Joni recently posted about cluttered or clean, and while I have that issue as well, I have a bigger problem with what I will call tonal rooms and rooms that are wonderlands of color.
My tear sheets are almost equally divided. Half are serene and elegant rooms with variations of the same tone and contrast only in texture. Sophisticated and soothing, they are a nice antidote to my big and bossy nature. "Come in, " they suggest, "Relax. We've been waiting just for you."
The other half are rooms likes these featured in the current Western Interiors, by Lynn von Kersting, that make me literally bounce up and down in my chair. "Pick me!" my heart sings when I see this symphony of color and pattern. Happy and joyful these rooms guarantee a good time. You're still invited, and welcome, but the party is clearly in full swing.
It's rare that I see a von Kersting room and don't want to cover any available surface with red and white stripes.
It's hard to meld the two, though the designer did choose a neutral wall below. I think you have to make a choice. Or live forever in a mixed-up world of design schizophrenia. Like me. And me.