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Living Room Cabinets: How to Include Functional Elegance in Your Home Decor

Living room cabinet with lamps and decorations

Credit: Corinne Kutz

The living room is a place where we gather with the people we love to relax and entertain. It's crucial to strike a balance between aesthetics and functionality when designing your living space, and one piece of furniture that plays a significant role in achieving this balance is the living room cabinet. 

When thinking about living room cabinets, don’t forget to consider styles, functionality, and placement. Whether you're looking to showcase your prized possessions or declutter your living space, this guide has you covered with tips and insights. If you have multiple options in mind but find it challenging to pinpoint the ideal solution, why not schedule a 30-minute video call with one of our Interior Design Gurus? It's their expertise that sets their tips apart! 

Styles of Living Room Cabinets

There is an abundance of styles to choose from, each catering to different tastes and interior design preferences. Here are some popular styles you can consider:

  • Traditional Cabinets: Traditional cabinets exude timeless elegance and often feature intricate detailing, such as raised panels, crown moulding, and ornate hardware. These cabinets are typically crafted from hardwoods like oak, cherry, or mahogany.

  • Modern Cabinets: For those who prefer a clean and minimalist aesthetic, modern cabinets are an excellent choice. They are characterised by sleek lines, smooth surfaces, and a focus on functionality. Materials like glass, metal, and lacquered wood are common in modern cabinet design.

Modern green living room cabinet with mirror and lamp


  • Rustic Cabinets: Rustic living room cabinets bring a warm and cosy feel to your space. They often showcase natural wood grains, distressed finishes, and sometimes even reclaimed materials. These cabinets are perfect for creating a cabin or farmhouse-inspired look.

  • Contemporary Cabinets: Contemporary cabinets bridge the gap between traditional and modern styles. They incorporate elements of both while embracing current design trends. You'll find a mix of materials, textures, and unique shapes in contemporary cabinet designs.

  • Industrial Cabinets: If you're a fan of the urban and edgy look, industrial cabinets are a great choice. These cabinets often feature raw materials like metal and concrete, and they can add a touch of loft-style chic to your living room.

  • Scandinavian Cabinets: Scandinavian design is all about simplicity, functionality, and natural elements. Cabinets in this style typically feature light wood tones, clean lines, and a focus on practicality.

Metal and wood living room cabinets

Functionality and Storage Options

One of the primary functions of a living room cabinet is to provide storage solutions. Let's delve into the various storage options and functionalities you can consider when choosing a cabinet for your living room:

  • Display Cabinets: These cabinets are designed to showcase your prized possessions, such as decorative items, collectables, or fine china. They often feature glass doors and adjustable shelves, allowing you to create visually appealing displays.

  • Entertainment Centers: If you want to house your TV, media equipment, and gaming consoles in your living room cabinet, consider an entertainment centre. These cabinets often have compartments for wires and cables, ensuring a clutter-free appearance.

  • Bookshelves and Bookcases: For book lovers, a living room cabinet with bookshelves or bookcases is an excellent choice. You can neatly organise and display your collection, making it easy to access your favourite reads.

Living room bookshelf with lighting


  • Hidden Storage Cabinets: Some cabinets offer hidden storage solutions, such as secret compartments or concealed drawers. These are perfect for stowing away items you don't want in plain sight.

  • Multi-Functional Cabinets: Many modern living room cabinets are designed to be versatile, serving multiple functions. They may include a combination of open shelving, closed storage, and display areas to meet various needs.

Placement and Sizing

Choosing the right location and size for your living room cabinet is crucial to achieving a harmonious and functional living space. Here are some placement and sizing considerations:

  • Wall-Mounted vs. Freestanding: Wall-mounted cabinets are excellent for small living rooms as they save floor space and create a sense of openness. Freestanding cabinets, on the other hand, can serve as focal points and anchor larger living areas.

  • Proportions: Ensure that the size of your cabinet complements the size of your living room. A large cabinet in a small room can overwhelm the space, while a small cabinet in a spacious room may appear insignificant.

  • Positioning: Consider the layout of your living room and where the cabinet will fit best. Common placement options include against a wall, in a corner, or as a room divider to separate different areas.

  • Balance and Symmetry: If you have multiple cabinets or other pieces of furniture in your living room, strive for balance and symmetry in their placement. This creates a visually pleasing arrangement.

Wall-mounted white living room cabinet


Materials and Finishes

The choice of materials and finishes for your living room cabinet can significantly impact its overall look and feel. Here are some materials and finishes to consider:

  • Wood: Wooden cabinets are timeless and versatile. Different wood types offer various aesthetics, from the rich warmth of oak to the deep tones of mahogany.

  • Glass: Glass cabinets add an element of transparency and sophistication. They are excellent for display cabinets and can make your living room feel more open.

  • Metal: Metal cabinets, often used in industrial and modern designs, provide a sleek and contemporary look. They are durable and easy to maintain.

