Living room storage ideas – 14 practical and chic ways to corral the clutter

Clear the clutter and create an organized and inviting environment with our favorite living room storage ideas

Three examples of living room storage ideas. Metal and glass drinks trolley, decorated with books, table lamp and glassware. Colorful living room with bespoke blue shelving. Neutral living room with niche alcove wooden shelving.
(Image credit: OKA | Sarah Brown | Jake Arnold)

Living room storage ideas may not as first appear as thrilling as choosing a couch or a wall color, however it's a key part of a successful space. Plus it can be as aesthetically pleasing as it is practical. In fact, we think that's always the aim with storage, it needs to work hard as well as look good. 

Living rooms take on myriad of guises: family zones, entertaining spaces, multi-media hubs, and some, also double up as dining rooms and at-home offices. Well-planned fittings are transformative in allowing this hard-working space to meet every need, regardless of whether you opt for a streamlined bank of built-in cabinetry or a bold piece of freestanding furniture.

We've assembled some inspiring living room ideas, looks and expert advice to kick-start your creativity for this space, allowing for to curate an inspiring design that is both beautiful and practical.

14 living room storage ideas for every kind of space

These are the very best living room storage ideas to make your space feel neat, tidy and organized, but still cozy, smart and on-trend.

1. Add decor and color with a wall of books

Living room with one wall of floor to ceiling bookcases as divider

(Image credit: Bethany Adams Interiors)

Decorating with books is also having a resurgence this year, with trends like 'Bookshelf Wealth' being at the forefront. If you have books, you have an instant way to add color and texture and character to a room. A setup like this one provides ample storage for books but it also has as much impact as a living room wallpaper and adds so much personality.

'This wall between the family room and living room once stood bare, but by adding floor-to-ceiling bookcases, the clients have access to their impressive library and the colorful spines provide a lot of visual interest,' explains Bethany Adams. 'Low shelves are perfect for keeping their toddler's toys within reach.  As a bonus, pocket doors are hidden within so that the two spaces can be separated.'

2. Soften living room storage with upholstered cabinetry

Neutral living room with build in floor to ceiling storage

(Image credit: Jacob Snavely)

'Millwork that is tailored not only to your personal style but also your space is an investment that gains a return in value and resale. Customization allows for every square inch to be accounted for, and maximizes living room storage when there are unique conditions in your home, like varying depths or angled walls,' explains Jessica Geller, co-founder of Toledo Geller.

'In this family room we concealed storage on either side of the fireplace with millwork, however, in order to keep up with our stylish homeowner, no simple cabinetry would do. We custom designed these built-ins with panels upholstered in delicious suede fabric, and included curbed styles, detailed molding and edgy hardware.'

3. Make the most of a narrow alcove

Rustic white living room with storage built into a narrow alcove

(Image credit: Jessica Brydson)

Living room alcoves are the perfect place to squeeze in some extra storage, no matter how narrow that space may be. Going for bespoke built-in storage will really allow for you to maximize that space, especially if it is a bit of an awkward area as can be seen in this space designed by Natalia Avalos Interiors.

'This California oasis surrounded by redwood trees showcases a sleek fireplace with built-in cabinets and shelving. The fireplace mantel, crafted from rift white oak, brings warmth and clean lines to the space, while the natural stone wrapping adds an earthy feel, enhancing the overall texture. Artwork graces the mantel, adding a touch of personality and depth to the space. Together, these elements create a cozy and inviting atmosphere, perfect for relaxing evenings by the fire,' explains Natalia. 

4. Hide unaesthetically pleasing AC units

Living room with built in storage cabinet, white walls and ceiling beams

(Image credit: Lindsay Brown)

Living room storage ideas can do more than just a place to corral clutter they can hide certain aspects of the room, be it the TV and awkward corner or in this case a bulky air conditioning unit. 

'In our living room, we created a custom piece of furniture from our bespoke cabinetry collection with Unique Kitchens & Baths to be truly multipurpose: bar cabinet and eye sore camouflage,' explains Anastasia Casey, founder of The Interior Collective.

'Between the two living room windows was a large split unit AC nearly to the ceiling. This is the only room in the house without central AC, so removing the split unit entirely wasn’t really an option. By cutting out the back of the custom bar cabinet, we were able to slide it directly in place, enclosing the AC unit inside, above the top shelf. To keep air flowing, we drilled holes in the cabinetry doors, sneakily cooling the living room'

'Below the AC unit, three more large shelves house all of our wine collection and barware. The drawers below store our dining linens like napkins and tablecloths, alongside larger serving pieces.'

