living area organizing
to Encourage Actual Living Inside

Modern living room with couch and table.

Living rooms present a unique set of organizational challenges.These rooms are usually highly visible. So you want them to be company-ready, yet family-friendly at the same time.

Keeping living areas presentable ties in closely to the problem of minimal storage. These living area organizing tips can help.

Living Area Organizing to Encourage Living Inside

Living rooms are usually set up for sitting, not living. You have your basic sofa, chair, end table, and coffee table. Note that none of these pieces of furniture usually have storage.

Where do you put the remote? Magazines? Paperwork? Headsets? Computers? Games? Books? Glasses? Tissues? You get the drift. These living area organizing ideas can help.

Most families carry the stuff they need or are working on into the living room and then leave it there (of course!).

You - and your guests - will find abandoned items on the coffee table, beside the chair, and on the floor. This is precisely what you don't want.

The solution? Living area organizing. Give the family a place to put their things so they can keep them where they use them.

That means you've got to get creative with your living room organization and figure out how to incorporate storage areas into the room. 

Add Living Room Storage

Here are some ways to create more storage in living rooms, from least to most expensive:

  • Incorporate attractive baskets into your decor.
  • Choose furniture with hidden storage, such as ottomans, benches, etc.
  • Choose furniture with built-in storage such as armoires, hutches, and bookshelves, as well as coffee tables or end tables with baskets, shelves, or drawers.
  • Invest in custom-designed storage units.
  • Buy or build wall units. 

Fortunately, furniture designers are hip to the problem, so there's a lot of furniture available today with storage capabilities. 

Living Area Organizing Ideas for Activity Areas

Look at your room in terms of the activities you'll be doing there, write down what items you need for those activities, and then start planning where you'll put them.

Here are a few examples:

  • Reading: Store books, newspapers, or magazines, in baskets, on shelves under coffee tables or end tables, on bookshelves, or in attractive magazine racks.
  • TV: The problem is not so much where to put the TV as where to keep the remote and game consoles. If you watch TV or play games often, leave them on a tabletop. If you try to limit your kids' viewing (or if you have a toddler who might dip the remote in the toilet), stash it out of sight. But always keep it in the same place.
  • Sewing: Even if you don't sew, per se, you probably mend and stitch on buttons. If you keep your sewing kit handy in a cabinet in the entertainment center or hutch, you'll be much more likely to do those minor repairs. If you sew a lot, keep your basket right by your special chair. 
  • Toys and games: Many wooden toy chests are attractive enough to grace your living room. (Make sure, however, that any chest you use for toys has supports that will hold the hinged lid open in any position. Many children have been injured by tops crashing down on their arms, heads, and hands.) Benches with storage underneath are another option, and they can neatly camouflage an entire battalion of G.I. Joes. Otherwise, group toys by type (LEGOs, Barbies, coloring, drawing) in plastic containers and stack them neatly on shelves or in cabinets. Allow little ones to pull out only one container at a time.
  • Napping: The only accessories you need here can be stored in plain sight - afghans and pillows.

In addition to these organizational groups, I also give each member of my family a personal place to stash stuff.

Each family member has a drawer in the living room to hold the items they can't live without at the moment: lanyard materials, Game Boy, favorite novel, etc.

Whenever they get a free minute, their stuff is within easy reach. 

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