The whimsical decor trend is taking over – how to channel the playful, out-of-the-box style designers can't get enough of

Your home should make you happy, and whimsical decor is here to help. This is how to get the look down in any space

Three colorful rooms with whimsical-inspired decor
(Image credit: Alexandra Gater, photography Carla Antonio; Lust Home; Kevin Miyazaki / Isabel Ladd Interiors)

Successful interior design goes far beyond visual appeal – at the end of the day, it's all about how your home makes you feel. After years of pared-back, neutral, minimalist spaces dominating the trend cycles, homeowners and designers alike are turning to design styles that evoke joy and excitement.

From dopamine decor to eclectic interiors, we've seen a notable rise in bold, colorful styles this year – and they don't conform to the sometimes strict rules of interior design. Experimental, characterful, and mood-boosting homes are popular once more, and designers aren't holding back.

The latest trend of the bunch comes in the form of whimsical decor, a fun and playful approach to home design. It centers out-of-the-box design features and plenty of colorful pops, and interior designers say the style's built to last. To hear more about the look, and how to channel it in any home, we consulted the experts – here's what they had to say about whimsical decor, the newest interior design trend on the block.

What is whimsical decor?

living room with dark pink walls and mustard sofa with colorful patterned cushions

(Image credit: Alexandra Gater, photography Carla Antonio)

Whimsical decor is all about – you guessed it – whimsy and the fun-forward design approach applies to all of your home's features. Emma Beryl, interior designer and founder of her eponymous design firm in Brooklyn, says the trend gives you a free pass to try 'new ideas that you may have thought were design "no-nos" or were told might be a bit too much.'

'I love whimsical decor because it shows your personality and lets you create a playful space with large wall murals, florals, bold color combinations, and quirky pieces such as the popular toilet bowl brush that looked like a cherry,' says Emma, 'If you find a piece of whimsical decor that makes you smile and laugh then buy it and you’ll end up with a collection of things that have this effect, and in the end, you’ve created a whimsical decor filled space.'

If your home is feeling a bit void of personality, a touch of whimsy might be just what it needs. Caroline Woolmer, head of product design at Lucie Annabel, says embracing the trend all-in 'makes your space feel less serious and more inviting.' She suggests introducing pastel paint colors, 'eccentric accessories,' 'vintage treasures,' and patterned wallpaper to channel the whimsical decor style.

A 70s-inspired living room with bold wallpaper and a small wooden table

(Image credit: Lust Home)

'Whimsical decor is light-hearted, playful, charming, and doesn't take itself too seriously. Blending many aesthetics together, and adding elements of antique charm like vintage plates and flowery teapots, whimsical decor creates little moments to be playful in an interior space,' adds Cynthia Tran, principal and founder of San Francisco-based design firm Cynthia Lananh.

The whimsical decor look 'embraces boldness' too, a hallmark of many interior design trends that have spiked in popularity in 2024. Dayna Isom Johnson, an Etsy trend expert, says she's seen a jump in searches for playful, expressive design features as of late, from art depicting wildflowers to ruffled bedding.

'Characterized by organic shapes, botanicals, and natural themes, we’ve seen shoppers increasingly reinterpreting spring flowers and inviting nature’s beauty into their lives with delicately folded blossom-like bedding and ultra-feminine pastel linens, alongside botanical motifs in jewelry, art, and vintage tea sets,' says Dayna.

Why do designers love the whimsical look?

A pink living room with layered patterns and a bright yellow couch

(Image credit: Kevin Miyazaki / Isabel Ladd Interiors)

'With all that's heavy in the world, our homes should not only feel like a safe haven but bring us joy. I also think it's important not to take interiors too seriously. We all need a bit of whimsy in our worlds,' says Laura Jenkins, principal and founder of Laura W. Jenkins Interiors.

'Regardless of whether it's trending, I always look to include something whimsical, especially if a room is feeling too stuffy. Everyone has a sense of humor and whimsy, even if it is buried deep, and adding eccentric decor to your home can be a good reminder of that,' she continues.

Your home should make you feel happy, inspired, and ready for whatever life brings, and embracing the whimsical decor trend is an easy way to introduce a bit more levity. A comfortable, characterful retreat will boost your mood and reflect your personality to all who visit. Plus, Cynthia says the whimsical look will bring a warm and welcoming spin to any room of the house.

'Personally, I absolutely love the whimsical decor trend, as I find these light-hearted accents throughout a home really delightful and sweet. It evokes a warm and fuzzy feeling, and who doesn't love that?' she adds.

