Aside from extreme minimalists most of us would like to have a certain amount of furniture in our living room. After all, this is the space where you want to be able to relax and watch TV, or entertain, and families must think about their children’s needs too.

If you are struggling to strike a balance between avoiding clutter and squeezing in essential furniture, these tips on creative layout approaches will really help.

Avoid having the TV as the focal point

It’s tempting to make the TV the main attraction and to set up sofas and chairs to face it; however, fitting in the other essentials into remaining floorspace and navigating endless obstacles as a result gets annoying pretty fast! Instead, choose a wall to hang the TV on once you have all the seating organized.

Be creative with seating

Forget the standard suite and opt for portable pieces such as bean bags, which are great for guests, plus one comfortable chair for yourself. Alternatively, corner sofas, benches and two-seat compact settees are great space savers. If you have space for a window seat, consider transforming it into a really comfortable place to lounge with extra padding.

Make everything work hard

Double duty everything: furniture such as blanket chests and low stools make great seats or coffee tables. Avoid dead air by choosing folding tables and chairs that hang inside a storage cupboard to free up floor space. Coffee tables with drawers or shelving underneath are also great for storage and avoiding clutter.

Keep things light

Use mood and spot lighting, mirrors angled to reflect light from the windows, and light-coloured, cheap laminate flooring such as that available at to create a feeling of space. Certain colour schemes can make a room feel boxy and claustrophobic, so avoid decorating with dark tones.

Exploit vertical space

From quirky stepladder display spaces to shelves, hooks, rods and extremely functional bookcases, using every inch of wall space you can comfortably reach can double the storage and display options in a small room.

The key to creating the best possible layout for a really small room is to choose pieces of furniture that have more than one function, and to use colours, light and mirrors to make the most of the space.