5. Double living room storage as a home bar

Cream living room with yellow curtains and home bar

(Image credit: Bethany Adams Interiors)

Home bars are a huge design trend for 2024 – pick the right design and they can fill an underused corner and double as some extra living room storage too. 

'This empty corner of the living room was made beautiful and functional by the addition of the Nada Debs "Funquetry bar.  With storage for liquor, and glassware above, drawers for bottle openers and the like, and a roomy cabinet below, the clients are always ready to entertain.  When the doors to the bar are closed, the bar takes on the effect of a sculpture, with its beautiful, dimensional walnut and colorful inlaid marquetry,' explains Bethany Adams.

6.Disguise the TV while also making it a focal point

White living room with gray sofa and wall mounted tv with storage built around

(Image credit: Jessica Brydson)

More often than not you want to disguise a TV, although they are usually the main focal point of a living room, you don't want a black screen to dominate the space. However, sometimes the best way to hide a TV is in plain sight. By building living room storage around the television you create a more interesting focal point and yes the TV is still there but it's part of a wider display. 

'Efficient storage solutions take center stage amidst a backdrop of relaxed rustic charm in this inviting living room,' explains Natalia. 'The slanted ceiling, adorned with skylights and natural wood beams, floods the space with abundant natural light, creating an airy and welcoming atmosphere.'

'Large windows flank the built-in entertainment center, framing views of the picturesque surroundings. Within the built-ins, white open shelving atop darker blue cabinets provides ample storage space while adding visual interest and depth to the room. From books to decorative items, everything finds its place in these stylish storage units, seamlessly blending functionality with aesthetic appeal.'

7. Plan in bespoke joinery

Modern living room with bespoke, dark wood media cabinet, painting covering TV, leather chaise, glass coffee table

(Image credit: Studio Ashby)

From living room shelving ideas to cabinets and grand media units, planning bespoke storage for your living room can establish a unique design perfectly tailored to the exact size and needs of your space.

Cabinetmaker Ed Keyser says, 'built-in cabinetry is not only an investment and will hopefully add value to your property, but is also personal to you as you will be living with it every day.'

Many of us opt for floor-to-ceiling cabinetry and shelving in the living room, creating a central storage and display platform for books, ornaments media accessories and much more.

As shown in this luxurious living room designed by Studio Ashby, the bespoke wooden unit creates a beautiful wall of storage and eye-catching display space, with the bespoke design further enhanced by a sliding painting that covers the TV, great for living room TV ideas.

Studio Ashby's founder and creative director Sophie Ashby say, 'the TV must never be on show; that’s one of our rules at Studio Ashby. In every project, we’ll commission joinery to conceal it, like in this project in London’s Mayfair, where we’ve used this beautiful Jack Penny artwork to hide the TV.'

8. Create a colorful and characterful look

Colorful living room with bespoke blue shelving, red patterned sofa, ottoman, side tables,

(Image credit: Sarah Brown)

Of course, you want your living room storage ideas to be functional and extremely practical, but you also want your chosen storage designs to feel united with your style and with the chosen color scheme for the space.

Interior designer Lucy Cunningham says, 'make a feature of built-in shelving or cupboards by painting them or backing them in wallpaper.'

Whether you use your storage to create a bold accent in a space, as shown beautifully above by Sarah Brown Interiors, with the striking blue shelving establishing a stunning design statement, or simply try your hand at painted furniture ideas, embracing a colorful and characterful design can transform the ordinary into something extraordinary.

9. Use a mix of open and closed storage

Bespoke blue cabinetry, wooden ladder, decorated with books, plants and ornaments

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch)

Steve Clinch, head architect at Echlin states, 'when creating storage, consider how it will be used, and make sure you think about shelves versus drawers to make sure it doesn't become a dumping ground for items you don't know what to do with'. 

Often, when planning living room storage ideas, using a mix of open and closed storage is best. This allows for you to store away more unsightly items in cupboards and cabinets, and keep more decorative, aesthetically pleasing items on display on tables and shelving. 

Decorating shelves can sometimes be quite a daunting prospect, with the pressure on to curate a beautiful display and arrangement that doesn't feel cluttered or messy, so for some inspiration and expert advice on where to start, explore our guide on styling a shelf.