A colorful, wavy rug in a neutral room with a brown leather chair

(Image credit: Sonya Winner Rug Studio)

Sonya Winner, founder of Sonya Winner Rug Studio, says whimsical touches can come in any form – and they instantly make your home more approachable and inviting. She says bringing whimsical decor into your home is a personal process, but for her, it's a 'celebration of maximalist color and wavy, irregular shapes.'

'This trend is fun, daring and experimental, which is why I absolutely love it, and it can be easily incorporated into an interior with a vibrant rug to create a central focal point to a scheme,' says Sonya.

Whimsical decor brings any room of the home back to life, but Anne Marie Cousins – founder and principal of AMC Design – says the aesthetic is especially fitting for children's rooms and nurseries.

'Whimsical interiors aim to capture the magic of years gone by offering curiosity and a sense of playfulness,' says Anne Marie. 'While fairytale or woodland themes are popular in whimsical schemes it is important to ensure a room design works functionally while not becoming too predictable, so it has real staying power.'

How to bring whimsical decor home

Office space with Burl desk, colorful rug and accent table lamps

(Image credit: David Patterson for Nadia Watts interiors)

'From botanical wallpaper to floral cushions, there are plenty of ways to bring this trend into your home. I personally love the use of bold patterns and shapes that are highlighted by strong colors, or adding chunky furniture or a treasure trove of trinkets to pull it all together,' says Dayna.

The whimsical decor trend will look a little different for everyone, but there are a few key tenets designers say to keep in mind. Bold colors, eye-catching patterns, irregular shapes, and quirky accessories are all must-haves if you're looking to give your space a whimsy-inspired overhaul.

'To create a whimsical aesthetic in your home, opt for color over neutrals. Introduce sugary-sweet pastel shades, such as periwinkle, pink, and lavender, into your space – on walls or for home accessories – to inject playful color into the space. If you prefer patterns, opt for patterned wallpapers featuring mood-boosting motifs with unique or hidden elements,' says Caroline.

'When it comes to mastering whimsical style, more is more. Contrast pretty, patterned wallpapers with quirky elements, such as antique books, novel photo frames, or vintage light fixtures to achieve an eclectic and lived-in look. Introducing unexpected pattern and color combinations, filling shelves with personal trinkets, books, and unconventional items, and getting creative with your wall art will help achieve a playful style that’s both fantastical and inviting,' she continues.

A dining room with bright green floral wallpaper and a glass table

(Image credit: Lust Home)

Though it's easy to go over the top with whimsical decor, spaces inspired by the style don't have to be overwhelming. If all-out color isn't for you, introduce the whimsical look in bite-sized pieces, says Cynthia. She suggests introducing a bit more whimsy through small accents like throw pillows or glassware.

'Shapes like scalloped edges on a hand towel or twinkly star-shaped robe hooks are endearing ways to add little whimsical accents throughout your home,' she adds. Kathy Kuo, interior designer and founder of homeware brand Kathy Kuo Home, agrees, saying that 'touches of whimsy' allow you to 'infuse personality and lightness' into your home, no matter how far you choose to take the look.

'Whether you go all in on a whimsical aesthetic – floral wallpaper, whimsical shelfie vignettes, mixed prints – or opt for small doses like whimsical throw pillows and wall art, whimsy really is what you make of it. Often, whimsical design involves florals, pastel colors, and quirky and unexpected touches, but it could also involve bird motifs, greenery, and mixed textures,' says Kathy.

Whimsical, green and yellow botanical wallpaper, close up of fireplace and mantel, green mirror, green plant

(Image credit: John Lewis)

'Most times, I look to enchanting fabrics, unusual objects, or pieces of furniture and art to add a sense of whimsy to an interior. For example, when creating a new family room for a family of four, we were inspired by their art collection,' says Laura.

Pulling from the pops of personality already present in her clients' space, Laura introduced additional whimsical features like a one-of-a-kind 'flying bird sculpture' over the fireplace and a velvet, animal print fabric for an ottoman. By pairing these eclectic items with 'more traditional pieces,' she was able to create a cohesive, liveable space that still carried plenty of character.

'For me, this isn't a trend but rather an objective we try to achieve in each of our projects,' she says.

Whimsical decor is perfect for a space that needs a summer spruce – the playful, picturesque design style is all the rage for good reason. With eye-catching colors and intriguing details, the whimsical look is sure to last.

Abby Wilson
Interior Design News Editor

I am an Interior Design News Editor at Homes & Gardens. Most recently, I worked with Better Homes & Gardens, where I wrote and edited content about home decor, gardening tips, food news, and more. Before that, I studied Journalism and English Literature at New York University. I’ve moved around quite a bit in the last several years, most recently making the trip to London, and love transforming each new space into a comfortable retreat that feels like home. When it comes to decor, I’m most drawn to unique vintage finds and calming colors.