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Living Room Remodeling Cost

Living Room Remodeling Cost

National average
$7,400
(full living room remodel including new hardwood floors and one wall removed)
Low: $5,000

(painting walls, refinishing the floor, new moldings)

High: $12,500

(upscale remodel, decorative elements, brick accent wall, marble floor, load bearing wall removal)

Cost to remodel a living room varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from remodeling contractors in your city.

The average cost of remodeling a living room is $7,400.

In this guide

Size
Open floor plan vs closed floor plan
Design
Flooring
Walls
Wall colors
Lighting
Furniture
Electronics
Labor costs
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to remodel a living room?

The living room is one of the most frequently used spaces in the home. It is where people gather, entertain, relax, and converse. In some cases, it is also where children play and study and adults work.

With the many uses this room has, homeowners may want to consider remodeling to improve both its appearance and function. Living room remodels vary in cost depending on size, materials used, and the style of the space. Most homeowners spend an average of $7,400 on remodeling a 250-square-foot living room with hardwood floors and one wall removal.

Size

The size of the space that you are renovating has a direct impact on its cost. The more materials used and the larger the space, the more labor that must go into it. Average living rooms typically range in size between 250 and 400 square feet and have a range of associated costs depending on what you do within the space:

Living Room Size (sq. ft.)Average Remodel Cost
200$6,000
250$7,000
300$9,000
350$10,500
400$12,000


Open floor plan vs closed floor plan

Depending on the age and style of your home, you may currently have a closed or separate living room or an open floor plan with a living room adjoining another space, such as a kitchen or dining room.

Open floor plans are popular because they make spaces more functional as well as easier to heat and cool. It is possible to go from a closed floor plan to an open one if you have an adjoining room you want to connect to. In this case, you need to remove any walls between the two spaces.

Removing walls is easier when the wall is non load bearing, but it can be accomplished even if the wall is load bearing with the installation of a steel beam. Costs to remove a wall range from $700 for a non load bearing wall 1 to $3,000 for a load bearing wall 1 and accompanying finish work.

Design

Before starting any renovation, it is important to know what your goals are for the space and to design accordingly. Living rooms have always been considered a more formal space within the home when compared to the family room, which is considered more informal. However, in some homes, there may only be a living room.

Your first step to designing the space should be to determine what it will be used for. If this is a formal room, your emphasis may be more on style, such as the inclusion of a bay window, skylights, or a fireplace. When designing for function, you may want to include shelving or a desk area. For entertainment, you may add a space for a conversation area and lots of light.

Living room designs are primarily based on the architectural style of your home and the surrounding areas. Hardwood flooring is popular in living rooms, as is the inclusion of additional windows, decorative ceilings, and accent walls.

The most popular living room designs include open floor plans, lots of light, built-in 2 shelving, and some focal point like a fireplace.

Flooring

Most living rooms have flooring that extends throughout the level of the house. But separate living rooms, which do not have an open floor plan, may have distinct flooring. Whether you match the rest of the home or set it apart, renovations are a good time to replace the flooring in the room.

Type of flooringCharacteristicsAverage cost/square foot
Laminate

Easy to maintain

Low cost

May mimic the look of wood

$1-$3/sq.ft.
Cork

Soft and springy underfoot

Low maintenance

Eco-friendly flooring

$3-$8/sq.ft.
Slate tile

May be honed or cleft

Can be dusty

Very low maintenance

Good for informal and rustic spaces

$5-$10/sq.ft.
Ceramic tile

Many styles to choose from

Has a glaze that can be matte or glossy

Several colors available

$5-$10/sq.ft.
Bamboo

Popular

Trendy

Some types are very durable

Limited colors and textures

$5-$20/sq.ft.
Marble tile

Classic appearance

May be polished, honed, or tumbled

High maintenance

Good for formal spaces

$5-$50/sq.ft.
Carpet

Warm underfoot

Many colors, textures, and patterns to choose from

Can be high maintenance

$7-$12/sq.ft.
Porcelain tile

Many styles to choose from

Very durable and low maintenance

May be polished, textured, or matte

Can mimic the look of wood or stone

$7-$20/sq.ft.
Hardwood

Popular

Holds value well

Many wood species, colors, and styles

$12-$20/sq.ft.


Ceilings

If you are moving walls or having extensive work done in the living room, you will likely also need to have work done on the ceiling. Drywall 3 is the most common material used on the ceiling, but that does not have to be the case.

Coffered ceilings are popular in formal living rooms. Decorative ceilings that have tin or pressed tiles, ceiling beams, painted patterns, decorative textures, and mosaics are also popular.