10. Embrace more unique storage methods

Metal and glass drinks trolley, decorated with table lamp, glassware, books and ornaments

(Image credit: OKA)

When many of us think of living room storage ideas, we are instantly drawn to shelving units, sideboards, cabinets and bookcases, however, there are many other creative avenues to explore when styling your space. 

Camilla Clarke of Albion Nord explains, 'don’t be afraid to use unusual furniture pieces: a bookshelf doesn’t have to be a bookshelf, you can stack books on a bar cart, on the fireplace mantel or on a windowsill.'

As shown in this living room, the sleek Lenox Bar Cart by OKA, not only serves as a glamorous drinks trolley, but the tiered design creates resting platforms ideal for lamps, books and accessories, a great, multipurpose option for small living room storage ideas.

11. Make the most out of your architecture

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

(Image credit: Jake Arnold)

Camilla Clarke says, 'make awkward corners a point of interest,’ so if there are any nooks or niches in your living room, use them!

In large rooms with generous ceiling heights especially, it’s important to play with scale in order to make the space more relatable. Where there are natural recesses in the architecture, use them to create niches for bookcases or shelving – this will give a room a style focus as well as serve a useful function.

From window recesses featuring seating and cupboards to alcove shelving and under-stairs ideas, incorporating storage into these areas can not only help maximize on the space available in your living room, but is a great way to celebrate and make the most out of the architecture of your home.

12. Build storage into seating in small living rooms

A water-effect wall with a built in fireplace and yellow foot rest, bench seating, wooden flooring.

(Image credit: James Merrell/Future PLC)

Storage couches, benches, and window seat ideas have come a long way, with many designs today certainly not compromising good looks for the sake of extra stowaway spots. They can be particularly useful for keeping throws close to hand, or a quick place to tidy toys away. 

If you’re not in the market for a new sofa but your current model has legs, consider placing some low storage boxes underneath it in the same color or material, for a close-to-seamless look.

13. Mix and match for an eclectic feel

A brown leather armchair with yellow cushion, blue lamp and blue ottoman.

(Image credit: Mylands)

Matching storage isn’t for us all, and different pieces that each tell a story can be equally as beautiful in a living room. Slim console tables are great for small living room alcoves and for placing lamps and vases on, whilst heavier, larger items like ottomans can deal with the seasonal throws, board games and books. 

But you can still make it work visually by having a common living room color scheme – in this room, blue follows through from the patterned lampshade to the patterned ottoman and trays.

14. Look out for one-off finds

A navy and gold vintage chest of drawers next to a red sofa and oil painting.

(Image credit: Salvesen Graham)

Sourcing the perfect couch for a small living room and other stunning pieces can be a joy. Investing in a chest of drawers that has a wonderful history or an antique bookcase, for example, will make your purchases even more meaningful. 

Or repurpose furniture that you’ve already got – move the unit from the bedroom that never quite worked to the living room instead – it might fit that alcove perfectly and create extra storage space that’s much needed. 

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How do you add storage to a living room?

'Take stock of what you need to accommodate, covering things such as where you wish to keep music systems, books – and whether you want them on display or concealed,' says Barbara Genda, founder & principal designer, Barbara Genda Bespoke Furniture

'The single most forgotten issue is coats and shoe storage; if you have an open-plan space, this needs serious consideration. Re-arranging a room will be difficult once fitted furniture is in place, so dimensions and positioning must always be carefully considered.' 

How do I organize my living room nicely?

When organizing a living room, some of the key factors to consider are: a functional layout, plenty of storage, multipurpose furniture pieces (think ottomans and adaptable shelving) and regular decluttering and sorting (everything must have a home!)

The best place to start is looking at everything you own, and working out if all your items have a purpose – both practically and decoratively. Which items are display pieces? Which do you need close to hand? Which needs to be hidden out of sight? Which no longer sparks joy?

Your chosen pieces of furniture and storage solutions should then not only reflect your style and fit in with the size and layout of your living room, but they should cater to your collection of belongings, helping to ensure everything has a place in the space.

Keeping a living room organized requires frequent tidying and sorting, but by choosing practical furniture and thinking long and hard about how you will use the room on a daily basis, you can create a more organized and calming space that perfectly caters to your lifestyle.

Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.

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