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