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violetwest

Your "visual clutter" scale

violetwest
7 years ago

I'm curious to know how people would rate themselves with regard to tolerance for "visual clutter."

By visual clutter, I don't just mean the stuff of life lying around -- magazines, toys, dishes, etc. waiting to be put away -- but the decor "stuff" -- beloved objects, decor items, busy patterns, lots of furniture.

For instance, I lean toward bohemian style decorating, but sometimes too much is too much! Alternatively, I like modern architecture, but having absolutely nothing to look out or lying around seems unnatural to me.

Scale:
1 = all white minimalism
10 = full on boho eclectic every surface covered

I'm about . . . a 6 or 7. What about you?

Comments (96)

  • sjhockeyfan325
    7 years ago

    A number of these pictures would be "off the scale" for me - 12 on a scale of 1-10. They raise my blood pressure just looking at the pictures LOL.

  • Gooster
    7 years ago

    Annie -- yes, much better examples of a 1 -- when you have a living space like the one I selected, you end up getting windows interfering with the nothingness. I wonder if someone paid a good design fee to have a white towel hung like in Pic #2.

    I find it hard to settle on what is a five. I'm thinking I want to be a five, but Ive been floating around 7--> 6. I could not live with 1. It would make me OCD.

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  • nini804
    7 years ago

    Oh, I am definitely about a 3...I get really claustrophobic and "itchy" if there is too much stuff. My eyes need some blank spaces to breathe. Plus...I really believe that having less makes the items you do have shine more. I have always preferred traditional decor, which typically isn't minimal, but as my taste has evolved and I have become (perhaps more sophisticated? Definitely more educated...) I have become ruthless about not having items in my home that arent "special" in someway. If the art I want for a certain spot isn't in my budget at that point, I'd prefer a blank wall to buying something at Home Goods just to fill it.

    So while this gives our home which we had built 2 years ago a somewhat "in process" look...I really love it. In fact, as I find pieces to add, I get a little nervous when installed as it immediately looks "cluttered" to me! I call in my ID for a little pep talk, and she puts my mind at ease, lol!

    Oh, and Phobe Howard's style is my inspiration. Her rooms never look over-decorated to me.

  • Elraes Miller
    7 years ago

    I must be a 4 compared to what the pics are. Visual can be very personal trying to pick a number. Annie, those busy rooms are off the scale for me and the pantry gives me a headache.

    Mlweaving, your first 3 pic would be lower for me. Except for the filled coffee table which eludes my thinking compared to to room as a whole. I couldn't live in a room like it, too many walls, so maybe you are closer. The last pic would work for me except the mirror corner and corner right next to it in the next room. I'd make them go away comfort wise. Then the room would be work well personally.

    With this scale is the fact I always loved RLs layers of yore in plaids/mixed patterns and will always love his trailer. Pulling off this decor wouldn't happen at my end, it takes a unique decorator.

    I've recently been saddened by memories of so many things let go of due to family loss. But this scale consideration has given me appreciation for making most of those decisions. Collections crammed together would be a 10. I think there are still boxes stored which would be a 10 and why they haven't been gone through. Moving was never an issue for me in the past, opening up boxes was like finding forgotten treasures.

    It is interesting many are stating heading down on the scale. I'm over pillows (except my BD) and drapes for decor. And with so much stuff in rooms shown, how does someone find anything? Dusting less is part of the scale, but it used to be a time to revisit loved memories.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    7 years ago

    How much there is to dust would generally be a way of measuring the scale...except for the #10 room above which is actually reasonably sparse in terms of items, but completely OTT on patterns.

    I think this for me would be a 5...something on each surface but not too much...room for some pattern, texture and window treatments, but plenty of ease for the eye. Also a rhythm to the room so it feels cohesive.

    [Contemporary Living Room[(https://www.houzz.com/photos/contemporary-living-room-ideas-phbr1-bp~t_718~s_2103) by White Plains Interior Designers & Decorators Luminosus Designs LLC

    This would be a 6...the accessories are a bit strong due to their scale.

