Often full of furniture (a sofa or two, an armchair and other the media bits and bobs) living rooms are usually in need of a storage solution that allows them to feel spacious without sacrificing style.
The key is choosing pieces that offer as much storage potential as possible, so a coffee table with a shelf and drawers, shelving solutions that are built in or box cabinets that can be wall mounted make great options. Look out for storage that fits with your living room design to keep the room feeling cohesive, too.
1. Display stuff in a rustic style cabinet
Sometimes it’s a shame to hide our favourite pieces away, but you can display them while keeping them dust-free with this beautiful Canterbury cabinet dresser in dark pine and grey from Noa & Nani. It has two glazed doors and two drawers underneath; it also comes in white and dark pine.
2. Use vertical space with a shelving unit
The industrial trend is still going strong, and if you’re a fan of it then this timber wide shelving unit from French Connection is for you. Crafted from light-grey mango wood that has been sand-blasted to create a weathered finish, it has a metal frame that is ideal for coping with the weight of numerous books and vases.
3. Go for a retro storage cabinet
Although this ‘chifforobe’ is essentially designed for a bedroom, it can also be used in a living room as shown here. West Elm’s Mid-Century design from John Lewis does have a short hanging rail – this could be used for hanging linens on. There are four generously sized drawers along the side and one at the bottom that will be perfect for storage. All other items also available from John Lewis.
4. Add extra hidden storage with a coffee table
Where would we be without coffee tables? They are such an essential living room storage solution. The Appledore living room storage table from Barker & Stonehouse is made from reclaimed wood and is a particularly handy design. Not only does it have a useful shelf, but it comes with three deep drawers and a toughened glass top. Perfect for family life.
5. Get extra surface space with nesting tables
The clean lines of these beautifully crafted Franya side tables are ideal if you love Scandi style. Crafted from bamboo and iron, they are sturdy and will fit under each other when not in use. Place house plants, your latest read, and a stylish table lamp on them to complete the look.
6. Use a sideboard to hide clutter
Every living room should have a sideboard – they’re great for hiding away items that you don’t want to be seen, or for storing those board games that appear every Christmas and the magazines that you can’t bear to part with. This living room storage unit from Loaf has a lovely wide top, so it’s ideal for table lamps, bowls of fruit, candles and your favourite mementos.
7. Still got clutter lying around? Buy storage baskets
Endlessly useful baskets come in lovely squidgy shapes and have a fabulous tactile quality that adds character to a scheme. Brissi’s Ostuni belly baskets with their pink pom poms are very versatile, you can use them for storing blankets, magazines, plants and all those too-numerous-to-mention remote controls we all seem to collect.
8. Awkward shaped living room? Invest in purpose built shelving
Tricky alcoves and sloping roofs can naturally lend themselves to built-in storage solutions, especially in living rooms. The Neville Johnson Sudbury Living Concept fitted furniture range works really well here and has been designed to accommodate the TV (and all the wires) as well as storing books, displaying photos, and showing off vases and ornaments. Prices start from £3,000.
9. Save space with wall mounted box shelves
If space is an issue, getting as much as furniture as possible up off the floor gives the illusion of a bigger room. These Eket wall cabinets are a fabulous idea from Ikea: they are deep enough to store a whole range of items and will create modern living room feel. They come in light or dark blue and are part of a wider range of storage solutions that can be wall mounted or used on the floor.
10. Choose an elegant console table
Console tables are so fabulously versatile and actually work in most rooms, but also look great in living rooms. They can be used for table lamps and big vases full of pretty blooms, trinkets and your favourite books. Atkin & Thyme’s Ashanti console has three drawers which offers that extra bit of storage and it has an eye-catching textured 3D print.
11. Experiment with open shelving
If you're a naturally tidy person and have lots of lovely bits and bobs you're happy to display, opting for an open shelving unit is an easy way to add interest and personality to a space. We love the String Storage System in Walnut from Skandium.
When it comes to styling shelves, pairing items with similar hues and colours is a great start.
Top tips for choosing storage furniture for your living room
- Think about the full range of storage options for a living room: fitted and freestanding pieces, as well as those that conceal their contents from view, and those that display their contents. All of these styles are useful, and you might prefer a combination of all of them.
- Plan your shelving around what it will be holding, so that it’s strong enough and the right depth, plus assess how a collection of favourite pieces is likely to grow.
- Paint the shelving the same colour as the walls for an unobtrusive finish.
- Don’t forget to allow for skirting boards when you’re measuring up for storage.
- Storage furniture doesn’t have to come from the same range, but keep wood colours or finishes consistent and look for harmony between different pieces.
- Invest in a modular system if you think your storage needs are likely to expand, so that it can be increased accordingly.
- Store heavy items low down so that they don’t tip the furniture over, or choose a piece that can be fixed to a wall.