Living Room Toy Storage Ideas
This post is sponsored by Better Homes and Gardens at Walmart. All opinions are 100% my own.
Short on space? These ideas for living room toy storage are helpful for small space organization. Storing toys without a dedicated playroom or kid space can be tricky but it’s not impossible to hide away toys in living spaces. Taming the toy clutter when you have little ones is no joke. I’ve often wondered if “toy storage” was a real thing. Most of the people I know resigned their living rooms into kid spaces and I don’t hate it but I also want my living room to actually be a living room.
I remember when P was first born and people would tell me “oh, babies don’t need anything except for milk and diapers.” Sure that’s true – but if you want to survive and maybe even get a little sleep you pull out all of the stops and go for the swing, and the jumper, and the play mat thing. Then they get a little older and you want to “stimulate” them so you buy the ball thrower thing, the little car or horse or whatever they can ride, and my personal favorite all the makers of noise (WHYYYY). Before you know it you have a legit house full of baby stuff and toys and you need a place to put all the things.
Luckily, we’ve got ample storage space for all of the baby stuff we’ve saved and I’m really good about going through the toys that become dust collectors and retire them to storage. The thing is, without a proper playroom, and without proper organization, my living room gets taken over with toys. In our old house we had a small alcove underneath the stairs that was the perfect hideaway for all the toys. We put a cubby under there and all of the toys (except the giant circus tent – yeah…) were perfectly hidden from view when you stepped inside our house. Now, they weren’t necessarily organized but they were out of sight. This house, doesn’t have that kind of hideaway so I needed to come up with something easy on the eyes as well as functional for toy organization.
Since we’ve moved in the play area has looked like this. Oh yeah – that storage bag is full to the brim and completely non-functional. If there’s something she’s looking for at the bottom of the bag, she dumps the entire thing. It’s not all organized and it’s not at all functional.
Yesterday I shared my summer home tour, and you can’t quite see the play corner of this space but on the other side of that side table on the left is where the chaos begins. It’s right in our living area.
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Tips for Living Room Toy Storage
Pick a section of your living room to corral the toys.
To keep toys from overtaking your living space. Pick a corner or a section of your living space to house all of the toys/kid things. The first step in organizing your toy storage is to make sure everything has a place.
Use some type of organizer or shelving system
You’ll want something to put the toys on. You can see in my photo above that before we got an organizer – the toys were just in a giant storage bag which made toys hard to find. Having a shelving system with dedicated bins and baskets made things easier to find and easier to clean up. Depending on the size of your family and the size of your space, you may need multiple organizers or larger shelves.
I wanted to find something I could add to the living room that could serve as a toy organizer that also was a little bit stylish. I loved this 8 cube organizer I found at Walmart. I scoped it out online and picked it up in our store. I love the weathered wood finish and it comes in multiple other finishes too. It fits perfectly in this corner of our living room keeping the toys corralled.
Fabric Basket (similar) | Chalkboard DIY
Use baskets and bins to corral like items
After you’ve found a storage options that works for you – you need some baskets and bins that can corral like items. Baskets are great because they hide the contents really well. That’s great for a living room toy storage situation.
This new cube system houses all of the toys that are most played with in our home. Puzzles, books, board games, stuffies, play food, etc. I added a handful of baskets to stash the smaller toys (similar baskets here and here). Then, place the puzzles and wooden sets, along with the books on the shelves. You’ll see the play kitchen has been relocated to the closet to be brought out when we want to play with it. It’s so nice now that everything seems to have a home instead of digging through the depths of that storage bag for the smallest dinosaur figurine. One other thing I love about this toy organization system is that everything is at kid level so my kid can be responsible for putting things back where they go.
Use a variety of sizes of bins and baskets
Scale is important. You won’t want to use a large basket or storage bin for small items – they’ll get lost in there. Use smaller baskets or bins with lids for smaller things like tiny figurines or art supplies. The baskets and bins are great for the larger items but something smaller to hold small items is really important too. This wooden storage box houses all of her little craft supplies like paint brushes and crayons. I love how it’s disguised as a decorative accessory. We also use this system to store tiny toys.
I added this giant chalkboard to the top of the cube which is just a decorative accent. I think a big mirror in this spot would be great or a little gallery wall. The chalkboard is a DIY project you can find here but I found a similar one for sale here at a reasonable price!
This post is several years old but it’s been updated – see our current organized playroom ideas here. I still live by these living room toy organization ideas and I think keeping things collected in an organized storage system is the best way to keep your living room from being overtaken by toys.
Overall, I can’t be happier. This space cleaned up so nicely all because of a simple piece of furniture. I love that we can feel as though the space is family friendly without being completely overrun by toys.
Have a bunch of tiny toys? See how we organize my daughters’ favorite small toys here.
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I’ve been busy organizing other spaces in my house. You can join our organization challenge here.
