The multifunctional nature of a living room means it is one of the spaces that gets messy and cluttered in the blink of an eye. Regardless of how you might organize your living room, there's a chance you're making a number of living room organizing mistakes, which can lead to the room feeling more disorderly than it actually is.
On the other hand, you might simply be a few key products away from the perfectly organized and functional space you are looking to create.
Given that we spend so much time in our living rooms, they can quickly begin to feel cluttered – a problem that can be sorted with just a few pointers on how to organize a living room with too much stuff.
7 Things organized people have in their living rooms
For some households, the only purpose of a living room is for relaxing after a long day, but for many others, it might be a playroom, workout space, office space, dining room and so on.
Despite trying to keep a lid on the organization of the space, perhaps you're feeling overwhelmed by the ever-demanding room and would like to find a way to keep it in check.
Thankfully, there are a few items living room organizers professionals swear by, which will help you maintain a tidier living room.
1. Bins and baskets
Nick Valentino at Bellhop, has a simple solution for a living room with one too many throw pillows and blankets: 'One of my favorite pieces to include in any living room setup is a blanket bin. Even when you fold and stack blankets and pillows neatly, they can take up too much space.
'A large basket, trunk, or bin where you can put these items out of sight when you aren't using them is a great way to simplify your tidying routine and keep those blankets handy for when you need them,' he explains.
Valentino’s suggestion of baskets for throw pillows and blankets is a great one, however, they have a range of uses, as Ally Raven from My Organized Ally points out: 'In the living room, baskets are an absolute must. They are great for storing kids’ toys, and keeping other items together if you don’t have a designated playroom,' she says.
Ally also recommends a rattan basket, which is lightweight and pretty, like this lidded storage basket from Amazon.
2. Multipurpose furniture
In such a multi-use space, it seems only fitting to have multifunctional storage. Bearing that in mind, a stool or coffee table that doubles up as living room storage is a great way to keep things tidied away, while also adding a lovely new piece of furniture to the room, like a storage coffee table, available at Anthropologie.
Ottomans are also a great feature in any room, not just the living room. Coming in so many styles and sizes, an ottoman can resolve most storage problems.
3. Vertical and corner storage
A common mistake most people make is misusing or underusing shelving. Most have shelves around their home, but in the living room shelving is often overlooked. There’s no reason that shelves shouldn’t be able to look good carrying ornaments and plants. But they should also be practical and hold things that you actually need.
Bellhop’s Valentino suggested we should be thinking big when it comes to our vertical storage: 'I always recommend cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling whenever possible.'
Vertical storage increases your usable floor space which not only makes the room look and feel a lot more organized but also gives you more ground to maneuver in. And if you’re open to going a step further, floor-to-ceiling storage may be the way to go.
Another way to make the most of shelving is to utilize corners. Corners too often end up being dust catchers, when in fact, if used properly, they can help free up floor space and lead to a more organized living room.
If corner storage is something that would work for you, then a tall shelving unit from Amazon would be perfect. Alternatively, if tall but compact storage would be more suitable for your living room, then this rotating shelving unit from Amazon is a practical option.
4. Hanging storage
In the same way that floor-to-ceiling storage assists with creating more space, so does hanging. Rather than placing photos on your flat surfaces or even on shelves, remember to use your walls.
Photos can be hung up on the wall using strong adhesives and frames. The great thing about frames is that there are a range of options so you can get the exact ones that suit your aesthetic. If you’re someone who loves this idea, look no further than these frames from Wayfair.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking to remove plants from your flat surfaces, hanging planters are a great way to go. Specifically made for hanging plants from the walls or ceiling, this black hanging planter from Amazon is a great buy for anyone attempting to make space in their living room, while still bringing some of the outdoors in.
5. Cable storage solutions
A living room is often the one in the house most likely to fall foul to arguably one the most annoying by-products of modern technology: cables.
Besides being a trip hazard, wire cables are an eyesore, particularly when they accumulate, which they tend to do in the living room.
Another solution is to nail them to the wall. If you have no option but to have a cable hanging down, why not tame it so it's not hanging loosely; a look that adds an immediate feel of disorganization. This pack of 300 cable clips from Amazon includes 6 sizes which should ensure all your cables can be taken care of.
Finally, a cable cover. These typically come in white plastic, like these cable covers from Amazon, so they can be easily painted to match the wall behind, but can also be used on the floor.
6. Storage cubes
Once you have all the furniture, shelving and cabinets you like, there can still be the problem of being able to find what you're looking for in the darkness of the designated space.
Homes & Gardens' Solved section editor, Millie Hurst offers a solution: 'I use storage cubes like these folding bins from Amazon in my living room. They corral items inside cabinets, but they’re easy to get hold of and slide out, so I'm not hunting around in a dark recess.'
Finally, make the most of the nooks and crannies in your home by investing in built-in family room storage ideas. Built-in storage is one of the solutions people rarely think of because it seems like it would take too long or be too expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.
Making the most of the spaces in your home, whether it’s around a fireplace or in a seemingly random alcove, can make all the difference. If getting built-in storage isn’t an option for you though, barn wood floating shelves, at Wayfair can be bought or cut to size.
How do I keep my newly tidy room organized?
Maintaining a tidy space is something most people struggle with, as too often it feels like we’re either forever tidying or we’ve just organized the space and yet everything is scattered immediately.
The answer is a simple one though; one in one out. If your problem is having too many blankets and cushions, then our storage table or ottoman solution is just the thing for you.
Once you have the one you love, make a pact with it that you’ll never make it do more than it needs to. But if you begin to find that it’s getting more difficult to close or things are spilling out, it may be time to chuck a pillow, or throw a throw!
How do I make my couch work harder?
Sofas that aren’t against a wall often become forgotten storage havens! The sofa itself could be one that has storage within it, in which case it might already be working pretty hard.
Another way to make the most of the standalone sofa is to get storage behind it. This is particularly useful for those who rarely walk behind the sofa. A large trunk or bank of drawers works really well behind a sofa.
Whether it's a built-in cabinet to stow away brightly colored plastic toys and quieten the visual noise or some hidden storage baskets behind the couch for a quick tidy before guests come over, the key is to be open to trying out new organizing methods and seeing what works for you.
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Ije Teunissen-Oligboh is an NCTJ qualified journalist with a love of home decor and design, who has written for a range of publications ranging from The Sun to The Independent. While designing and replanning her own home, Ije enjoys baking, cooking, sports, and is studying for a garden design diploma.
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