home Decor

 

 

4: Dark Academia

Embracing Melancholic Charm: Classic, Mysterious, Intellectual

a living room with a brown leather studded sofa, dark green embossed accent wall and old world style decor

Overview:

The Dark Academia interior design style may not immediately come to mind when we think of mood-boosting décor.

 

The style embraces academics, literature, and the arts, creating a classic yet mysterious aesthetic which uses rich colours and sophisticated décor.

 

The style oozes intellectual charisma, reminiscent of an elegant English university on a rainy day.

 

Dark Academia enthusiasts are drawn to its refined and darkly romantic aesthetic, finding pleasure in the studious ambience it creates.

 

Dark Academia interior design may seem melancholic, but it can be incredibly cosy and inviting, offering a sanctuary for introspection and creativity, which is why it made our top 9.

 

It's an unexpected yet captivating choice for those seeking to enhance the mood-boosting abilities of their space.

 

Elements:

Dark Academia spaces tend to have a library-inspired vibe, sometimes featuring regal or gothic elements which add richness to the design.

 

The use of plush sofas, towering bookshelves and soft candlelight creates a luxuriously cosy yet cultured atmosphere, perfect for curling up in an oversized armchair with a copy of Oliver Twist

 

Maximalism complements Dark Academia well, embracing layers of intricate details, ornate decor, and a diverse range of textures and patterns.

 

All these elements exude a chic and classy moodiness, reminiscent of a scholar's private library.

 

Tips:

A Dark Academia-inspired space embraces dark colours, such as deep reds, dusky blues, and forest greens, to create a sense of richness. Black is also a common choice, though it may be advisable to use it sparingly in rooms that lack natural light.

 

Consider adding accent walls or embossed wallpaper to intensify the depth of the space. Don't hesitate to infuse touches of Gothic-style decor for added intrigue, e.g. dark-wood panelling, brocade fabrics, or ornate candelabras.

 

Luxurious materials such as velvet and leather provide an air of refinement, while antique and vintage pieces such as ornate writing desks or studded sofas add a sense of old-world charm.

 

Enhance the ambience with decor associated with academic pursuits such as literature, e.g. classic typewriters, decorative globes, and vintage writing instruments such as quills and parchment.

 

5: Bohemian

Eclectic Earthiness: Vibrant, Artistic, Free-Spirited

a large open living room with low seating arrangements, cluttered shelves and bohemian style decor

Overview:

Bohemian-inspired décor, also referred to as boho, or boho-chic, is immensely popular across the globe, encompassing all things organic and handmade.

 

In terms of interior design, there is a big focus on nature and creating a grounding, free-spirit-style atmosphere at home.

 

It commonly features layered patterns and materials and blends earthy colours and materials into the décor to create warmth, grounding and vibrance.

 

Elements:

Bohemian décor generally includes many different global design styles, taking inspiration from countries known for their artistic traditions and vibrant aesthetics, such as Morocco, India, and Africa.

 

Bohemian spaces tend to feature handmade décor such as intricate wood carvings, one-of-a-kind pottery, and hand-woven baskets.

 

The goal is to create an eclectic environment where creativity flourishes, with a broad spectrum of colours, and a diverse array of natural materials.

 

Tips:

The colours typically used in Bohemian decor are unlimited. Earthy tones such as brown, muted greens, and rusty reds and oranges are frequently used as base shades. These are complemented by pops of jewel-inspired hues such as sunny yellow, turquoise, violet, and jade green. Additionally, metallics such as copper or gold can add a touch of luxury.

 

Incorporate natural materials like wood, leather, wicker, rattan, and cotton to create an earthy, laid-back atmosphere.

 

In living rooms, low seating arrangements add to the grounded feel of the space. Arrange an assortment of low sofas, pouffes and floor cushions with a large area rug and chunky coffee table to create a cosy, communal vibe.

 

Maximalism can also be used in boho interiors to evoke an energetic bazaar vibe. Layering many different décor pieces such as rich tapestries, embroidered fabrics, tribal prints, pottery, and artwork can help to achieve this.

