Items to never store in a living room, according to designers

10 Items that you shouldn't let clutter your living room, reducing its functionality and aesthetic appeal

Living room
(Image credit: Paint and Paper Library / Jake Arnold / Veere Grenney Associates)

As the haven of your family's comfort and relaxation, your living room should only be filled with items that add something, whether these are intentional decorations or items that have practical benefits. This means never storing certain items in your living room that will compromise your living room's atmosphere.

Your living room is a space that should be reserved for entertaining and relaxing, and be kept neat and safe for all to enjoy, which is why some of these items experts advise should have no permanent residency in your living room.

We've also recommended some of our favorite living room storage ideas to keep your space cohesive and decluttered.

Items to never store in a living room

Although your living room may be used for everything from reading, working, and playing with the kids to exercising, this doesn't mean that your living room should house the items used for these.

1. Too many personal items

living room with white walls and sectional sofa with glass coffee table and two occasional chairs

(Image credit: Tim Lenz)

'The items you choose to keep or avoid storing in your living room ultimately depend on your personal preferences and lifestyle,' says Suzanne Butler, Feng Shui & manifestation expert from Harmonising Energies Feng Shui. 'However, the living room is an area where everyone congregates, so it needs to be a space that will also allow all occupants their own place to relax.' For this reason, you should not allow your living room to become littered by personal items.

'Collectables such as clothes, plates, glasses or anything else you may have fallen into the habit of leaving in your living room can create anxiety and disruption in an otherwise relaxing environment,' continues Suzanne Butler. 'These things gather dust and can take up excessive space which could be utilized with something useful.'

Jacky Chou, Principal and Director at Archute adds, 'Your living room is not your bedroom or your bathroom, so you should not store your personal items such as clothes, toiletries, or makeup in there. These items can make your living room look messy and incohesive, and they can also expose your private life to your guests.

'I understand that some people like to keep their magazines and newspapers for future reference or nostalgia, but they should not be stored on your coffee table, couch, or floor. Not only do they collect dust and create fire hazards, but they also make your living room look outdated and cluttered. If you really want to keep them, store them in a basket, a cabinet, or a closet.'

Principal and Director at Archute
Jacky Chou
Principal and Director at Archute
Jacky Chou

Jacky Chou is the Principal and Director at Archute, an editorial magazine about architecture, home and garden. They have been referenced by The New York Times, Bustle, House & Home, Bloomberg, and Angi. Jacky also his own an online interior design company as well called Laurel & Wolf.

2. Children's toys

Toy storage ideas

(Image credit: Kate Guinness)

'While it's natural for children to play in the living room, an excess of toys can make the space feel chaotic,' advises Angela Rubin, cleaning expert and owner of Hellamaid. 'Implement storage solutions like stylish baskets or toy chests to keep toys organized and out of sight when not in use.'

As with most items we suggest never storing in a living room for aesthetic purposes, if you can find an attractive storage solution that keeps clutter at bay, then there's nothing stopping you from keeping these items in your living space. The same goes for if you need to organize toys in a living room.

Angela Rubin
Angela Rubin

Hellamaid is an award-winning cleaning company in Canada that's been featured on multiple global media brands.

3. Office supplies

Rustic, neutral living room with arch doorway, wooden shelves in alcove, wooden flooring, cozy seating

(Image credit: Jake Arnold)

'Avoid turning your living room into a home office storage space,' recommends Muffetta Krueger, cleaning expert and founder of Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants. 'Papers, office supplies, and electronics can quickly accumulate and create a disorganized look. Keep these items in a designated office area.'

Angela Rubin advises, 'While it's convenient to work from the living room occasionally, excessive office supplies and clutter can disrupt the room's ambiance. Designate a separate home office space or use discreet storage solutions.'

Suzanne Butler agrees, 'Anything else to do with the working day should not be in the living room. Because we work a lot more from home these days, it can be  unavoidable, however, it is incredibly important to be able to switch off and differentiate between work and recreation.'

Suzanne explains, 'Failing to do this can lead to burnout and broken sleep patterns. So be sure your living room is dedicated to fun and relaxation when the working day is through.'

Muffetta Krueger
Muffetta Krueger

Muffetta Krueger is a cleaning expert and founder of Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants with over 16 years of operational management experience in the service industry. Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants provides housekeepers, house cleaners and maids, and is based in New York.

4. Exercise equipment

Pink living room, white sofa, wooden cabinet

(Image credit: Paint and Paper Library )

One key aspect to consider when it comes to the living room is maintaining
a sense of openness and comfort, which is why we advise against storing exercise equipment in this area.

Nicholas Kaiko of Kaiko Design Interiors says, 'While it's essential to prioritize fitness, large gym equipment like treadmills, ellipticals, or weight benches can disrupt the aesthetic of a living room. They not only consume substantial space but can also become a visual distraction. The living room is often a space of relaxation and socializing. Introducing bulky gym equipment can detract from the ambiance you've curated.'

Muffetta Krueger advises, 'Instead, dedicate a separate area for your workout equipment, if possible.'

Nicholas Kaiko
Nicholas Kaiko

Nicholas Kaiko, founder of Kaiko Design Interiors, is a highly sought-after interior designer based in Sydney, Australia. With over a decade of experience in the interior design industry, Nic has honed his skills as an interior architect and decorator, working on luxury hotels and high-end residential projects both locally and internationally.

