Psychologist reveals the surprising pattern you should never use to decorate your home

Expert identifies one pattern you should avoid using in your home because it's too stressful to look at

Busy patterned living room with patterned wallpaper to show pattern to avoid in your home
(Image credit: Future)

According to a leading psychologist, there is one popular pattern you should avoid using when furnishing your home because it subconsciously creates a stressful environment.

Decorating with pattern as a way of injecting a touch of personality into interiors has never been more popular, thanks to the maximalist decor trend, but it would seem that not all on-trend patterns are conducive to creating a stress-free home.

Style psychologist Dr Dion Terrelonge says you should avoid using spots or polka dots because they could be subconsciously stressing you out, which is the exact opposite effect of creating a comforting home environment that makes you feel entirely at ease. 

Dr Dion Terrelonge explains how decorating with certain patterns could be having a negative impact on your well-being. Despite being fashionable polka dots was the one pattern she highlighted as being surprisingly triggering when used to decorate our homes and therefore one to steer clear of.

“With patterns, avoid dots as they look like small holes," reveals Dr Dion Terrelonge. "Dots and spots can cause subliminal stress and aren’t the best for evoking feelings of calm."

compilation of two rooms showing spots and dots as a pattern to avoid in your home

(Image credit: Future)

So while polka dots might be one of the most popular spring/summer fashion trends year in and year out, experts suggest it might be best to leave the dotty look for the wardrobe rather than style your walls, floors and soft furnishings.

“Instead, opt for horizontal lines such as those we see in nature, like the horizon. The human eye naturally scans horizontally, so these patterns echo the natural scanning of the environment."

Dr Dion Terrelonge goes on to suggest: “Fractal patterns, which are often seen in nature and plant life, are also good for creating a relaxed and soothed feeling.”

Coastal style bedroom with blue horizontal stripe wallpaper

(Image credit: Future)

Maximalist bold wallpaper trends are filtering into every aspect of patterned wallpaper design, from geometric, stripes, chevrons and abstract florals. Yet small-scale polka dots and spots of any kind are not ones we're currently seeing an increased number of – could this perhaps be why?

What decor is good for creating a stress-free interior?

In contrast to the more-is-more approach to decorating the likes of the 'quiet luxury decor trend’ is far more alluring for this those who want a more understated aesthetic. As a result, there’s a new minimalist seasonal interior design trend emerging amongst lovers of fashion and interior design alike, coined ‘grounded living’ by interior insiders.

The team at House of Fraser, who teamed up with Dr Dion Terrelonge, describe how the trend embraces "a slower pace of living, combining mood-boosting colours with a stripped-back minimalist feel. Promoting self-care, mindfulness and a laid back approach to both fashion and interior decor."

Dion comments: “When I think of harmony, I think of peace, ease, attunement, equilibrium, and nature. In general, colours and patterns should flow, complement each other, and not jar or pop to pull our attention. We want to feel in harmony with, and able to let our minds wander."

The Japandi interior design trend is another ideal aesthetic to exude a sense of effortless calm and restfulness, thanks to the use of natural raw materials and muted colour palettes – be it Japndi living room or Japandi kitchens.

In addition to the patterns and colours used to decorate and dress your interiors another way to create a balanced environment is to declutter your home to ensure a greater sense of calm and tranquillity.

Tamara Kelly
Lifestyle Editor

Tamara is a highly experienced homes and interiors journalist, with a career spanning 22 years. Now the Lifestyle Editor of, she has spent the last 17 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, and it’s with these award-winning interiors teams that she gained a wealth of knowledge and honed her skills and passion for styling and writing about every aspect of lifestyle and interiors.

A true homes and interiors expert, Tamara has served as an ambassador for leading interior brands on multiple occasions, including appearing on Matalan’s The Show and presenting at top interior trend forecasting events such as the Autumn Fair and Spring Fair.