Living room storage ideas – organising tips to restore order to your snug or sitting room

Does your living room storage need an overhaul? Keep your living room clutter free with storage that is handsome as well as handy.
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  • If you’ve lost that loving feeling for your living room, chances are it’s because it hasn’t got enough storage. There’s nothing more unappealing than being surrounded by clutter, so restore that relaxing vibe with these fabulous living room storage ideas.

    It’s even more important to keep on top of storage solutions when space is premium. the last thing a small living room needs is to be overwhelmed with clutter. The key to getting living room storage spot on is choosing pieces that offer as much multipurpose storage potential as possible.

    Related: Small living room ideas – how to decorate a cosy and compact sitting room, snug or lounge

    1. Style up shelving with trailing plants and colourful ceramics


    Image credit: Future PLC/Carolyn Barber
    Stylist credit: Sarita Sharma

    Soften the hard lines of a dark shelving unit with a selection of plants.  Choose trailing varieties and frothy foliage, mixing different heights and shapes to bring the look to life. Selecting a coherent colour scheme really helps when displaying your collections – three to four colours is perfect. Here navy blue, leaf green, turquoise and an earthy pink keeps the look co-ordinated but not ‘matchy-matchy’.

    2. Build a media unit from MDF

    Image credit: Joanna Henderson Styling: Gemma Gear

    A piece of MDF and two floating shelves creates a professional looking TV/gaming centre. The bottom shelf allows lidded ottomans and drawer units to be popped neatly underneath, whereas the top shelf can be used for more storage boxes or made pretty by adorning with vases and accessories.

    Paint the whole unit the same colour for an ‘interior-designed’ look.

    3. Stash books in baskets

    living room storage ideas 1

    Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

    If you’re living room is full of books stop your shelving from looking too chaotic by using baskets to group books together. Put similar colours and sizes side by side for an ordered feel, or arrange by topic or author.

    4. Go for a wall-to-wall system

    living room storage ideas 2

    Image credit: David Brittian

    Invest in shelves that run from wall-to-wall in a living room. A run of open shelving or glass fronted cabinets across a living room wall gives you plenty of space to display favourite finds. Pair with low-level cupboards or drawers for easy access to everyday items that aren’t so easy on the eye.

    5. Customise your own sideboard

    Living room storage ideas 3

    Image credit:

    Pushing together a bank of Ivar units, from IKEA for £45 each, creates an unobtrusive, inexpensive storage and display space for all your living room clutter. Store your books and games inside to keep them neat and out the way. Paint it white for a  simple finish.

    6. Frame a window to utilise space

    living room storage ideas

    Image credit: Tim Young

    Make best use of space by framing windows with bespoke storage. Realise the full potential of unused wall space, especially up high, with built-in storage solutions. Window seats provides the perfect place to sit and make you feel that little bit closer to the outside.

    7. Repurpose vintage storage trunks

    living room storage ideas

    Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

    For an eclectic interior full of charm, give new life and purpose to old pre-loved pieces. A storage trunk not only gives a room a sense of history, but can double up as a feature coffee table, too. You should be able to pick up sturdy, good-quality solid-wood vintage pieces for much less than you’d pay for them new. Antique shop fittings and cabinets work brilliantly in modern homes as they offer well-organised storage in a unique piece of furniture that’s full of character and personality. Optimise storage further with a wooden sideboard with plenty of drawers.

    8. Consider ladder-style shelving

    living room storage ideas

    Image credit: David Brittain

    Step up your storage with ladder-style shelving. A leaning ladder shelf is a great way to add storage without overwhelming a living room. As well as being an interesting alternative to more conventional shelving, they are perfect for paler schemes or rooms with limited space. Be sure to secure the frame to the wall for safety.

    9. Use non-traditional furniture

    living room storage ideas

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    Think outside the box when it comes to furniture choices for your living room. A traditional dresser, a more obvious dining room choice, sits beautifully in place of a bookshelf . In this case the natural wood adds an element of rustic country charm. While the boxy design blends in with the modern sofa and table, keeping the look contemporary.

    10. Opt for smart furniture pieces

    living room storage ideas

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    Making your furniture work harder is especially important if you have a small living space. Chose multi-purpose furniture pieces, such as this coffee table that seamlessly accommodates books and magazines. Perfect for storage while also handy for providing a surface drinks and blooms on display.

    11. Make best use of free-standing furniture in alcoves

    living room storage ideas

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    Make the most of all the space available. Many living rooms have alcove space either side of the chimney breast, this provides a natural solution for storage. The ideal choice is to have bespoke cabinetry and shelves fitted, as seen on the left above, however it can be expensive.

    But even on a budget, the space is still a prime location for clever free-standing furniture pieces – the space is effectively wasted otherwise, due to width restrictions. Use tall units to best utilise every square inch of storage on offer.

    Related: Hallway storage ideas – to create a practical entrance that is neat and tidy

    More top living room storage tips

    • Make living room furniture work harder by choosing items that include storage. A coffee table with a shelf beneath will create an extra surface for stashing newspapers and remote controls out of the way. An upholstered ottoman could double up as a storage unit and a coffee table. Vintage trunks are also ideal for this job and will add character to your living room, too.
    • Create space on your coffee table for hot mugs of tea by relocating books and magazines to shelves. Bookcases aren’t just for traditional-style rooms; modular shelving units and ladder-style shelves are ideal for contemporary schemes.
    • If your room hasn’t the floor space to accommodate a bookcase or a freestanding unit, opt for a wall-hung shelving unit instead. DVD storage will also banish the clutter and keep your living room in order.
    • Storage doesn’t just need to be functional; you could use it to give your room a whole new focal point. Floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall shelving filled with books, framed family photographs and much-loved home accessories will create a striking feature that is unique to you.
    • If you’d prefer storage to take a back seat, make use of alcoves. Ask a carpenter to create subtle, built-in units and paint them in the same shade as the walls so that they blend in.
    • For a contemporary scheme, try fitting a streamlined sliding panel to conceal a whole wall of shelving, drawers and pull-out cupboards. If you have lots of dinner party items and equipment, have a look at our living room storage ideas.

    Will you be trying out any of these living room storage ideas?

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