How we would like our living rooms to look and how they look in reality can be two very different things. They serve an important role as a space for us to unwind in after a long day but often double up as a playroom, workout space, home office, and more during the daytime.
So how do we create a living room that feels more like a calm and cozy retreat and less like a three-dimensional to-do list? We asked professional home organizers how to make a living room more peaceful so that when we need to switch off, we can.
There are lots of incredibly simple ways to organize a living room and create a space that promotes a little more mindfulness and serenity, even when we are asking our living rooms to wear a lot of hats.
5 home organizing tips to make a living room more peaceful
You may wish to start with our living room decluttering checklist to cleanse your space or take some inspiration from living room Feng Shui to invite in the good vibes. Home organizing can feel daunting, but a few small changes can go a long way.
1. Big and small decluttering sessions
Removing clutter is key to creating a calm living room – the living rooms we see on Pinterest and social media feeds tend to have a distinct lack of stuff. While we all need places where we can hide our things away (a sideboard can contain all manner of clutter), it's impossible to create a soothing space we want to relax in when we're holding onto items we don't need or love.
To get the ball rolling, you can look at our list of items to get rid of in your living room or try a decluttering game, such as the 12-12-12 decluttering method, which involves finding items to declutter, to return to their proper home and to throw away. Decluttering is the first step to a calmer living room, so remove excess throw pillows, those candles with half an inch of wax left, and any plants that are no longer improving the Feng Shui.
'When it’s all feeling too much, a good purge will do the trick, and you will instantly feel lighter, calmer, and more in control,' agrees home organizer Ema Di Monte. And to maintain a clutter-free space, professional organizer Laura Price recommends a quick, daily declutter: 'Clutter is always coming into the living room, so even just 5 minutes a day can make a huge difference and keep clutter at bay.
Ema is the founder and owner of Pretty Damned Organised. The home organizing company was first established three years ago when the Covid pandemic sparked the desire for a career change for Ema, who previously worked in hospitality. Ema has been helping people to declutter and organize their belongings ever since, and has slowly discovered that hoe organizing is not a quick fix or makeover but can leave a profound impact on clients' lives and wellbeing.
Laura Price is the owner of The Home Organisation. Laura Price's goal is to help others experience the benefits of living an organized life after discovering that organized homes brought her peace when raising three children in a hectic home. Hence the birth of The Home Organisation, a dedicated team of professional organizers.
2. Consider new closed storage options
We spend around 20% of our time in our living rooms, so as well as trying out some soothing decorating ideas, such as adding plenty of calming textures, we need our living room storage to work hard to keep things feeling organized.
'All the clutter that comes with a home needs to be well housed behind closed doors,' says Ema Di Monte. 'Look for furniture with dual functionality – if your living room has to play different roles, such as a playroom, yoga room, workspace, and so on, make sure your furniture goes the extra mile to meet these diverse needs.'
For example, Ema says this could be a coffee table with a storage place for board games or electronics, a couch with storage underneath for blankets and extra throw pillows, or a bench with storage for toys or workout gear.
$699 from West Elm
This coffee table has plenty of storage space for living room items and can be used with dividers to improve organization.
3. Be intentional
The simple act of being more purposeful about what we choose to display in our living rooms can be the difference between a space that makes us feel stressed out and one that invites us to sink into the couch with a book or movie. Which, in turn, has a huge impact on our well-being. Professional home organizer and founder of The Simplified Island, Caroline Roberts shares some practical tips on what to take away, and what to add:
- Avoid having piles of things that serve as reminders of tasks. It's really hard to relax when you are reminded of the things you should be doing.
- Ensure your belongings are things that you really love. Sure, you may not have the budget to replace your couch, but you can have a blanket or pillow you love.
- Reduce visual clutter or stimulation. You may love all of your decor, but if there is too much, then it can be overly stimulating.
- The same principle applies to full bookshelves, collectibles, and China displays. Although they may be beautiful and energizing, they don't always equate to a serene, peaceful environment.
Available in rust and beige, Soho Home's 'Maria' blanket adds luxury and texture to a living space. It is made from alpaca wool and has a beautiful fringed edge.
Caroline Roberts is a KonMari consultant and founder of the home organization company The Simplified Island. She and her team help clients declutter their belongings. Then they find the best places for your items so that their family members can find things and put them away. She is also a contributing expert at Homes & Gardens.
4. Maximize natural light
'Natural light makes my living room feel more peaceful – during the day, it is flooded with light, and I am lucky enough to have a front and backyard so I can see the greenery in both directions,' says pro organizer Ema Di Monte. 'You can replicate this using light colors, plants, and mirrors.'
Cleaning the windows and decluttering windowsills and shelving around them can make a living room feel much brighter and airier, contributing to an increased sense of well-being.
For north-facing rooms and those living in areas with long winters, layered living room lighting is key. Dimmable wall sconces, table lamps, and floor lamps, as well as candles, can create a serene space for cozying up in the evening.
5. Create a muted, balanced space
Professional home organizer Laura Price's three steps to a more peaceful living room are reducing visual clutter, opting for muted tones, and creating a balanced layout.
'Visual clutter is scientifically proven to raise your cortisol levels, so if you want to make your living room more peaceful, remove any items or furniture you don’t want, love, or need from the space. The less clutter you see, the more peaceful you’ll feel,' she says.
'But visual clutter isn’t just about how many items you can see; it’s also about colors and textures,' Laura continues. 'Having lots of different bold and bright colors and materials in your living room won’t make it peaceful – it’s much better to stick to muted tones. Of course, don’t be afraid to add color, just make sure it doesn’t become too jarring.'
Finally, Laura says don’t have to be an expert in Feng Shui to know that the layout of a space is integral to the energy it creates. 'If you want a peaceful living room, ensure the layout feels peaceful. It’s all about creating an open, balanced space. Don’t overwhelm it with furniture, and avoid having areas that feel too cramped or sparse.'
What's the quickest way to bring a sense of calm to a living room?
'Before I settle in for the evening, I love to do a quick pickup of the many random things that have ended up in the living room,' says professional home organizer Caroline Roberts. 'In just a minute or two, I can easily rehome kids' toys, shoes, and drinkware. When I sit down, I'm ready to relax into a good book or TV show.'
You could make this process part of your closing shift routine to turn it into a positive daily habit.
Don't forget the power of scent – create a dedicated aromatherapy nook or simply add an essential oil diffuser, available at Amazon to your living space. Diffusers can release stress-relieving aromas such as eucalyptus or lavender.
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Millie Hurst is a freelance lifestyle writer with over six years of experience in digital journalism. Having previously worked as Solved Section Editor at Homes & Gardens and Senior SEO Editor at News UK in London and New York, Millie has written for an array of homes brands including Livingetc and Real Homes and was formerly Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home. She has written and edited countless features on home organization, decluttering and interior design and always hopes to inspire readers with new ways to enjoy their homes. She lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and loves to weave nature-inspired decor and nods to time spent in Italy into her own home.
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