10 living room organization tips to keep your fave space clean

Say goodbye to living room chaos

Living room with white accent chair
(Image credit: Volant / Unsplash)

The beating heart of your home, the living room is the one room that needs to function both as a refuge and as an inviting place to gather guests. In order to be comfortable enough to do both, your living room design must be well-organized yet reflect your own personal style. Because it is a high-traffic area that ends up as a multi-functional space, it can be difficult to keep a living room organized. 

In order to keep this room clutter-free and zen-like on a daily basis, you need to adopt an organizational style that works on a day-to-day basis. Whether you want a relaxing place to stream your favorite TV shows in peace or a space to hang out with friends (or both), here are 10 tips to keep everything in your living room in its place. 

1. Map the traffic flow

For many homes and apartments, the front entrance leads directly to the living room. If this is the case for your home, you likely need to analyze the foot traffic flow before creating a layout for big furniture, such as your sofa or coffee table. By mapping the typical flow of foot traffic, you can create a path that’s free of clutter and unnecessary furniture, making the space feel more relaxed, natural, and inviting.

2. Clean up the entrance

If your front door opens up directly to your living room, it is also important to consider your foyer or entrance area in your living room design. While it may feel easier to leave your shoes at the door, creating a pile of shoes can lead to relaxing your standards. Before you know it, there are piles of coats, jackets, and hats at the entrance of your living room. Instead of letting these objects pile up, create rules about what you will leave at the door and what will need to be put away. Shoe storage options like cabinets and benches or coat racks can also help clear your entrance of clutter.  

3. Opt for multi-functioning furniture

For living rooms with limited space, utilizing storage furniture — such as a coffee table trunk or a sofa with storage — can free up square footage. Space-savers can also be more cost-effective, allowing you to avoid purchasing multiple pieces. In many smaller spaces, the living room can also function as a work-from-home office, dining room, and more. In these situations, it’s best to think creatively about which pieces of furniture can be multi-functional.  

4. Hide your cords

Many times, the living room is where most of our technology lives. From TVs to gaming consoles to desktop computers, there's often an excess of cords that distract from your decor. Thankfully, there are plenty of cable management options that allow you to either organize or hide your device’s cords. For an even more clutter-free space, try putting away any technology you don’t use on a daily basis.  

5. Consider the lighting

Natural light can be beneficial to how a space feels and a lack of light can make your home feel disorganized or cramped. If your goal is to create a place that will feel beautiful as well as functional, consider changing out distracting window treatments. Even something as simple as opting for more transparent curtains can change your relationship with your space for the better. If the window treatments cannot be changed, consider finding a lamp that will brighten your space (and your mood).  

6. Find a place for linens and pillows

Organized people know that finding a specific place for everything is key in creating an organizational method that will continue to work day by day. On the other hand, comfort lovers understand that in order to make your space more relaxing, extra pillows and throws are a must. In order to have a comfy place that isn’t cluttered, consider finding storage space to keep these items. Another plus? You’ll always be able to find a blanket when you need one. We love the idea of having a living room blanket basket.

7. Avoid signs and lettering

Despite the immense popularity of decorative signs, it’s important to keep in mind that too many words can also contribute to visual clutter. Sure, a great sign can be a reminder of a positive affirmation or serve to show guests how you feel, but too many words make you feel disordered. Instead of featuring multiple signs, consider focusing the decor on one or trade them out for more visually-arresting pieces of art.   

8. Create a color guide

Designing intentionally can transform a space. Alternatively, designing unintentionally (and doing things like throwing in too many colors or adding a bunch of mismatched decor pieces) can absolutely make your space feel more cluttered. If you have cleaned up, decluttered, and still feel disorganized, it may be worth switching out furniture and decor pieces that visually clash with your space.   

Many gallery walls serve as a beautiful display of all your favorite framed art pieces, photographs, and objects. However, a clashing collection of frames isn’t always the best option for a living room space, especially for any living rooms short on square footage that might already feel cluttered. Instead of gathering disproportionate objects and frames together in a hob-knob style, opt for installing larger objects, such as a large painting, or group collections of similar-style framed photographs for a more sleek look.  

10. Don't overbuy storage items

It can be easy to believe that you have to start organizing by going on a shopping spree but that isn’t always the best first move for organizing a space. The last thing you should be doing is adding more clutter. Instead of going out and purchasing a ton of items, spend time in your living room analyzing which storage container types would be best and start forming a list. Then, start shopping for the best organization products to create your cleanest living room yet.

Kate Santos

Hello! I’m Kate Santos, a writer and photographer based in Los Angeles. In the design world, I got my start working as an Editorial Intern for Dwell magazine in San Francisco. Since then, I’ve written about design and architecture in many national magazines and online publications, including Playboy, Hunker, and The Culture Trip.

I grew up in a very old house in North Carolina and am still influenced by the rustic, charming, antique and aged elements of a home. Sustainability and longevity is extremely important to me and I believe learning to reuse materials or purchasing items you’ll love forever goes a long way. I also lean towards the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi when designing my own home, embracing the perfectly imperfect items I can find.