Here’s a common question I get: “Hey Jon, I want to remodel my living room. How much should I budget for it?”
My answer is”a full living room makeover will cost between $5,000 and $30,000. Anything above $30,000 is considered a high-end makeover and/or includes structural changes.“
The cost of a living room makeover (see my detailed living room design process) or remodel entirely depends on how much you do, what you do, and the quality of furniture you invest in. The best way to get an idea of what your living room reno will cost is to break it down by the various aspects involved. As much as I’d love to provide specific dollar figures, that’s impossible. I set out ranges below. Please keep in mind that the ranges are guidelines at best. For instance, the cost of labor alone varies from region to region. Furniture is easier to provide solid ranges
The best way to present all this information is via tables.
A. Living Room Cost Breakdown
I know because I own an interior design company (JD Elite Interiors in North Vancouver, Canada) and have priced out many living room designs, including flooring, painting, lighting, furniture, furnishings, art , and so forth.
1. Furniture Cost ChartI’ll start with the cost of furniture because that’s almost always something people spend money on when making over a living room. As you can see, the cost for the usual living room furnishings is a range. Yes, you can probably find lower prices for many of the items but usually buying dirt cheap furniture is not the way to go. Bang for buck, mid-tier is best since it’ll last a long time (and still look great) but not cost an absolute fortune.
|Bookcase (floor to ceiling)||$200||$6,000|
Please note that you can spend more than the high prices indicated. The high prices are roughly what it costs to get a very high, quality for that item. There are designer, custom-built and antique variations where you can spend many times that number.
2. Living Room Decorative Items Cost ChartLike furniture, you can find cheaper and more expensive items. The table below gives you a realistic range. Prices down the middle would probably veer toward a bit pricey for this type of stuff but often the perfect look requires spending a little more. That said, if it’s a matter of only spending a little or nothing, spending a little can go a long way. For example, inexpensive picture frames with photos looks better than a blank wall. Same with shelves – better to spend a little than have blank shelves.
|Wall Art (large)||$100||$5,000|
|Wall Art (small)||$50||$1,000|
|Plant (with pot)||$50||$200|
|Area rug (large)||$200||$5,000|
|Area rug (small)||$100||$2,500|
|Candles & holders||$25||$200|
3. Living Room Flooring Cost ChartAgain, another table with price ranges plus approximate cost of installation by professionals. The figures are approximate at best. The take-away is the relative cost of the materials from one to the other.
|Floor Type||Material Low|
(per sq ft)
(per sq ft)
(per sq ft)
4. Living Room Painting Cost Calculator
There are two costs involved when painting a living room:
- Cost of the paint
- Cost of hiring painters.
Many people paint themselves, which will dramatically reduce the cost to paint your living room.
Our paint cost calculator (paint cost only. Does not include labor cost)
Cost of hiring professional painters
Every job is unique, so get an estimate. If you need more intricate painting, such as window frames, molding , and doors, the cost per square foot increases. A rough cost is $2 to $7 per square foot. Let’s call it $5, which means a 200 sq. ft. living room will cost around $1,000. Keep in mind that where you live will impact the cost as well. High cost of living places will cost more.
5. Custom Millwork (built-in shelving)
If you have a healthy budget, custom millwork , and lighting could be in the cards for you. This is where you can dramatically ramp up the cost of your living.
Again, the range is considerable; the cost for built-in shelving can range from $100 (store-purchased) to $1,500 (custom, high-end design, and materials). If you go full custom along a 12-foot-long wall, you could add an additional 12 x $1,200 = $14,400 to your living room budget.
6. Custom lighting
Custom lighting in a living room can cost as little as $500 and go as high as $10,000 or more. For example, if you need an electrician to come in to merely hang a small chandelier light, you’re looking at $500, and that includes the cost of an inexpensive chandelier. If, however, you want to refit the living room with extensive custom built-in lighting, you’ll spend $10,000 or more.
