If something is ornate — whether it's a ball gown, a set of dishes, or a poem — it seems to be covered in ornaments. It's lavish, flowery, or heavily adorned.
Look at the first four letters of ornate, and you'll spot the beginning of its close relative ornament. Ornate most often describes how something looks, but it doesn't have to be visual. The prose in Victorian love letters was more ornate than the email messages people send today. The ornate gilded mirrors and enormous chandeliers in the palace at Versailles were the height of fashion in Marie Antoinette's time, but home decor is simpler today. Now, it seems too ornate.