11 Things To Keep Out Of Your Living Room, According To Designers

These days, the living room truly does it all: It serves as a gathering spot for sipping cocktails with friends, is a place to relax and curl up with a novel, and, most importantly, is often the first room that guests see when stepping into your home. While living rooms are certainly multifunctional, by no means are they catchall spaces. Below, we spoke with nine Southern designers to find out what exactly they believe doesn’t have a place in the living room, no matter what.


Matching Furniture Sets

Resist the urge to scoop up all of your living room furniture in one shopping trip—matching furniture sets aren’t something you should strive for in your space, says Chanda Kea, the founder of Kea Interiors in McKinney, Texas. “It is a form of generic decorating and makes the space visually look like a furniture store,” she comments. Dawn Heuer,  the founder of The Heuer Design Collective in Atlanta, Georgia, agrees that matching furniture is a major “no.” She says, “Mixing furniture from various sources can indeed add character and uniqueness to a room, creating a lived-in and collected look. This approach often results in a space that feels more personal and less formulaic.” 

Children’s Toys

If you have young ones at home, make a point to store toys and games in a space that isn’t the living room, Kea adds. Try a playroom, closet, or their bedroom instead, she suggests. 

Pet Beds And Cages

Sure, you love to spend as many waking hours as possible with your pup, but that doesn’t mean you need to stare at his crate while hosting friends for appetizers. “[Pet beds and cages] are generally large and not aesthetically pleasing,” says Caroline Harvey, the founder of Simply CH Lifestyle & Interiors in Richmond, Virginia. “Try to carve out a spot in your laundry or utility room!

Recliner Style Seating 

According to Harvey, recliner-style sectionals have got to go. “Yes, they’re super comfortable, but frankly, they just aren’t attractive,” the designer comments. “They are also bulky and don’t complement any style decor well. In other words, they’re hard to hide!” In lieu of such a piece, go with a modern sectional or a pair of slip-covered couches instead, she advises. 

Make a point to avoid recliner-style armchairs in the living room, too. “If someone is sunk into a big, comfy armchair, it actually makes it harder for them to engage in a group setting,” explains Zoe Feldman, the founder and principal designer of Zoe Feldman Design in Washington, D.C. “I reserve those for the family room.” 

Rugs That Are Too Small

Be sure to not skimp on rug size when designing your living room, says Heuer, who notes that too-small rugs will majorly stand out and “can make the room feel disjointed and disproportionate.” The designer adds, “A properly sized rug helps define a cohesive area and can anchor the furniture and bring warmth to the space.” 

Expensive Rugs

On a similar note, splurge-worthy rugs aren’t necessarily the best choice for the living room. “This is the workhorse of the home, and things are going to get worn, so I always go with a wool or sisal,” comments Anne Hammett, the founder of Anne Pearson Design in Charlotte, North Carolina. She appreciates how sisal in particular provides texture yet doesn’t show any dirt and is often budget friendly.

Ceiling Fans

While ceiling fans are commonly spotted in bedrooms, they just don’t belong in the living room, Molly Basile explains. “Instead, we opt for a statement light fixture or even decorative sconces if the space allows,” shares the Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, founder of Molly Basile Interiors. 

Impersonal Artwork

Rather than taking a shortcut and filling your living room walls with the first pieces you spot while shopping, spend some time curating art that truly reflects you. “Your living room is typically the most frequented space in your home so it’s important to fill it with things that have meaning to your family,” explains McCall Dulkys, the founder of Interiors by McCall. Skip the mass-produced, generic art and opt for personal finds. “Your artwork should not only be cohesive with the design of your space, it should also invoke whatever feelings you aspire to have while spending time there,” the Palm Beach based designer adds. 

Bar Carts

Bar carts aren’t necessarily ideal for the living room, according to Rachel Little, the owner and principal designer of Browne House Interior Design in Austin, Texas. “Opt for something less functionally awkward and more substantial,” she encourages, noting that a small armoire, sideboard, or commode are excellent picks. 

Work Related Items

Even if you work from home most days of the week, your office supplies simply don’t belong in the living room, says Margie Kaercher, so stash that desk, computer, and filing cabinet elsewhere. “The living room should be a sanctuary where you rest, recharge and definitely escape from your work life,” says the lead designer of Hearth and Honey Homes in Tampa, Florida. “But if you must, at least conceal the cords!” 

Anything That Isn’t Serving You 

Last but not least, go ahead and part ways with any items that just aren’t serving you or your family, period. “If you’re having to move Grandma’s chinoiserie bowl 65 times a day because it’s the first thing your 1-year-old wants to grab (and throw), find it a new home,” says Maggie Dillon, the founder of Maggie Dillon Interiors in Raleigh, North Carolina. “Your spaces need to work for the stage of life you’re in, and beauty really does come from embracing that.” 

Even pieces that are ultimately functional but just not utilized on a daily basis should be tucked in another part of the home. “Old DVD collections, excessive catalogs, and photo albums—whatever is collecting dust may be better off stored away in a closet,” Kaercher notes.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *