Swapping a Media Console for a Dresser Added More Storage to My Living Room

published Jun 8, 2023
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Living room with white walls, tall windows with white curtains, white dresser under TV instead of media console
Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Just as technology evolves with the times, so does the way people live in their spaces. Looking back at my first apartment in Los Angeles, I had a bulky 32-inch tube television perched atop a media console, which housed my entire collection of DVDs and CDs and a few old VHS tapes. Even after tube TVs became obsolete and replaced by flat screens, that same console followed me around the city from apartment to apartment, and eventually across the country when I moved to my current house in Florida.

It definitely served its purpose when media still consisted of physical commodities, but once streaming services became standard, it started to lack purpose in my space. When I had kids, my need for storage quadrupled — toys, games, puzzles, books, and Play-Doh quickly overtook the console’s meager compartments. The size and structure of the console just didn’t offer a practical storage solution for these types of items. After all, it was designed to store small, flat discs, which I had long since cleared out and donated. 

What I needed was a storage unit with drawers so that my children could easily pull them out and access what they wanted without having to empty the entire shelf contents just to reach a tiny toy in the back. Enter: the dresser. It might not be the obvious furniture choice for a living room, but it beats the amount of storage my media console offered. I opted for the six-drawer TARVA dresser from IKEA because it provided ample drawer space, and it was easy to customize to my home’s aesthetic by adding fluted dowels, new hardware, and paint.

To keep things tidy and organized, I assigned each drawer a different category of items. One of the bottom drawers is dedicated entirely to LEGOs, and the other bottom drawer holds books and school supplies like paper, pencils, glue sticks, and scissors. The middle two drawers are dedicated to board games, puzzles, stickers, and trading cards, as well as coloring books, crayons, and arts and crafts items. The top drawers are dedicated to tech gear like headphones, gaming controllers, tablets, and remotes. My kids can easily get what they need — and put it back (with some nagging, of course). 

The dresser, or chest of drawers if you prefer a fancier term, currently enjoys pride of place underneath our flat-screen television, which we hung on the wall. We also downloaded digital art to display on the screen and give it the feel of a framed piece of artwork. I must say the combination of the dresser and TV “wall art” offers a super-stylish focal point in our space. You’d never know there was an entire playroom’s worth of stuff hiding behind the drawers, and I like styling the top of the dresser with seasonal items like candles and flowers.

While my storage needs are kid-centric at the moment, I know there will come a time in the future when my storage needs will evolve yet again. Toys and games will inevitably be replaced by more grown-up items like table linens and extra blankets. And what I appreciate about having a dresser for living room storage is that even if technology changes the way people consume media, it’s a timeless piece that can evolve with me through life’s various ages and stages and can easily be moved from room to room.