Organize Your Living Room On Any Budget

The living room is one of the most heavily used, multifunctional spaces in a house. It’s commonly used for movie nights, playdates, arts & crafts, book clubs, homework, naps and more. This makes it a difficult room to keep organized and clutter free.

When tackling an organizing project you need to prioritize storage for the activity of highest need. You may consider all that takes place in your living room as high priority. To keep from getting overwhelmed, focus on creating systems that will be easy for you and your family to follow and maintain. 

What to Do Before You Start

Remove items that don’t belong in your living room and return them to their proper place in the house. Then take some time to decide what will remain and what you may want to declutter.

Determine where things will go. Most organizing projects start with planning how you want to use your space and then continue with decluttering items you don’t want or need. Consider the activities that will take place in this room. As you clean up, you’ll discover what will fit and where to store it.

Consider storing certain categories of items in another part of the house if your space is limited. For example, kids’ art supplies can take up a lot of room but are often easily corralled in containers. Perhaps these containers can live in the garage or a side closet and be pulled out as needed.

Reduce visual and physical clutter. As a general guideline to paring down, assess what you have, determine what you need or use, dispose of the excess, donate, recycle or trash and then decide on a storage method and home for each category.

You may come across items you don’t use but can’t part with, categorize these items as “sentimental” and store them away from your main space. If they’re not items you use regularly.

Managing Common Living Room Items

Blankets And Throws 

If you like to keep extra blankets handy for friends and family, store them in a lidded container in another location to be retrieved as needed. This will not only keep your entertaining blankets clean but also free up space in your living room.

Children’s Toys And Art Supplies 

Children’s toys and art supplies accumulate quickly, and young children change quickly. Get rid of the items they’ve outgrown.

Consider What Your Child Uses Now

If you have more than you need for the foreseeable future, you may want to donate the extras to someone in need. To keep your living room clutter-free, try categorizing and sorting the remaining toys and art supplies into bins, keeping only a few accessible at a time and rotating in other boxes as necessary.

Small Decor 

Be sure the decor in your living room brings you visual joy. If you have too much, you may not be able to appreciate or even remember what you have displayed. Aim to give each piece its own personal space. Remove the items you no longer love. If you still have more than you prefer, consider storing some to be switched out throughout the year.

Books And Magazines 

It can be hard to let go of reading material. However, your space is too valuable to store books that you may or may not get around to reading. Similarly, if you can’t keep up with the influx of magazines, you may want to keep only the two or three most recent issues to prevent old ones from piling up.


Plants can give a space color, personality and life. The opposite can be true if your houseplants aren’t thriving or well taken care of. Make sure your living room offers the right growing environment for the plants you want to keep there. Relocate plants that aren’t doing well to a more suitable location.

Basic Improvements

Storage bins come in a variety of materials — bamboo, plastic, cardboard — and may work well for items you’ve decided to rotate in. If you have storage consoles or built-in cabinets, the bins can be hidden out of sight until ready for use. If you don’t have much storage space and don’t rotate items in too often, consider storing these containers in a different location.

Storage solutions can also serve as room decor. A large woven basket adds function as well as a warm, welcoming feel to the room.

Arranging your framed photos in a gallery wall or on shelves can help keep surfaces clear and create less clutter. Using frames in the same material and color will give the wall a sleek, cohesive look, while an eclectic variety of frames will feel casual and fun.

Sometimes temporary additional storage may be advantageous. If necessary, you may want to consider adding a small bookshelf, toy chest or toy organizer to keep your systems manageable and easy for your family members to maintain.

Midrange Solutions

Consider investment furniture pieces if you need permanent additional storage. A storage cabinet, armoire or media console can provide a lot of extra space. To make the most of any piece you purchase, adjust the shelves, if that’s an option, to suit your needs. Also measure the interior and using storage containers or bins that fit well. While a console or cabinet will offer extra storage space, careful space planning can ensure it doesn’t become a hidden dumping ground for miscellaneous items.

Multipurpose furniture can be a great compromise between form and function. Blankets might stow away nicely in a storage ottoman instead of in a large basket. Remotes and chargers could find a home in a coffee table with drawers. A lift-top coffee table can hide magazines and children’s art supplies.


Installing a modular shelf system in an unused or repurposed closet may help keep your living room clutter-free. If you decide to go this route, be sure to set up the closet so that returning each item to its place is fast and easy. Try to avoid stacking bins, as the extra step of moving the top bin to access the bottom bin may be a deterrent to putting things away.

Deluxe Improvements

A living room overhaul is an opportune time to address your storage needs. For custom-built furniture, have specific containers or baskets in mind or on hand to build around, instead of vice versa. The baskets’ contents can change over time as the family’s needs evolve.

Built-in window seats can increase living room storage. Before selecting the type of storage for a window seat, consider what you generally plan to store there and determine which method of storage — cabinets with doors, drawers or lift-top — would work best for you.

Work with a professional to see if there are any spaces around your living room that could be opened up for more storage, such as underneath a staircase.

If your plans include built-in bookshelves, consider if you want to cover part of the shelves with cabinet doors, as you may have some storage items you don’t want to be visible.

With a little creativity and planning, you can achieve a functional and beautifully organized living room on nearly any budget.


Essential Sofa Buying Guide

One of life’s pleasures is curling up and relaxing on a cozy sofa. But buying a sofa that will stand the test of time requires careful consideration. Your sofa will be one of the most-used pieces of furniture in your home. A high level of craftsmanship that delivers comfort and support is paramount. But there are other considerations as well: style, shape, upholstery and durability.

This sofa buying guide lists the most essential points to consider, so that when you finally make your purchase, and sink into your new sofa at home, it will not only provide an exceptionally comfortable experience but also will last for years to come.

Room Shape and Size

Measure the area you’ve designated for your new sofa, taking into account the size and shape of the room. If you have a narrow or small living room, for example, you don’t want to put in a huge sofa that leaves no room for anything else.

Once you’ve settled on a sofa that you think will fill the space, note the sofa’s measurements and mark them on the floor with string. This way you can be sure the sofa will fit the space and that there will be room to walk around or past it.


Equally important is how you plan to get your sofa into the room. If you have narrow doorways, or live in an apartment accessed via an elevator or stairs, consider whether you will be able to easily maneuver the sofa into your home.

Frame Material and Construction

A sturdy frame usually contributes to a long-lasting sofa. A wooden frame is best, especially if it is a quality wood that has been kiln-dried. Be wary of cheap pine or green wood, which can warp over time.

The frame should be secured together by dowels or nails; avoid those that are held together by staples and glue. The legs should be either part of the frame or solidly attached. Metal frames may be necessary when the seat of the sofa has a large span, but they can make the sofa heavy and hard to move.


Longer-lasting sofas generally have springs, and there are many types. The highest quality is offered by eight-way hand-tied springs, but pocket coil springs — similar to those in a mattress — and serpentine-style springs offer a high level of support at a lower cost.

There are other methods of support, such as webbing. Although this is a cheaper method of suspension, webbing can offer good support if used in conjunction with springs in the areas that will bear the most weight: the seats.

Cushion Fillings

The most expensive fillings for back and seat cushions are feather and down, but cushions that are 100 percent down require lots of fluffing and patting to hold their shape. Down-only cushions are better suited as back cushions.

Seat cushions should be firm and regain their shape after you apply pressure to them unless they are filled with down or feather. Foam cushions are the most inexpensive, but they can deflate quickly if they are low density. A great choice for the seats and back rests are cushions of high-density, resilient foam wrapped with either down or even polyester.

Back Cushion Arrangement

Typically there are three cushion arrangements offered for the backs of sofas.

