12 living room storage ideas to quickly tidy up your space

Check out these fabulous living room storage ideas to hide away your clutter and still be stylish

Ikea living room storage ideas
(Image credit: Ikea)

If you are after living room storage ideas that are both practical and pretty, we have you covered. We have become somewhat experts in finding storage solutions that look fab but also do the job of... storing stuff.

In living rooms in particular, storage can be tricky. Often full of furniture (a sofa or two, an armchair and media bits and bobs) they are usually in need of a storage solution that allows them to feel spacious without sacrificing style. 

The key to getting your living room storage spot on is choosing pieces that offer as much storage potential as possible. Think a coffee table with a shelf and drawers, built-in shelving solutions or box cabinets that can be wall-mounted. Look out for storage that fits with your living room design to keep the room feeling cohesive, too.

Here, we share some of our favorite living room storage ideas that are both perfectly practical and simply stylish and then make sure you check out our living room ideas gallery. 

Open plan living room with blue feature wall

(Image credit: Darren Chung)

What is the best storage for a living room?

The key to effective living room storage is to have a mix. You'll want spaces to keep things on show so shelving is always a good option as you can use them to add decorating too. But you'll also want storage you can use to hide away all that un-aesthetically please stuff that you need in a living room like remotes and wires and manuals, so consider adding in some closed storage too in the form of a cabinet or console table.

Then you've got the sneaky storage which can be great if you have a small living room and don't want to fill your room with furniture. Storage sofas, ottomans, windows seats – multi-purpose furniture makes for great living room storage. 

How can you create storage space in a small living room?

To create storage space in a living room you are first going to want to declutter and see exactly how much 'stuff' you need to fit back into the space. Vertical storage always works well in smaller spaces because it has a minimal footprint so look out for pieces like ladder shelving and slimline units. Shelving is another great option for the same reasons, they provide plenty of storage without taking up any of the valuable floor space.

'Maximize space in a compact living room by investing in multifunctional furniture. An ottoman footstool is a great place to start, it works as additional seating for when guests visit, it creates extra storage, and best of all, a place to put up your feet at the end of a long day.' says Jen and Mar from Interior Fox.

'Add shelves to open areas to make the most of empty spaces. Floating shelves or a tall bookshelf that extends to the ceiling will provide ample amounts of storage and a place to showcase decorative items. Try a built-in cabinet or low-profile media unit for a stylish alternative to a tv stand, it provides additional space to stow away items out of sight, while creating a clutter-free living room to relax in.'

1. Make the most of alcoves

Living room trends

(Image credit: Chris Snook)

If you have been blessed with alcoves in your living room make the most of them, that prime storage space. Floating shelves are always a good option as they can be used to add some decoration as well as a place to keep books. But if you need some closed storage too, use the bottom of the alcoves as a space for a storage unit or even have something built-in so that awkward floor space isn't going to waste.  

2. Add a chic sideboard

A move to the North East gave Caroline Briggs a chance to indulge her passion for reclaimed treasures and create a unique home with inspiring views

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

Sideboards make for great living room storage as you can use them to hide clutter, but the top can be the perfect space to curate some cute decor. No one need know the cabinet is filled with old magazines, a million wires you have no use for, and your ever-growing collection of board games, because from the outside it's so chic and sophisticated. 

3. Go modular to get a bespoke feel

Living room storage ideas

(Image credit: Utility )

If you want to create something that perfectly suits your storage needs, a storage system would be the way to go. You can customize the size, the layout, how much open and closed storage you have, plus they look super chic too, perfect if you like a more contemporary Scandi style in your home. 

'Modular, open shelving provides a great way to fit storage into small spaces. The best thing about modular furniture is that it really can be installed anywhere.' explains Peter Erlandsson, Co-Founder and Director of String. 'There are only two things you need to consider. The first is making sure your shelving is deep and tall enough to store your belongings, but narrow enough that it doesn’t compromise your precious square-footage. The second is making sure you use a mix of open shelving and cabinet styles to create a display unit that is flexible enough to hide the things you don’t want on show.'

4. Make your living room storage a feature 

Living room with books by Ikea

(Image credit: Ikea)

Living room storage isn't always about hiding everything away, sometime a bit of clutter is a good thing. Curate the clutter by picking color schemes and still planning where everything is going to go. We love the rustic look of these short bookshelves in this living room, it almost creates the effect that the books are floating on the wall.

5. Add a window seat for hidden storage

Hanging chair in loft space

(Image credit: Fiona Murray)

If you are lucky to have bay windows, why not use that space for storage by adding a window seat? They are perfect for storing spare cushions, blankets and bedding plus they look gorgeous too and create a real feature in your living room.

6. Install floating shelves 

Small living room ideas

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

If you are after some quick living room storage that you can put up yourself in just a few hours, floating shelves are the one. They always look lovely and double up as decor space too so you can use them to bring some texture and personality into the room. We like how these are wall-mounted above the TV, making it less of the focus of the room. 

7. Pick out double duty furniture 

Ikea living room

(Image credit: Ikea)

If you have a living room that's on the smaller side then your furniture has to work extra hard, so picking pieces that can double up as storage as key. Ottomans are great for this, but even if you don't have room for an ottoman, a cute pouf with a tray on top can add some extra surface space. 

8. Pick a coffee table with storage in mind

Rhiannon Southwell’s green Shaker kitchen was the final part of the project to update a Victorian home

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

And if you do have room for a coffee table, pick a design that's going to add some storage in too. Something that has drawers or cubbies to keep tech or even lookout for furniture you can repurpose as a coffee table. We love how in this living room an old chest is being used, looks cute and plenty of room for storage. 

9. Go for a storage sofa

Living room rug ideas

(Image credit: Rachel Manns)

Now, we know large sectional sofas haven't always been in style but they are making a comeback! 'Having spent prolonged periods of time at home with the whole family, we've certainly seen a shift away from occasional seating, to much more expansive comfort. Large scale corner formats and softer fillings are taking center stage, now that we're lounging more than ever.' explains Ruth Wassermann, Design Director at MADE.COM.

The best second best thing about larger sofas, after being super comfy, you can get plenty of options that have storage compartments.

10. Create displays with glass cabinets 

Ikea living room with glass cabinet

(Image credit: Ikea)

Loving the eclectic feel of this living room, and it's another space that proves not everything has to be hidden away. Clear glass cabinets are perfect for creating displays in your living room and giving you room personalty. Plus choosing a glass cabinet over a solid one means light can still flow through so your storage feels less bulky and doesn't break up your room.

11. If in doubt add baskets

Small living room ideas

(Image credit: Jemma Watts)

The easiest living room storage idea? Baskets. They fit in any space and suit any style. Plus you can never have too many. They are ideal for keeping blankets, books, magazines, dog toys, kid's toys, firewood – really they are a living room essential.

12. Use storage to bring in color

Books stored by colour

(Image credit: John Lewis)

When you are squeezed for space it can be tricky not to just make all your living room storage super practical and not focus too much on what it actually adds to your space. But we reckon even in the smallest of spaces, storage can still be pretty and actually become a feature of your room. 

Need book storage in your small living room? Don't just stack them all haphazardly on shelves, use them as part of your decoration. Arrange them in colors and pick out accessories to match. See practical and stylish.

If you have are the proud owner of an ever-expanding collection of books, make sure you check out our book storage ideas too

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 favorite pieces is likely to grow. 
  • Paint the shelving the same color 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 colors 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 they 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.
Hebe Hatton
Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer. As a renter, she is always looking for creative ways to make her flat feel like home. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration.