Renovating your living room could be as simple as painting the walls a new colour or installing a new entertainment unit. Even a few bright pillows and a couple of ottomans can add character to your living. Else, you can go at it all guns blazing and get new furniture, electrical fixtures, accessories, a false ceiling and even install a bar counter. The options are plenty, leaving you lost in the paradox of choice. You need to undertake the renovation in a planned and organized manner so you will not be overwhelmed by what to do and how. Let this article guide you on every step of your living room renovation design process.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before the Renovation
1. Why does the living room need to be renovated?
This is the most important question that you need to ask yourself. If the room has been damaged or if rains have caused a leak, then you need to fix it, but does this warrant a complete make-over? Do you need to upgrade the electrical fixtures because the old ones are outdated? Is the room and its contents showing signs of wear and tear? Do you need more furniture because your family size has grown? Are you running short of storage cabinets and hence your counter tops are overflowing with books and paper clutter? Or are you just bored with old look and want to brighten up the space? Figuring out the reason for the renovation will help you decide how much you need to change.
2. What is your budget?
Your budget will vary depending on whether the reason for the renovation is a need or a want. If the room has incurred some sort of structural damages due to weather or age or a mishap, then you need to repair and rectify. If you cannot fix it on your own, you need to work with a contractor. Do not choose cheap material, because you will end up needing another repair sooner than you expect. Before hiring a contractor or interior designer, make a few calls and get approximate quotes, to help you arrive at a budget. Later, when it is time to hire a team, this quote will help you work out the final budget. If you are choosing to renovate because you want to give the room a face-lift, then set aside a budget and stick to it. Always leave a little room for extra expenses, but do not be too flexible. It is quite easy to get carried away during the renovation. Do not succumb to temptation and rue it when the bills arrive.
3. Do you need to rent a storage space?
Whether renovating your entire house or just one room, be warned that your home will be thrown into chaos. Furniture and other household equipment will be moved around. Paint splatter is bound to hit furniture and upholstery. Strangers will be walking in and out of your home, wielding dangerous tools. Living your normal life will be a challenge for the duration of the renovation. Protecting your possessions from damage, dust and paint splotches will be even more difficult. Instead of shoving the sofa into your bedroom and placing the television precariously on a side table, you can just rent a self-storage unit and put all the living room furniture in there. 24/7 security and CCTV surveillance will ensure that your goods stay in perfect condition. With the living room all cleared up, the contractor and team will be able to work at a good pace without having to worry about breaking a vase, scratching the coffee table, or burning a hole in the sofa.
4. When do you want the renovation to be complete?
Setting a deadline for any project encourages efficiency, but these deadlines must be practical. Whether you are doing the renovation on your own, or hiring an interior designer and contractor, you should set a deadline and stick to it. Impractical deadlines will stress you and overly flexible deadlines will extend the renovation process indefinitely. Set a date in your mind when you approach the contractor or interior designer. Based on their recommendations arrive at a deadline that suits all parties involved.
The Living Room Renovation Process
Once you have answered the above questions you will have an idea as to why you want to renovate your living space and if you are ready for the process. If your needs are validated and you have the budget to get started, you must follow a step-by-step plan to get the job done smoothly. From decluttering the room to picking the right colour palette to finally arranging the furniture, you need to piece it together like building blocks.
Step #1 Make an Inventory
Before your living room is thrown into chaos, you need to declutter. Make an exhaustive and comprehensive list of every single item in the room. Then tick off the items that you want to keep. From the remaining items you need to choose those that need to go in the trash and those that can be donated. Any item that is broken or worn out, needs to be thrown away. Bag it, put them in the trash and strike them off your list.
Assess the value of the remaining items. Give away the items that you do not use any more but are in good condition. Put these items in a box, mark them on your list and drop them off at an NGO.
You will see that there are a few items remaining on your list, that you do not use, some may even be broken, and yet you will not be able to part with them. These items either cost you a ton or are of sentimental value. You do not have to make room for these items at home. Instead put them in storage.
Rent out a self-storage unit. Items that are of no use or only used seasonally can be appropriately packed and stored. Self Storage India offers storage rooms that you can rent out to safely store your possessions. Nobody but you will have access to your storage unit, which is under surveillance 24/7.
Once you have decided what items need to go into storage, your inventory list will now only have the ones you ticked off as the items that will remain in your home after the renovation. To keep these items out of harm’s way during the renovation, you can move them to another room within the house. However, this will really cramp up your living space. Moving them into your storage unit will ensure their safety, while also keeping your home neat during the renovation. When the living room is ready for use, you can move whatever items you need out of the storage unit and back home.
Step #2 Create a List of Required Changes
In this step, you need to figure out what needs to be changed or redesigned in the room. Decluttering will open out the room to you, giving you a better idea of the available space and layout. Now you need to make a list of ideas you have for the room. Look closely at every aspect of the livening room and make note.
– Do you want to change the light fixtures?
– What pieces of furniture are you keeping? Do they need to be upholstered?
– What additional furniture do you need?
– Do you need new wall décor?
– Should you opt for wallpaper or paint?
– Do you have enough storage?
– Would you like to explore false ceiling options?
– Do you need more electrical outlets?
– If you have elderly people or children at home, do you need to get skid-proof tiles?
Asking yourself these questions, will help you organise your thoughts. It will give you an idea on how much work needs to be done. If it is merely moving around furniture or giving the walls a fresh coat of paint, you might be able to do it yourself. However, if you are giving the room a complete overhaul, it is best to get professionals to do the job. The interior designer will oversee the work and make sure every aspect of the renovation is carried out as per your requirement. Just work out a budget and timeline and remind him/her to stick to the same. Stay in touch with the interior designer for periodic reports on the progress of the work. All designs and redesigns need to be approved by you. This means that you should be available to review every piece of information shared with you diligently to avoid any delays.
Step #3 Assess Design and Layout
Understanding the room’s layout is particularly important when it comes to renovation and redesigning. Proper space planning is an integral part of the renovation. You need to know the exact dimensions of the space to utilize every inch of workable area to the fullest. Rather than completely depending on the interior designer to produce suggestions, if you have the exact room measurement, you can jot down your own ideas.
Your list of ideas and suggestions will be a good starting point for an interior designer. It will give the designer a peek into your vision for the room. He/she can then find ways to make those changes with the help of appropriate professionals such as carpenters, builders, or electricians. Employing the services of an interior designer might seem quite expensive but look at it as an investment in your home.
You need to consider the shape of your living room when you go about redesigning it. There are four common shapes:
– Rectangular: These living rooms are long, often narrow and can feel cramped if you do not space out the furniture properly. Include a writing and read nook with a desk, a chair and bookshelf in one corner to give the room more purpose. Arrange the furniture such that there is space to move around, and everyone can comfortably watch the television. Opt for a wall mounted television and a few wall shelves, to reduce the amount of furniture in the room. If you are buying new furniture, pick ones with built in storage. A floor lamp in one corner and couple of large, framed paintings on the wall will give the room character and make it look like less of a hallway.
– Square: This is one of the roomier layouts for a living room, but do not get overzealous and load it up with furniture and décor. Be mindful of how you set the chairs and sofas. If they are too spread out, it will create a vacuum in the middle. The idea of a good family time will be ruined if everyone is seated far apart. Likewise, placing all the seats in a huddle in the middle of the room, will leave too much space around them creating an imbalance. The living room is a social space, everybody should have ample walk space. Arrange furniture such that everyone can get in on the conversation. A coffee table, a corner shelf, spotlights, and wall décor will add a nice vibe to the room.
– L Shape: Technically an L shaped living room is two rooms joined together without a door to separate them. In apartments it is usually designed this way to combine the dining area and the living room. You could also create an informal home office space instead of the dining area. All it would require is a writing desk with a chair, a desktop computer/ laptop, a storage cabinet, and appropriate lighting. However, if the living space is often used, then this could prove a distraction to anyone working in the adjoining workstation.
– Open Space: The open living room will open out into the dining area, and the kitchen. It could be tricky to work this shape because you will need to match the colour scheme to that of the other two space as well. However, this design allows enough space for the entire family to be together even if each of you are doing something different. The design is quite spacious, and you could consider putting in a bar unit besides the dining table and chairs or create a lounge area instead. The space is flexible and can lend itself to some lovely dinner parties. Have a few extra chairs in storage to bring out when you have company.
You need to understand the space you have at hand and how you can work it. The key is to keep the living room neat and functional. It should offer cosy comfort when you are alone and open when it becomes the hub of activity for the whole family.
Step #4 Choose the Colour Scheme and Lighting
By colour scheme we do not simply mean what colour you want your walls. We mean the whole package – walls, furniture, décor, and accessories. Here are some tips to keep in mind while planning the colour palette of your living room:
– Since the living room is usually the social spot of the house, going for neutral shades or bright ones, works best.
– Dark colours might seem like a good option to give the space a more depth and personality, but they tend to make the room look gloomy and dull.
– A lemon yellow or a light shade of blue, can set a cheerful mode. However, the trouble with bright colours is matching the rest of your items with them. If you do not have the budget to buy everything anew, then you can just go with neutral shades.
