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In today’s world, your living room has to meet a multitude of requirements. Not only is it a place to spend time with your family, but it also has to function as a place where you can do a few hours of work, entertain some guests and lounge on the sofa watching your favorite show. Oftentimes, all in one day. With so many needs to fill, it’s no wonder that living rooms require as many storage solutions as it has uses.
Read on for our tips to help turn your space into a place that both you and your stuff can live in peace.
1. Make Your Furniture Work Double Time
Built-in furniture, like an integrated sofa or window seat, is a great opportunity for tucked away storage. Don’t feel like going custom? Look for coffee tables with drawers or a lower shelf to maximize your surface area. Storage ottomans also make a great option for extra seating and a spot to keep those spare blankets.
2. Go Bespoke With Built-ins
If your space looks more like a cluttered library than a living room, use full height bookshelves to give yourself plenty of rows for your collection. Bespoke wall-to-wall shelving is a great way to max out your linear feet and tailor every inch to your needs.
Lacking floor space? Build furniture into your shelves or create the perfect nook to slide a sofa into and mount your TV on. With custom shelves, the sky really is the limit.
3. Keep It Simple with Bookshelves
If the custom library look isn’t in your budget, use regular bookcases to create a semi-custom look. Stitch them together to create a seamless wall of storage or flank your fireplace, like in this example from Sarah Montgomery Design’s Cortez project, for the elevated elegance of a custom piece with a more eclectic charm.
4. Vary Heights for Your Unique Pieces
Be sure to put your storage zones to their best use by tailoring your shelving to your specific needs. Maybe you aren’t a book person, but rather, a collector of beautiful ceramics or vintage records or eccentric tchotchkes. Whatever your style, customizing the heights of your shelves will ensure each and every object has a perfect place to nestle in.
5. Go Modular to Make It Yours
Modular shelving systems are a great way to get all of the customization you need now with the ability to mix it all up again later. Choose a system that fits your aesthetic and then let your imagination run wild. From small home office corners to elaborate library shelving systems, there is a size and style that fits every living room.
6. Lean on Wall Shelves
Wall shelves are easily the most versatile type of living room storage there is. Stack a few for a minimalist bookshelf or hang a single shelf above the sofa as an art shelf. Floating shelves are great for a modern look, while wall shelves on brackets can provide a rustic charm. No matter your taste, there is bound to be a wall shelf that fits your style and budget.
7. Close Off Your Clutter
While keeping your items on display can add a lot of character to a space, sometimes you just need a dark drawer to toss all of your junk into. Closed storage, like these built-in cabinets, are great for keeping everything organized and, most importantly, out of sight. This is particularly handy if you live in a home that lacks closet space. Who’s to say if there are board games, linens or all of your guests’ coats behind those doors?
8. Have Fun with Furniture
Who said dressers were only for bedrooms? If you find that your living room storage is in need of a few extra drawers, look for a furniture piece that can fulfill your needs and add a lot of character to a space.
Low and warm mid-century credenzas are great for under a TV, while a tall dresser or hutch could fit nicely in that niche next to your fireplace. If you want to keep things sleek, look for wall-mounted options with minimal hardware.
9. Make a Dust-Free Display
Although china and curio cabinets may seem like a relic of the past, they make for great display pieces. Whether you prefer to go full antique, or choose a more modern option, having glass-fronted storage can give you the best of both worlds. Keep your more precious pieces stored inside to keep them out of reach from dust and little hands while still getting to see them.
10. Create a Work From Home Zone
In the age of working from home, our living rooms act as our offices, classrooms and studio spaces. Using a roll top desk or a large hutch is an easy way to keep work, and all it’s clutter, out of sight and mind. With a large enough piece you can even keep a printer tucked away inside and provide a place for computers and tablets to charge when not in use.
11. Get the Best of Both Worlds
It can be difficult to decide whether to hide your things away or put them on display, so why not do both? By striking a balance between open shelving and closed storage you can ensure that you have maximum versatility.
Use your open shelves to display your classier pieces and special items while your tattered paperbacks and boxes of toys live in cabinets below. If the built-in route isn’t the right fit for you try hanging open shelves above a low dresser or credenza for a similar look.
12. Keep Your Shelves Low
If you need a bit of storage, but aren’t willing to sacrifice all the wall space, try using lower shelves and credenzas in your space. Like this example from @coco.kelley, having a mixture of lower shelves and cabinetry leaves plenty of room for artwork, plants or other taller items. Not to mention, it’s great spot for a lamp to add a bit more ambience to your space.
13. Use Your Nooks and Crannies
When it comes to keeping clutter at bay, every little nook and cranny can serve a purpose. Fill in those awkward gaps and unused spaces with floating shelves for a little extra storage. You can even have custom shelving made to fit nice and snug into whatever alcove you have to spare. No strange corners in your home? Utilize your window sills to display objects and stacks of books or lean art on your mantel to add a touch of easy elegance.
14. Put Your Decor to Work
When in doubt, get yourself some storage accessories. Baskets are a great way to add warmth to a space. Put a few smaller ones on a shelf to hide away clutter or tuck a large one in a corner for extra blankets. If you are fond of flea markets, take this opportunity to seek out interesting objects that can double as storage.
Use an old apothecary cabinet for hiding away matches and batteries, while also acting as a side table. Thrift a larger planter to hold your umbrellas, or an elegant trey to house your remotes. Any object can be converted into clever storage with a little imagination.
15. Put Linens Away or On Display
Antique trunks and crates make for excellent linen storage for extra blankets and pillows while also serving as side tables. If you would rather display your throws and blankets, try hanging them on a ladder or from wall hooks where they can add to the texture of the space. When in doubt, you can always opt for a large basket. You can never have too many baskets.
16. Max Out Your Stacks
If you’re prone to collecting books that don’t fit quite so snugly in a bookshelf, stacking them artfully on the floor can provide nice visual levels and handy surfaces. Use a low stack of hardier books to act as a plant stand or low side table. Have a lot of magazines? Stack them neatly under benches, coffee tables, and side tables to keep them out of the way, but still within reach.
17. Put it On Wheels
Bar carts are a great tool for displaying your cocktail making accoutrement. Arrange your wine and liquor bottles neatly on the top shelf or display your collection of water pitchers and coffee carafes if alcohol isn’t exactly your cup of tea.
Mobility is the key feature of a cart, so use those wheels to your advantage. Store children’s toys and crafts for easy cleanup when you need to transform your space from parent mode to party mode quickly.
Whether you prefer a maximalist living room or a minimalist approach, with these inspiring ideas you’re bound to find the perfect storage strategy for your space.
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