   * Fixed-back

   * Cushion-back: the most common style, which often has T-shaped back cushion that           curve to fit around arms

   * Scatter-back: a loose arrangement of cushions that hide a padded back frame


Choose a sofa style that works with the decor of your room. A low-profile sofa will suit a modern decor, and a high-back sofa will work better in a more traditional home.


If you have a family — or have guests often — consider two sofas that fit together in an L-shape or U-shape so everyone can sit together. These styles, also known as sectional sofas, should be upholstered in a durable fabric — especially if you also have pets.

Good choices are leather, strong synthetic microfiber and chenille. Reclining sectionals are great lounging options and are particularly ideal for home theaters.


The tufted sofa, also known as a button-back when the center of each tuft sports a button, features a classic cushioning treatment that comes in a variety of styles.

Tufted sofas rarely go out of fashion and will look great in any home decor scheme if in a plain fabric. They are usually a little more expensive owing to the amount of work that goes into the tufting.


Think twice about choosing a tufted style when you have young children, because the tufts collect crumbs.



Modular sofas come in a range of sizes and have many benefits. Because they combine various pieces in one unit, they are relatively compact, maximizing the space in a room. They also offer more space for sitting, especially if a chaise or fixed ottoman is attached.

Due to their flexibility and versatility, modulars can be set up in different configurations, and sometimes you can create your own combinations. These are sofas well worth considering.


Sofas that encourage prolonged lounging and relaxing often feature plenty of plush pillows and cushions, a wide frame and ample cushioning on broad arms. Additionally, these kinds of sofas often come in various pieces or modular forms, which means the sofa can be transported to other homes or living spaces as separate pieces and assembled in whatever combination works.

Arm Shape

Consider the style of arms you like and whether they are comfortable enough for resting your arm on, snoozing against or even perching on from time to time.

Some people like square arms, others prefer rounded ones. Wide arms suit more contemporary styles, especially sofas with a low profile, but they can take up a significant amount of room. A high-backed sofa often has a narrow arm, and if the sofa is a classic style, it may have a curvy scroll or a flare.

Upholstery Type

If you want to keep your sofa for decades, choosing the right upholstery is as important as making sure the construction standards are high.


Hard-wearing cotton and linen are winners. But when mixed with a cheap synthetic, they can often pill after a year of wear. High-quality synthetic microfiber fabrics can mimic the weave and handle of most natural fabrics and are stain-resistant, making these textiles excellent choices. They are also less likely to fade.


Both luxurious and practical, genuine leather sofas can complement any home decor. If combined with quality construction, they offer years of comfort and style. There are also new vegan leather options as well.


Leather is a durable material and gets better with time, but it needs some care. Treat it with a high-quality conditioner once or twice a year.

Color and Pattern

If you’ve found your dream sofa but are unsure what color is going to work with your decor, or you haven’t decided on a look yet, stick with a neutral. It‘s more likely to work with colors or patterns you introduce at a later date.

If your decor plan has a predominantly warm palette, choose a beige, mushroom or cream sofa. A gray, charcoal and even white sofa will work best with a cool color palette. Punchy color should come from accessory pillows or throw rugs as these can easily be replaced when the next color trend hits.


If you feel that a colorful sofa will work in your home, choose one in a color that will be easier to style as trends change over time.

Choose fabrics with patterns in the weave as these tend to wear better over time. Ask the store you are buying your sofa from for a swatch to take home. See how the fabric looks in both natural daylight and under artificial light at night. If you are looking to buy a sofa you plan to have forever, try to avoid purchasing one that features trendy weaves or big patterns, lest it is no longer trendy.


A herringbone or flecked tweed incorporated into the design of a weave produces a fabric that wears well and hides any fading or scuff marks.


Clutter Free Living Room

Whether it’s cozy movie nights or cocktail parties, the living room is often the hub of the action when it comes to gathering with friends and loved ones. And because it’s such a well-used space, it also tends to accumulate its fair share of clutter. Here are some ways to clear the clutter and create a beautiful, comfortable living room space.

