In a time of Marie Kondo, minimalism, and tiny houses, clutter has become the ultimate dirty word in interior design. But, let's be real, if you've been in your home for longer than six months, or if you operate as more than a party of one, you know that the collection of drawings from art class, paper mail, gifted toys, and sentimental keepsakes are inevitable. That's why we scoured the internet to find the best living room shelving ideas to tackle your clutter once and for all.
1. Incorporate storage options.
Follow in the footsteps of Shea from Studio McGee with this living room shelving idea that incorporates decorative wicker baskets. They're the perfect size to wrangle clutter like toys, magazines, and books that you want out of sight but easily accessible for daily use.
2. Opt for built-ins.
Utilize charming built-ins as both a design focal point and the perfect place to house sculptural pieces and your favorite books. Grouping items by color and function allows you to keep things thoughtfully organized and visually appealing. This built-in bookcase idea from Emily Henderson is the epitome of form and function.
3. Keep it tonal.
Styling your bookcase with decorative boxes and baskets allows you to store and organize smaller trinkets like pens, coasters, matches, eyeglasses, and more. Erica from Designing Vibes seamlessly incorporates this living room shelving idea by keeping the color palette consistent with the rest of the room.
4. Hang floating shelves in a corner.
For small spaces that might not have enough space for bulky built-ins or a larger bookcase, like The Joshua Tree House, floating shelves in an awkward corner can reduce the amount of space needed and keep the floor area clear for extra furniture, like a footstool or a basket to store blankets. Style with decorative boxes or closed canisters for a touch of concealed storage.
5. Install wall-to-wall floating shelves.
If you're in need of a lot of extra storage, but are working with limited space, take the floating shelf idea up a notch by opting for wall-to-wall floating shelves, like Chris Loves Julia. They will introduce tons of surface area for books, decorative items, and family photos in a bold, design-forward way without the need for clunky or oversize furniture. Keep other surfaces clean and free of knick-knacks to keep things feeling neat and organized.
6. Combine open and concealed storage options.
This built-in living room shelving idea, courtesy of Amber Lewis, incorporates ample open and concealed storage. The beauty of this is that it allows plenty of space to display art, plants, and your favorite books, while also offering a space to hide away unsightly items, like electronics, cords, or seldomly used items that would otherwise collect dust.
7. Make it multipurpose.
Recreate this living room shelving idea by keeping your styled bookcase streamlined and simple at eye level, and saving busier vignettes for the lower shelves which will keep your space feeling clean and calm. Follow the lead of this Austin loft belonging to Cristina Cleveland, and carve out space for a minibar — instead of using a bar cart or cabinet — to free up extra square footage while remaining ready to entertain at the drop of a hat.
Caitlin is the former social media manager and staff writer of TheEverygirl.com in Chicago, now working as a freelance writer from her laptop in New Zealand. She loves soulful, collected interior design that feels like a warm hug, English Breakfast tea, and trips to the theatre.