Manolo for the HomeLiving Room Storage Plus Toys: Is Chic and Uncluttered Possible? | Manolo for the Home

Living Room Storage Plus Toys: Is Chic and Uncluttered Possible?

By Christa Terry

The wonderful and lovely Tiffany wrote with this query:

Um, Miss NTB? Do you take requests? If so, may I request a home entry on incorporating kids toy storage into your living room? I mean like, serious storage. Not just one or two cute baskets for decor. We have the world’s smallest living room, which is now also the world’s worst decorated (thanks, kid-proofing). I have been TRYING to come up with something somewhat stylish and utilitarian, but I end up with dumpy and cluttered. I WOULD LOVE YOU FOR A BAZILLION YEARS.

A bazillion years? I like the sound of that. Of course, before I could effectively answer Tiffany’s question I needed to know just how small the world’s smallest living room actually is. The answer? About 14’x12′, which I think is about the size of my own, so I can definitely sympathize with the very real fact that a tiny space plus childproofing plus toys can equal a major bummer of a room. The good news is that you don’t need to be all LOOKIT MAH TOYBOX!

The bad news is that it’s not like you have all kinds of unused square footage to start adding in a bunch of furniture whose only purpose is to store trucks and blocks and the like. Too many people for my taste suggest things like this, because yeah, that’s just what we all need, toy Tupperware in the living room.

What I’d suggest you do need is furniture that does double duty and looks good, like a bench ottoman that you can sit on but also use as a coffee table:

That could go by the front door, where the chair and little table currently reside. The added benefit of a bench ottoman is that it becomes a place to toss a purse or the groceries at the end of an outing or a place to park your tush while you put on your shoes before going out.

Next, you have the traditional cylindrical ottoman, which can be used as both a a side table and storage:

I’d put it where you currently have what looks like a toy box or bench, behind the kiddie couch. It’ll have a small profile, making your living room look a little larger because you can move the love seat over a tick, and it’s okay because you now have all that extra storage and seating in the bench ottoman.

And finally, I’d move the kiddie couch next to the bench ottoman or, better yet, replace it with something that does double duty like this:

Besides being a totally cute little chair, it has a small storage drawer. It’s not going to do as much to keep your living room clutter free, but it has some space for stuff, which is better than most kiddie couches!

One more thing that really helps the toy organization process along is to start thinking of your kid’s toys as just more stuff belonging to another member of your family. His stuff might be kind of different from your stuff, but it’s still an important part of his life so when you’re organizing think of his stuff like you think of your stuff. In a small living room like yours (and like mine) the more important thing is to not let the toys overwhelm your space.

We, for example, keep one small basket of toys along with one small basket of books in the living room under a writing table. Not out of sight, but definitely out of the way. Do toys migrate out of the nursery or into the hallway? Pretty much every day, but at the day’s end I toss as much as I feel like tossing back into the baby’s room and stuff everything else in the baskets. Is it the optimal solution? Nah, but until someone hooks me up with a sweet ottoman, it keeps me sane and keeps my living room looking reasonably sharp!

3 Responses to “Living Room Storage Plus Toys: Is Chic and Uncluttered Possible?”

  1. La Petite Acadienne Says:

    Yes, those storage ottomans are definitely a lifesaver. For the small toys, like toy cars and whatnot, we devoted the bottom two shelves of our bookshelf, and got those fabric cubbyhole bins. It makes it easy to clean up after the baby goes to bed — just biff everything into the bin and you’re done!

  2. Tiffany Says:

    We did a total overhaul of his room and added some storage solutions that are working pretty well for keeping his toys out of the living room. The train table you saw is on its way out of there, since he has little interest in it right now. I definitely have to pick up a storage ottoman like the first one–and some other double duty furniture is going to have to follow shortly behind it.

    Thanks for the to-go order, ma’am 🙂

  3. Ananas Says:

    I don’t know that this is a solution for anyone but starving college students like moi, but I have bookshelves (lots of them, for my lots of books) but I put things like file boxes and my wireless printer on the bottom two shelves (which, for some reason, are always too large for books anyway, other then coffee table books), then I hang one of my Pretty Scarves (of which I am like a mad little old lady with) over the opening, hiding everything and showing off some of the scarves I wear less frequently.

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
Copyright © 2004-2009; Manolo the Shoeblogger, All Rights Reserved

  • Recent Comments:

    • The Mid-Century Moment (1)
      • Joanna: The retro modern wing back with geometric motif would be stunning in a gentleman’s study or bedroom....

    • There’s Nothing Harder Than Saying Goodbye (7)
      • Christa Terry: Thanks, all! @joods They will remain in the archives, so enjoy!

      • molly: Thought something was going on! Thanks for the amazing blog! Good luck, and have a great life!

      • joods: Oops…forgot something. Will your old posts and your links (on the right side of the page) remain? If...

    • Chandeliers: How Low CAN You Go? (6)
      • Jennifer Man: My personal opinion is that if you want a chandelier you should get one. When having a low ceiling, of...

      • DENY Designs: I hate to say it but you might be out of luck. I don’t think you can go very low with...

      • marvel: I think it depends. No, seriously, I like the look of the chandelier over the table, where it is clearly out...

  • Shop for the Home! Free Shipping Orders Over $200

    Shop Domestications

    VivaTerra - Eco Living With Style Hundreds of Eco-Friendly Products


  • Beautiful Reads

  • Designers We Love

  • Houses and Homes

  • Just Because

  • Manolo's Blogs

  • Outdoorsy Stuff

  • Prettify Your Place

  • Meta

    Subscribe to Manolo for the Home

    RSS 2.0
    Comments RSS 2.0

    Manolo for the Home is powered by WordPress

    Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Mr. Manolo Blahnik. This website is not affiliated in any way with Mr. Manolo Blahnik, any products bearing the federally registered trademarks MANOlO®, BlAHNIK® or MANOlO BlAHNIK®, or any licensee of said federally registered trademarks. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the author.



    Christa Terry
    (a.k.a. Never teh Bride)


    Manolo the Shoeblogger