Experts reveal the popular home decor trends that could be causing your headaches

Find out why your choice of decor could be making you ill

If you're struggling to work out why you can't seem to shake off those ferocious daily headaches, your home decor could be to blame.

Related: Home decor trends to follow in 2021 – the key looks updating interiors right now

Have you spent lockdown getting creative and producing unique, striking schemes in your home? You're not alone, as bold patterns, motifs, murals and paint effects have never been more popular. However, as much as we applaud and encourage this creativity, it seems there could be a drawback to being so brave with your decor choices.

According to a new study carried out by, research suggests that vivid patterns, such as monochrome stripes, may be the cause of many headaches and migraines. Surprised? So were we!

living room with blue wall and wooden flooring

(Image credit: Paola Roder Designs)

In the last year, Google searches for headaches and migraines have increased by nearly 50% – which, if this is true, could be attributed to the fact that so many of us have spent much more time at home and have been seeing our (busy) interiors 24/7.

Keen to get to the bottom of it, a group of researchers from the American Headache Society discovered that certain patterns could make those looking at them feel physically ill. They asked a range of people to view a selection of pictures containing stripes and conflicting colours (shown below), and then asked how each one made them feel.

The images with the strongest contrasting colours were found to have the biggest effect on participants, and even those with simple stripe patterns caused headaches.


black and white circle with colorful circle and white background

(Image credit:

So, why is this? Well, it seems the brain can become overstimulated with extreme patterns that don’t exist in the natural world, and as our minds struggle to process the images of unnatural tones and busy designs together, a headache can occur.

We don't know if this is true of everyone, but if you do suffer from headaches and you have lots of bold patterns in your home, it could be worth looking at ways you can tone them down.

Ways to soften your decor

wallpaper on wall with armchair and potted plant

(Image credit: Interior Curve)

If you love pattern and colour, introduce slightly wavy lines to make it easier on your brain. Or, try breaking up the pattern with a frame or two.

Try and steer away from extreme contrasting lines of block colour and change the size of stripes, and the distance between each, to make the decor more ‘natural’. Lastly, avoid stark colour clashes like black and white, blue and black, or red and blue.

Related: These need-to-know paint trends will totally transform your space for Spring/Summer 2021

We'd love to know if you've found your decor has been causing you headaches – and whether you've found a way to combat that.

Laurie Davidson

Laurie Davidson is a professional stylist, writer and content creator, who lives and breathes interiors. Having worked for some of the UK’s leading interior magazines, styled homes up and down the country and produced sets for TV shows, adverts and top brands, it’s safe to say Laurie has had a pretty exciting career. Find her on Instagram at @lifeofaninteriorstylist or over at