Interior designers told Insider the best and worst things to add to your living room.
Coffee tables and throw pillows are versatile and can complete your space.
Love seats and beanbag chairs can take up too much room and feel dated.
Designing your living room can be a fun opportunity to show off your style, but creating an impressive space can be hit or miss.
Insider asked interior designers to share the pieces you should and shouldn’t include in your living room to win over guests.
So keep reading to find out the furniture to keep around, and which pieces you should toss.
Invest in a high-quality sofa
Mary Patton, interior designer and owner of Mary Patton Design, told Insider that it’s important to invest in a sofa that will last you a long time. Ideally, you’d allocate most of your living-room budget toward this piece.
She added that clean, modern lines, neutral textiles, and durable fabric can go a long way.
Bring your living room to life with greenery
Plants are another living-room essential, according to John Linden, lead designer at MirrorCoop.
“A living room isn’t a living room if you don’t have some lush, elegant plants living in it,” Linden told Insider. “It doesn’t matter how you want your living room to feel, there is the right plant for it.”
Megan Thompson, interior designer and owner of Spark Interiors, agreed that whether you add a large ficus by the couch or a few succulents on the windowsill, houseplants are a great addition to any living room.
A cozy rug adds style and elegance
Linden recommended adding comfort and softness to a room with an area rug, which can make your space feel larger and more elegant.
The designer added that you’d ideally want your rug to fit under all of your main furniture.
Lamps are functional and can act as works of art
As the sun sets along with your space’s natural glow, you’ll want to have some more tranquil lighting options aside from the main ceiling fixture.
Thompson told Insider that placing lamps around your living room can provide softer lighting that will change the atmosphere of your space.
Patton added that lamps can also be functional works of art and are a great way to add color and flair to your room.
Window coverings add warmth and privacy
Another way to soften your living room is by adding window coverings, according to Michelle Harrison-McAllister, interior designer and founder of Michelle Harrison Design.
In addition to adding warmth to a room, they also provide privacy and versatility.
Harrison-McAllister added that floor-to-ceiling installations elongate the room’s height, which is always a great style choice.
Complete your living room with a decorated coffee table
Functional and versatile, coffee tables are an important part of any living room and can be chosen based on the size and shape of your space, according to Linden.
“I like finding vintage, unique options that serve as great conversation pieces,” Patton also told Insider. “Since a coffee table generally doesn’t get a ton of wear and tear, you can go the direction of fashion versus function here.”
Patton added that books can be a nice complement to your table since they’re beautiful, colorful, and easy to swap out when you want to change things up.
Pillows and throw blankets can make your room feel more comfortable
Linden recommended getting some soft and colorful pillows or blankets to add an extra touch of comfort to your living room.
Patton added that throw pillows can be changed with every season, so they’re an easy and quick way to refresh your space.
On the other hand, faux flowers can make your home feel dated
Thompson told Insider that artificial plants peaked many years ago, so fake flowers can look outdated and make your living room feel less welcoming to visitors.
According to Patton, it’s best to forgo greenery altogether if you aren’t able to get real plants or flowers.
Beanbag chairs can be an eyesore
Although beanbag chairs are comfy and fun to lounge in, they aren’t exactly the go-to furniture piece they once were in the 1970s, according to Thompson.
“Beanbag chairs can tend to look like deflated and misshapen blobs that inevitably get used less and less over time,” Thompson told Insider.
In many homes, the piece is thought of as an eyesore that will siphon off a good amount of space, so it’s best to save that area for a better seating option.
Inspirational wall quotes are not the strongest art choice
Inspirational wall quotes may be popular and readily available, but these pieces of word art are not always the right decor choice for your living room.
Instead, Thompson recommended filling your space with more engaging and abstract pieces.
“A gorgeous piece of scenic photography will be much more inspirational and welcoming than a square block of wood panels that read the words ‘live, laugh, love,'” Thompson told Insider.
Leave your exercise equipment out of the living room
Harrison-McAllister recommended removing exercise equipment from your living room, as it’s meant to be a space for relaxing.
“We love that you’re into working out, but this does not belong in the living room,” the designer said. “All it will do is remind you of what you haven’t done today.”
Love seats are relics of the past
According to Harrison-McAllister, love seats are pieces of the past that don’t belong in modern-day living rooms.
“We do not need the matching love seat like our grandparents had,” Harrison-McAllister said. “We have evolved our taste.”
You can instead opt for sleek armchairs or a stylish sofa to add seating to your space.
Cheap art can downgrade an otherwise classy room
According to Harrison-McAllister, cheap art can instantly bring down your space’s aesthetic, so it’s important to make sure you opt for thoughtful pieces.
Linden added that you should avoid taping art to your walls and buy a frame instead.
Tribal prints should be avoided unless you share a cultural connection to the pieces
Cultural appropriation is the inappropriate adoption of aspects from a culture that isn’t your own, so Thompson recommended sidestepping the addition of trendy tribal prints in your living room unless you share a unique connection to those pieces.
“We would note that pieces which are genuine celebrations of a distinctive culture can be exceptions to this rule,” Thompson told Insider. “However, we would recommend that you try to steer clear of any mass-produced tribal decorations.”
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