    [Transitional Living Room[(https://www.houzz.com/photos/transitional-living-room-ideas-phbr1-bp~t_718~s_2112) by Markham Interior Designers & Decorators Jennifer Brouwer (Jennifer Brouwer Design Inc)

  • callie25
    7 years ago

    Gooster and Annie, I think both posted good visuals for 1 vs 10. While I would hate living in the 1, a 10 would be too much for me. I'm more of a 4 or 5. I'm not sure why, but for me a potted plant on the floor or sitting on a table adds to the visual clutter as well as all those photos on the wall !

  • joaniepoanie
    7 years ago

    i'm probably a 3 or 4. I would prefer a few overscale things than lots of little knick-knacks. The only exception might be a wall of built in bookcases...but I would loathe dusting them!

    DH likes house plants but more than two becomes visual clutter to me. He'd put 10 little pots on an end table if I let him. Give me just one, large potted palm as opposed to table plants.

  • amck2
    7 years ago

    Something I haven't seen mentioned is what views are seen from a room. We had occasion to stay in a condo in the heart of Boston that probably would rate as a "2" on most people's scales. Way too minimalist for my taste generally, but it felt perfect in the midst of all the sights and activity visible from each large window.
    I also feel the same when I'm in a room that looks out to a vibrant garden area. In many instances the surroundings account for much of the visual and auditory elements in a room.

  • luckygal
    7 years ago

    I would have said my LR is an 8 until I saw these pics and now I'm rating it no higher than 5. While I think I have quite a lot of things I have little pattern in my LR so it's comparatively calm and no bookshelves filled with stuff like some of those rooms. My bedroom is a 6 as I have several patterns there and a lot of family photos but still fairly restful 'clutter-wise'.

    While Miles Redd, Charlotte Moss, Bunny Williams, and Ralph Lauren have all been inspirational to me I've never amassed the number of decorative accessories and art necessary to have my house look like that. Or at least unless I used every decorative accessory I own all at once which I couldn't do. The only way it could happen is if I somehow acquired full-time live in cleaning staff and that's not a lifestyle I would ever want. Even then I could never live with that amount of visual stimulation in every room in my house. Lovely to look at in pictures but perhaps not IRL.

  • sjhockeyfan325
    7 years ago

    I could be very happy in the first of Annie's two pictures posted at 7:37. In the second one, that yellow throws me for a loop - it's just not right!

  • madeyna
    7 years ago

    I am a 3 moving down the scale as I get older and less likey to want to move everything in the room to wash walls every year. I have noticed that I seem to need to be able to see threw the room to be happy with it . A room that is visually blocked reads cluttered to me no matter how minimal the rest of the decore is. My dh just did that too our living room by moving the couch across the room so when I walk into the house the first thing I see is a full view of the back of the couch. When I had two arm chairs with a open end table between them it didn,t feel closterphobick like it does now.

  • patty_cakes
    7 years ago

    If the room w/yellow pillows is a 6, I would say it's pretty much where I'm at, minus the small table tchotchkes. I would opt for a rug w/a bit of pattern, since that's the only pattern in the majority of my rooms, the area rug. A couple of pattern pillows would also be ok, but not in bright colors, and a dark, rather than light background, but I don't think that's the direction the decorator is taking.

    I can identify w/Williams and Moss, and even Charles Faudree, although he uses way too many small tchotchkes.

  • Bumblebeez SC Zone 7
    7 years ago

    The architecture, the main focus of this room, provides most of the "visual clutter" yet, removing about half of the junk on the flat surfaces would drop it from a 9 to a comfortable 8 and I could easily live with it.

  • sjhockeyfan325
    7 years ago

    There is just so much I could not live with in that room, starting with the ruffled skirt on the couch (I don't like ruffles on anything or anyone that's more than a year old :-)). I'd have to remove almost everything on those end tables, and move the chair away from the couch by several feet to make it liveable. It makes me claustrophobic, and that's hard to do in a room with those gorgeous soaring ceilings!

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    7 years ago

    Interesting that, when I think of cluttered, I tend to think of a particular style such as shabby chic or victorian....but there can be cluttered contemporary rooms...

    and sparse traditionals rooms...
    {{!gwi}}

  • peegee
    7 years ago

    O my my my....I hope this link works. Do not be fooled by the exterior shots. I would rate every room 10+ + + + + + +

    http://search.har.com/engine/4302-Colony-West-Dr-Richmond-TX-77406_HAR20308496.htm

  • violetwest
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    eek. Very nice house, but yeah, mucho overkill, although some of it is Christmas decor. Even the exterior -- I don't like all those busy different roof lines.

  • lavender_lass
    7 years ago

    I'm going to say 6.5, with nice accessories. Piles of stuff and everything mis-matched....about a 3.

  • jill302
    7 years ago

    Overall I would say I am a 6, I have descended from an 8 or so. My kitchen I like at probably a 4 - less is more in the kitchen. However, I love the Eclectic Home Office above, I could see myself enjoying a room like that full of my collections, but it would have to be limited to one room.

  • violetwest
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    had to go back and look for the "eclectic home office" -- about half that stuff would be fine for me. I don't like bare walls, but all that stuff is too much.

    books -- always visual clutter, but comforting

    that's not a pantry--that's a collection.

    guys, you can't have "off the scale" rooms, lol! By definition, those would be 10. (so sayeth me)

  • sjhockeyfan325
    7 years ago

    Peegee, I want to run screaming in the other direction from that house you just posted a link to! I'm sure it would be a very nice house once it's emptied out.

  • patricianat
    7 years ago

    How could anyone ever dust all that clutter in the house peegee posted for sale? It looks where we asthmatics will be sent to draw our final breaths. Heaven help me. I have bronchitic asthma today and just looking at it makes me wheeze.

  • violetwest
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    they probably just hire someone to clean and don't care that more crap = more dust

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    7 years ago

    Talk about a place in need of staging! Why do I think that the Xmas stuff is up all year round?

  • jill302
    7 years ago

    Oh that house is a 10, gives me a very unsettled feeling. Way too much stuff

    Probably not at all the same as the house listed, but my mom leaves her Christmas tree up all year. She says it is because she likes the tree a lot, but I really think it has to do with her late husband who was a big Christmas tree fan, he helped decorate the tree when it was put up last. It has been up for over 10 years, despite family offering to help her with taking it down and putting it back up again. Thankfully the rest of her house is about a 7.

  • jellytoast
    7 years ago

    Roarah ... are your window seats custom made? I love them! How about a closer pic?

    (Sorry, off topic! Just stumbled into this fun thread!)

  • lakeaffect
    7 years ago

    Well, if the house o' mannequins is a 10, I guess my house is only a 7 or so. However, I am not done yet, and if I find something new I like to put up on the wall, I do, and make room for it. Also, I never, ever think about how hard something is to clean before I buy or acquire it, I guess because I hate to clean so don't allow cleaning thoughts into my head.

    Here is my LR, the most layered room in the house, although the EIK is now a close second....

    Great discussion, and I really appreciate the sharing of pics, I'd love to see more pics of people's homes and what you think your "score" is.

    sandyponder

  • deegw
    7 years ago

    What is the deal with mannequins? In our last neighborhood a house at the entrance had a mannequin "dinner party" prominently displayed and lit in their dining room. In our new town, at a nice house near the beach, there is a mannequin wearing a fishing hat sitting right in front of a giant picture window.

    What the heck?

  • Bumblebeez SC Zone 7
    7 years ago

    That house is gross- and yet so much potential-, and what is it with the dollies, mirrors and birds? on the stairway?

    One of my pet peeves, btw, ( aside from dollies attached to picture frames ) is the unbalance that comes from too much stuff on the floor and not enough stuff "up".
    A room should be balanced and cohesive from top to bottom.

  • decor64
    7 years ago

    Over the years I've really pared down. Perhaps too far because now I'm at about a 4 but I want to be a 6. Looking at these pics, that seems the most comfortable to me.

  • ineffablespace
    7 years ago

    9 for things I like
    0-1 for random clutter or things out of place.

  • littlebug5
    7 years ago

    I guess I'm a 2. And constantly battling with DH who simply cannot STAND to see a bare surface. He's always putting something on it - a newspaper, glasses, fingernail clippers, his hat, etc.

