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Interior designers share the 11 things in your living room you should get rid of

Cheyenne Lentz   

Interior designers share the 11 things in your living room you should get rid of
A living room can easily look cluttered if you don't design or organize it right.AsiaVision/Getty Images
  • We asked three interior designers to share items and trends they hate to see in a living room.
  • The designers said that fake plants and frilly, heavy drapes are outdated and need to go.

A living room should be a relaxing place to hang out, but sometimes it can become cluttered and crowded. Fortunately, there are things you can get rid of to free up some space and make your room feel more inviting.

Here are some things you should avoid having in your living room, according to interior designers.

Clear out any clutter from the living room.

Clear out any clutter from the living room.
Find a designated space for your clutter instead.      Getty Images

If there's one room in the house that should be clutter-free, it's the living room, according to Julie Assenberg, a designer and owner of Julie Assenberg Interior Design.

That way, you have at least one place you can escape to and entertain unexpected guests, she said.

For example, try to find designated spaces for your shoes, coats, gloves, toys, and backpacks rather than dropping them in your living area.

Replace oversized furniture with smaller pieces.

Replace oversized furniture with smaller pieces.
A couch can be too big for a living room.      hikesterson/Getty Images

Big, bulky furniture is a thing of the past, according to Rachel Street, a designer and host of the show "Philly Revival" on the DIY Network.

In any home — especially smaller ones — heavy, stately furniture can make a space feel dated and crowded, she said.

Instead of that oversized plush sofa or heavy cherrywood table, opt for smaller, more proportional furniture with clean lines, Street said.

Do away with fake flowers and plants.

Do away with fake flowers and plants.
If you can't keep a real plant alive, you're perhaps better off not having greenery in your space.      Shutterstock

It's time to get rid of fake flowers and plants, Assenberg said.

"Plastic plants are tacky, and some might say that rather than bringing the energy of life into your home, they bring an intention to deceive," she told Business Insider.

If you can't handle real flowers and plants, either because you don't have a green thumb or your room doesn't get enough natural light, then just go without, Assenberg said.

Too many throw pillows can make your living room feel cluttered.

Too many throw pillows can make your living room feel cluttered.
Throw pillows can add a decorative element to your space, but having too many can cause your space to look crowded.      Shutterstock

"Decorative throw pillows can make a space look beautiful, but if there are too many, it's only going to bring the design of the room down and make the space feel cluttered," Street told BI.

She recommended opting for just a few pillows for comfort — try to choose ones with machine-washable covers so you can keep them looking great.

Consider swapping out mass-produced art for more original designs.

Consider swapping out mass-produced art for more original designs.
Original artwork is always great.      FollowTheFlow/Getty Images

Assenberg said that when possible you should swap out cheaper, mass-produced artwork for original pieces.

"If you can't afford original art in your entire home, at least invest in one good piece for your living room," Assenberg told BI. "Original art has character and soul."

Mass-produced photos and canvas prints should be moved to the basement, a kid's bedroom, or the bathroom, but not the living room, Assenberg said.

Beanbags can take up too much space.

Beanbags can take up too much space.
Beanbags may be cozy, but they may not be the best choice for a living room.      corners74/Shutterstock

Having a beanbag in your living room isn't wise, according to Amira Johnson, an interior designer at Emerald Doors.

They take up a lot of space, are difficult to fit around other furniture, and soon look tired, Johnson said. Plus, if you've ever owned one that's sprung a leak, you know how difficult it is to clean up the big mess of stuffing, she added.

Stick with structured, square-shaped furniture in living rooms, she told Insider, and leave the beanbags for a child's bedroom or a playroom.

Replace your massive DVD and CD collections with digital versions of your favorite content.

Replace your massive DVD and CD collections with digital versions of your favorite content.
Some collections are best left packed away.      Glow Images/Getty Images

Years ago, having a fully stocked CD tower was a source of pride for families, but now it could just be a seldom-used stack of clutter.

Street said now is a great time to upgrade your favorite pieces of content and go digital, especially since it could mean having less clutter in your home.

Convert CDs to digital versions and donate the physical copies — along with any outdated electronics, like old VHS tapes and DVDs — to reclaim your shelf space.

Stacks of magazines and catalogs are just causing clutter, no matter how stylishly they're stored.

Stacks of magazines and catalogs are just causing clutter, no matter how stylishly they
You may not actually ever read the magazines.      Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

"We are all guilty of throwing those catalogs and magazines on the coffee table just in case we get the time to flip through them. But the reality is the pile builds up and we never really get around to looking at them," Street told BI.

Toss all those old magazines in the recycling bin and reclaim that space, she said. By removing them, you will instantly take a weight off of your living room.

Frilly draped curtains are relics of the past.

Frilly draped curtains are relics of the past.
Heavy, layered curtains can weigh down your space.      Shutterstock

Frilly, thick curtains draped over giant rods are a thing of the past and could make a home look dated, Street said.

There's also the issue that oversized curtains block light from entering the room, and natural light is a game changer if you want your space to feel bigger and more modern, she added.

"If the rest of the room is kept simple, you can opt for a more dramatic curtain, but stick to neutral colors, patterns, and clean lines," Street told BI.

Limit knickknacks to a few of your favorites.

Limit knickknacks to a few of your favorites.
Display your favorite pieces and store the rest.      nicolamargaret/Getty Images

Although souvenirs and mementos are special, they can clutter your living room when you display them all, Johnson said.

The solution is to pick a few of your favorites and store the rest away, Johnson suggested. Then every few months, rotate those out for some of your other favorites.

In doing so, you can keep your collection looking fresh and uncluttered.

Not all vintage items are worth keeping, especially if they look worn or you don't like them that much.

Not all vintage items are worth keeping, especially if they look worn or you don
If a couch is starting to look super worn, you might want to replace it.      Shutterstock

Of course, there are some hand-me-downs and well-loved antiques worth keeping, Assenberg said. But if you don't like something or it is simply worn out, it's time to move on.

"Buy new, or recover those threadbare items as the budget allows, giving them a whole new life," she told BI.

This story was originally published on April 21, 2020, and most recently updated on April 19, 2024.

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