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How to Redesign Your Living Room in Five Steps

Updated on July 31, 2013

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The living room is like a hairstyle; after a while it usually gets boring. Redesigning your living room every now and then could be a great way to give yourself an emotional lift. When it comes to living room remodeling, there are a myriad of things you can do about it, from changing the entire flooring and repainting the ceiling to installing new window frames and replacing the old furniture set with a brand new one. But let's face it; not all of us have enough time and budget to afford all those drastic renovations. Instead of focusing on major modifications, you should think about little changes that can make a huge difference. This 5-step redesigning project is what I like to call "smart decoration." It can ease the worries of those with smaller budgets and be put into practice without any help from a pro.

A Cozy Living Room Design
A Cozy Living Room Design | Source

Step 1 - Choose Your Living Room Theme

You may consider well-known decorating styles, such as Asian-inspired, country, coastal, Gothic, modern, rustic, shabby chic or Victorian. By having a certain theme in mind, it will make the next four steps much easier. If you don't like any style in particular or don't want to limit your scope of inspiration to one concrete theme, just imagine what type of ambiance you want to experience in your living room. Would you like it to be an "indoor playground" with a vivacious and kid-friendly atmosphere? Would you prefer it to be a serene, soothing and peace-inducing space? Or would you rather make it a well-organized area suitable for both work and play? No matter what you fancy, keep in mind that the most essential element of a living room is comfort. Whatever it looks like, the living room should always provide physical ease and promote emotional warmth.

A Very Sassy Sofa
A Very Sassy Sofa | Source

Step 2 - Revamp Your Living Room Furniture

Decide whether the chairs, loveseats or couches that you already have will complement the new living room style you have in mind. If it seems like they probably won't go with the new theme, there are quite a few things you can do to adapt your seating furniture instead of buying a whole new set. For example, if your old couch is the color of charcoal but your new living room style is shabby chic, you can hide the dark gray fabric under a pastel pink slipcover. If the new theme is going to be a lot more playful, adding a few fluffy accent pillows with mismatched colors can give a boring old couch a sassy new look. For a Zen living room, you might want to replace some chairs with floor pillows or cushions. And if you want to go Gothic, there's no need to get rid of your contemporary-style loveseat; simply drape a dark heavy fabric over it and that will do the job.

Other furniture pieces, such as coffee tables and cabinets, might be harder to alter, especially if you want to switch to an extremely different style. Try repainting or redecorating them in a way that would make them blend in a little better with the new theme. A shabby-chic coffee table, for instance, can seamlessly fit into a modern living room if you give it a splash of vibrant color, such as bright red or neon pink. Or if you want to make your vintage cabinet appear more contemporary, try removing the bulky cabinet doors (if you can do it without ruining the whole cabinet) and filling the shelves with modern accessories.

Red Area Rug in a White Living Room
Red Area Rug in a White Living Room | Source

Step 3 - Think about Window Treatments and Area Rugs

These things may not seem like major elements, but they can actually either enhance or ruin the style of your entire living room. Imagine how painfully awkward a pink polka-dot curtain would appear among Gothic furniture, antique swords and dragon heads. Similarly, a golden velvety drape will likely look quite out of place or even gaudy in a cottage-style home. If you pick the right window treatment for the design, however, it can render a much better result. A Victorian living room, for instance, can appear even more elegant with elaborately-embroidered, satin drapes. And a simple, lace-trimmed, cotton curtain can lend quite a bit of extra charm to a shabby chic home.

Now let's talk about area rugs. Although they're not a necessity, they can jazz up your living room quite nicely by creating focal points, defining areas within the room and complementing the overall theme. Think about a Japanese-inspired living room, for example. It wouldn't look quite complete without at least one small tatami mat, would it? When choosing an area rug, consider the color, pattern, type of material and size. Ask yourself if it works with the flooring you have, the overall color scheme as well as other aspects of the room. Don't place just one small area rug in a large sitting room, as that will make the rest of the room appear disjointed. And never add too many big rugs into a small living room; you need to keep your limited floor space as airy-looking as possible.

Wall Lighting Fixtures
Wall Lighting Fixtures | Source

Step 4 - Choose Appropriate Lighting

Many people assume that the theme of the room doesn't have much to do with the lighting, but in fact, it's quite the opposite. The style you pick should dictate the amount of light in the room as well as your choice of lighting fixtures. A Victorian living room, for example, should have plenty of light and an elegant aura, so a large chandelier will be a great choice. Contrary to the Victorian style, the Gothic theme requires minimal ambient lighting, therefore an overhead lighting fixture might not even be necessary at all whereas accent wall lamps are a lot more appropriate. As for a modern-style living room where the same space is often used for both work and relaxation, recessed lighting is the way to go since it offers a neat, streamlined look and allows you to adjust the light to suit multiple purposes.

Step 5 - Accessorize

The last step is about finishing touches. Living room accessories include anything from clocks and paintings to flower vases and garbage cans. Choose them wisely, arrange them appropriately, and you'll have a stunning sitting room without spending big bucks. Before going to shop for new knickknacks, walk through your entire house and try to find some hidden treasures that might be worth showing off. For instance, if you're trying to create an oriental atmosphere, why buy a new Buddha statue or a Japanese painting if you have a china tea set buried in your kitchen cupboard? Bring it out and let it shine!


Submit a Comment
  • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

    Om Paramapoonya 

    8 years ago

    @answers-questions - Yeah, I hope it will, too! Thanks for stopping by :)

  • answers-questions profile image


    8 years ago

    This is a great tutorials, I need to redesign my living room.

    Hope that it will help me :).

    Best regards, Atyq

  • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

    Om Paramapoonya 

    9 years ago

    Thanks a lot, RTalloni. So good to see you :)

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    You've got some good practical tips on turning our rooms into anything but plain, practical living spaces. :)

  • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

    Om Paramapoonya 

    9 years ago

    @Simone - It took you a year to decorate your living room? Wow, it must look so stupendous!

    @razroditti - Thanks! Glad you found these home décor tips helpful.

  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 

    9 years ago from San Francisco

    I wish I had seen this Hub before I had taken on the task of decorating my living room. It might not have taken me a year to do it had I seen your easy to follow steps!

  • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

    Om Paramapoonya 

    9 years ago

    Thanks for the comments and votes, lindacee! I'm so happy to hear that you like these redesigning tips!

  • lindacee profile image

    Linda Chechar 

    9 years ago from Arizona

    LOVE your ideas Om! We all need a change of scenery once in a while. Revamping living spaces does wonders for the psyche. Simple design tips that can be accomplished on a modest budget. Voted up and useful.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

    Om Paramapoonya 

    9 years ago

    Thanks, Angeline. I do encourage you to redesign your living room if you have time, but I think your hairstyle already looks quite nice and doesn't really need a makeover! hehehe

  • anglnwu profile image


    9 years ago

    Living room like hairstyle? Good analogy since my living room is quite like my hairstyle these days. It needs a major makeover. Good tips and I've to agree on window treatments. I think it can definitely set up the room or let it down. Awesome.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

    Om Paramapoonya 

    9 years ago

    krsharp - Ah, just saw this now! I believe I already replied to this question in one of the team's forum threads. :)

    iefox - Yep, redesigning a room can be very hard and complicated. But isn't it also a heck of fun?

    creative 1975 - Me too! I LOVE shopping for living room accessories.

    MelChi - You're very welcome! Thanks for dropping by.

    Greatstuff - Yes, I agree potted plants, if chosen wisely, are great accessories for a living room.

    Buckleupdorothy - Sounds like a smart arrangement. I'm glad you found a way to spiff up your room without having to spend a single cent!

    Cassylu - Thanks so much for voting and spreading the word, Cassylu :)

    vespawoolf - Thank you. Glad you like these redesigning tips!

    leahlefler - Haha sure! I won't work for free, though. You have to pay me in yummy cinnamon buns!

    Robert Erich - Cool! Glad you will use these decorating tips on your home.

  • Robert Erich profile image

    Robert Erich 

    9 years ago from California

    Thanks for writing. I will be using this information for sure while redoing the inside of my home. Very good tips and I look forward to seeing more!

  • leahlefler profile image

    Leah Lefler 

    9 years ago from Western New York

    You have so many great ideas, Om! I need you to come over to my house and help me redecorate. A new area rug or throw pillows can definitely change the look of a room. We recently re-upholstered our dining room chairs and our dining room area looks so much better!

  • vespawoolf profile image

    Vespa Woolf 

    9 years ago from Peru, South America

    These are great steps to revamp the décor. Lighting is sometimes an underestimated but very important element of decorating. Thank you for these reminders!

  • CassyLu1981 profile image


    9 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

    Excellent ideas and super easy ways to ake your living room look different and even better :) Voted up and shared!

  • buckleupdorothy profile image


    9 years ago from Istanbul, Turkey

    I just (last weekend!) rearranged my living room and it has made Such a difference. I didn't get anything new, I just moved everything around and tidied like a madwoman. The living room is now a much more productive space for working, while the "slouchy couch" (as we call it) has been sidelined in a little alcove, where it can be used for naps and exhausted tv watching. It's amazing how a simple change in furniture arrangement can so drastically change the way you use a room.

  • greatstuff profile image

    Mazlan A 

    9 years ago from Malaysia

    Good advice here Om. I love plants and I have potted plants in the living and dining rooms. You need to choose the proper indoor plant otherwise you have to keep moving them around for the sunlight! Voted up, useful and Shared.

  • MelChi profile image

    Melanie Chisnall 

    9 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

    Some great decorating advice here, thanks!

  • creative1975 profile image


    9 years ago from Christchurch, NZ

    Great - I'm all for accessories! They complete the look.

  • iefox5 profile image


    9 years ago

    Great hub, furniture is definitely an important factor when we redesign the living room. Also, color compatibility should be take into consideration. Redesign is a complicate and hard work!

  • krsharp05 profile image

    Kristi Sharp 

    9 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

    Om, I love your ideas. I definitely need a lift in my living room. I'm going to start with the pillow idea. What do you think about recovering pillows? Is that difficult to do? Great information for a pick-me-up! -K


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