    Now that I think about it, of all the textiles in my home (drapes, curtains, upholstered furniture, rugs, pillows, comforters, sheets, towels, etc.), I have 2 chairs that have a very tiny print, 1 shower curtain with a muted plaid, and 1 area rug with a traditional pattern. EVERYTHING ELSE is one solid color. Gee. I guess I really am a 2.

    Now mentally I'm going through my closet . . . . . .

  • Arletta Sloan
    6 years ago

    I'm guessing about a 5. I'm not anywhere near there, yet, though. Sometimes, it depends on what it is. I am not a big fan of kitchen cabinets, and, in the kitchen, I'd prefer to have wall shelves, containers, baskets. But,I don't want a lot of dishes.

    I like to have shelves full of good books to read and re-read, but, I only want a few really special movies and some exercise C.D.'s. I'd prefer to have laptop and a set of speakers to having a television, DVD player and stereo.

    I like to have a comfortable place to sit in every room, but, if I thought it was safe, I'd rather have a futon to sleep on, which could then be rolled up and stuck in the closet for the day. However, I recently read that it's kind of dangerous, where I live, because, that makes it easier for baby scorpions to get you at night; plus, there's the problem wiht ants.

    I like throw pillows, lotsof them. I don't like a lot of furniture, though. I've gotten rid of a ton of clothes, dishes, and, knick-knacks. There are a few things that my son gave me that I'd definitely keep.

    Sometimes, I'd like to get rid of my ceiling fans, and, simply have a couple of smaller fans, of good quality, that I could carry from room to room and plug in, as needed.

  • Mary E
    4 years ago

    This is old, but instead of making a whole new thread I thought I would bump it up. I use to think mine was a 4 or 5. But I am thinking 7 now. I like patterns and color. But I also love clean lines. Then again, I love plants and will fill a room with as many as I can. Then there is also the fact I have pets and their stuff is everywhere. Oh and along with clean lines I like detailed vintage tables, ect. So, maybe a 7 or 8? I like a lot of styles and mix and match styles together. So I think that also adds to it. Thoughts?

    For our bedroom I am thinking about the same. A 7 or 8. It's a very small room, so every little thing adds a lot of visual clutter I think.

  • Bumblebeez SC Zone 7
    4 years ago

    I can't believe I was an 8. 3 or 4 at most now.

  • oldgardener_2009
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I'm a 2. I like a lot of open space with just some color for interest. I'd love to live as a 2, but DH is a 10-1/2, and he can't stand anything not covered up with clutter, so our house ends up more like a 4, except for his office which is off the charts.

  • aprilneverends
    4 years ago

    what an interesting thread

    I'm ascending lol. I don't know where to put myself. I'm tidy and hate clutter that I consider clutter. But love whatever I don't consider clutter

    I also need some empty space balancing out all the stuff I love. I love colors, patterns..I collect too, not very intentionally but it happens so.

    I think I'm somewhere from 7 to 9?

    I think there are great tens and poor ones, and vise versa..depends on how it's put together...

    I appreciate almost every style out there but my favorite designers are definitely on the higher end of continuum..minimum four..and up to ten..

    If I'm thinking about it some more my favorite vacations are jungles, tropics..saturated colors..they bring me more calm and serenity than desert, say, that eventually makes you very very quiet and wondering inside..and strangely calls you to jump off the cliff or something

    (I lived in a desert...so I know it first handed: it changes your soul. But it doesn't exactly bring serenity. It brings enlightenment..enlightenment can be serenity and can be not..)

    Audio, I have less tolerance to; never went to clubs really, discos etc..I find it too loud, hard to communicate with others

    I do love music and to dance sometimes, but I need to concentrate on it then. Can't for example listen to the music that I love and do something else(unless it's something really simple). Either this or that. While many people can easily study and listen to music simultaneously. And even find it helpful. Could never do that.

  • Rita / Bring Back Sophie 4 Real
    4 years ago

    I think I would be a 6 or 7. I like to be surrounded with things. Open space equals an opportunity to add art and objects. I like color, but not too much pattern. The whole pattern on top of pattern on top of pattern is a bit too much of a pendulum swing. Two patterns- three at most are sufficient for me. I prefer a much less cluttered kitchen and bath. I am big on everything out of sight in the kitchen- even though my kitchen is in it's own room.