 

 

6: Feng Shui

Flowing Energy: Balanced, Serene, Zen

a tidy bedroom with brown-green walls with a feng shui furniture arrangement, e.g. bed in commanding position

Overview:

Feng Shui is a traditional Chinese practice which focuses on optimising energy flow, known as chi, throughout a space. The aim is to harmonise individuals with their homes, promoting improved health.

 

The literal translation of the word “Feng” means wind, while “Shui” means water, both of which are constantly flowing and moving elements, representing the dynamic energy flow that fosters harmony in the environment.

 

The Feng Shui principles are based on the belief that furniture arrangement, colour choice and decorative elements can influence the energy in a home. When all these elements are in harmony, it’s believed that a space can help to enhance well-being.

 

Elements:

Like Wabi Sabi, Feng Shui is less of a style and more of an approach, so there’s a bigger focus on how things are organised than aesthetics.

 

When it comes to furniture arrangement, there is a common theme of not blocking or disrupting energy flow, e.g. not storing things under beds, leaving doors and the areas around them free from clutter, and removing broken items and unused clutter.

 

Other Feng Shui design techniques include keeping windows clean to allow for maximum natural light and leaving space around each side of a piece of furniture for easy movement, both for physical bodies and energy flow. 

 

Tips:

Focus on keeping your home free of unnecessary clutter, respecting the contents of your space by keeping it clean. This encourages a functional living space and a clear mind.  

 

Feng Shui also advises positioning furniture in a commanding position. This essentially means placing key pieces of furniture, such as a bed, sofa, or stove, in a position which is not directly opposite the entrance to the room. This supposedly creates a sense of security and control, while increasing energy flow.

 

Soothing colours such as gentle blues, earthy greens, serene whites, and mild yellows are often favoured for Feng Shui spaces to promote balanced and peaceful environments.

 

Include elements that not only decorate but also add ambience to the space, such as plants and flowers, water features, wind chimes and aromatherapy devices such as diffusers.

 

7: Minimalism

Serenity in Simplicity: Clean, Streamlined, Mindful

a clean and minimalist kitchen with White countertops and marble tiles

Overview:

The concept of minimalism has surged in popularity across many different areas such as spending habits, decluttering, and home organisation, extending to both lifestyle and interior design.

 

It’s thought that the more “stuff” we have in our homes, the more stressed and overwhelmed we can become.

 

In terms of interior design, minimalism essentially means reducing decorations, furniture, and belongings to the basics to foster mindfulness.

 

Minimalism enthusiasts aim to escape materialistic tendencies and the over-accumulation of unnecessary items, simplifying life and home for a clearer focus on what truly matters.

 

Elements:

Simplistic décor is said to be easier for our brains to process, which is why this type of design can help to create a soothing atmosphere.

 

Minimalism advocates for the less-is-more and quality-over-quantity attitudes, creating an appreciation for blank space, sleek and simple decor, and neutral colours.

 

Functionality is also a priority. There’s an aim to remove extra fluff and frivolous décor which doesn’t add practical value to a space. This nurtures mindfulness and encourages an appreciation for the essentials, fostering a sense of serenity and clarity in everyday living.

 

Tips: 

If you want to apply minimalism to your space, consider implementing a regular decluttering routine.

 

Items that are broken, unused or unloved should be thrown away or given to a better home.

 

In addition, be mindful about bringing home new clutter. Only buy items you know you have space for and assess whether it’s necessary. An effective way to determine this is the 24-hour rule. When you first feel the urge to buy something, wait at least 24 hours. If you still want it after that time, then consider making the purchase. Often, this waiting period is enough to lessen the appeal of an impulsive purchase.

 

Stick to neutral, cohesive colour palettes, opting for white, beige, black or brown, and adding colour sparingly and tastefully. Remember to keep things simple.

 

Consider adding multi-functional furniture pieces to optimise space. Ottomans with hidden storage, foldable tables, or modular shelving units can maintain the simplistic aesthetic while providing practical storage.

