But there are sensible multi-function solutions around too that can help you make the most of your living space. Here is our top 9:
A living room can easily be the busiest room in the house, and therefore the most cluttersome. So why do people stick a teeny-weeny table in the middle of the room? Especially when the teeny-weeny table has no regular use, except as a place to put the remotes and a cup of coffee?
No, get a coffee table that’s also a storage solution with drawers / space underneath the surface. No need to thank us...
4. The Futon
The Japanese still use them a lot, and they live three years longer than us Brits, on average.
Anyway, the main reason to have a futon is it can be rolled up and stored away in a wardrobe when it’s not in use.
But here are two subsidiary reasons; they’re good for your back and – because you can’t fall off them – they’re good for your young children.
5. The dining table
If you’ve got a dining room, it may be this room – not a spare bedroom – that’s the best place for your office.
Research shows that the dining table is one of the least-used large pieces of furniture in the home. But a large table is just what every office needs. So why would you buy another one?
Once you’ve decided it’s a dining room / office for you, just make sure there’s enough space in the room to store your office supplies, including an empty drawer that is especially for the times (perhaps every Sunday) when you need to clear your desk so it can be used as a dining table again. Simple.
6. Toy storage
Why can’t the kids play in their bedroom? Because it’s smaller, it’s colder and you’re not there. So be grateful, because it won’t be long before they rarely leave their bedroom, except to go out.
But how do you deal with a living room / play room? Plastic storage boxes. Every night they put their stuff away in these plastic boxes, which can be different colours or numbered. And then the boxes slip behind the settee, where there’s often a natural bit of wasted space.
7. The wall bed
The third bed-related item in our top 10; this is the bed that spends two-thirds of its life vertically against a wall, looking like a wardrobe. Or, alternatively, the bottom of a bed.
It’s usually found in really small spaces, like one-room flats, and its advantage is you can free up a bed-sized space on the floor any time you’re not sleeping.
Not a cheap solution, bought and fitted, particularly if you want to disguise the bed’s, er, bed-ness when it’s against the wall, but a very effective one.
8. Under-bed storage
Why would you even buy a bed that hasn’t got drawers underneath? Oh, it’s cheaper. Yes, there’s that.
But four large drawers under a double bed can free up no end of space; especially if you’re using the bedroom as an office as well.
Warning: there may be drawers that you can’t easily get at, due to bedside tables etc. Keep rarely-used stuff in these – like the futon.
9. Your garage
And finally, if you’ve got a garage, it’s the ultimate multi-purpose room: warehouse, toyshop, workshop and, of course, a place to put your car.
Storage space can be created on at least one wall, from top to bottom, and even in the rafters, if your garage has a pitched roof.
From a fold-down workbench to hanging storage bins from the ceiling, your garage can take a lot of the storage strain from your home. Use it wisely.