living room remodel

Living Room Remodel Tips, Ideas, & Makeover Cost

Ian Mutuli
Updated on

The living room is arguably the most used space in your home. It is where you lounge, entertain guests, socialize, play games, and more. Thus, the living room needs to feel lively; if it does not, you can remodel it to communicate a welcoming and unique vibe. If you want to start remodeling as soon as possible, this article will share what you need to know about a living room remodel project.

What Is a Living Room Remodel Project?

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You will remodel your living room if you change its layout, style, or structure. Additionally, a remodeling project can include updating floors, walls, ceilings, windows, and doors, plus other renovations like updating paints, furniture pieces, and fabrics. The outcome will be a new-looking living room with so many benefits.

A living room remodel will make your living room aesthetically pleasing and warm to be in. Additionally, an improved living room can increase your home's value if you need to sell it in the future. However, experts advise considering factors like location and design when remodeling your house to ensure new owners will be willing to pay more for the property.

Are you wondering where to start with your living room remodel project? We advise first understanding the following factors before anything else.

Factors to Consider Before a Living Room Remodel Project

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While you feel your living room is outdated and needs change, some factors can affect the scope of work included and the remodel's general cost. Considering these can save you time and money, and they will also guarantee you create a beautiful, modern, and unique living room to enjoy.

a) What Do You Want to Change?

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You need to determine what elements of your living room need to change. So, what don't you like about your existing living room? Is it the furniture, paint, layout, construction materials, lighting, size, or more?

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Understanding what you need to change will determine the scope of remodeling and whether or not you need to hire professional help.

For instance, if you want to change the living room size or layout, you will need a certified contractor who can tear down walls and handle the wiring. On the other hand, you might not need to hire someone to repaint or install new furniture.

b) Is It Your House or a Rental?

While there are things in your living room you wish were different, understand if you can change them. So, is it your house, or is it a rental? While you can change so much with the former, you will need permission from relevant people, such as landlords, to remodel a rental living room.

If you can't change the layout or size in a rental, you can always update other elements, such as paint or furniture pieces, to add some uniqueness to the place.

c) Scope of Remodeling

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There are two main scopes of living room remodels you can consider; full or partial. A full remodel will include breaking down walls or floors, and it is a labor and time-intensive project. You will need to hire professionals to complete the project, and depending on how much work is being done, you might even need to vacate the house for the remodel.

A partial remodel is not time-or-labor-intensive. While you might also need contractors for the job, you do not have to move out for them to work. A partial remodel usually includes repainting, changing lighting fixtures, installing wallpapers, updating furniture and upholstery, and window treatments.

d) Functionality

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Before remodeling your living room, consider the room's traffic. For instance, do you want to make the room more child-friendly, or do you want to transform it into an entertainment center? Understanding how you will use the living room will help you pick the right style, layout, and furniture.

For example, if you want a child-friendly living room, it is best to invest in furniture that won't hurt little ones as they run around, and this is also furniture that will not easily break. If you want to design your room for entertainment, you will need the right furniture for lounging, gaming, or watching movies.

e) Cost of the Remodel?

Numerous considerations can affect the cost of your living room remodels, including the labor required, the materials needed, and other eventualities, like moving out of your house for the remodel to commence. So, before starting the remodel, set aside a budget for the estimated costs and an emergency fund for issues that may arise as you remodel the room.

Living Room Remodel Tips

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Before you start your living room renovation or remodel, here are some tips you can use to plan the project better:

a) Choose a Design Style

Are you going for a particular theme for your living room? If so, you can pick from many interior design styles, including:

  • Contemporary style
  • Traditional style
  • Eclectic style
  • Modern style
  • Rustic design
  • Mediterranean style
  • Victorian style
  • Scandinavian style
  • Craftsman style
  • Shabby-chic style

If it is not easy to pick your favorite style from the list above, you may want to look for inspiration elsewhere. For instance, you can look through magazines to choose interior design elements you want to incorporate in your new living room space remodel.

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In addition, you may also want to look at your existing living room and point out elements you love the most to include in your remodel. You might find your favorite theme in items you love. A few things that can inform your style include furniture items, wall decor, and even rugs you don't want to remove.

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However, when you find a style that interests you, you don't have to get caught up on labels. So, if your style weighs heavily in a traditional or rustic style, that does not mean every piece of furniture or decor has to fall into that category. The goal of your remodel is to improve your room's visual and warm appeal, and if combining different design styles feels like a cool thing to do, then go for it.

b) Keep a List

When you decide on the scope of remodeling you need, the best thing is to keep a list of essentials you need to get so you can plan a proper budget. First, you may need to confer with a contractor about the materials you need to buy, including living room furniture and decor items.