In many cases, the type of ceiling you opt for will be in line with the style of the home. For example, a cottage-style house may have a beadboard ceiling, while a Victorian will have a coffered ceiling.

Keep in mind that if you have an open floor plan, your ceiling needs to match those outside of the living room area for best results.

Walls

In most situations, your new living room will likely have drywall as the main wall areas. However, this is not always the case. In some designs, you may want to include an accent wall of a different material. Or, your living room may already have walls of a different material that you want to match.

WallDescriptionAverage cost
Drywall

Common

May be finished with veneer 4, wainscot, wallpaper,

paint, or a decorative finish

$1-$3/sq.ft.
Plaster

Uncommon

Usually used to create intricate textures on the wall

Good for historic homes

$2-$5/sq.ft.
Tile

Used to create a decorative surface

Can install over concrete, brick, or drywall

$2-$50/sq.ft.
Paint

May be a solid color or decorative

Goes over plaster 5 or drywall

$2-$50/sq.ft.
Concrete

Uncommon except in basement living rooms

Usually has drywall installed over it

$5-$15/sq.ft.
Reclaimed wood

May be panels or individual planks

Rustic or contemporary look

Installs over drywall

$5-$30/sq.ft.
Wainscot

May be formal or informal

Usually wood, but may be vinyl 6 or tile

$7-$40/sq.ft.
Fieldstone

Usually installed as veneer

Rustic appearance

Expensive

$14-$20/sq.ft.
Brick

May be full bricks or veneer

May go over existing wall or be used to create a new wall

Expensive

$14-$20/sq.ft.
Wallpaper

May colors and textures available

Installs over drywall 3

$50-$70/roll


Wall colors

Whether you choose to paint all the walls in the living room or have an accent wall with the others painted, there are several popular colors you may want to consider.

Gray is one of the hottest colors for living rooms right now. Any shade will work, but stick to lighter and cooler tones for small spaces to keep them from feeling closed in.

Other popular colors include taupe, cream, and many shades of blue. You want to make sure that you coordinate the color you choose with the flooring for the best results. Keep in mind that if you opt for an open floor plan, the color will flow into the adjoining rooms as well.

Have you already looked at our Guide to the Color of the Year 2020: Living Room Edition?

Modern living room walls painted in different colors

To help you decide whether or not you should run out and buy the latest trending color, we have created a living room to show you how the different colors chosen by some of the biggest design brands can transform your space. Each of the images featured in our blog have the same layout and the same furniture. However, we have slightly varied some of the minor design details (such as curtains, cushions, etc.), all in the hopes of helping you see how to incorporate the 2020 colors into your living space.

Lighting

Layered lighting is the best way to illuminate your living room. Light is crucial to both the function of the space as well as its appearance. Every living room should have three distinct types of lighting - ambient or general lighting, accent lighting, and task lighting.

Ambient lighting in the living room is most commonly recessed lighting because it provides the most even overall light. Accent lighting is the decorative lights you include in the design, such as lamps, pendants, and chandeliers. Task lighting is what helps you use the room, such as a desk lamp, lights that focus on shelves, or lighting around an entertainment center.

Furniture

Many people renovating or remodeling a living room also take the time to invest in new furniture. This can be because renovating the room can change its size or shape, as well as its style, which can influence the furnishings used.

Furniture for the living room needs to achieve a few goals. It needs to be large enough to fill the space without crowding it. It also needs to work with the way you intend to use the space. For example, having chairs beside a window can create a conversation area, while a large couch with a coffee table may face an entertainment center.

When planning the space, walk through the room from different locations. This path should remain empty to avoid making the area feel awkward.

Furnishings typically placed in the living room include:

  • Couches: $500-$5,000
  • Loveseats: $500-$2,500
  • Arm chairs: $200-$1,500
  • Recliners: $500-$3,000
  • Coffee tables: $500-$2,000
  • End tables: $100-$1,000
  • Sofa tables: $500-$2,000
  • Entertainment centers: $1,000-$5,000
  • Desks: $500-$5,000
  • Shelving: $50-$500
  • Throw rugs: $200-$5,000

These items can match or not, depending on the style of the room you choose. Keep in mind that while many people prefer new furnishings after a renovation, doing so increases costs enormously. Many people want to reuse existing living room furniture and decorate separately at a later time to help manage expenses.

Electronics

For some people, the living room is considered a formal space for entertaining and does not contain electronics or gaming systems. For others, it is the family gathering place and may include entertainment systems. When planning and laying out the room, include ample outlets and jacks for the systems you plan to use, and consider the arrangement of the furniture for their use.

