Passed away, happily, is the strict totalitarianism of the three-piece living room set, where the sitting area was limited to a half moon place around the television, no matter how poorly this arrangement happened to fit the vacant space.
Modern living rooms can be fitted out with unique pieces of furniture in a mixture of sizes and models, letting you fit your sitting room plan to the contour of the room and create a more individual sense of style. The secret is to try a low-level living room furniture that will make the ceiling feel higher and the room usually more spacious.
Sofas are still the most luxurious idea, and you will probably want to include one if you have got room for it, but measure up carefully. Look at different sizes, and do not just go for the biggest one you can fit In the room, in fact, you might find that two small sofas, creating an L-shape or arranged opposite one another, suit the proportions of the room better than a single large one. Supplement sofas with footstools, pouffes or outsize floor cushions if there is not enough space for individual chairs.
Look out for variations on the basic sofa shape, too. Antique couches, many of them with decorative wooden frames and neat, slightly padded arms, are often smaller and more graceful in design, and create interesting contrasts in modern settings. The classic chaise-longue, with a head-rest at one end and only a rudimentary back support, looks trimmer and lighter than a full-scale sofa (although its position will be limited by which end has the head-rest, so think carefully if you have a choice when you are buying). And elegant daybeds, with frames that sweep up into a curved arm at either end, can stand flat against the wall and be piled with cushions to create a comfortable back.
Trend-setters in the 1970s got some things right, one of them being corner sofas. They were popular then because of their compatibility with open-plan homes and are back in fashion now that we have realized how useful they are where space is limited, low backed and square cut. they will squeeze extra comfort out of wasted corners and, best of all, come as modular units which can build up to whatever shape and size you want.