How To Organize A Small Living Room

 How To Organize A Small Living Room


Your living room is intended to be the centerpiece of your home. It’s the room where your family gathers for movie nights, board games, and just to be together after a long, hard day. Keeping your small living room organized is key to maintaining an enjoyable space without it becoming overcrowded or cluttered.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

Living in only 150 square feet, I don’t have a ton of room. I’m intentional about the way I organize my small living room so that it always feels roomy, despite its small size.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

Simple Steps To Start Organizing Your Small Living Room

Simple Steps To Start Organizing Your Small Living Room

It can be overwhelming to know where to begin when it comes to organizing your small living room. Within such a small space, it’s easy for your magazines, board games, DVDs, and trinkets to become a frenzied disarray. However, with a little strategy, you can create more room and comfort no matter what.

Step One: Clear Off All Visible Surfaces

Clear Off All Visible Surfaces

When it comes to organizing any small space, the best way to begin is with the items you can already see. A lot of how a space feels is about what is visible in the room. Keeping clutter at bay will instantly free up the space.

Remove These Items

  • Trays
  • Remotes
  • Potted plants
  • Tabletop books
  • Coasters
  • Key rings
  • Miscellaneous items
decluttered living room

Lay these items out on your living room floor. Use your floor as a holding space while you get everything organized.

It’s important to remember that countertops and flat surfaces aren’t storage. You’re going to want to find a new home for all the small items that clutter your flat surfaces — one that is functional and aligns with the item’s specific purpose.

Step Two: Pull Out Items From Drawers And Shelves

Pull Out Items From Drawers And Shelves

Once you’ve removed everything from flat surfaces and other visible spaces like bookshelves or floating shelves, its time to dig into the recesses of your small living and pull out those items that are hiding.

Dig in the backs of the drawers in your TV stand, shelves along your walls, or any other storage areas you have in your small living room and lay out all the junk hiding away.

junk drawer clutter

Step Three: Declutter Your Small Living Room

Declutter Your Small Living Room

Once you have everything laid out across the floor of your small living room, it’s time to dive into the decluttering process. It’s important to declutter your belongings before you organize them so you can get rid of everything you don’t actually need to keep around in your small living room.

I like to go with the Four Box Decluttering method when I declutter in my tiny house. I find this method to be incredibly simple, yet highly effective for getting the job done.

four box decluttering method

Step Four: Placement Of Furniture In A Small Living Room Layout

Placement Of Large Furniture In A Small Living Room Layout

Before you put anything back in a new place in your living room, you’ll need to tackle your largest space sucker: furniture. In all honesty, navigating the placement of furniture is the most difficult aspect of keeping a small living room organized.

placement of furniture in a small living roomLiving rooms aren’t used to store much, so that’s the easy part. But, when you want to veg out in front of the TV and watch your favorite film, you want your space to feel roomy and comfortable while you’re doing so.

If you aren’t planning to cut your couch, side table, TV stand, or arm chair out of your small living room, then you’ll need to create a gameplan to place them in the best possible locations so you don’t feel cramped.

The best way to arrange your layout in a small living room is to section things off in some way to create zones. This will give your room the illusion of having more space than it actually does, because it will seem to have multiple rooms.

One way to do this is to have dividers or screens between sections like mentioned above. Another way to achieve this is to turn your furniture inward so that there are smaller sections of the room.

Large Furniture In A Small Living RoomInstead of lining your couch and armchair against the wall and keeping the middle of the room open, turn your furniture inward around your coffee table to create the illusion of space.

You can also stack furniture pieces in front of each other to maximize space. For example, place your couch in front of your bookshelf or shelf. If you go this route, just make sure there is still a little bit of space between items so that you can get to what you need.

Step Five: Categorize Items By Their Use

Categorize Items By Their Use

I’ve found that the best way to categorize items in any room is to sort your items by the specific purpose they serve.

