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…
These stuffed animal storage ideas will keep your kids’ rooms from becoming a cluttered mess
Stuffed animal storage tips that you and your kids will love
Toddler bedroom with baske of stuffed toys

Your house is a well-organized space and gorgeously designed, so you want your kids’ rooms to be on par. Easier said than done, right? You want your kids to be kids and have a fun space that they feel happy and comfortable in, but you also don’t want it to look like a tornado runs through it 24/7.

Stuffed animals are possibly the most common kids’ toys that children tend to throw anywhere they please, causing quite a mess in their rooms. Though light and fluffy, you still don’t want to see them all over the floor. Here are some stuffed animal storage ideas that will help keep your kids’ rooms organized for good.
Stuffed animal hammock
Our first pick is a stuffed animal hammock, and for good reason. Kids love piling their stuffed animals together in one space where they can still see them. Plus, you’re using lots of vertical space and freeing up space on shelves and other furniture for other items. 

Read more
Everything you need to know about the whimsical fairycore style
What is fairycore? Here's what to know about this magical Pinterest trend
White bedroom with hanging vines and other plants

Fairycore has become a trendy design style for young girls and teens looking to create a whimsical and magical aesthetic in their bedrooms. Though, this style goes far beyond the bedroom and has proven to be a popular dorm and apartment aesthetic for young people. Thanks to the fantasy hype often seen on TikTok and Pinterest, fairycore has emerged as a unique and whimsical design style that many adore for its fairy-tale-esque aesthetic.

Today, we’ll discuss exactly what fairycore is and how it has gained so much popularity with the younger crowd. And, of course, we’re offering our tips on how to best use fairycore in your design. So, if you want to explore a magical and fantastical design style, then this could be just what you need.
What is fairycore?
Fairycore is a blend of soft pastel and earthy tones, plants, crystals, vintage trinkets, flowy decor, and anything that inspires a "fairy-like" aesthetic. The goal of this style is to emulate classic fairy tropes and fairy-tale scenery, particularly forest scenes and anything that reminds the viewer of fairies. As a result, you’ll often see features like decorative moss, crocheted animals, mushrooms, butterflies, flowers and vines, furniture with a whimsical feel, and sheer fabrics in a fairycore design.

Read more
Don’t over-theme your beach home. Here’s what to do instead
Prevent your coastal decor from going overboard by balancing nautical and sophisticated design
Beach-themed vacation home decor

Decorating a beach home so it doesn’t look over-themed and kitschy can be challenging. While it’s easy to gravitate toward the oversized conch shells and the nautical life buoy decor, doing so can make your home look "theme" and lack sophistication. However, it’s fairly simple to create a chic look without making a beach home look like a tacky seaside tourist trap. After all, we’ve all been to one of those pirate-themed fish restaurants with the netting on the ceiling. The last thing you want is for your home to look like it’s gone overboard!

So today, we’re giving you some ideas on how to find a balance between your nautical sea decor and a sophisticated and modern look.
Less is more
The main issue many homeowners face when styling a beach home is adding too much to the coastal design. From shells to furniture, it’s easy to get carried away and add an excessive amount of decor. However, too many decor items quickly make the design feel overwhelming, cluttered, and super cliché.

Read more