Skip to main content

8 simple living room shelving ideas that help keep clutter at bay

Living rooms are a place to gather, relax, and hang out with your favorite people. The one thing that can ruin that is clutter. Clutter can really overtake a space if you let it, but a good way to combat that is with some creative shelving.  Check out some unique shelving ideas to help take your living room from chaotic to clean.

Shut it all away with doors

One of the best ways to keep clutter out of sight and out of mind is with hidden storage. Hidden storage units come in a variety of sizes, allowing you to find the perfect fit for your living room. There are tall and wide shelving units with large doors that allow for plenty of space for toys, books, magazines, crafting supplies, games, and more. To save money, you can add your own custom doors to freestanding or built-in shelves with some store-bought hinges.

Use open shelving units as a room divider

Open, free-standing shelving units can be a great way to combine storage with a place for decorations. Open shelving units allow you to see everything on the shelf and allow for a clear sightline through the shelf. Use them to divide the space visually while also providing decoration or other storage.

Frame the window, TV or chimney

To help your shelving units blend into the living room and become a part of the overall design, you can use them to frame focal points like the window, TV, or chimney. By adding identical shelves on both sides of a focal point, you draw the eye in and create symmetry. This can be a great way to incorporate shelves into a living room environment.

Yoonji Kim/Unsplash

Utilize recessed shelving

Many homes come with shelving built directly into the walls, but if yours doesn’t you can have some installed. Recessed shelving is perfect for living rooms because it adds so much storage without taking up extra space, as Better Homes & Garden says.

Get a shelving unit that combines open shelves with hidden storage

Shelving units that utilize both open and closed-off shelves in the design present an opportunity for decor display and clutter storage. The open shelves are perfect for putting up picture frames, knick knacks, flowers, and other decor. The closed off shelves can be the perfect place for books, magazines, supplies, tools, games, and more. 

This type of shelving unit combines the best of both worlds to help it blend in seamlessly in any living room. There are a lot of these shelves available, so you will be able to find the perfect size, design, and color for your own living room. 

Add storage all around a door

Many shelves don’t utilize floor-to-ceiling space, so a lot of storage opportunity can be wasted. By framing a door entirely on both sides and above it, you utilize the maximum storage capabilities of your living room. 

Framing shelves can be built on your own or installed for you. They are great because they add a unique design that can be personalized and customized to your taste. The shelves located above the door and along the ceiling are perfect for displaying pictures, collectibles, fake flowers, and more. 

This type of shelving unit will work only in living rooms that have a closed off entrance. If you have an open living room, you can still fill up an entire wall with floor-to-ceiling shelving. SFGate states, “Wherever you have an interior wall, you have a solution. Simply build the wall to create a built-in bookcase and fill it to your heart’s desire.”

Two floating shelves against a white wall
Natural Goods/Unsplash

Hang up some floating shelves

Floating shelves are becoming more and more popular due to their flawless, fun designs. They are available in a variety of styles, from rustic to modern to industrial. Many floating shelves are as simple as a wooden shelf with matching brackets to support it. These shelves can be put up anywhere on the wall and offer a creative, unique way to store your items. 

Find some unique pieces

Unique shelving units come in a variety of styles and designs, so you can pick out an interesting one to add some flare to your living room space. Some unique shelving unit pieces include:

  • Ladder shelf
  • Topsy-turvy shelf
  • Filing cabinet shelf
  • Stackable cube bins
  • Cubby shelf

Just because shelving units are functional pieces, doesn’t mean they have to lack style and design. There are a lot of great shelving ideas to take your living room storage to a whole other level. As with any type of design idea, it is important to put your own spin on it with unique finishes, colors, and textures.

Editors' Recommendations

Deb Goncalves
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Deb's work has appeared on Moms, Babygaga, and WorldAtlas. When she's not working (that's hard to say about a Capricorn), she…
Don’t clutter up your space: How to decorate a small living room for Christmas
Here's how to create a beautiful, festive scheme in your small living room this season
christmas living room setup with blue walls

If you are ready for the holidays and are biding your time until you can bust out your Christmas decor, you're not alone. This time of year is full of joy as family and friends gather to celebrate and welcome the magic of the season. If you don't have a large living room, there's no need to worry. You can create a beautiful, festive scheme in your small living room this season.

The key is to make the most of the space you have without designing a room that's overly thematic and kitschy. As long as you take advantage of the entire space, use lighting carefully, and invite color into your design, you'll end up with a living room that's warm, cozy, and ready for a little fa-la-la.

Read more
These coffee table Christmas decor ideas put a modern spin on old favorites
Try these simple holiday decor ideas to modernize your seasonal design
Candles and glass vase on coffee table for Christmas decor

As Christmas nears and holidays encourage us to deck the halls, you may be wondering what to do with your coffee table. It’s easy to add pieces that are too big and make the space feel clunky. Or, you add something too small, which makes your coffee table feel bland and empty. Here are some of the best Christmas decor ideas to add to your coffee table that honors the season while maintaining a modern feel.

Try a simple wood bowl filled with ornaments
Modern home design favors the sleek and simple, so this year, take a cue from the modern book and use a simple wood bowl for your decor. Place a wooden bowl in the center of the coffee table and fill it with stunning gold and silver ornaments for a gentle yet elegant look. This is best done on a glass coffee table. However, if you have a wooden table in your home, add a small plaid or winter-themed placemat underneath to break up the look of the space. For a more rustic look, layer two placemats beneath the bowl and swap out the ornaments for pine cones.

Read more
8 incredible Christmas centerpiece ideas you can DIY in 20 minutes
Running short on time? Try these super easy DIY Christmas centerpiece ideas for your table
Christmas centerpiece wreath wrapped around a candle

The holidays are always the busiest time of the year. With buying gifts and planning festivities on top of your everyday responsibilities, dressing up your dining table may be the last thing on your mind. Thankfully, you don’t need to spend a lot of time, effort, or money creating the perfect Christmas centerpiece. You can find tons of inspiration online for your impressive tablescape, and many of them are easy to DIY in 20 minutes or less. Here are eight simple Christmas centerpiece ideas that you can make in no time at all.

DIY wreath candle ring
A wreath candle ring is a timeless and elegant holiday centerpiece that you can use again and again. To create this display, all you need is a candle and a small wreath or evergreen clippings. Place the candle in the center, and surround it with the wreath or pine branches, along with pine cones, flowers, and other winter plants. Use a jar candle or flameless one so you don’t create a potential fire hazard. You can add some dimension to your display by placing the candle and wreath on a pedestal or cake stand.

Read more