If it's too much, definitely. Also I think the quality of the hardware is another factor. The color doesn't matter to me but if you feel and look at a good quality heavy duty chain and a cheap flimsy one, it can make or break a bag.
I don't think hardware in GENERAL cheapens the look of a bag. I think sometimes there are tacky ways to place hardware and sometimes making hardware too large or flashy can definitely make it look cheap.
For example (only in MY opinion) the giant hardware Balenciaga's look MUCH cheaper than the regular sized hardware bags. I just think it's way too large and it's amost a caricature of itself. Very odd.
Well I am not opposed to hardware but in my experience the bags I have with more hardware are heavier and more likely to scratch the leather (refering to chain handle). So I am less likely to select that bag to buy or use.