Love this! Your play area is awesome! It blends into your living room so well. The chalkboard is amazing too!
Thank you! That’s exactly what I was hoping for – a nice blend without it looking like a daycare center 🙂 ha. Have a great day!
This is perfect chelsea. I wouldn’t have thought of this, but it definitely is a fabulous solution. She can see everything and the chalkboard is a wonderful addition.
Thank you Marty! It’s already made such a huge difference. Now everything has a place and she’s getting really used to putting everything back where it goes. A mother’s dream 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing this. I had no idea Walmart had these cube storage units. I have a smaller one that we got at Lowe’s some time ago, and have been thinking we need a larger one. Get this — we are grandparents and we still need toy storage!
Love that the toys have a new space, it’s perfect!
This looks so awesome and it’s great that it’s so functional too! Great job, Chels!
I have a cheaper version of one of the cube organizers but haven’t felt very motivated to get the clutter on it. Seeing how pretty yours is inspires me to get on it!
What a great idea! Stylish toy storage 🙂
This looks amazing! We will be moving into our home in a few short weeks and this has given me inspiration for what to do with the toy clutter. I love the chalkboard too! Is it a DIY or store bought? Do share…thanks!
Chelsea, I love this room! We don’t have a playroom either so we worked with what we had and blocked a third of the family room with a couch. Behind the couch we have a big mess. We probably have the exact same layout as yours minus the beautiful shelf. We have a toy organizer that kind of, sort of does the job but the toys are not as concealed. Thanks for the inspiration and for keeping it real!
Where is the fabric basket sitting on the rug from?
I had a similar problem at the beginning of summer-I looked at tons of organization ideas and bought one of those shelves too. Filling up pink and green cloth boxes helped me keep so much stuff at hand without having to look at it all. I put a diaper changing station on top and it functions as a dresser/toy box:).
We keep a limited supply of toys out at a time. Every couple of days, I switch toys out. Books are always out. But instead of three battery operated crazy toys out at once, only one is. And one puzzle. And one set of blocks, and one giant dump truck. He has enough to play with this way, but it still keeps it interesting. Also, like you, toys are displayed. Not all together in a box to be dumped out.
where did you get the chalkboard
Hey Maggie – that was a DIY. There’s a tutorial here on the blog. In the search box on the upper right, type in “oversized chalkboard.” It’s an easy afternoon project for fairly inexpensive.
Just found your blog post via Pinterest & I LOVE this idea!! Your little girls’s play space looks so great! Certainly pinning this for future reference!
This is great! I’m struggling with keeping toys organized and our living room looking like a circus! This helps a lot!
I have a cube organizer like this as well but I can’t find the perfect baskets!! Where are the wicker baskets from???
I have these same baskets they are from Target!
I love your idea! We have waaaay too many toys and if I only put what fits nicely in the cube organizer we can definitely pare down! Thanks for the inspiration!!
ha. that’s all the toys you got? easy for you..
We’ve got more toys for sure – but as I mentioned, we keep some in my daughter’s room to keep the living area free of too many toys.
bought the same one for my little’s toy clutter! where did you get the baskets?? im trying to find the perfect size and keep coming at a loss.
Hey Morgan, the seagrass baskets are from Target, the wire ones are from Home Goods a longgggg time ago. The “milk crate” style baskets seem to fit perfectly. Hope that helps!
I bought the same baskets from Target, but they were slightly too wide. They didn’t work for us. I’m still trying to find baskets that work.
Love Where did you get the rug?
Hi Jessica, it’s from TJ Maxx.
Really starting to fall out of love with our living room its just been taken over with the girls toys. Hoping to take some nspiration from this post!!!
All looks great to me! Can’t read the whole blog right now: going to see my grandchildren!
I’m not a fan of holidays: I miss all my loved ones who are gone. And it hurts.
But I’m going to visit my sweeties to get a dose and some love!
Chelsea, I need help with my studio apartment. It’s starting to looked cramped (well it’s been this way for awhile). Talk yo you when I return!
In your photos the weathered wood finish looks like it has a grayish tone, which is what we are looking for. When Iook online the weathered almost looks tan. Can you clarify for me? I love the look of yours!
Hi Erin – it is the “weathered wood” finish. Hope that helps! Sorry for the delayed response!
Beautiful! How did it hold up with the children? We have a daughter that has aspergies and it seems impossible to organize her and keep her from being so ruff with things. Love your idea <3
Hi I’m not sure why but I cannot get the link to the shelf to work… it just takes me to walmart.ca (I’m in Canada). Is there an item number or something I can search? Thanks:)
Hi Amy, try this: Walmart #: 551810903
Hi Chelsea I’m with the other lady that posted about the cubby. Is yours the weathered or rustic grey option?
Hi Yara – it’s the weathered wood finish – here’s a direct link: http://rstyle.me/n/ciknke27yw
Where is your beautiful ottoman from!?!