Another unknown if you opt for custom lighting such as recessed, under-cabinet, wall sconces, tray ceiling lighting , and so forth as this will add to your cost. While the actual lighting isn’t terribly expensive, you’ll likely want to hire an electrician to install it. It’s impossible to set out a custom lighting cost because that is entirely dependent on the extent of the job. It could range from $500 (a short electrician visit) to thousands and thousands of dollars.
7. Window Treatments
Window treatments can cost as little as $100 per window up to $10,000 per window. Yes, it’s a huge range, but that’s because windows vary, as do the cost of window treatments.
Window treatments include blinds, shutters, and/or draperies. Again, the cost can vary quite a bit depending on what you get. Custom floor-to-ceiling draperies can cost $5,000 or more per window (considerably more if a massive two-story window). On the other hand, low-cost faux wood blinds can come to a few hundred per window (including installation).
Your main fireplace options these days are gas or electric. Don’t necessarily scoff at electric because they look a lot better than they did a few short years ago. They’re catching on for good reason. Fireplace cost:
- Custom gas fireplace: $4,000 to $10,000
- Electric fireplace: $1,000 to $5,000
Custom work on the wall surrounding your fireplace can add substantially to the cost of a living room. For example, stone or tile will add up to quite a bit ($2,000 to $10,000+).
B. Putting it Altogether – 3 Living Room Budget Examples (Budget-Friendly to Luxury)
1. Budget-Friendly Living Room Makeover
In this scenario, the living room is 180 sq. ft. The aim is to get the most bang for the buck. In others, create as much change as possible without spending a fortune.
- 1 wall painted (accent wall): Wall sq ft is 96 sq ft. The homeowner will paint it (DIY). Total paint cost: $30
- 1 sectional sofa: $1,500
- 2 side tables: $200
- 2 table lamps: $200
- 1 accent chair: $500
- 1 large coffee table ottoman: $300
- 1 pouf: $75
- 1 large area rug: $300
- 2 bookcases (flank the fireplace): $400
- Accessories (for bookcases and throw pillows for the sofa): $700
- 1 large wall art piece: $150
TOTAL COST: $4,325
As you can see, you can do quite a bit to a living room for under $5,000. The above would totally change the look and design of any living room.
2. Mid-Cost Living Room Makeover
In this scenario, the living room is 225 sq. ft. The aim is to not only totally make over the space but to use quality furnishings and create an attractive space in a consistent design style.
- Paint: Entire room by professionals. Includes painting trim. Cost: 480 sq. ft. of wall space at $5 per surface sq ft = $2,400.
- Custom trim: $35 per linear foot (includes materials and labor). 50 linear feet totals $1,750.
- Sectional sofa: $5,000
- 2 armchairs: $4,000
- Coffee table: $1,800
- 2 Poufs: $400
- 3 side tables: $1,000
- 2 large console tables: $3,000
- Floating shelves: $500
- 4 table lamps: $800
- Chandelier: $1,500
- 1 large area rug: $1,500
- Window treatments (2 large windows): $3,000
- Accessories and art: $3,000
TOTAL COST: $29,650
With this particular example, it wouldn’t be hard to trim that down to $25,000 if necessary. In other words, $25,000 is a great budget for a quality living room makeover.
3. High-End Living Room Makeover Example
In the final example, the living room is a spacious 300 sq. ft. with a 12-foot ceiling.
- Paint throughout: $4,500
- Hardwood flooring: $9,600
- Custom trim for crown molding: $3,500
- Custom built-in shelves (18 linear feet) at $1,300 per foot (due to 12-foot ceiling): $23,400 (includes cabinet lighting)
- 2 sofas: $17,000
- 2 accent chairs: $6,000
- 1 coffee table: $5,000
- 2 ottomans: $3,000
- 2 poufs: $2,000
- 1 massive high-end area rug: $7,000
- 1 large console table: $6,000
- 4 side tables: $6,000
- 4 table lamps: $6,000
- Chandelier: $8,000
- Custom fireplace (gas): $8,000
- Stone surrounding and above fireplace: $10,000
- Art: $10,000
- Accessories: $4,000
- Window treatments (2 large windows): $10,000
TOTAL COST: $140,000
And the crazy thing is you could easily spend more. The artwork alone can balloon up to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.