  • jill302
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Loved looking back at this thread. New house since I last checked in here. Currently my rooms are all what I consider mid-range 4 to 6. But they are also all unfinished and my scoring does not take into consideration the outside views. We live on a ravine with several levels of decks and lots of trees visible from our main rooms, this alone likely ups the score a bit. Part of the change is at this point in my life I definitely consider the maintenance factor. The amount of time I am willing to spend dusting the knick-knacks has greatly reduced, so the knick knacks have as well. Although I would still love that eclectic office and would be willing to do extra dusting for that room.

  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I posted my comment on the incorrect thread, the one that showed layered rooms, so I'm copying it over here. It must be the heat.....

    Color is very important to me, as is lots of art on the walls, and of course there's the antique Chinese porcelain collection of well over a hundred pieces. However, I need the calming effect of negative space and fairly straight lined furniture and neutral walls except for the red dining room and the soft green entry room. Most of my rooms don't have much of the clutter of daily life and that helps, but my house would probably drive a 2 or 3 crazy. I've found that with higher-quality items and good art you can have more of it and it will look more interesting than cluttered (or so I tell myself). I believe that's the secret of high-end decorators who have very busy rooms. Everything in them is worth looking at, and spending $100,000 on a room is probably at the low end of their decorating budget.On the clutter scale, I suppose I'm an 8.

  • roarah
    4 years ago

    I am still a fan of visual stimulation in decor. Still a 7 or 8.

  • positively_patty
    4 years ago

    I believe I am 3-5. I'd post pictures, but my house is still far from what I am trying to get it to be so it doesn't really show what I am. Funny thing is with my bedroom if you looked in one direction you would think I was higher. In another direction lower. I like the mix of the two. What I see most of the time, from the vantage point of my bed, is on the lower end.

  • Hockeymom84
    4 years ago

    5

  • Louise McCarthy
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    This is such an interesting thread.

    my children condsider me an OCD person when it comes to housekeeping. I am the person who is very uncomfortable with dirty dishes overnight. Even if the last person didn't leave the party until the wee small hours of the morning. I seriously don't like clutter.

    I moved to this little townhome in Charleston last October. Just me and my little dog. I brought very little with me from California. A queen bed frame and mattress and the artwork I collected over the time of my marriage. I furnished completely from online sites. I don't buy anything that doesn't have a place. Very very little knick knacks. There are "vignettes" on a few surfaces. I only buy white flowers and distribute them around the house. I love pillows, lots of texture. And throws. I do patterns but not hugely busy ones. I try to bring something from one room to the next for continuity but this is a small home so that is pretty easy. I feel accomplished that there are so many empty drawers and cabinets here. I could never have done that when I was raising my children

    clutter I am a 2. Decorating, a 5/6.

  • l pinkmountain
    4 years ago

    Oh man AK, if you're a 7 I'm a ten!

  • Kitch4me
    4 years ago

    I don't like a lot of stuff, but I want it to feel finished. So, I guess maybe a 5?

    LR

    FR


  • patty_cakes42
    4 years ago

    I would never consider decorating itself "visual clutter" since decorating is what contributes to the beauty of a house with it's finishing touches. True it's visual, but IMO, clutter is needless *stuff* setting all over the place. Shoes by the front door, mail on countertops, junk setting around on countertops, in corners, on tables, even if it's stacked neatly, it's still clutter if it's in a place it doesn't belong, or serves,no purpose. While it's true a home can be *over* decorated it's probably because the homeowners prefer more than less in their decor, and it's part of their comfort level. The current trend toward minimalism isn't for everyone, including myself,

  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9
    4 years ago

    patty_cakes, that is a thoughtful, excellent post. How much decoration you personally prefer should always be honored, but clutter will ruin a 1 or a 10 level of decoration

  • patty_cakes42
    4 years ago

    I totally agree Ingrid! It's such a shame to walk into a beautiful well appointed home only to encounter a pile of clutter starting at the front door, usually shoes. Coat closets serve a purpose.