 

8: Mediterranean

Coastal Heaven: Sun-Soaked, Relaxed, Natural

a mediterranean themed living room with tiled flooring, white walls and sheer curtains

Overview:

Mediterranean interior design draws inspiration from coastal regions surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, creating a home with a tranquil, sun-soaked aesthetic.

 

This style embodies warmth, breeziness, simplicity, and a connection to nature, reflecting the laid-back lifestyle of coastal regions.

 

Elements:

Mediterranean interiors feature an abundance of natural light, with large windows and open spaces allowing sunlight to flood the rooms.

 

The goal is to create a sense of fresh openness, so you’ll often see open-plan living room kitchen areas with seamless transitions between the two spaces, allowing for easy socialising and a spacious feel.

 

Furniture with curved edges and comfortable fabrics can enhance the relaxed, vacation vibe.

 

Tips:

To bring a Mediterranean feel to your home, incorporate elements such as ornate rugs, bold yet tasteful patterns, handcrafted ceramics, and lush plants.

 

Keep colours simple, using neutral bases such as white and sandy shades. Add in pops of colour with throw pillows and boldly patterned ceramic tiles. Shades such as blue and green mimic the colours of the sea and sky.

 

Infuse your space with a breezy ambience by incorporating furniture crafted from light materials like bamboo or rattan.

 

Enhance the organic ambience with features like carved wooden coffee tables and handcrafted wall tapestries and opt for natural cotton or linen for curtains and fabric elements.

 

Mediterranean interiors often showcase carved stone built-in shelving, characterised by its imperfect and organically shaped compartments. If incorporating such shelving directly into your walls isn't practical, consider standalone shelves that offer a similar effect.

 

Above all, create a welcoming space where you can unwind and feel like you're on vacation every day.

 

9: Artisanal

Respecting the Unique: Handmade, Textured, Authentic

an artisanal dresser/chest of drawers with a lamp, plants and small decorations

Overview:

The word “artisan” means a worker in a skilled trade, often involving handmade goods.

 

Artisanal interior design is often comprised of handcrafted and artistically driven elements, celebrating the beauty of unique and one-of-a-kind items.

 

The style fosters rustic warmth and cosiness, but it is certainly not lacking in sophistication or elegance.

 

An emphasis on high-quality accents that showcase the craftsmanship of skilled artisans makes artisanal interior design style one of class and refinement.

 

Elements:

Artisanal spaces are specifically characterised by the presence of skilfully made items which showcase authentic craftsmanship, whether that be furniture, textiles, ceramics, or artwork.

 

Natural materials such as wood, stone, clay, and metal are often used to add warmth and texture to the space, while artisan décor tells a story, creating depth and interest.

 

Tips:

When decorating in an artisanal style, look for handmade items from local artisans or fair-trade organisations that prioritise ethical practices.

 

Embrace a colour palette inspired by nature like warm browns, muted greens, and earth tones.

 

Add richness with layered textures and materials, such as rough-hewn wood, smooth ceramics, and soft fabrics.

 

Include intricately carved wooden furniture, handwoven textiles with unique patterns and textures, hand-blown glassware, and pottery with organic shapes and finishes.


 

Our environments have a huge impact on our minds. Dreary spaces which don’t hold any intimacy, creativity or warmth tend to not really feel like a home, but rather four walls and a door.

 

We spend 90% of our time indoors, and for lots of us, most of that time is spent at home. Therefore, don’t underestimate the power home adaptations can have on your state of mind.

 

Even if you’re on a budget, consider ways that you can enhance your living space. Even just rearranging furniture and decluttering can make a world of difference.

 

Before jumping into any big changes to your interior design, consider how the style would look in your space. Perhaps draw some pictures and diagrams to assess how the style will suit the foundations of your home.

 

Consider combining different styles to achieve the desired effect. For instance, you could blend the elegant and mysterious elements of Dark Academia with the bold and vibrant aesthetic of maximalism and Dopamine Decor. Essentially, get creative and break some boundaries.

 

Whatever you choose, don’t settle for anything less than a space that helps you unwind from the stresses of daily life.

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