Watch any HGTV home design or house-hunting show, and you’ll see a lot of ideas for decorating, remodeling, and selecting furniture. Usually, each show has a theme, like the most expensive kitchen, or the largest outdoor entertaining area, or even the smallest living spaces.

It takes creative planning to live comfortably in a small area. Furniture must be scaled down so that it doesn’t overpower the small space available. Whether you are living in a college dorm room, an efficiency apartment, or just downsizing your existing home choice, here are some things to consider about selecting multifunctional furniture.

Expandable tables are great if you like to entertain, but don’t want a large dining room table taking up the entire room. The floorplan for some small apartments have this dining space doubling as the seating area and home office space also, so being able to close up part of a table to make room for other tasks is helpful.

Sofa beds have been around a long time, and effectively serve a dual purpose. Use this inside a living room area that doubles as a guest room when there are visitors. Usually, these can be arranged to function in a small space quickly, and changing out accent features can give the unit a new look whenever needed. We even saw some models that were sofa bunks, pulling up and expanding into a bunk-bed sleeping area!

Bench seating around a corner table works as the obvious – seating while eating. But, if built to open up, there can be a lot of valuable storage space inside each bench! Configurations can be designed to store long, narrow items, or oversized kitchen dishes that aren’t used on a regular basis, like that giant turkey platter that only comes out when you make turkey.

Ottoman pieces are often used as additional accents in the living room, but work one into the bedroom, and you have a comfortable sitting area at the foot of the bed. Find an ottoman that also opens for storage, and that could be the perfect place to hide extra blankets for colder nights.

Whatever multifunctional furniture you choose, look for quality and durability. Notice the construction and the fabric used, determine how much the piece will be used and whether it is built for wear and tear. And remember that reupholstering cushions or changing throw pillows is an economical way of getting a fresh look in your small space!