– While beige or white might sound like a boring choice to go with, you can add spunk to the room with bright and colourful decor and accessories.
– Pick bright curtains, match your sofa cushions to them. Add a rug and pouffe in the same colour palette for an extra pop of colour.
– Spotlights and wall decor will add more character to the room.
– Choose beige marble floor tiles for your home. They reflect light and brighten up the whole house.
Also remember, the living room is like the name suggests, meant for ‘living’. There should be no shortage of lighting. Here are some important considerations when picking your light fixtures and arrangements:
– Make room for as much natural light as possible to keep the room bright and lit through the day. Have an assortment of lighting to use after dusk.
– A chandelier has a nice regal touch. You can pick a traditional design or a more modern one.
– Floor lamps, wall sconces or wall mounted lights are diverse ways to make your living room cosy and comfortable.
– Hidden lights add a dramatic tone to the room and are also great for movie night.
– Additionally, you can install spotlights to light up specific wall décor.
Step #5 Pick out/ Set-up Furniture, Accessories & Décor
The last part of renovating a space is filling it up with furniture and décor. The most important piece of furniture in the living room is the sofa. Here are some tips to pick the right sofa for your living room:
– To avoid any stress at this final part of the process, make sure to match the measurement of the sofa to the room.
– The size of the sofa depends on the size of the room as well the size of the family. A three-seater with two single seaters is ideal for a family of four.
– Pick a sofa in the colour that suits you colour scheme. The safest choices being beige, white and grey for an urban feel or beige and brown for a traditional setting.
– You need to decide on what sofa material to go for. Fabric is a common choice today on account of its affordability. Pick one that is water and stain resistant for easier maintenance. Leather looks beautiful and is easy to maintain, but it does cost a ton. Leatherette sofas are equally elegant as ones in leather. They are cheaper, easier to maintain and come in a whole lot of shades.
– Check the quality of the frame and armrest. Make sure the sofa is sturdy and does not squeak or tremble under weight.
– L Shaped sofas are in vogue now, but the English sofa is just as comfortable. Pick according to the size of your living room.
Other furniture requirements for your living room are listed below with suggestions on how to pick the right ones:
– Coffee table: The coffee table is usually placed at the epicenter of the room. Pick one that is proportionate to the size of the sofa. If it comes with a storage space beneath the tabletop, you can avoid it from getting cluttered.
– Entertainment Unit: If your living room is compact, go for a wall mounted to television and set up wall shelfs for you other gadgets. If you are putting in a new entertainment unit, get one that can double up as a storage cabinet for other gadgets, display décor and books.
– Storage Cabinet/ Bookshelf: If you are an avid reader, you will be reluctant to part with your books and are going to add more to your collection. You can pack a few and put them in storage to make room for new books and to reduce clutter at home.
– Additional Seating: Having a few chairs, ottomans and beanbags that can be moved around makes the living room seating arrangement more flexible. On game night everyone can sit around the coffee table in their favourite chair and enjoy some quality family time.
Accessories and décor need to be picked keeping in mind the colour scheme and the availability of space. Do not over accessorise. It might look great for a couple of days, but eventually, maintaining it all will become tedious. Some accessories to choose from are listed below:
– Rugs: If you experience frequent temperature drops, a nice floor rug will add a touch of warmth and luxury. The rug circumference of the rug should be greater than your coffee table yet not longer than your sofa.
– Throw Cushions: They have a certain lush and cosy quality to them. Your three-seater can easily accommodate four standard-sized cushions. Place one per single chair and have a few extra to spare.
– Throw Blanket: Instead of going for a standard sofa cover, consider using a throw blanket. A crocheted one casually spread against the backrest of the sofa can work as a comforter on cold nights as well.
– Wall décor: For the minimalist one large, spotlighted painting will be all the décor he/ she needs. Restrict your wall décor to one wall of the room. Wall décor includes photos, paintings, posters, and any type of wall hangings. Make sure you do not cause structural damage while setting them up.
– Display Pieces: Little trinkets that you pick up on your travels or one that are gifted to you, often line the shelves around the house. These little objects serve no true purpose and often end up gathering dust. Pick only a few and put the rest away in storage. This way you get to keep them and yet avoid clutter.
– Indoor Plants: From small potted succulents to mid-sized air-purifying plants there are several plants to choose from. If you have kids running around, place the pots at locations where the kids will not knock them down leaving a big mess of mud for you to clean up.
Renovation can be a cumbersome job. You can take some of the tedium away by having a proper plan in place and working with the right people. By following this guide, you can enjoy the process of creating a wonderful space for you and your family to enjoy.