How to organize a small living room with not enough storage – 5 expert-approved tips

Experts share their best tips to save space and maximize storage in a modest living room

How to organize a small living room
(Image credit: Future / Becca Interiors / Sims Hilditch)

The living room is one of the most used spaces in the home, whether you are entertaining guests or unwinding after a long day. Your living room is your sanctuary and it should feel like one.

A small living room has to be innovative with its storage ideas when it comes to organizing a living room. From furniture and books to decorations and plants, a modest living room will have to cater to the same range of items as a larger space. All of these items will need to be stored, organized, and readily available when you want them.

Fortunately, our experts have shared their best advice so that you can organize small spaces to perfection.

Professional organizers share their storage tips for small living rooms

These are some of the best small living room organizing tips. These tips will help you organize your space and help you create a room that's elegant, and relaxing without compromising practicality. 

1. Utilize vertical storage solutions

Shelving with books on in library

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch)

In small rooms, one often underutilized area is the vertical space. Take advantage of vertical space by installing bookcases or wall-mounted shelves, like this one from Anthropologie. This helps free up floor space while offering additional storage for books, decor items, or baskets to keep smaller essentials organized.

‘One easy win is to utilize the area above your sofa by adding a shelf or installing wall-mounted storage compartments,’ says Amy Bloomer, founder of Let Your Space Bloom. ‘Vertical storage solutions not only provide additional storage options but also draw the eye upward, creating the illusion of a larger space.’

You can also invest in a tall bookcase that reaches the ceiling. This will not only provide ample storage but there are also a number of bookshelf ideas for living rooms that will create a visually appealing focal point in your small room

Astoria Wall Mounted Shelving Unit | $299.95 at Anthropologie

Astoria Wall Mounted Shelving Unit | $299.95 at Anthropologie

Made from acacia wood with brass detailing, this slimline shelving unit will make a wonderful addition to any small living room.

Amy Bloomer
Amy Bloomer

Amy Bloomer owns Let Your Space Bloom, a home-organizing company. She's been in thousands of homes, helping families, professionals and retirees to transform their space, and in turn, their lives.

2. Choose furniture with built-in storage

A living room with a white fireplace and a black ceiling light

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti/Future PLC)

There are many pieces of furniture available that have built-in storage and are a great way to maximize the space in your living room.

‘Multifunctional furniture serves multiple purposes, allowing you to save space and eliminate the need for separate storage solutions,’ says Courtney Finley, CEO of Organized Designs LLC. ‘For example, a center table with built-in storage compartments or a coffee table that doubles as a storage ottoman can provide additional storage options without taking up extra floor space. By combining storage and functionality, you can keep your living room organized while optimizing the available space.’

Bryant Coffee Table | $1,398 at Anthropologie

Bryant Coffee Table | $1,398 at Anthropologie

Multifunctional furniture should be both stylish and practical, and that is exactly what this coffee table has to offer.

Courtney Finley
Courtney Finley

Courtney Finley is an Organizer and Interior Designer and has a BFA in Interior Design. Her organizing and interior design business helps working professionals get organized and design their home or office.

3. Use decorative storage solutions

Small living room with white shiplap and sisal floor

(Image credit: Becca Interiors / Rikki Snyder)

Small living room storage doesn't need to be purely practical. In fact, investing in stylish and decorative pieces will have a big impact on how organized you keep your space. 

Theresa Russell, an intentional home organizer recommends incorporating decorative baskets, bins, or trunks that can double as both storage and stylish accents. ‘These can be placed under tables, in corners, or on shelves to store items like throws, magazines, or children's toys.’

Barker Wicker Baskets, Set of 2 | $179,95 at Anthropologie

Barker Wicker Baskets, Set of 2 | $179,95 at Anthropologie

These baskets are beautifully handcrafted of natural seagrass and wicker, featuring smooth leather as the finishing touch.

Theresa Russell
Theresa Russell

Theresa Russell is an intentional home organizer with personal and professional experience. She started her intentional home organization business when she moved into a loft with no storage or closets and had to find innovative solutions to make the most out of her space.  

4. Take time to declutter

Living room organization with ladder storage

(Image credit: Future)

This is the most important step, as it will free up space and make it easier to organize the things you do want to keep. Start by sorting through your belongings and getting rid of items that you no longer need or use. 

‘Donate or sell items that are in good condition, and dispose of anything that is beyond repair,’ says professional organizer Amelia Kennedy. ‘Prioritize what is essential and be ruthless in your decision-making process. By reducing the number of belongings, you'll create a more restful and relaxing space.’

Amelia Kennedy
Amelia Kennedy

Amelia is a clutter coach, professional organizer and home life expert. She is the CEO and Founder of A Pleasant Solution and an active member of several pro-organizing trade associations.

5. Integrate cable management solutions

Exposed cords and cables can make living rooms look cluttered and unorganized. You can make your living room more visually appealing by using cable clips or cable management boxes from Amazon to secure and hide cables along walls or furniture legs. This simple step can significantly enhance the overall organization and aesthetics of your living room.

How do I display keepsakes without it looking cluttered?

Displaying keepsakes without them looking cluttered is one of the many problems designers love to solve. The best option is to stack them up. Any small knick-knacks or photos will look great on top of a horizontal stack of books.

In small living rooms, you need to make your living room furniture work for you by choosing multifunctional options. Fortunately, there are a number of techniques you can incorporate to make the room more practical and aesthetically appealing. 

Your living room does not have to be too small to make a statement also. By using bold furniture or a statement bookshelf you can add storage to your room and create an impact.

Seraphina Di Mizzurati
Contributing Editor

Seraphina is a contributing editor at Homes & Gardens, writing Solved features on organizing and storage. She loves to decorate and also grow her own produce from her home in London. Her previous experience includes working at Women's Health and Fabulous Magazine.