In a living room, this might look like keeping all of your remotes near the DVDs, laying your yoga mat and bell weights by the TV you watch workout videos on, or piling your blankets and pillows in a cute basket right next to the couch.

Potential Categories In A Living Room

  • Movies
  • Music
  • Game Consoles
  • Remotes
  • Books
  • Toys
  • Puzzles & Games
  • Workout equipment
  • Pillows and blankets
  • Décor and candles
  • Wall hangings
  • Miscellaneous

Organization Guide For Each Room Of Your Home

home organization guide

Tips And Tricks For Organizing A Small Living Room

Tips And Tricks For Organizing A Small Living Room
You want to make the most of every nook and cranny when trying to organize your small living room. It’s important to think about the little things.

1Let Your Furniture Double As Storage Space

One of the biggest issues when it comes to having a small living room is not being able to create enough storage space. Living rooms don’t inherently require a ton of storage, but they do need some hidden space for tucking things away. The last thing you want is for your remotes, books, and games to pile up on top of your coffee table.

Buy benches or chairs that are hollow on the inside to store blankets, games, or books. Purchase a side table with several storage drawers. Repurpose a trunk as a coffee table to place remotes and cups on while also storing essentials inside. Especially with large pieces, you want to make sure they have a storage component so space is not wasted.

living room furniture with drawers for storage

tiny house storage

2Distinguish A Separate Space For Toys

If you have younger kids, it’s easy for their toys to get in the way of maintaining an organized living room. The key here is to create a space that’s specifically for your kids’ toys! Designate an assigned drawer, basket, corner, or shelf to hold all play items and help your kids stick to putting everything back when playtime ends.
toy storage

How To Raise Minimalist Kids

3Convert Space Under Stairs Into Storage Area

Another tip to keep your small living room organized is to use spaces you may not initially think of — like underneath your staircase. Think Harry Potter!

If you need extra storage in your small living room, there are many ways you can use your stairs as storage. You can turn the sides of your stairs into shelves, hollow out the entire section underneath to store larger items, or even add drawers in your stair space.

Convert Space Under Stairs Into Storage

4Think Flat and Go Vertical When Decorating Your Small Living Room

Taking up less space in a small living room quite literally means using less volume. You can still achieve the vibe and style you’re going for without taking up a ton of space.

To do this, think flat while decorating your small living room and consider ways you can maximize vertical space.

Instead of buying a bulky shelf for plants and other décor, hang vines on your wall to achieve a similar effect. Instead of crowding your TV stand with pictures of loved ones, create a photo collage wall of your favorite memories.

Also consider ways you can make the most of vertical spaces. This may look like using the side of your stairs, making the most of the sides of your walls, or stacking items vertically in the corners of your room.

use vertical wall space for storage

5Use Screens to Create Sections And The Illusion Of Space

Using screens or room dividers is a great way to make your small living room feel larger than it actually is. They section off your tiny living room into multiple smaller sections of the room.

This way, you can feel like your TV area is separate form your bookshelves, breakfast nook, or reading corner, and everything isn’t just cramped next to each other. This is an awesome method if you live in an efficiency apartment where everything is thrown together in a common area.


Inspiration For Maximizing Space In A Small Living Room

Inspiration For Maximizing Space In A Small Living Room

I’ve tried many different techniques to make the most of my small living room in my own tiny house. When you don’t have a ton of space, you have to be creative with the ways you maximize the space you do have and the items you invest in.