5. Shoes

living room with gray sectional sofa and alcove display shelves

(Image credit: Amy Bartlam)

Nick Valentino of Bellhop movers comments, 'It's always a good idea to avoid keeping your shoes in or near your living room. This can get tricky with some home layouts where the entryway is right next to the living room, but finding an out-of-the-way place to keep your shoes is going to make keeping your living room clean a much easier task. Make use of back doors, shoe cubbies, and other shoe storage strategies to keep dirty shoes out of your clean living room.'

Muffetta Krueger adds, 'Encourage family members and guests to remove their shoes before entering the living room. Shoes can track in dirt, mud, and germs from outside, which can quickly soil carpets and flooring.'

6. Pet supplies

living room with blue linen armchair and linen curtains and antique sofa upholstered in linen with blue rug

(Image credit: Michael Sinclair / Ali Brown )

'Storing pet food and supplies in the living room might be convenient, especially if your furry friends spend a lot of time there. However, bags of pet food, toys, and other related items can clutter the space and potentially introduce odors,' advises Nicholas Kaiko, 'It's preferable to have a dedicated storage area elsewhere to keep these necessities organized and out of sight.'

Preventing spills, stains, and pet food odors from becoming part of your living room is key to maintaining a nice-smelling living room.

7. Unused Furniture

Living room with beige walls and wood sideboard

(Image credit: Veere Grenney Associates)

We all know how important our living room layout is for function and flow, and while you can find ways to organize a living room with too much stuff, it will eventually begin to look cluttered. This why it's important to ensure you don't let excessive amounts of furniture remain in your living room.

Angela Rubin from Hellamaid says, 'Keeping furniture pieces that don't serve a functional or aesthetic purpose in the living room can make the space feel cramped. Consider repurposing or storing these items elsewhere.' Even if some items do suit your living room's aesthetic, you may have to make some sacrifices and decide which you can afford to lose from your living room in the name of creating a more cohesive space.

8. Electronics

Warm lit living room with large blue sofa

(Image credit: Brian Wetzel)

Nicholas Kaiko of Kaiko Design Interiors says, 'Today's homes often have an excess of tech gadgets, from routers to game consoles, chargers to spare cables. While some of these are essential for entertainment, allowing them to spread out unorganized can lead to visual clutter.' Electronics are one of the top things that will make your living room look cluttered.

'Electronics and cords should be organized and tucked away to reduce clutter and dust accumulation,' advises Hashi Mohamed, President of Ivy Cleans.

Electronics such as computers and tablets are better kept in designated workstations to preserve a good work-life balance and to reduce clutter in your living room. Since the living room receives a lot of traffic, storing them in the living room can also increase the risk of breakage to valuable electronics.

Interior designer, Nicholas Kaiko suggests, 'Consider integrated storage solutions or stylish cable organizing systems to keep these items organized and out of sight, ensuring the living room remains a stylish, tech-friendly space without the mess.'

Angela Rubin adds, 'Oversized TVs or audio equipment can also dominate a living room and detract from the overall design. Opt for appropriately sized electronics and consider wall-mounting to save floor space.'

9. Cleaning products

painted living room with striped feature wall in peach and orange shades, cream and white sofa and lounge chair, pink accessories

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

You should avoid keeping any cleaning products in your living room and find a
place in your home that has less traffic to store them. Not only are these not aesthetically pleasing items, but can also leave a chemical smell that is not relaxing.

Also, if there are any spillages of cleaning chemicals it's likely they will be spread about the house due to the high traffic through living rooms. This can be harmful, especially for children or pets.

10. Too many throw pillows

living room with gray sofa and black coffee table

(Image credit: Tim Lenz)

An excessive amount of throw pillows can make your living room look incohesive and cluttered. You can switch out your throw pillows out according to how seasonally appropriate they are, ensuring you maintain a cycle of different throw pillows throughout the year to keep the space interesting, however, be sure to never bury your living room upholstery with the entirety of your throw pillow collection. 

Lucy Searle, content director at Homes & Gardens adds, 'As comfortable and cozy as throw pillows are, and as much as they can add color, texture and pattern instantly to our living rooms, they do harbor dust and as a result sometimes dust mites too. As we know dust smells, so unless you are going to commit to laundering your throw pillows regularly, be aware that it might be better to keep them a manageable minimum.'

Lucy Searle
Lucy Searle

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens for over 30 years, starting within the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-1990s. In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for Realhomes.com, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she has also taken on the editorship of the magazine, which is the UK's oldest interiors magazine at 103 years old. Lucy is now the content director. Lucy is a serial renovator and also owns rental properties in the UK and Europe, so brings first-hand knowledge to the subjects she oversees.

FAQs

What items are fire hazards if stored in a living room?

Firewood can be a fire hazard and can increase the risk of a fire spreading in your home if it is stored in a living room, especially if you use candles or have a fireplace nearby.

Ralph Abundo Director of Canberra Bond Cleaning says, 'Firewood should be stored in a safe place outside of the house, such as a shed or garage. This will help to prevent a fire from spreading to the house.'

Firewood can also introduce pests and dirt into your living room if not properly stored.