Want your living room to look neat and tidy like the ones in the magazines? Here are some expert tips for organizing your living room (and keeping it that way).
With a plush microfiber sectional, 65-inch TV, and the latest Playstation launch, the living room becomes the unofficial hangout spot.
It’s also the default backdrop to newly made memories.
Classy wintertime soirees.
Friday night Netflix binge-a-thons.
High-stakes Monopoly tournaments with friends.
The end tables become overrun with empty soda cans and rogue magazines. The couch gets covered in throw pillows and knit blankets. And if there are kids in the mix, piles of toys can make it look more like a disaster zone than a living space.
Ready to return your family room to its neat and orderly style? Follow these nine living room organization secrets to keep yours in order all year.
Less Is More
A minimalist living room might resemble the eerie discomfort of a doctor’s office or workplace cubicle. But too much clutter escapes “cozy” territory quite quickly.
You know what they say:
Less is more!
Start by taking inventory of your living room and honestly asking yourself, “Do I really need this or that?”
The throw pillow mountains, three armchairs, 5-foot long glass coffee table, and piled encyclopedias are what they call “extra.”
If it’s not practical and rarely gets TLC, think about donating it.
Shh … It’s a Secret!
The trick to a flawlessly organized living room is gutting the items that add clutter.
No, that doesn’t mean canceling your Vanity Fair subscription. Nor does it require keeping your Doritos breaks to the kitchen (though that cheese dust is a menace).
The solution is being secretive:
- A hideaway wastebasket that looks like an end table
- A magazine file box that you can stuff beside the sofa
- An under-couch storage bin for surprise visits
- A folding, paneled room divider in the corner
A word to the wise: Don’t let these last-ditch solutions become your first-resort.
Shoving candy wrappers in that couch storage bin or tossing unwashed laundry behind the panel divider will only kneecap your organizational efforts.
Rearrange Those Wires
Between the flat-screen TV, phone charging station, cable box, and even more digital devices, the most unsightly cove is the wire jumble behind the TV.
Wireless isn’t always an option, but plastic organizers, zipped sleeves, or cable protectors certainly are!
These simple, secretive tubes will keep those cable clusters organized and free of tangles where they’d normally look like a scene out of MacGyver.
Bookshelves Aren’t Just For Books!
The living room allows your inner digital fiend to run loose, but it also means suffering from dozens of DVD and video game cases scattered like a pigsty.
That bookshelf isn’t reserved for your Lord of the Rings trilogy or John Grisham collection. Use these conveniently tiered shelves to organize your:
- Collectible VHS tapes
- DVDs & Blu-Rays
- Video game discs
- Gaming systems
- Books and magazines
Color coding your discs or arranging them by size can also add a satisfying touch to a filled-to-the-brim bookshelf.
Look Into Movable Furniture
Selecting living room furniture that your guests will enjoy (rather than you and your family/roommates) might leave you with an achy back or a bare-bones hangout scene.
But this doesn’t have to be an either-or scenario.
With portable furniture, the transition from Friday night relaxation mode to Saturday morning book club requires nothing more than tugging an ottoman or unfolding a table.
Consider these ideas to free up space without forfeiting your style:
- Wheeled ottomans
- Foldable snack tables (makeshift end tables in a pinch)
- Furniture sliders for the sofa
When your guests leave, you’ll regain some 50+ square feet of floor space. And your hosting furniture can go into the hall closet until next time.
Don’t Forget to Clean Regularly
Nothing makes a living room look un-pristine as much as dirt specks, streaky windows, and wine-stained carpeting.
Achieving peak organization requires a regular cleaning routine:
- Dusting all tables, shelves, and fan blades
- Wiping surfaces down with disinfectants
- Cleaning windows with Windex and a lint-free microfiber cloth
- Vacuuming all allergens, dust, and mites invisible to the naked eye
Do each of these things at least once a week.
After jostling around an entire Harry Potter book set or three-wick candle display every week, you’ll get the hint:
“Maybe I have too much clutter.”
Add Trays and Baskets
A complete living room overhaul is a double-edged sword. The room certainly looks more welcoming to guests, but it also deprives you of your comfort.
It’s so clutter-free that you feel like a visitor in your own home!
Trays and baskets are classy fixes for finding a middle ground. These somewhat obscure elements gather all of your must-haves in one location but allow for quick removal.
Center a medium-sized wicker basket on your coffee table for all those copies of US Weekly, your reed diffuser, AA batteries, and everything else that doesn’t have a permanent home.
When guests arrive, plop it down on your bookshelf.
Out of sight, out of mind!
Make Good Use of Your Vertical Space
When you can’t fathom parting with your childhood Disney trinkets or mini potted cacti, what’s your go-to solution?
Tucking a new table along the wall, of course!
But if you’re craving a more clutter-free vibe, pumping your living room full of even more knick-knacks requires a specialized technique:
Clear those tables bare! It’s time to install wall shelves or a towering bookshelf to create a blissful catastrophe.
Scatter framed vacation photos, comic book memorabilia, indoor plants (faux or not), and decorated rocks to add some organized pizzazz to your vertical space.
Go Old-School With a Remote Caddy
No matter how popular “smart” TVs become, they can never entirely replace your other digital pals (i.e., Xbox, surround-sound system, DVD player, USB-C chargers).
You know what that means!
The coffee table — and its matching end tables — become a chaotic mess, littered with bulky remotes and untamed electrical wires.
It’s time to welcome the newest addition to your living room:
A remote caddy.
These minimalist leather or wood storage systems can organize all of your digital controllers in one neat location.
Some even hang over the arm of your sofa so you can change the channel without disturbing your comfort.
The number-one living room organization secret is following the same “Carry In, Carry Out” protocol that public parks recommend.
Chow down on a microwavable dinner on the sofa?
Toss it in the trash when you return to the kitchen for a seltzer.
By Saturday morning (or whatever day you dedicate to sprucing up), you can cut the work in half. Dust, wipe, and return abandoned items to their rightful homes.
An organized living room should be the default, not something that disappears by 7 p.m. each night and that you have to reclaim as you go about your morning routine!
Caitlin Sinclair is the property manager at Broadstone Sienna, a luxury apartment community in Houston, TX.