How Much Does It Cost To Decorate A Living Room?
So how much does it cost to decorate a living room from scratch? What kind of investment are you planning to spend on your new home?
If I rattled off a number like $30,000 would you have sticker shock? There’s variation in how much it will cost you to decorate a your living room based on how and where you shop as well as the size of the space, but we’re going to address three levels of design.
WHY IS IT SO EXPENSIVE?
Furnishing and decorating a living room adds up quickly. Three main factors go into the expense of a room, which luckily means it can be scaled down to a budget version.
The 3 components that make the cost of decorating a living room expensive are:
- Scale of furniture
- Quality of pieces
- Complexity of the design
These three words may seem odd by themselves, but let’s apply them to the living room.
The large the room (I’m looking at you open floor plan) and the square footage of the home in general will set the tone for how large your furniture needs to be. And as size increases , so does price.
The vendors that you will need to purchase from become fewer – that Target accent chair or console will no longer work in the room because it will be too low and too small.
Quality hand-crafted furniture with solid wood, durable fabric and stain resistance are investment pieces. Upholstery is easily the most expensive piece in the room (or maybe the rug) and you should expect to spend more on higher quality upholstery.
Apply this to the rug, curtains, tables, lamps and accessories and you can see how it quickly adds up.
Complexity of Design
If you are investing in making your space feel like you, you want a room that is unique to you and not every house on the block. This means working with a designer to access furnishings and accessories that you can’t buy at every store.
If you choose to work with a designer, you’ll pay slightly more for vendors that only sell “to the trade” or to interior designers and you will also have the added cost of shipping, receiving, inspection (this is usually absorbed into the cost a major retailers).
Not only are the furnishings unique, but designers have the ability to customize every detail from the contrast trim, piping, nail heads, and any other tiny detail that makes every part of the room so specific to you that no one else will have the exact same space.
Lastly, designer fabrics and wall coverings add a level of cost. While there are thousands of fabric and wallpaper brands and choices, if you want the quality, exclusive designer brands, they come with a price tag.
SHOULD I HIRE A DESIGNER?
Let’s be blunt about the cost. If you are reading this post, you wither plan to DIY your decorating or you are looking for an average of what you should expect to invest on your living room with your designer.
If you enjoy DIY projects, home improvement, and have a moderate budget for decorating, but need help space planning & choosing items that work well together, a virtual designer may be a good fit.
They will design the space from retail options (like Ballard & Perigold) and you, the client, will order the items, track delivery, and install them in your home.
It’s a great option if you know your style, but need that designer touch. Need help? Become a client, in person or virtually.
For a high end design, you should expect to spend $30,000- $50,000 on a room. In order for it to be worth the cost, your home value should be commensurate with the cost of improvements. You don’t want to put a $50,000 investment living room into a $100,000 house. It doesn’t make sense.
So plan to spend no more than (liberally) 25% of your home’s value on the total decorating/furnishing cost. This includes all of the rooms’ furnishings, materials, labor and contracting work. Does it fit into your target investment?
For example, if your house value is $500,000 and you want to spend $15,000 on redecorating your living room, it is a good investment for you. Because you will get use out of the room and it doesn’t exceed the value you will get back out of the renovation when you sell the home.
WHAT DO I NEED TO FURNISH A LIVING ROOM?
Let’s go over a short list of things you will need to take in to account for the cost of furnishing a living room. We will start with the large items and work our way down to smaller specific items depending upon how you use the space.
- area rug
- 2 chairs
- console table
- coffee table
- end table
- drinks table
- 2 occasional chairs
- 2 ottomans
- bookshelf or etagere
- 3 table lamps
- floor lamp
- light fixture
- drapery & hardware
- mirror & artwork
Are you confused as to how you will fit all of that into your living room? Did you even know that you needed all of those items for a complete look?
In the next section, we will discuss the budget breakdown of each item and how it relates to the total cost of decorating a living room.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO DECORATE A LIVING ROOM?
It’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of decorating costs for your living room. Keep in mind that this breakdown doesn’t factor in construction or renovation, and is solely the products needed to furnish the living room.
Your living room is likely the largest room in your house. I’m guessing you also you use it a lot.
While some of you may have a formal living room that’s rarely used or is only used for entertaining, most use their living rooms to live in. You may be watching tv, playing games with the kids, or hiding blankets and toy bins to the best of your ability.
1- Determine the purpose/use
So firstly, I want to make sure your living room is functional. That means that if you plan to watch tv, own it. We all know tv’s are in living rooms, so don’t try to hide it. Find the optimal height (hint, it’s not above the fireplace) and wall mount the tv.
2- Plan the layout
From there, plan the room around it. It is 100% okay to not have the fireplace be the focal point. Let me repeat that, you are free to make the tv the focal point of your living room if that’s how you use it.
On the other hand, if you have a playroom where the tv lives, make the living room a place for relaxation, family time and coffee.
3- Choose the furniture and decor
COST TO DECORATE A HIGH END LIVING ROOM
Not including construction costs, your higher end furnishings are going to cost you $30,000- $50,000. This amount figures in a custom sofa and chairs, custom drapery/curtains, a nice chandelier and exclusive to the trade tables.
You’ll also need to account for original sourced artwork. A large rug will ground the room. And like I’ve mentioned before, you’ll want at least 4 sources of lighting.
You can expect that accessories account for around 10% of the total cost of the room.
Start with a custom sofa and rug and work in the other functional pieces, some high and some low cost until you have fully sourced the furniture and accessories for the living room.
$30,000 – $50,000+
The graphics above and below are a sample design plan for a living room with a sectional, two chairs and lighting/art. This is a good way to gauge what it should cost.
COST TO DECORATE A MODERATE LIVING ROOM
To fully decorate a moderately priced living room, you should again start by sourcing a semi custom sofa, two club chairs and a pair of ottomans. The next large purchase should be a rug large enough to ground the seating area.
You may want to splurge on a light fixture or really amazing piece of artwork. The other pieces should be a mix of high and low items from designer and readily available big box stores.
$15,000 – $20,000
BUDGET/DIY LIVING ROOM COST
Are you still thinking that’s a crazy amount to spend on furnishing and decorating one room, or that the total cost of everything you own is $5,000.
Don’t be discouraged! There are ways to save and places to splurge to make a really well designed living room on a small budget.
You’ll notice a pattern with where to put your money. On your butt. Well, where you sit your butt, the sofa.
It may sound counterintuitive because you have young children who ruin everything, but investing in a solid wood frame sofa with a performance fabric or slipcover that can be washed can make all of the difference in how comfortable and how long the furniture lasts.
In the end, if you have to pay $1,500 every few years to replace your living room set because it is flat and hard to sit on, you would have been better off to save up and invest in a sofa that will last 20 years.
If we go back to the introduction of why it is an investment to furnish and decorate your living room (or any room), the three main elements were the scale, quality, and complexity of design.
For a budget living room, we can decrease quality and complexity, but I am going to push you out of your comfort zone to really work for that quality sofa. I know you will get use out of it and in the end it will be money well spent.
Read more about budgeting for a DIY interior design project + a free budget planner
WAYS TO SAVE ON LIVING ROOM DECORATING
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or surprised by the cost to totally furnish your living room with all new decor and accessories, I have some great secrets for you. Use these thrifty tips to save money and love your new space.
- Facebook Marketplace
- Local Consignment
You now have an idea of the cost to furnish a living room from a variety of sources. I hope you are feeling confident that you can furnish a room at the quality you want, even if it is phased over time.
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