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Living Room Remodel: Should You Do It?

By Alyssa Konermann · July 06, 2023 · 6 minute read

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Living Room Remodel: Should You Do It?

Whether your living room is dated, too cramped, or no longer functional for your family, there are makeover options for every taste and budget. Also keep in mind that living room makeovers can happen in various stages — they don’t have to be all or nothing. Even, simple, affordable updates like new lighting, paint, or flooring, can have a big impact on the look and feel of a living room.

Whether you have the budget for a total overhaul or you’re just looking for an easy update, here are some living room remodel ideas to consider.

Living Room Remodel Ideas: Top Elements To Change

Layout

Effective use of space makes a room feel comfortable and inviting. If your living room seems underused, perhaps changing the layout will make family and friends want to hang out in it more often.

For someone moving into a new home and starting with a blank space, looking first at the layout of the room is a good starting point. Where do you enter the room? Where does your focus go first? Are the windows situated for convenient placement of furnishings?

If you’re currently living in the home, but the living room just isn’t functional, look at the layout in terms of what can be easily changed.

What in the room do you regularly use, e.g., couch or closets? Where do piles tend to accumulate? Do the windows cause a glare on the television? Is your furniture arranged to allow for good traffic flow? The more effortlessly the room setup can support your daily movements, the better.

Recommended: Home Equity Loans vs Personal Loans for Home Improvement

Windows

Windows not only let light in, they affect our perception of how large, open, and welcoming a space is. Replacing them can be pricey, but might increase a home’s value and can generate energy savings: On average, 25% to 30% of a home’s energy use is due to heat gained or lost through the windows.

If the window itself is fine but the aesthetic is not, new window trim or window treatments can make a world of difference. Painting dark-stained trim can make a space feel lighter, brighter, and more modern.

Updating window treatments with floor-length curtains adds drama and interest, while Roman shades that fit inside the window casing keep things unobtrusive while still adding texture.

Recommended: How Much Does It Cost to Replace Windows?

Lighting

Lighting is functional, of course, but it can also be an aesthetic choice. Think about taking a picture indoors with or without a flash: Room lighting has that same sort of visual resonance, affecting how the other elements of the room appear and how you feel in the space.

In choosing lighting for your living room remodel, consider if you want the fixture to recede out of sight or be a visual focal point. How bright or dim, warm or cool do you want your light levels? Where in the room will you need the most light? And adding dimmer switches to any lighting setup gives you loads of control.

Ceiling

Like the sky outside, what’s hanging above our heads indoors dramatically affects how we feel in a space. If you have a textured or popcorn ceiling, refinishing it to be smooth can instantly brighten and update your living room. It’s a messy DIY project, but one experienced painters or contractors can do while keeping the mess to a minimum.

If the ceiling would benefit from a new coat of paint, veering from the standard white might give the room a stylish quality. Light hues can create the illusion of a taller space, while something a little darker can evoke coziness.

Recommended: Beginner’s Guide to a Bedroom Remodel

Flooring

Along with layout and paint, flooring has perhaps the biggest impact on a room. It’s a large, dominant, visual element that affects how sound echoes in the room or carries beyond it, how much light reflects into the room, and how much dirt shows up.

When buying a new home, it’s a good idea to check what’s under the carpet. You might find lovely hardwood floors in pristine condition — or a mess of a subfloor. Knowing what you will have before signing the mortgage agreement will allow you to make a plan for any needed renovations. For a quick change, don’t underestimate a simple area rug.

Recommended: Four Ways to Upgrade Your Home

Molding

Molding hits the sweet spot of a decorative finish that feels structural. The trim around windows and doors, crown molding and baseboards, picture and knee rails — all inform the character of a space and add visual interest and structure. In particular, if things feel blank or sterile, adding decorative trim can make a space a little more impressive.

Paint

Fresh paint works wonders. Even if you don’t have time or budget for anything else, reimagine the wall color. Samples painted on the wall will show how the room’s light will affect the paint. Many paint brands now also offer virtual ways to “paint” your room.

Just as a room’s lighting can affect your mood, paint color has an effect on one’s psyche, too. For instance, the color blue has been shown to have a calming effect, while red has a stimulating effect and can create feelings of excitement or even stress in some people.

Furniture and Decoration

You can replace it, move it, or just pull it from another room. Alone or in conjunction with other major changes, furniture and decor can have a major effect on the finished space — and keeping layout top-of-mind when selecting furniture will help make sure it’s the right stuff for the space.

Using online room planners or going old school with graph paper to map out, to scale, what will go where is a good way to experiment without the heavy lifting.

What Color Should You Paint Your House Quiz

Recommended: Guide to Buying, Selling, and Updating Your Home

The Takeaway

Once you decide on the changes you’d like to make to your living room, the next step is to come up with a budget for the project. Some changes, like moving furniture from one room to another are free, while others, like changing a paint color, can probably be done inexpensively. But if you’re planning a significant renovation to your living room, additional funding might be necessary.

One financing option that can work well for a living room remodel is a home improvement loan. This is simply a personal loan that is used for home repairs and upgrades. With this type of funding, you receive a lump sum up front then repay the loan (plus interest) in regular installments over the loan’s term, often five to seven years.

SoFi’s home improvement loans range from $5K to $100K and offer competitive, fixed rates and a variety of terms. Checking your rate won’t affect your credit score, and it takes just one minute.

See if a home improvement loan from SoFi is right for you


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