Living room toy storage ideas – 9 designs for a calm and clutter-free space
From baskets to built-ins, these living room toy storage ideas will ensure your kids' play things are organized in style
Living room toy storage ideas are an essential design element that deserve thoughtful consideration for a relaxed space that pairs form with function.
When bedtime rolls around, it's important that you have living room ideas that are able to transition for adult time so you can relax in style and comfort; this means clearing the clutter for a calmer ambiance.
'Storage in a home is fundamental to the functionality of the space,' says Felix Milns, founder of HUX. 'For any well-designed space, kids’ storage is a must to keep order and be able to tidy away at the end of the day.
'Whether it’s storage in the child’s bedroom or effectively concealed in the main living areas of a home, this can be done in an effective and stylish manner.'
See more living room toy storage ideas from a host of experts below.
How to find living room toy storage ideas for a tidy and tasteful lounge
'If you’re investing in toy storage for a living space, as well as choosing designs that will look the part (i.e. not too childish), consider flexibility for now and in the future too,' says Henry Tovey, lead furniture designer at Neptune. 'Chic ottomans, for instance, can both double up as extra seating space, coffee tables or footstools.
'Modular timber cabinetry, where each section is a piece of furniture in its own right, is also a good idea so you can expand, slim down or divide up your storage as your needs change in the future.'
1. Repurpose a cubby hole storage unit
A good lick of paint is often all it takes to repurpose a tired but perfectly good piece of storage.
Hannah of @theottohouse had the clever idea of wall-hanging a cubby storage unit to make a display of her son's toys while keeping the floor clutter-free.
'I upcycled items in earthy tones to create a fun and colorful space that is still calming,' she says.
'I love that his favorite books and animals are on display and easily accessible. I bought the cubby storage from Facebook Marketplace specifically for his Schleich animals. I just removed the labels, sanded it, and painted it.'
Commenting on the stylish two-tone wall, she adds: 'I created the color blocking on the wall using frog tape for a super crisp line. It’s a great way of adding interest and warmth without overwhelming the room.'
2. Utilize sleek Scandi-style baskets
When it comes to small living room storage, you can't go wrong with a plethora of handy baskets; and they're particularly good for stashing away unsightly toys for a chicer, calmer space.
Choose a cool, grey finish for a style that will fit seamlessly into any decor scheme.
'Using baskets for toy storage is a great idea as they're so versatile,' says Lindsey Goth of Grace & Grey. 'Not only do they look good, but they're also great for storing a large number of toys out of the way.
'There are loads of different styles to choose from too, so you're bound to be able to find something to suit your style of décor.'
3. Set up a stylish teepee in a spare corner space
That teepee your little one loves playing in? It can also double up as a brilliant place to store toys when your mini me is snoozing or all played out.
It's a lovely living room corner idea, being a clever way to make the most of any awkward space, while also being able to keep an eye on the kids and keep the room tidy(ish).
4. Install a modular shelving system
Customized shelving doesn't have to break the bank. With a modular shelving system, you can choose to go minimal or wall-to-wall for an affordable toy storage solution.
A company like String offers a host of practical solutions. 'The modular qualities of String’s shelving means that you can create a personal design to suit your child’s needs,' says CMO at String Furniture, Bo Hellberg, 'ensuring that it will remain efficient as they grow up. Different vibrant colorways also offer you the opportunity to create a statement feature on the wall or to simply add a splash of personality to the space.'
It's also a good way to future-proof your storage solutions. Bo adds: 'As children get older, their storage needs change. With a modular shelving system you have the flexibility to curate a configuration that grows with your child, and their equally expanding toy collection.
'For example, you can replace toy storage boxes with open shelving to create an integrated bookshelf or transform a crafts station into the perfect space for tackling homework.
'The range of cabinets available also gives the neat option for hidden storage so not everything is out on display. This versatility means that you can create a personal design to suit your child’s needs, ensuring that it will remain just as efficient when they grow up.'
5. Invest in a chic sideboard
A simple sideboard can work wonders for keeping toys out of sight in the living room.
If you're having friends round or simply want a relaxing evening after tip-toeing around toys all day, a sideboard is a simple but effective option for your storage.
Choose one with open compartments that you can fill with stylish baskets for easy access - and easy tidying up.
'We love adding an oversized sideboard to the family room to store toys and bins of toys so clutter can remain out of sight,' says Lauren Lerner, of Living with Lolo. 'We also love adding baskets wherever possible to hide toys.'
And Kim Armstrong, of Kim Armstrong Interior Design, agrees adding: 'Credenzas provide a great deal of added storage space. If your living room is large enough, you can use one up against a wall, as a sofa table, or as a media cabinet.'
She also sings the praises of a stylish and roomy armoire. 'You can also add a great armoire in the living room,' she adds. 'Many people don’t think about armoires in living rooms, but if you can find a wall, and a placement, you get a ton of storage with an armoire.'