Ensure you pay more attention to the important items, then set a contingency fund that caters to any additional expenses you might incur, especially with the finishing touches.

c) Do It Yourself or Hire a Contractor

Now that you know the different design aspects you want to incorporate, the next step is deciding how to go about the remodeling project. Should you hire a contractor, or can you do it yourself? If you intend on finishing the project in good time, it might be better to hire a certified contractor who can come with a team of workers and finish the project in a shorter time.

In addition, custom home designers have worked on many living rooms, so they will know the questions to ask you to discover design elements to incorporate that you might have missed above. They also have interior design solutions, including the best places to get furniture or decor items, so you can easily save some costs.

Living Room Remodel Ideas

Once you have considered everything above, here are some living room remodel ideas to inspire your best design.

1. Synchronize a Color Palette

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Being the room where you welcome guests and relax, you need to be very detailed about the color theme you choose for your living room. Experts advise working with a color theory in your interior design to create the perfect color harmony that affects moods and ambiance positively. So, as you create the remodeling plan, pick a color theme to work with.

Not sure which colors to work with? You can choose your color palette based on neutrals like beige, grey, or white and match these with bold colors like earthy orange, black, gold, and more. For example, you can pair bold colors like gold and emerald green or neutrals like sage green with lavender.

After picking paint colors, you will need a few ideas to incorporate the combo in your living room. For example, as you can repaint the entire room with your favorite colors, you can also paint an accent wall with the darker paint and center the entire living room remodel around that wall.

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Alternatively, you can also paint your house in a neutral color, then install a darker wallpaper on one side to create an accent wall. Another way to incorporate the colors is to have a room theme, with one dominant color on decor pieces such as vases, frames, throw pillows, and more.

As you choose the colors, understand which ones can lead to faster home sales if you ever want to sell your house. So, while you pick personal colors, consider which hues would appeal to buyers with different tastes.

2. Modernize Your Fireplace

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Do you have an old fireplace that makes it hard to repurpose various sections of your living room? When remodeling your living room, you have two options: remove the fireplace or work around it to make it look modern.

Removing the fireplace might work best if you are on a full living room remodel, so your contractor will need to break down the entire structure and replace it with a modern wall.

If you don't want to remove the fireplace, you can work around it to modernize it.

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Some things you can do include repainting the area around it, building a new panel molding around it, and installing a wall sconce above the fireplace to mute it a bit. When repainting, ensure the paint matches your preferred color scheme.

3. Rethink the Layout

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Sometimes, all a living room needs to look new is a new layout. So, you can consider rearranging furniture in your existing living room and center it around a high-impact room maker, such as a piece of art, a fireplace, a television, or even a chandelier.

Alternatively, you can move your sitting room from one room to another with more space for the different design elements you want. However, look out for some things that may prevent this move. For instance, you might not be able to move your living room if the existing one has a fireplace or if it is part of an open-plan layout. The remodeling process for such a room would include breaking down walls to change the home layout completely.

If your house were built decades ago, it would probably be smaller than you need, so you need to create more living room space. Old living rooms were designed small to conserve energy, but this has since changed with more homeowners preferring space between furniture and other items. So, here is what you can do to create more living room space.

You can remove some furniture items. Consider the functionality of your living room and understand how many people will use it simultaneously. If you have more seats than needed, you can remove them to create space for your new design ideas.

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You can also place area rugs to define subspaces. With this method, the corners of an area rug will define how far a lounge area or dining area in an open-plan living room goes. You can also add a bookshelf to define a subspace in your living room.

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If the two options above don't satisfy your need for more space, you can tear down an interior non-loading wall to create more space.

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This plan can be helpful if you have no problem remodeling your living room into an open-plan layout that joins another room, such as a kitchen or a dining room

4. Improve Lighting

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The living room is a vital space in your house, so you will want the lighting to be perfect. An easy way to improve your living room lighting is to add more light fixtures on the ceilings and walls. These are fixtures like recessed ceiling lights, chandeliers, and wall sconces.

In addition, you can break down the walls to create more spaces for living room windows to let in more natural lighting. If you choose this idea, ensure you create tall windows that let in lots of natural light and also help keep the room airy.

5. Maximize a Small Living Room

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If you need more space for a small living room design, here are some ideas to start your remodeling.

  • Remove most weight from the floor by getting seats with tall legs to create an illusion of more space.
  • Use vintage rugs to divide subspaces and area functionality. So, place a vintage area rug beneath a sofa or coffee table to mark the territory.
  • Paint the living room white to create the illusion of more space and make it easier to create a gallery wall that takes the attention from the floor.
  • Use a sliding glass door to reference the kitchen or dining area.
  • Replace floor lamps with wall sconces to remove weight from the floor. But, ensure you have defined each area of your sitting room because you will want to install the sconces above the biggest sofa.
  • Use mirrors to add dimension to a small living room.
  • Use glass furniture like a glass coffee table to create an airy look.
  • Eliminate dark windows to allow in most light. So, avoid most blackout curtains, and if possible, break down walls to create more space for taller windows.

