Living Room Organization

for the Chronically or Slightly Messy

Depending on your level of clutter, the living room can be one of the easiest things to organize when you are working on organizing your whole house. But, if you use your living room for other purposes such as a home office and a dumping ground, it can be a tedious task to organize it.

For our purposes we will talk about living room organization and family room organization in one and will attack them two ways. First we will tackle a really messy living room. Second, we will offer tips to organize a slightly disorganized living room to help it function better for your family.

Is this a living room or a dump?

If you get asked this question at least once, then you know you have a messy room. So, if you have mismatched furniture and mounds of clutter everywhere, your best bet will be to clear the whole space.

Before you start anything, use the four keys to good organization

  • Remember the purpose of the space you are organizing
  • Declutter
  • Categorize
  • Create a space for everything

Clearing the space will allow you to assess your space and really determine what you want to go in there. Once you've cleared the space, sort through the stuff and toss, put things away where they belong, or donate. A key to good living room organization is to only put things in that room that are functional to that room. For instance, the treadmill should not go in the living room. If you have to keep it there, put a decorative screen up to hide it.

Once you have a handle on the stuff, paint if you have time. See my page on painless painting for help.

Painting is cheap and will brighten up the room motivating your living room organization project to keep it organized. After painting, start placing things back in the room. Start with the furniture. If the furniture is ratty, then think about replacing it. If money is an issue, see my link to Cheap Home Furniture.

Think about function, traffic flow, and your family's lifestyle as you place furniture in the room. If you keep these in mind as you arrange furniture, you will end up with a fully functional user friendly room.

If your living room is not that messy, just slightly dysfunctional, read the following to bring it in line.

The typical living room doesn't have that much to organize. Maybe some papers and magazines along with items that don't belong there.

I have a separate living room from the family room and I like to utilize my living room as my special place to relax and read. So, the function for my living room is reading and relaxing. Below are tips to organize your living room to function to your needs.


Books are wonderful and the look of book cases filled with books can add beauty to a room. If you have books and are fortunate enough, then have built in book cases installed on a wall in your living room. If you can't afford built ins, you can achieve the same look by bolting standard book cases from an unfinished furniture store to the wall, add some decorative molding to the top, paint, and your done.

Organize your books first by category then size. For example, all the psychology books are together then arranged from biggest to smallest for a nice tidy look. I keep minimal knick knacks interspersed throughout the books along with pictures of our family.


The furniture in both a living room and family should be comfortable and inviting. I learned the hard way that white and kids don't go together, so use neutral colors and fabrics that can easily be cleaned. Utilize throw pillows for both comfort and accents of color. My family loves blankets and throws, so I invested in interesting throws that are both soft and furry. Good living room organization requires that I have a space to store all those throws, so I refurbished and old wood ladder that I found at a local antique shop. Throws are stored on the rungs of the ladder for a shabby chic, yet uncluttered look.

As you read in Cheap Home Furniture, almost my whole house has been furnished with second hand finds. Not only has this saved me a ton of money, it has saved me mentally as these items are mildly distressed anyways and I don't worry each time a kid bangs into a piece of furniture with a toy.

Stereo and Video Components

I don't like to look at stereo and video components. I utilized an old radio cabinet from the 1930's that I found in a second hand store. I washed it with Murphy's oil soap and rubbed it down with furniture wax and it looks great. I modified the cabinet by removing the old speaker and adding a shelf. I then placed all of our home entertainment system components in it. I store DVD's on the bottom shelf and when not in use, I can close the doors and the equipment is out of sight.

Use pretty containers to keep the room tidy. Throw the remotes into a pretty silver bowl and use storage baskets to capture the newspaper and magazines. Just remember to be prudent about weeding out those magazines.

Living room organization along with the family room can be a fun and easy way to start your home organization journey.

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