Hollow Out The Walls And Add Drawers

Adding drawers into your wall space is a brilliant way to create more storage in your small living room. These drawers can be used to store any number of things like books, games, trinkets, or whatever else you want in your small living room.
Hollow Out The Walls And Add Drawers

Store Items In A Bench Or Footstool

Benches and footstools are great for storing items you don’t necessarily want or need to display. It keeps your small living room from looking cluttered and also gives you easy access to everything you might need.

store living room items in a bench
store living room items in a footstool

Add A Shelf To The Side Of Your Living Room Couch

Instead of putting your shelf in the middle of your living room or against a wall, consider using a space you might not initially consider — the side or back of your couch! This is an optimal position for a shelf because you can grab anything you need while watching your favorite movie or show, without even having to move from the couch.

small living room couch shelf
small living room sofa shelf storage

Organize Kids Toys In Tupperware Bins

Storing kids’ toys in a small living room can be a huge hassle, and everything can get messy easily. One way to avoid this is to use individual bins inside of a larger toy chest or basket. That way, the toys stay categorized and aren’t just tossed haphazardly into your child’s toy bin.
organize toys in tupperware bins

Use Floating Shelves As A Bookshelf

Floating bookshelves are one of my favorite ways to store beloved books. They don’t take up a ton of room that you would need for other, larger furniture pieces because they sit on your wall. They are also great because they create an aesthetically pleasing book display.

floating shelves for books
floating bookshelves

Let Your Storage Shelf Double As A Play Area

I don’t have kids myself, but if I did, I would definitely invest in a play table that also doubles as extra storage. You can use the tabletop for a road map, train set, or Barbie playhouse, while the underneath can be used to put away smaller toys and games when play time is finished.
Storage Shelf Doubles As Play Area

Store Kids Toys Under A Bed Or Couch

While it’s never a good idea to shove toys, clothes, books, or games under a bed or couch without a system, you can be intentional with under-couch storage. Use a flat tupperware container or wooden bin that lives under your couch or bed to store excess toys.
store toys under bed or couch

Stack Kids Toy Shelves Vertically

Vertically stacked shelves are a wise way to maximize storage in a small living room because they don’t take up as much space. There are many stores where you can easily buy shelves that stack vertically and can help you to make the most of your space.
kids toy shelves staked vertically

Use Side Tables That Store Pillows And Blankets

No movie night is complete without a set of cozy pillows and blankets at your disposal. These side tables double as wire storage bins to keep your extra throw pillows and warm blankets all in one place, and are extremely helpful for maximizing space.
side tables that can store pillows and blankets

Buy A Coffee Table That Can Be Used For Storage

A coffee table that doubles as a storage cube is another smart move for maximizing space in your small living room. Investing in a coffee table that also can be used as storage allows you to have all your living room necessities right there at your fingertips.
coffee table that can be used for storage

Create Storage Out Of Your Windowsill

Windowsills can easily be used as extra storage space as well. You can use the actual windowsill for décor like plants or picture frames, plus add drawers or a bench underneath your window to create extra storage.
Create Storage Out Of Your Windowsill

Display Items Around Your Small Living Room Door Frame

This one is honestly brilliant. I had never thought about using the rim around my door as a storage space until I saw a friend do it, and I was hooked. The space between your door and your ceiling / side walls has to be there inevitably, so you might as well make the most of that space too.

display items around doorframe
bookshelves around doorway

Minimalists Checklist When Organizing A Small Living Room

Minimalists Checklist When Organizing A Small Living Room

Organizing your small living room in a way that makes it feel larger than it actually is can add a lot to your home. When you’re intentional about the placement of items in your small living room, you can truly make your room feel like home. I love my tiny house living room because it feels comfortable despite its size.

Sort The Items In Your Small Living Room

  • Make piles by category
  • Make a pile of memorabilia
  • Make a pile of items not used
  • Make piles of items you do use
  • Make a miscellaneous pile
  • Make a pile of books and movies

Plan Furniture In Your Small Living Room

  • Make a list of what you have
  • Write down furniture you need
  • Consider multi-purpose items
  • Plan storage spaces within furniture
  • Ask: What can I get from each piece?
  • Make a list of what you can buy

Design Your Small Living Room

  • Draw living room layout
  • Play with placement ideas
  • Use corners to add room
  • Use wall space for decor
  • Be strategic placing large items
  • Embellish without sacrificing space

Your Turn!

  • What systems will you employ to organize your small living room?
  • What steps will you take today to begin maximizing your living room space?

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