6. Add numbered baskets to open shelving
If you like the look and accessibility of open shelving but don't want toys on display, a set of numbered baskets or canvas bins will keep things organized as well as chic.
We love how Kate, of @kate_decorates, has styled the look in her living room. She says: 'Toy storage doesn’t have to be plastered in princesses or dinosaurs.
'We’ve got kid toys in the numbered bins and dog stuff in the belly basket on the bottom shelf. Now if only I could teach everybody to put their things *back* in said storage...'
7. Create a 'hidden' play space in a large living room
If you've got the space, turning a spare square footage into a hidden play area is one of the best family living room ideas we've seen.
This clever layout was created by Blakes London and is stylish as well as seriously fun and practical.
'In this large living room, the space has been zoned into an adult living space or play space as we like to think of it, and a children's play space,' says Jeremy Bott, director of Blakes London.
'A thick curtain offers both a visual and physical divide between the spaces, helpfully zoning the two areas. Not only does the curtain add a cocooning depth and texture to the large room, but the curtain can also easily be drawn in order to save the parents spending the first part of their evening tidying the play space before they kick back and relax.'
'Below the crawl space is ample toy storage in the form of on-trend plywood wardrobes with pull-out draws on wheels,' he adds.
'The drawers were designed on wheels so that the children could roll the boxes around the room, hopefully encouraging them to tidy their own Duplo back into the containers before wheeling them back into place under the toy cupboards!'
8. Put toys on display for a cute feature
Showcasing toys on open shelving along with your pots and vases can be a cute and chic way to store them.
They're also a great spot to keep your little one's favorite books, so you simply have to reach out to grab the latest tale that's keeping your mini entertained.
Opt for blond wood for a pared-back Scandi vibe, dark wood for mid-century modern, and matt black for an industrial edge.
9. Add bespoke built-ins for customized storage
A built-in multimedia system within bespoke joinery means you can watch television as a family, whilst housing a display unit around the TV.
'It’s a great way to transition from family time to entertaining time,' says Felix Milns, founder of Hux London. 'Add storage beneath with drawers and cupboards, to hide away all those DVDs, toys and clutter that you would prefer to keep hidden.'
For a style suited more to children, use bookshelves filled with colorful books and children's accessories to flank the television.
'If your room is small, having your storage cabinets the same colour as your wall can make the space feel bigger because the room flows from section to joinery without a break,' Felix adds.
How do you store toys in a living room?
'The best way to store toys in the living room is in storage ottomans, baskets, or bins,' says Jessica Davis, of JL Design.
Another good option if budget allows is to install built-ins or customized storage for the space.
Lindye Galloway, Lindye Galloway Studio, comments: 'Creating cabinets on the lower level of an entertainment center or built-ins on the side of a fireplace work well for hiding toys.'
If you're short on space, a storage bench that doubles up as a seat is also a good small living room storage idea, which is multifunctional and practical.
And you can't beat an understated toy box for stylish yet traditional storage.
Alex and Kris Tolofson, Directors and Founders of Nöa & Nani, comment: 'A great place for children to play, whilst also allowing parents to keep an eye, the living room is a foundation in many family homes.
'For a storage solution that will blend seamlessly with existing décor, homeowners should opt for a toy box in a neutral colourway, for example white or wood as this allows homeowners to keep their floors clutter-free without taking up too much space.'
How do you hide big toys in a living room?
Cube storage with generously-sized compartments is perfect for stashing away larger toys.
'By opting for cube storage with integrated baskets you can make sure that both the larger, bulkier toys and those that are more delicate can be stored away neatly and safely for a clutter-free play space,' says Kris Tolofson, of Nöa & Nani.
Lindye Galloway, of Lindye Galloway Studio + Shop, suggests: 'Large, sturdy baskets are a versatile way to organize and hide toys. Baskets under a console table work for this as well.'
Kim Armstrong, of Kim Armstrong Interior Design, says go bespoke for big toy storage.
'Adding built-ins to a living room is great for storing all kinds of kids games and toys,' she says. 'The deeper you are able to make the built-ins, the bigger the items you can tuck away out of sight!'
And Jessica Davis, of JL Design, adds: 'Depending upon the toy, place in a corner and allow it to show. For example, my little boy's tricycle lived in our living room and added to the decor. Some toys are just too big to hide.'
Ruth Doherty is a lifestyle journalist based in London. An experienced freelance digital writer and editor, she is known for covering everything from travel and interiors to fashion and beauty. She regularly contributes to Livingetc, Ideal Home and Homes & Gardens, as well as titles like Prima and Red. Outside of work, her biggest loves are endless cups of tea, almond croissants, shopping for clothes she doesn’t need, and booking holidays she does.
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