This room has two good things going on: the window seat that eliminates the need for a chaise or reading chairs, and the storage below it.
Buffet that flank the dining room space like this piece provide beautiful storage for the less-frequently used serving pieces, offers a flat surface to lay coffee/tea service or brunch on, and finishes the look of the room. Very Giant. Very Edna Ferber. Come in for hot coffee and a croissant, at your leisure.
This library takes complete advantage of the vertical wall space. For some reason, items behind glass cabinets always give a cleaner look to a room, especially a small room.
Creating high-functioning living rooms can be daunting with how much variety of activity goes on in them. Here built in shelving takes up no extra floor space while being the gathering grounds for the art and collectibles, leaving the rest of the room clear and simple. The dark wood of the inset shelving is brilliant.
Many lateral shelving pieces like this are also created to serve as benches. In a small room, eliminate the large bookshelf idea and border much of the room with these shelves (check out IKEA's Expedit series for a frugal version), add cushion, voila.
Another view of the same indescribable space by Fiedler Marciano Architecture. This epitomizes high function-meets-simplicity-meets-structural-beauty. I want. I want.
One mustn't neglect the media area. Integrating a flat screen into the design of the room (even going so far as to mount it on the wall with other art) takes up little room and helps the big black screen slip into oblivion when guests come to call.
This brilliant concept by James Wagman wins the prize, I think, on innovative space-saving design. Wait for it: