Remodeling Your Living Room on a Budget
"Just a few key but relatively inexpensive updates make a dramatic difference."
A living room remodel can cost roughly $1,700. While not nearly as pricey as updating your kitchen or bathroom, which can cost anywhere from $18,000 to $61,000 according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2017 Cost vs. Value Report, $1,700 is not exactly pocket change. Fortunately, there are some relatively inexpensive remodeling options that will allow you to transform your living room on a budget.
“Just a few key but relatively inexpensive updates make a dramatic difference,” says H. Camille Smith, a managing editor for HGTV.com.
Cost-Friendly Living Room Updates
Fresh Coat of Paint
“A fresh outlook is like a fresh coat of paint,” says interior designer Susan Gale. “It doesn’t cost much, but sometimes it makes a huge difference.” In fact, the average cost of paint is somewhere between $15-25 per gallon, making this one of the most budget friendly and impactful ways to remodel your living room. Be bold and get creative. Painting an entire room or just a feature wall can really change the entire look and feel of the room. Just remember to take time to fully consider your paint choice. California designer Cindy Garten recommends painting a sample board and revisiting the color to “Make sure you like the color throughout the day. It will help you decide what color is best because of the different light throughout the day. Try it with the window open and closed…It ends up saving a lot of work and money.”
"If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced."
Three Forms of Lighting
Proper lighting is three fold, including natural light, overall lighting, and accent lighting. By combining these three factors, your room will not only be brighter and look larger, but you will be surprised at just how much the right lighting can transform a room without breaking your budget.
“Lighting is important because of the intimacy it creates,” says interior and lighting designer Linda Allen of Linda Allen Designs. “Since living rooms are usually one of the first rooms you walk into, it sets the tone for the rest of the house.”
- Overall Lighting: When we talk about general or overall lighting, we are referring to your living room’s main source of light. Most often, this comes from overhead lighting. And for this, you have several options, including chandeliers, recessed lighting, sconces, etc. “A chandelier in the middle of a room makes a big statement,” says San Francisco-based interior designer Nicole Hollis. It’s like wearing a fabulous piece of jewelry with a simple black dress.” Of course, it is important to find a lighting source that fits your needs as well as your design taste.
- Accent Lighting: Accent lighting comes into play when you want to highlight a specific focal point in your room, whether it be an architectural element or your favorite painting. “Accent lighting adds a pleasing variation of brightness,” says Mary Beth Gotti, manager of the GE Lighting Institute. “You’re drawing attention and putting more light on an architectural feature [or other important object].” In order for accent lighting to work, it needs to supply about five times as much light on your main focal point as the surrounding general light.
- Natural Light: When it comes to natural light, your number one source will be your windows. So, it is important to choose window treatments that not only look great, but also provide exceptional light control. “If you neglect your windows in favor of a different design focus, you’ll be left with a bare view,” says Caren Baginski, HGTV blogger. The right window treatments can really pull a room together. Invest in window treatments that are not only well-made, but also visually appealing, built to fit your windows, and designed for exceptional light control.
"Lighting is everything! Overall lighting, paired with accent lighting creates a functional ambiance."
Importance of Accents
As they say, the devil is in the details. We are talking about accent pieces – the finishing touches of your budget-friendly living remodeling project. And this is where your own personal style can really shine through. “Take a look around for regular items that have special visual appeal,” says Dabney Frake of Apartment Therapy. These items can be anything, from area rugs, to your collection of old books, to an antique ladder, to your favorite painting. There is really no restrictions when it comes to choosing your accent pieces. Just be conscious of how and where you are highlighting these elements. “Displaying them in a conscious way elevates both your objects and the room,” adds Frake.
"Be faithful to your own taste because nothing you really like is every out of style."