Wood and glass, and green metal living room cabinets


  • Painted Finishes: Cabinets with painted finishes offer endless colour options to match your living room's colour scheme. They can be a great way to introduce bold or subtle hues into your decor.

  • Natural Finishes: For a rustic or Scandinavian vibe, opt for natural finishes that showcase the beauty of the wood's grain. These finishes often have a matte or lightly stained appearance.

  • Lacquered Finishes: High-gloss lacquered finishes can create a modern and polished look. They reflect light and make a statement in your living room.

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Lighting Options

Proper lighting can enhance the aesthetics of your living room cabinet and its contents. Consider these lighting options:

  • Cabinet Lighting: Adding LED or puck lights inside the cabinet can illuminate your displayed items, making them more eye-catching.

  • Under-Cabinet Lighting: Placing LED strips or puck lights underneath the cabinet can create a soft ambient glow, adding warmth to your living room.

  • Accent Lighting: Use wall sconces or spotlights to highlight your cabinet or specific objects on display, creating a dramatic effect.

Open living room cabinet with lighting


Maintenance and Care

To ensure your living room cabinet retains its beauty over the years, it's essential to understand how to properly maintain and care for it. Here are some general maintenance tips:

  • Dust regularly: Dust can accumulate on the surfaces of your cabinet, so dusting with a soft, lint-free cloth or a microfiber duster is essential.

  • Avoid direct sunlight: Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can fade the finishes of your cabinet and damage the items inside. Use curtains or blinds to protect it.

  • Clean gently: Use a mild, non-abrasive cleaner to clean your cabinet's surfaces, and avoid harsh chemicals that can harm the finish.

  • Check for loose hardware: Periodically inspect the cabinet's hardware, such as knobs and handles, and tighten any loose screws or bolts.

  • Rotate displayed items: If you have a display cabinet, rotate the items on display to prevent uneven wear or fading.

Feng Shui and Living Room Cabinets

For those who follow the principles of Feng Shui, the placement and design of living room cabinets hold significance in creating a harmonious living space. Here are some Feng Shui tips:

  • Avoid clutter: Keep your living room cabinet organised and free from clutter. Clutter can disrupt the flow of positive energy (chi) in your space.

  • Choose balanced designs: Select cabinet designs that promote balance and harmony. Avoid sharp angles and corners that can create negative energy.

  • Consider the elements: Incorporate the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water) into your living room cabinet design through materials, colours, and decorative items.

  • Reflect positive energy: Place mirrors strategically on or near your cabinet to reflect positive energy and enhance the overall atmosphere of your living room.

White living room cabinet with bookshelf


DIY Cabinet Makeovers

If you already have a living room cabinet that you'd like to update without purchasing a new one, consider a DIY makeover. Here are some ideas:

  • Paint or refinish: A fresh coat of paint or a new finish can completely transform the look of your cabinet.

  • Change hardware: Swapping out the cabinet knobs and handles for new ones can give your cabinet a modern or vintage twist.

  • Add wallpaper or contact paper: Applying decorative wallpaper or contact paper to the cabinet's interior or back panel can add a pop of colour or pattern.

  • Install new glass or doors: Replacing the cabinet doors or glass with different styles or frosted options can create a unique look.

  • Organise and declutter: Sometimes, a simple reorganisation of the cabinet's contents can make it look and feel brand new.

Budget-Friendly Cabinet Options

Living room cabinets come in various price ranges to accommodate different budgets. Here are some budget-friendly options:

  • Ready-to-Assemble (RTA) Cabinets: RTA cabinets are affordable and often available in flat-pack kits. They require assembly but can be a cost-effective choice.

  • Secondhand or Vintage: Scour thrift stores, antique shops, or online marketplaces for pre-loved cabinets. You can find unique pieces at budget-friendly prices.

  • DIY Cabinets: If you're handy with tools, consider building your living room cabinet. You can customise it to your exact specifications while saving on labour costs.

  • Discount Outlets: Look for sales, clearance items, or outlet stores that offer quality cabinets at reduced prices.

  • Minimalist Designs: Opt for simple, minimalist cabinet designs that use fewer materials and intricate details, often resulting in a lower cost.

Vintage living room cabinet


Our Final Thoughts

A well-chosen living room cabinet can enhance both the aesthetics and functionality of your living space. With the plethora of styles, materials, and options available, you can find the perfect cabinet to complement your decor and meet your storage needs. Whether you prefer a traditional, modern, or eclectic look, there's a living room cabinet out there for you. Remember to consider placement, lighting, maintenance, and budget when making your selection. With the right cabinet, your living room can become a harmonious and organised retreat for you and your guests to enjoy.

Looking for living room cabinets that match your home decor? Book one of our Interior Design Gurus for a 30-minute video call. Transforming your home into a space you love shouldn't be a daunting task. With HiiGuru you can save time, avoid costly mistakes and bring your goals to life with experts by your side.

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