The 5 Things In Your Home You Should Get Rid of Now, According to Designers

published May 11, 2024
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ELMHURST, IL, USA - MARCH 18, 2019: A large, old dining room with a wood table and a chandelier hanging above while looking towards other rooms.
Credit: Joseph Hendrickson/Shutterstock

Design styles are so subjective, and aesthetic tastes can run the gamut. But interior designers are, by definition, pro decorators. So they know a thing or two about what makes a house feel stylish and set up to function smoothly. They’re not going to be wild about every existing piece of apartment furniture or all of the decorative accents within a given house, though, when onboarded for a project. And when working with clients, certain items stand out to them more than others as things to toss — think the things that are no longer serving a home or its inhabitants best. 

With this in mind, I surveyed a handful of pros to ask them what things they typically suggest their clients part ways with before starting a design project. Even if you’re revamping your space on your own, you can definitely benefit from taking inventory of these pieces in your home and determining whether or not you actually need them. And if you decide that you want to keep something on this list forever, you do you!

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Pieces That Don’t Spark Joy

When starting a project, designers like to have a blank slate. While that doesn’t mean getting rid of every last thing in a given room, it does mean parting ways with items that don’t speak to your emotions or the desired look of the space. “It’s best to have our clients get rid of pieces that provide no sentimental value and don’t fit the vision of the new design,” says designer Liz Goldberg, founder of the CAROLYNLEONA firm. Typically, for Goldberg, that list includes items like oversized bedroom furniture, dated dining furniture, and other bulky items. She recommends selling or donating these pieces to truly start fresh. 

Credit: Mike Higginson/Shutterstock

Dated Lighting

All lighting fixtures aren’t created equally, and sometimes, it’s best to say goodbye to older styles, says designer Danielle Chiprut of Danielle Rose Design Co. Doing so, she says, “is like giving the space a facelift — it instantly breathes new life and character into the room.” Lighting is also the one category where designers recommend not letting sentimental value get in the way of upgrading your fixtures, if you have the budget for replacing them. That’s because of the technology behind newer pieces, which can improve the quality of lighting in home. “Once they see the transformative effect of modern lighting, they’re amazed,” Chiprut says of her clients. 

Smalls That Don’t Match Your Space

If you have knickknacks, vases, or decorative objects that don’t fit your desired design scheme, you’re better off getting rid of them before redecorating. “These items can be easily replaced or elevated without changing core furniture items in each room, like chairs, couches, or coffee tables, especially when you need clarification on your next design concept or vision,” says designer Dominique Fluker of DBF Interiors

Credit: Nat Manzocco

Builder-Grade Finishes

Designer Diane Rath, founder of The Rath Project, thinks anything builder-grade — hardware, lighting, and the like — isn’t worth holding onto in a home. “Quality touches that speak to their personalities — whether new, secondhand contemporary, or vintage — are so important in creating a home that is lasting and unique to them,” Rath says. If you have the means to replace larger-scale builder-grade items such as doors or floors, and you own your home, you might want to consider investing in these areas, too. 

Credit: Joseph Hendrickson/Shutterstock

Excessive Millwork

Just because moldings or trim have been installed on your walls, that doesn’t mean those features will always match the vibe of your home or that ultimately, they have to stay there. “I like to eliminate excessive or bad millwork, such as chair rails in living spaces (and sometimes dining rooms if we are planning on mural wallpaper) or heavy door and window trim,” designer Kerri Pilchik says.