6. Consider Better Flooring Options

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There are many reasons you may want to work on your flooring options. For instance, it is best to replace a damaged floor to get a new living room look. You might also want to rework the floor for aesthetics or safety. If you feel your family room needs an updated floor, you can:

Get a new carpet. It is an affordable, fast, and safe way to update the look of your living room floor. In addition, a warm and cozy carpet protects the floor surface beneath and is also easier to maintain than most floor options. If you have existing carpet flooring, you can get an industrial cleaner to wash it thoroughly to restore its looks.

Install hardwood flooring. This option is more expensive than a carpet but is also a long-term and timeless floor design. Alternatively, you can resand existing wooden tiles that have been scratched by furniture. After re-sanding, you will only need to apply the best stain, and your floors will look new.

Install ceramic or porcelain tiles. These are cheaper, easier to maintain, and more versatile than wooden floors. Since they come in many color options, these tiles easily match your living room's color scheme. If you already have this type of flooring, you can try regrouting, rebuffing, and resealing them if there is not a lot of damage on the floor surface.

Finally, you could also go for vinyl tiles which are easier to install than hardwood or porcelain tiles. However, they are not the most durable flooring options and don't have the best aesthetic appeal.

7. Improve the Ceiling

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Most living room projects involve ceiling work to improve various features like color palettes or lighting. Ensure your ceiling matches the living room color theme, and also consider installing different light fixtures, such as recessed, drop, or cove lights, to improve the lighting options.

You can also remodel the ceiling to improve aesthetics, especially when the old ceiling boards need to make way for the newer gypsum boards.

In addition, you might also want a whole new ceiling design to replace your drop ceiling with drywall, wooden planks and beams, ceiling tiles, and more options.

8. Use Decorative Moldings and Trims

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Another swift way to add elegance to your sitting room is by adding decorative patterns to baseboards, ceiling cornices, and window trims. The trims and moldings vary in design, thickness, and materials, so be sure to pick those that fit your budget and improve the look and feel of your family room.

9. Accessorize

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There are many ways to decorate or accessorize your living room. You can start with accessorizing sofas, floors, and walls. Since you already have a living room color palette, you will want to accessorize your sofas with matching throw pillows or blankets.

In addition, it is best to highlight certain areas with area rugs. You will need to invest in high-quality rugs and consider scale and proportion when buying the rugs. Scale refers to how many items can sit on the rug or how much it covers the living room floor.

On the other hand, proportion refers to how well the rug complements the room and all furniture in it. Therefore, when placing a rug, ensure it is not too big or too small for the room and furniture.

Furthermore, it is also best to accessorize your living room with some greenery. Get healthy houseplants that add a good pop of color and improve your living room's indoor air quality.

Finally, incorporate pieces of art or heirlooms that reflect your style and passions.

10. Upgrade the Furniture, Furnishings, and Electronics

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Once you have remodeled the walls, floors, and ceiling, the next thing will be to add furniture and equipment to complete the look.

Furniture can be built-in or freestanding, and these are pieces like couches, shelves, tables, TV cabinets, loveseats, recliners, and more. You will want items that communicate your room's theme and mood. When arranging the furniture, you can choose a focal point, such as a painted wall, a TV unit, or a fireplace, then create a good seating arrangement around it.

Once your furniture and furnishings, including curtains, wall hangings, rugs, and others, are sorted, also understand which pieces of equipment you want to install. For example, you might want your living room to double as an entertainment center, so you will need an area for watching tv.

Living Room Remodel Cost

Remodeling a living room may cost between $1500 to more than $20000.

The cost of your projects depends mostly on the scope of work involved. So, the cost will be significantly lower if you only want to repaint and rearrange or repurpose existing furniture. On the other hand, the cost will be higher for major renovations that include new lighting, flooring, ceilings, windows, repainting, or designing built-in entertainment centers, among others.

Here are some factors that affect the cost of a living room remodel project:

  1. The living room size. Most renovations are charged per square foot, so the cost will be higher for bigger living rooms.
  2. The scope of work involved. The average costs also rely on how much work is involved. Some projects that contribute to high costs include reworking walls, storage, and lighting, window treatments, purchasing new furniture and electronics, improving the ceiling and flooring, and replacing windows and doors.
  3. Labor costs, especially when you hire a contractor.
  4. Permits.

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Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.