8 Things To Keep Out Of Your Kitchen, According To Designers

No matter the size of your kitchen, you’ll want to make an effort to design your space so that it best serves your needs. And the first step of doing so is saying goodbye to items that just don’t belong in this room of the house. We asked Southern interior designers to share things that people commonly place in the kitchen but shouldn’t, and they chimed in with eight types of no-no items, which we’ve detailed below.

Pricy Rugs and Runners

It may be tempting to lay down a beautiful, investment worthy piece in the kitchen, but you’re better off opting for a more budget friendly pick in this room of the home, says Logan Miller of Logan Elizabeth Designs in Charleston, South Carolina. “Splurging on expensive rugs may seem tempting as a way to introduce patterns, but I firmly believe it’s not a practical choice,” she says. “Kitchens are high-traffic areas prone to spills, making durability a top priority.” Instead, purchase a durable jute rug—these are known to stand the test of time, and there are many options available at affordable price points.

Anything Artificial

Heather Garrett of Heather Garrett Design suggests keeping artificial plants and fruit out of the kitchen. “Your kitchen is the space for things that live, so toss the baskets of fakes in exchange for something resilient, like a potted succulent,” suggests the designer, who operates out of Naples, Florida, and in Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina. “Most kitchens have enough natural light to easily keep it alive!” Rebecca Bridges of House of Drennan in Rock Hill, South Carolina, agrees that faux greenery is a major no in the kitchen. “Often, these pieces can quickly look dated—especially between sun fading and dust,” she says. “There are so many live plants that are easy to maintain in the kitchen area—a ZZ plant is nearly indestructible and a pothos plant is, too!”


Style those candles and diffusers in the living room, powder room, or bedroom—not in the kitchen. “They mix with the natural aromas of cooking,” says Holly Hickey Moore of Holly Hickey Moore Design in Dallas, Texas. “Too many smells!”

Your Dog’s Crate

Make a home for your pup outside of your cooking space, urges Aston Moody of Aston Moody Interiors in Columbia, South Carolina. While such a setup may seem convenient, it comes with a few downsides. As Moody says, “It blocks traffic, detracts from the look, and is probably somewhat unsanitary.”


The kitchen just isn’t the place for a TV, says Jessica Davis of Atelier Davis in Atlanta, Georgia. “I haven’t seen a TV in a kitchen done well, and I feel like they should be relegated to lounge spaces,” she says. “All the TVs I’ve seen in kitchens end up taking up counter space. Kitchens should be for music, a glass of wine, and cooking something delicious.” Bradley Odom of Bradley Odom Interiors in Atlanta, Georgia, agrees that a TV is best kept out of the kitchen. “It takes away from the familial and conversational atmosphere that I always try to create in the layout and energy of the kitchens I design,” he notes. “The focus should be on the food and the family.”

A Junk Drawer

Everyone needs a junk drawer somewhere in the house, but you’re best off not keeping yours in the kitchen. As Michelle Lynne of ML Interiors Group in Addison, Texas, puts it, “If it's junk, why keep it in the busiest room of the house, if at all? It inhabits the highest-value real estate in your home.”


If you crave a dose of decor in the kitchen, be sure to keep it to a minimum. “I love a handful of tasteful and special knick knacks, but in a kitchen they just look like clutter,” comments Tami Ramsay of Cloth & Kind in Athens, Georgia. “It’s a utility space, and a well-designed one doesn't need a lot else. I suggest keeping most of the family photos and personal effects to other rooms in the house.” Sarah West of Sarah West and Associates, LLC, agrees. “Too much clutter on your kitchen countertops gathers dust and distracts from your kitchen finishes like beautiful backsplashes and stone countertops,” the Houston, Texas, designer shares. “A clean island with one large beautiful bowl or vase is much easier to remove than lots of small accessories if you are entertaining and want to use your island to serve buffet style.” What should you display instead? “Wooden cutting boards, glass canisters filled with cooking ingredients, or cookbooks are great examples of pretty items you can place on your countertops,” comments Maggie Clarke of Maggie Clarke Interiors in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Fridge, If Possible

Designating space for a refrigerator outside the kitchen may not be possible for many, but if the layout of your home allows for this type of setup, it can prove extremely beneficial, says Casey Sanford of Casey Sanford Interior Design in Warrenton, Virginia. When Sanford renovated her own kitchen a couple of years ago, she placed her fridge in a small room off the kitchen, which then allowed for the inclusion of a 60 inch range and an ample amount of countertop space on either side. Positioning the fridge elsewhere “also lessens the foot traffic in the kitchen while someone is cooking or washing dishes,” Sanford says.

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