How Much Decor is “Too Much”

Its time to demystify one of the confusing parts of designing a room. How much décor is too much? A friend of mine texted me this question a couple of weeks ago, and it unfortunately took me this long to figure out how to answer it! It’s a hard one!

But dear friends, I have the perfect answer – It’s totally about style, and your preferences. My answer does sound like a cop out, but stay tuned I am going to get into it more. Kinda like Goldie Locks and the three bears, people typically fall into 3 categories in life (and design)- Less is more, More is More, and Right in the Middle or Just Right.

There is a method of finding out what your most comfortable with. I suggest collecting photos of rooms that appeal to you. Take note of how much negative space the room has.  What’s negative space you ask? It’s the space around or between objects. And how you feel about negative space is a factor in determining if you prefer a lot or a little décor.


The More is More’s – Less Negative Space.

no negitive space

no negitive space2In the photos you can see that there is very little unused – or negative space in the rooms. If you see rooms like this as well collected, and well styled, this may be your sandbox to play in. The characteristics of someone who likes very little negative space include;

  • Loving AND displaying collections
  • Loving flea markets to collect a lot of treasures
  • Owning a lot of what others call – “Tchotchkes”
  • Love layering patters and textures
  • Believes more is more
  • Often feels like form is more important than function when selecting furnishings and objects

The Less Is More – More Negative Space

negitive space negitive space2

If these rooms appear as calming, or soothing to you, you may like a lot of negative space. Again – that means that you have very little on your walls and “empty” areas in your rooms. The characteristics of someone who likes a lot negative space include;

  • Loves flea markets because they are searching for that one statement piece
  • Loves rooms were there are lots of solids – very little layering
  • Believes Less is More
  • May have only 1 statement piece on which the room is built
  • Prefers function of furniture over form.

Then we have the folks who are right in the middle –

Middle Middle2

This is where a lot of people feel comfortable. The right in the middles are often the hardest to curate rooms for, and includes the majority of the population. This style type also takes more restraint than the previous two.

That is where the question comes in. Where do we draw the line with too much with this style? Again, you have to pay very close attention to your inspirational photos. Find photos that you love of wall arrangements, sofas styled well with the right amount of pillows/throws, and how tables are arranged. Try to replicate those images, only replacing the décor with objects that you love.

The key is to all these styles is to create balance in your rooms, and to only use what you love.

Many Blessings!

My top 10 striped rooms. By Tiffany Brooks Chicago Interior Designer * Interior Stylist

Need a little ‘Tiffany’ in your life –

Click here to set up a complimentary phone call about having me design your home!

9 replies

  1. LOVE THIS! Now we need a post on how to manage when the wife has no concept of negative space and the husband thinks the more negative space the better lol! Thanks for this, it was very insightful.


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