Renovating your living room: It's exciting, but it can be a bit overwhelming, too. Where should you start? How much can you afford to spend? How do you know whether that contractor with the impressive portfolio will really show up when he's supposed to? And what if the sofa that looks so gorgeous on the showroom floor makes your own house resemble a bordello? Relax. We're here to make it simpler for you. Follow our step-by-step guide to renovation, and get ready to kick back in a new living room that suits your needs, your style and your budget.
"You can gain more surface space by having a console table behind a sofa and a variety of seating, like one sofa and four chairs that are not all the same that can float in a room and even be moved around," says Rybock, "and then use a cocktail table as the anchor in the center of the space." Once you have the furniture in place, Fenimore suggests using textural or colorful artwork to visually fill the room.
One of the keys to a successful renovation is plenty of forethought, knowledge and information — especially if you're making structural changes, or working with several professionals and a big budget. Take your time to plan before you begin, so that you are less likely to have regrets when you are finished. "Designing a room or a remodeling project is a journey or a process," says interior designer Karen Soojian, ASID, "and it takes time to develop ideas and do things right. In other words, you need to know your destination and how you plan to get there."
For the obvious reasons, major renovations cost more than minor renovation in terms of both labor and materials. They require more materials to complete as compared to minor renovations. As mentioned, major renovations are also best left to the professionals due to their complex nature. As a result, they incur more labor costs. It is also best to keep in mind that when dealing with a full or major renovation for a living room remodel project, it is highly recommended that one should not skimp on skilled labor, especially when it comes to structural, ceiling, flooring and electrical works because substandard work often compromises quality and will cost you more in the long run.
Living Room Size and Layout – The size of a room is one of the key cost factors in determining the total amount of budget that you will be needing for a living room remodel project. The size of the room does not only determine the total area of the space, but it also partially defines the scope of work for the project. This is mainly because most of the aspects of construction are affected by the square footage of the site and oftentimes materials and labor are priced per square foot.
Wallpaper is one of those trends that just keeps on giving and giving. If you go with a classic chinoiserie wallpaper, you can do just about anything with it as your style changes over the year. This modern self portrait by Chuck Close is a bold contrast to the chinoiserie wallpaper (Iksel's Eastern Eden) behind it in this Miles Redd-designed home. The contrast doesn't stop there: Redd continued to venture beyond design convention by incorporating contrasting jewel tones and mixing modern furniture styles with antique pieces. Oh—and believe it or not, the lime green chair is from Ikea! Proof even the best designers love a good deal.
Adding built in shelves and custom cabinets and media centers will require the services of a finish carpenter or a cabinet maker. On the average, the cost of installing built in furniture for living room renovation projects run from $290 to $1300 per unit, with prices varying based on the type of material and finishing, its size, style and the complexity of the design.
A black marble fireplace strikes the perfect balance between edgy and timeless. It anchors this living room designed by Arent & Pyke, which get a contemporary lift from the jute rug, modern and bright artwork, and shapely table lamp. And because the armchairs are a classic silhouette, they'll last forever—you can reupholster them with different colors and prints throughout the years as your taste and style changes.
Although moldings and trims are small part of a living room’s decor, they also contribute to added costs. Ceiling cornices and baseboards, for example, typically run the full expanse of the living room’s perimeter, thus they require a good amount of material, depending on the size of the room. Consequently, the main factor that affects the cost of materials for living room decorative trims is the size of the room.
Room Expansion – Some homeowners desire more living room space and one way to attain such is to expand the room and extend it to other areas in the house. Living room remodel projects that include room expansions are laborious and typically involve knocking down walls. Sure thing, the end product is aesthetically pleasing but make sure to take the necessary prep work before engaging into this process.
This little beauty highlights how each piece in a space can be wildly different yet still be harmonious. Visual interest is abundant in this small living room interior, from the golden leather ottomans to the glass and driftwood coffee table. On the wall behind the sofa, the chinoserie wallpaper and golden mirrors work together to give the room a touch of flash without overstating their presence and drowning the sofa out. Each piece is like a unique cast member in a stage play or television show. Every piece in this room is small, but each piece still has immense personality.
While most light fixtures can be easily changed, adding new lighting fixtures, outlets and switches are not meant for “do it yourself” projects due to their sensitivity. Making changes to a lighting and electrical layout is only easy if the ceiling frames are exposed as there is no need to remove ceiling boards and cause additional damage to the home. But as mentioned living room renovation projects that involve electrical work may require hiring an electrician.
Architect Luís Bernardo Brito e Abreu renovated his São Miguel home to reflect his family's artistic, maritime history. The living room features a vintage chair by Illum Wikkelsø, and the mantel and stone benches are both of local basalt. The sculpture of a head on the bench at right is by Ernesto Canto da Maya, and the wall sculpture above the mantel is a 16th-century naval decoration.
In the living room of a Manhattan apartment designed by Jamie Drake and Caleb Anderson of Drake/Anderson, the sectional sofas by Avenue Road are covered in a Great Plains mohair, the pair of vintage Gio Ponti armchairs are from Karl Kemp Antiques, the glass cocktail table by Fredrikson Stallard is filled with feathers, the round side table is by Holly Hunt Studio, the lamp on it is by Charles Paris and the custom rug is by Tai Ping.
In home design, one practice that novice designers avoid is mixing and matching patterns or textures. Many beginning designers stick with a uniform and consistent look in order to play it safe. While that isn’t necessarily bad, this room shows how rewarding it can be to get creative and take a few risks. Leather, glass, metal, wood and even water join forces with lovely neutral tones, zebra print, jagged stripes and a spectacular art piece to create a small living room sure to get guests talking. There is so much going on in this room, but it isn’t overwhelming, either.
This space demonstrates why color choice has such a large impact on a room. It shows that sometimes, achieving a stellar small living room design is as simple as using black and white. Using black, white and grey as your primary colors and adding a pop of color here and there would be a dramatic departure from the norm. The eye is drawn to color by nature, so it can be used to draw attention to specific areas of the room or it can be placed all over the room to provide a concise tour of the room in moments.
Before starting your living room remodel, the first thing that you need to assess are the aspects that you don’t like in the space. This may either be limited space, a problematic layout, a drab color scheme, outdated furniture and decor. Your living room may also have a dark ambiance, a gloomy atmosphere or may feel too closed in. It may lack in character or maybe, you just want to give it an update to make it more modern. Once you get an idea of the things that you want to change in your existing living room, you may now determine the level of remodeling that you need for your home.
Think long-term. Remember to plan not only for this stage of your life, but for the next phases, as well. If you're newlyweds planning to have children in a few years, take those future kids into account when planning your renovation, so that you don't have to redo everything. Ask people who already have kids what works in real life and what doesn't; what they wish they had in their living rooms; what has caused safety issues or got broken so many times it had to be thrown away.