Not to worry, I'm not above those concerns...I "let go, and let color" work magic on my bureau primarily because it was given to me - if it turned out horrid, at least it wasn't a major investment. If you're wanting to take a bold color step - scour some garage sales, Craigslist or resale shops for something inexpensive enough that you're willing to take a risk with. It might just turn out to be your most treasured piece! ;)
Another reason why I feel my redo was so successful is because the room where the chest resides is otherwise very neutral - stark white walls and lacquered wood floors, to be precise. I really believe if you're tinkering with the idea of using color
a) Start with a very blank canvas
b) Pick one item and go bold - a shot of tangerine, a bolt of lime, a flash of fushcia - the less timid the hue (used sparely) the more riveting the effect.
Here's some images that illustrate my point perfectly...
Keep in mind, if you're busting loose with a lot of color - be sure to bring in something black to "ground" the look, keeping it from looking like a circus. Here - the tub does just that.