How to Organize Your Living Room for Real Life
I’ve got one pet peeve when it comes to home decorating and here it is: A beautifully designed living room …that is never used. If you have a rambunctious band of kids like my siblings and I were trust me, you need a space that’s presentable chic dinner parties. But some homeowners pour goo-gobs of money into furnishings only to end up with a living space that is only magazine-ready. But I’m here to tell you there really is a way to successfully design and organize a small family-friendly living room.
The Husband and I are fortunate to have two living spaces in our small home. The more informal one is located in our finished basement. Without it, our livable space would max out at around 780 square feet for the entire house. Does having two living spaces mean that one should become a museum? Is the more formal space less deserving of organization? Nope and nope.
Welcome to week 4 of the Whole House Organization Challenge where we’re heading to the formal living room.
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Simple, Attractive Ways to Organize Your Living Room
I like to think there are two reasons for organizing something: One reason is to reduce chaos, and the other to encourage use. Below are a few ways you can do both in your living room - even if it is a formal one.
1. Organize for Order and Use
An unforgettable lesson learned from my Fall 2018 One Room Challenge makeover, is that when a room is organized for use, well…it actually gets used.
For years I arranged my living room like the photo shown in the opening of this post. Despite my best attempts no one ever wanted to sit in that room. Anytime visitors stopped by, they would stand - and then wait for me or The Husband to direct them to the basement living space.
While brainstorming ways to make this space more inviting and useful, it occurred to me to change the orientation of the furniture. BAM! Problem solved. Even one of my best friends asked, “Why on earth didn’t you change the placement of your sofa before?” I dunno. But what I do know that standing guests is no longer an issue.
The other thing I did was make creative use of the space behind the sofa. There I stored my music amplifiers and The Husbands old speakers. In this post, I explain how I used a device to covert those speakers to bluetooth. That little addition also increased the time we spend here.
2. Creatively Hide Things That Serve a Function
What’s the hardest thing about decorating/organizing your home? That was a question I asked during a recent Instagram poll. One person answered, “Feeling guilty about spending money on a non-essential”. My solution to that is to buy your essentials but stage them to look like decor. Here’s how that works.
You may have noticed from the previous photos that my front door is actually a “feature” of my living room, and that I literally have no entryway. Ugh. That means that all the weekly junk mail gets delivered through the slot right into my living space. I’ve come up with my own living room organization hack for the entryway madness. More on that next week.
But for now, to keep a handle on the mail, we’ve found a creative way to hide the shredder. It’s in this wicker storage basket with an attachable lid that I thrifted a while back.
Our home has a “no outside shoes” policy. This actually something that The Husband enforces more, but I’m improving. No shoes often means though that guests will need a pair of socks. Getting anywhere in this house of ours requires running up and down lots of stairs. So I use a moroccan jar to hide guest socks, and to save myself a few steps. It’s conveniently placed on the floor next to my piano, and includes powders and a small cotton ball dabbed with essential oil to keep the socks fresh.
3. Opt for “Floating” Furniture
This may sound insensible to some, but I decorate with cleaning in mind. I love a clean home, but I hate to clean. Cramped spaces are hard to clean. Since I’m all about the easy, I decided to get rid of my living-room side tables in lieu of small “floating” tables and ottomans. What are those? They are smaller items that can be used in other rooms of the home without a big fuss. Why is this important? “Floating” furniture reduces the chances of you junk collecting on them. Yep, “floating” furniture is it y’all!
No more buying duplicate furniture pieces to do the same thing in two different rooms. When an extra surface or seat is needed in another room we just grab our little tables and ottomans and…float on (pun intended).
And that folks is how you can organize your living room for real life. I’d love to get your thoughts on this article. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.