If you want to change your decor, start in the living room. Guests will appreciate a comfortable lounging area, and you’ll get a space to enjoy as well.
“A living room makeover does not necessarily mean huge investments and lots of nerves,” says Stephany Smith, a member of the handyman crew at Bob’s Handyman Services. “No matter how small the changes, they can transform your overall home and give it a whole new flavor.”
Follow these steps to give your living space a fresh, updated look.
1. Gather Ideas.
Visit a few retailers or browse online to find a theme that fits your space and tastes.
When looking at color options, keep proportion in mind.
“Follow the 60:30:10 rule,” says Drew Henry, a stylist and founder of Design Dudes. “Sixty percent of the room should be your major base color.”
A neutral shade such as white, beige, or gray often works well for a base. Then 30 percent of the room can be a secondary color, such as a complementary tone to the base shade.
“Ten percent is where you can have fun and add the really bold accents,” adds Henry.
2. Set a Budget.
Redoing the living room on your own will save labor costs. To create a project estimate, make a list of what you want to replace or refurnish. Then research what these items might cost and calculate the total bill. Once you start purchasing items, track your costs to make sure you stay within the set price range.
3. Focus on One Area.
“Decide on a focal point, such as an accent wall, an interesting couch, or a fun piece of art you may have,” says Melissa Johnson, CEO and owner of FlippingJunkie.
You can then build the design around this item. As you set up the space, don’t overlook anchoring pieces. Make sure you can fit in a sofa, media console, chairs, and a coffee table or end tables.
4. Choose the Right Flooring.
If the space has carpeting that no longer looks new, try deep cleaning it. If it needs to be replaced, choose a texture and color that fit with the design of the room.
Also consider an area rug to update the floor’s appearance. Look for a covering that’s the right size.
“Your rug should never butt up against the wall,” Henry says.
Make sure there is about one foot of space between the rug and the wall.
“Your furniture should either fit on top of the rug completely, or halfway over the rug,” Henry adds. “Do not leave a gap between the couch and rug.”
5. Think About Paint.
“A fresh coat of paint goes a long way toward changing the tone and style of a room,” says Cristina Miguelez, a remodeling specialist at Fixr.com.
You’ll only have to pay for the buckets of paint color, brushes, and floor coverings. Before beginning the project, move out furniture. Store the pieces in another room or a storage unit to keep them in good condition.
6. Don’t Overlook the Ceiling.
A new coat of paint or pattern on the top of the room can bring in a fresh element. You might opt for a single beam on the ceiling, or multiple beams with a different light fixture.
If you want to update the ceiling but aren’t sure what to do, crown molding is a solid option.
“Crown molding can come in many styles from traditional to contemporary, and can really make a space look more finished,” Miguelez says.
7. Bring in Light.
“If you want to completely change the overall look of your living room in a moment, just invite the sunbeams in,” Smith says.
If you have thick drapes closing off the windows, replace them with light and gauzy curtains. The material will help create an airy atmosphere. Gentle, natural tones and fabrics such as cotton or linen will allow plenty of light to filter in.
Then make sure window coverings are hung correctly. Start by fixing the curtain rods at an appropriate height. While the exact placement will depend on your home’s style and window dimensions, try hanging curtains four to six inches above the window frame to get a brighter look.
“You will be surprised how much taller your windows look this way,” says Smith.
Also check if the rod is wide enough.
“You will enjoy much more sunlight as long as the curtains move along a rod wider than the window frame,” explains Smith. If your rod is too narrow, measure the space and purchase one that is long enough to pull the curtains away from the window.
8. Clear the Clutter.
If the room tends to fill with items that belong in different rooms, spend some time removing all of the extra toys, books, or papers from the space. Then go through the decorations in the area. If you have a shelf that is crowded with picture frames, you might decide to put some of the photos in other rooms or storage. The same is true for pillows. If there are so many pillows on a couch that it is difficult to sit, look for different spots for some of them.
9. Replace Furnishings Slowly.
Rather than purchasing all new furniture, start with one or two pieces. See how they fit in the room before buying anything else. You might also opt to refinish or reupholster several pieces to match the new color scheme and style.
“If you’re hesitant, pick one piece and do it in a different color or pattern than the rest,” says Carole Marcotte, the lead designer at Form & Function.
You can then decide if you want to redo the rest, or keep the one refinished piece as an accent. To save costs, use slip covers on couches to create a new look.
10. Add Clever Storage Solutions.
Ottomans and chairs with storage space built into them can hold extra blankets and pillows.
If you have wood or extra material from other projects, consider making corner shelves.
“Corner shelves are easy to craft,” Smith says.
An imperfectly cut piece of wood could serve as a natural shelf. Leftover materials from a kitchen counter top project could be repurposed to create shelves as well. Then use the space for framed photos, books, souvenirs from trips, and other decorations.
11. Set the Mood.
Whether it’s smart lighting, glittery pillows or a family portrait, look for ways to personalize the area. If you want to add a natural look, opt for potted plants.
“Large plants like fiddle leaf figs or ficus add an organized touch and fill empty corners,” Marcotte says.