What You Really Want From This Space

Beginning your space-clearing process with a positive mindset will help make your decisions about what to keep and what to let go of easier. Which activities do you imagine doing here? How do you want to feel when you enter the room? Come up with a list of three to five words that encompass the mood, look and feel you want to create.

Take Action: 

With your vision for the space firmly in mind, walk through your living room and begin removing items that do not mesh with that vision.

◦  What colors fill you with joy?

◦  What sort of artwork, textures and shapes do you love?

◦  What is taking up space that you don’t you really love or need?

Paring back is an ongoing process, and you may need to repeat this step several times before you reach a balance that feels good to you.

Calm The Visual Noise

Papers, magazines, movies, games and electronics can be helpful to have on hand in the living room, but that doesn’t mean you want to look at them all the time. By hiding away most of these items, you can create a more peaceful feeling in the space.

Take Action: 

Cabinets are ideal for stashing media and electronics out of sight. Make room in your cabinets and shelving by sorting through your media, books and papers and choosing to keep only the items you truly love and use.

If you don’t have cabinetry in your living room, you can still hide those DVDs and Blu-ray discs inside attractive bins or baskets on shelving, or tucked beneath a coffee or side table. For the most streamlined look, choose containers that are all the same and that either fill the space completely or come with lids to hide the contents.

Design For Real Life

If you have young kids at home, is your living room an easy place to hang out as a family — or do you find yourself constantly watching out for easily tipped furniture and breakable decor? Design the room for your current life phase; your household will be the happier for it.

Take Action: 

Realistically consider your needs right now and whether your space is meeting those needs.

◦  If you have young children or pets, consider washable slipcovers and easy-care

    fabrics on upholstered pieces.

◦  If you use your living room more for movies and lounging, choose a deep, cushy

    sofa. If you use it more for chatting and parties, upright chairs and sofas will be

    more comfortable.

◦  If you have a baby or young child, furniture with soft edges and unbreakable

    materials — an acrylic versus glass coffee table, for example — may not be

    necessary but it can provide some parental peace of mind.

◦  If you’re an empty-nester but your living room is still designed for a young

    family, consider how you can reclaim the space and put your own stamp on it.

Take Action: 

Come up with a list of things you love — passions, interests, activities, hobbies — that you’d like to incorporate into your life more.

◦  For book lovers, edit your book collection, letting go of those you didn’t love and

    choosing some favorites to spotlight on a shelf.

◦  For crafters, select a bowl or basket where you can keep your current project

    close at hand.

◦  For parents, consider which screen-free activities you’d like to encourage in

    this room and gather the necessary items in an appealing arrangement.

◦  For entertainers, clear space on the coffee table for sharing small plates of

    food, or organize a drink cart/bar.

Cultivate Your Passions

Whether you’re a big reader, an art lover, a wine connoisseur or a board game aficionado, let your passions take center stage. Curate your book collection and pull up your coziest chair to create a reading nook beside the fire, frame a new art print or dust off a portrait from the attic. When you shine a light on the things that matter to you, you allow your living space to nourish and support you.

Bring In Nature

Living plants clean the air, soften hard edges and bring a welcome touch to any room. Large potted plants can transform the look and feel of a room with their lush texture and vibrant color. If your room has very little natural light, you can display cut branches in a tall vessel for a similar effect.

Take Action: 

Bringing in even a single small houseplant can have a surprisingly large impact on how your living room looks and feels. If you haven’t had good luck keeping plants alive in the past, get recommendations for easy-care plants that will do well in your space.

◦  Bring in large potted plants like split leaf philodendron or fiddle leaf fig for a

    dramatic look.

◦  To start small, try an easy-to-care-for houseplant like a potted aloe or

     spider plant.

◦  If you have a sunny window ledge, why not grow a few pots of fresh herbs?

◦  If houseplants won’t work in your space, bring in cut branches and fresh flowers

    whenever possible. Even a single bloom in a bud vase has a remarkably

    cheering effect.

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