Home Too Bold? 6 Warning Signs You Need to Cut Back and Calm Down

updated Mar 11, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Marcia Prentice)

We frequently advocate for taking chances, being bold and adding in lots of color and excitement into your home! But as much as a bold, colorful and bright home can be invigorating, crossing that invisible line of a little too overboard can create a stressful, overwhelming, unwelcoming space. How do you know if you’ve crossed the line? Here are six warning signs to look out for (and how you can turn the car around if you see you’re designing down the overdoing-it path).

And, as always, a disclaimer: These are definitely warning signs that might be helpful if you’ve been feeling like your home is “off” and too much boldness could be the reason. But even though we’ve chosen to showcase some pretty wild rooms in the images of this post, we could easily make the argument that they’re still pretty fabulous despite everything going on. This isn’t a post to make you feel insecure or like you’ve got to tone it down if you love your wild and vibrant decor. This is a post for those who have been feeling like they need a little bit more peace and simplicity in their home. Embrace your boldness if it’s working for you!!

1. Every wall has an art collage on it
A vibrant wall collage is just the thing to add interest in a space, but too many and you’ve got a visual headache. Try something oversize on a wall instead. Do something sculptural. Or even more calming, opt for negative space.

2. If you’ve got over 20 patterns in your space
Playing with pattern — creating a fun, exciting mix of different textures and designs — is not just allowed in home, it’s encouraged! But don’t go too overboard. Too many patterns and you’ll create a dizzying array of surfaces for eyes to try and understand. Not to mention that the more patterns you have in a space, the harder it is to create cohesion between them.

Tripping is a real, serious hazard in your home Not because your kids’ toys are everywhere. Not because you’re just not doing a good job of putting your shoes away. No, because you’ve just got too much stuff! Too many floor pillow stacks. Too many ottomans and stools. Towers of near-tumbling books. Traffic flow isn’t a luxury of those with ample floor plans; it’s a necessity of every home.

You misplace everything Or more accurately, you can’t ever find things because there’s just too much stuff around that it absorbs what you’re looking for. Like trying to find Waldo, finding your keys every morning involves sending out search parties through your vignettes that cover every table top. Not only will a few empty horizontal services be a visual break for your eyes, they’ll make it easier for you to spot your keys a little faster.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)
You can’t easily reach corners to clean

A full, sophisticated space is a delight and makes the homeowner look like an interesting person worth hanging out with. But having so many design elements makes cleaning too complicated and is unhealthy. A stylish space that’s also hiding five-year-old dust colonies behind decorative elements? No thank you. You don’t have to live in a futuristic empty box, but consider some rearranging or decluttering if you’re making your cleaning tasks take twice as long to tackle.

Guests (or yourself) never seem to want to linger Not every room has to feel like a softly-colored open-air massage bungalow, but having too many stimuli in one space can be too stimulating in a negative way. If you notice that your guests can’t get comfortable or never seem to stick around for that long (or for that matter, you don’t even really like sticking around that long), that could be a sign you need to cut back on the amount of decorative elements in your space.

Have the completely opposite problem? Here are some posts that might help:
  • Be Bold! How to Successfully Step Outside Your Home’s Comfort Zone
  • Comfy Contrast: 10 Bold and Daring Black & White Duvets
  • 20 Bold & Beautiful Blue Wall Paint Colors
  • Big & Bold: 20 Oversize, Colorful, Patterned Pillows
  • Bold on a Budget: 10 DIY Details to Banish Boring Bathrooms