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6 storage tricks to try in your small living room

  • Small living room ideas
  • Storage ottomans
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Ed Hawes
Mustard 3 seater sofa

Let’s get stuck into some ideas for small living rooms. Nobody wants a cluttered home, and when you’re tight on space, you’re usually equally tight on places to store your stuff. 

Finding enough storage for everyday items can be pretty hard, especially in living rooms. To keep a relaxing feel in your small living room, it’s important to focus on storage solutions that don’t take up tonnes of floor space.

Being short on square footage doesn’t have to mean compromising your overall look, though. Here’s 6 ideas for small living room storage that perfectly combine form and function - without the fuss.

Velvet teal modular sofa

1. Create ‘drop zones’

Make up for storage scarcity in your living space with this popular method. Begin by identifying all the areas of your living room where items naturally get left, or where clutter tends to build up. This is really common with everyday items such as books, bags and jackets.

Once you’ve mentally marked what doesn’t currently have a home, create a drop zone in this place. If jackets get flung over the end of the sofa on your return home from work every day - hang pegs nearby. The idea here is to encourage tidying in a more organic way. By incorporating ‘drop zones’ in the form of baskets, trays and hooks around your home, you’re giving your everyday items a clear place to ‘live’, permanently.

2. Hide it

We’re all about an aesthetically pleasing shelf with a curated collection of vases, prints and candles, but they’re not exactly made for less-than-pretty items. Most everyday use items like remote controls and chargers aren’t designed to be on display, and can distract from the overall calm feel of your living room.

Things like this need to be easily accessible - there’s no use hiding your remotes at the back of a drawer that you need to get up to grab when you’re mid-way through a Netflix binge. Instead, think about making your storage blend in with the other textures in your living room, avoiding the temptation of plastic storage boxes. 

storage ottoman

If your room has a jute or sisal rug, add a number of closed-lid wicker baskets and tuck them on either side of your sofa. If you’ve got a sofa or chair in a particular fabric, consider a matching storage ottoman in the same colour. Thinking about hidden storage in this way will give you a living room that's super functional without the need to trade off on aesthetics.

3. Add ‘incremental’ storage

In smaller homes, making full use of existing storage is really important. Optimise space inside existing living room cabinets and units by taking inspiration from your kitchen and pantry cupboards. Don’t hold back on using dividers, staggered add-ons and adding extra shelves inside cabinets.

storage cabinet living room

Every inch of space counts in small living rooms. If the rest of your house lacks storage options, your living room can end up having to pull some of that weight for the rest of the house. This is where enhancing your internal cupboard and drawer space will really make a difference, especially in multi purpose spaces like combined dining and living rooms.

4. Rely on multi-use furniture

This one’s all about making your furniture work harder for you. When you’re choosing furniture for a small living room, the main priority should be functionality. Seek out furniture that’s multi-purpose, keeping clever storage in mind. 

faux leather storage ottoman

We’re big fans of utilising furniture with hidden spots to stow away items, and storage ottomans are the ideal solution. Not only do they provide an extra seat, or a handy footrest, but they’re also brilliant at keeping small living rooms tidy year-round. By relying on multi-use furniture, you’re helping save space, which is really key in small living rooms where square footage is at a premium.

chestnut storage ottoman

5. Use vertical space

Keeping items off the floor is really important in small living rooms as it helps to maintain the illusion of space. Keep clutter-free by making full use of the height of your living room. Take note of any dead space on walls, especially higher up where storage can live. Instead of floor-to-ceiling open shelving, try wall-mounted cabinets for a tidier look that works brilliantly in small living rooms.

modular boucle sofa

In a rental or can’t fix furniture to walls? Ladder shelves hit the mark for vertical storage that can still be arranged neatly. It’s worth noting that this trick can be used for any ceiling height - you don’t have to have a period home with super tall ceilings to be able to make use of available vertical space.

6. Use storage to bring in colour

There’s no reason storage can’t add an extra focus to the decor. Don’t be afraid to use storage to bring in colour to your small living room. If the rest of your room is pretty neutral, introduce brightly coloured storage boxes or upholstered ottomans.

blue storage ottoman


If bold looks are your thing, have fun with it. Bring in storage pieces that contrast with your existing furniture and play around with complementary colours, textures and shapes. This way, you’ll help maximise the space in your small living room and make it aesthetically more interesting at the same time. That’s a win-win, in our opinion.

mottled velvet armchair

What is the best storage for a living room?

Storage ottomans, baskets, shelves and cabinets are all among the best storage solutions for living rooms. Using a combination of these storage types will help your living room feel calmer and less cluttered with everyday items.

How do I make storage space in my small living room?

When making storage space in small living rooms, try to blend it in with multi-purpose furniture like ottomans and keep storage off the floor with wall cabinets and shelves. Measure up your space once the bigger items of furniture are in to determine which type of storage is right for your small living room.

What are storage ottomans?

A storage ottoman is a piece of furniture which has a lid and an inner compartment for storing items. Storage ottomans are multi-purpose and can be used for both stowing away personal belongings and as extra seating.

Are ottomans good for storage?

Ottomans are great for storage as they can hold a surprising amount inside, are easily accessible and don’t disrupt the overall look of a room. Ottomans with storage compartments are one of the most versatile pieces of furniture for tidying items away.


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