Commonly used electronics in the living room include:

  • TV: $1,000-$2,000
  • Stereo system: $500-$5,000
  • DVD or Blu-ray player: $50-$500
  • Speakers: $500-$5,000
  • Projector: $200-$2,000

Labor costs

There are various ways to renovate a living room, and therefore, a range of associated labor costs. In general, labor typically accounts for about half the cost of the project, assuming the use of an electrician ($65-$85 per hour), carpenter ($70 per hour), and general contractor (10%-20% of project) as well as specific flooring or window installers and painters ($50 per hour). For the renovation of a 300-square-foot living room costing around $7,400, labor accounts for roughly $3,500 of the total.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Fireplace

Many living rooms contain fireplaces as a focal point and source of heat. A gas fireplace addition costs around $4,500 to $8,500 to install.

Video gaming system

If you plan on using the space for family or entertainment use, you may want to add a video gaming system to your setup. Gaming systems start at around $200 and increase the more elaborate they become.

Additional considerations and costs

  • The more elaborate and detail-filled your living room is, the more expensive it will be to renovate. Overall, however, living room renovations are less costly on average than a bathroom or kitchen.
  • Windows are an important part of the living room, and you may want to consider replacement windows during the renovation for energy savings and increased light.
  • White ceilings work best in small living rooms to help prevent the room from feeling closed in.
  • Area rugs should be large enough to leave only a border of 10 to 20 inches of bare space to the wall. Anything else will be too small.
  • Statement pieces and focal points, such as chandeliers or fireplaces, can catch the eye and make the room feel bigger.
  • Gallery walls, focal pieces, and personal art are all common additions to the living room that can be done at the time of the remodel.

FAQ

  • How much does it cost to remodel a living room?

The cost to remodel an average-sized living room is around $7,400 on average.

  • What are the new colors for living rooms?

All shades of gray, taupe, many shades of blue, and deep purple are all popular for living rooms. ​

  • How can I make my living room look bigger?

Use cool, light-toned colors on the walls. Size your furniture to correctly fit the space and include lots of natural light in the room. 

  • What is a transitional living room?

A transitional style bridges two different styles. For example, Rustic Modern bridges rustic designs and contemporary styles. A transitional living room will include elements of two styles, blending them together. 

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Bearing wall: A wall that supports the weight of the house, transferring it to the foundation
glossary term picture Built-in 2 Built-in: An item of furniture, such as a bookcase or set of cabinets, that is built directly into the structure of the room. Built-ins are therefore customized to the room and not detachable
glossary term picture Sheetrock 3 Drywall: Type of plasterboard, commonly used to build walls and ceilings, composed of gypsum that is layered between sheets of heavy paper
4 Veneer: A thin layer of decorative finishing applied to a coarser construction material
glossary term picture Plaster 5 Plaster: A paste composed of sand, water, and either lime, gypsum, or cement, which forms a smooth hard surface on walls, ceilings, and other structures upon drying
glossary term picture Vinyl 6 Vinyl: A synthetic plastic made from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl has many applications in the construction industry and it is widely used in sidings, window frames, roofing and gutters, among others

Cost to remodel a living room varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Remodeled luxury living room with hardwood flooring

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Alameda, CA
+35%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Aurora, CO
+10%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Belpre, OH
-5%
Bethesda, MD
+50%
Birmingham, AL
+6%
Bristol, CT
+23%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Brunswick, GA
-29%
Buffalo, NY
-1%
Burleson, TX
-22%
Burton, MI
-4%
Cape May, NJ
-5%
Chandler, AZ
-2%
Chesapeake, VA
-6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Clarksburg, MD
0%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Conroe, TX
+21%
Corpus Christi, TX
+4%
Cuba, MO
-40%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Decatur, GA
+9%
Dover, DE
-13%
Escondido, CA
+9%
Fpo, AP
0%
Fresno, CA
-6%
Hawthorne, NJ
+31%
Henrico, VA
+6%
Holtsville, NY
+17%
Honolulu, HI
+35%
Houston, TX
+24%
Huntington Beach, CA
+24%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Iselin, NJ
+39%
Katy, TX
+63%
Kent, WA
+9%
La Palma, CA
+24%
Lakeside, CA
+8%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Long Beach, CA
+16%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Moody, TX
-24%
New Orleans, LA
+35%
Newnan, GA
-23%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Labor cost in your zip code
Last modified:   
Methodology and sources