Things to Think About When Doing a Living Room Renovation


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The heart of the home has been receiving even more love than usual lately, and for many of us, extra time spent in the living room means that the key gathering spot is getting a lot more scrutiny. Whether you’re hanging out with family or spending movie night on the sofa, taking note of the things you love and the things that fall short might just be the final push to start on the living room renovation you’ve been dreaming of.

Over the past few decades, the living room has made quite the transformation. What used to be a formal space for entertaining now has evolved into a more casual room, perfect for curling up with a book or relaxing after a long day. If you’re still envisioning the formal, stiff spaces of the past, take a deep breath … and let that go. It’s time to instead let function lead form — and for most of us, function feels like family game nights, morning coffee with the sun shining in, or a glass of wine with your spouse. 

We’re excited to share with you some tips on creating a living room full of warmth and comfort that you won’t ever want to leave: 

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Always prioritize how you use the room.  

Do you have young kids running around? Will you need a small desk for wrapping up work projects? Do you love to entertain, or are you more of a get-comfy, movie-night-in family? Out of all the rooms in your home, the living room is one of the most important to tailor to your unique lifestyle. Because it’s such a high-use area, it’s important to keep top of mind the function of the space, and then balance it with stylish details that add personality and comfort to what is soon to become your most-loved room. As you walk through the design process, first and foremost, think about use and how the space will work for you and your family. 


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Keep scale and proportion top of mind. 

Too often, I see rugs that are disproportionately small for a space or sofas that take over the room. When you miss the mark on scale and proportion, you can leave your room feeling a bit off. Scale (how well the size of the pieces fit into the size of the room) and proportion (how all of the pieces in the room fit together) are two incredibly important factors in designing a space where everything feels just right. Let your tape measure be your new best friend and lean on measurements to guide the way for furniture selections. 

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Ground your design in heirlooms or special pieces. 

To create a living room that is truly customized to reflect your life and your passions, think about the pieces you already have that make your heart sing. Whether it is a family heirloom, a beloved piece from your travels, or a hand-crafted treasure from someone special, the living room is the perfect showplace for items that carry special memories, creating a loved and cherished space. Let these personalized design details guide the rest of the room. 

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Think about high-impact room-makers. 

One of my favorite ways to dramatically transform a room is through lighting. As the jewelry of the home, large chandeliers or dramatic pendants can catch the eye and make a beautiful statement. Read more about my tips for lighting the home here

Art also always speaks to my soul and can completely alter the ambiance of a room, bringing in character and newfound energy. If you’re looking to create a dramatic difference in a room, consider a large-scale piece to ground the room. When the walls around me are empty and bare, I feel like the room is naked. Large-scale paintings or photography can instantly elevate the space, evoking emotions and bringing new life into the space. 


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And then consider smaller design details. 

Once you have your statement pieces and furniture set, dedicate some attention towards the smaller details of the room to add depth and character. I often focus on the hardware in the room, such as handles or pulls on the cabinetry or doors, for an immediate — and easily executed — transformation. Sconces are another favorite design trick: add them over the bookshelf or above a centerpiece artwork. Lighting really can play a tremendous role in setting the mood of the space and directing attention to details that counts. 

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Get an expert eye. 

If the thought of tackling a living room renovation, mastering the art of scale and illuminating the room through lighting design, feels a bit intimidating, maybe it’s time to invest in your design. In a recent post, we outlined how investing in interior design can not only save your sanity as you contemplate all the choices involved in creating a new space, it can save you money, too. 

If you’re interested in a little friendly expertise, we’d love to connect to talk about our e-design services. We have transformed several living rooms over the past several months for our clients, even at a distance. First, we ask you to send photos of your space, along with the measurements and then we have a live discussion over the phone or via Zoom on how we can make the space fit your lifestyle, keeping function top of mind. After that, we discuss color palettes, design inspiration, significant heirlooms, art pieces or travel collections, and distill these creative ideas down to the overall look and feel you are seeking. Once we decide on the right floor plan for the space, we go to work and craft three mood boards and a full shopping list with dimensions, finishes, links and pricing so you can click, order and have the living room of your dreams delivered to your doorstep. Voila. Send us a note here – we’d love to connect and start this dialog around your living room. 

Living rooms are among our favorite projects at AKD, as they hold the heart, soul and so many memories in each client’s home. This month, take a minute to think about how you want to feel in this central, centering space — and consider changes that can foster that feeling. Hopefully, our design tips and tricks will help get you started.


14 thoughts on “Things to Think About When Doing a Living Room Renovation”

  1. Great ideas on proportion. Oversized furniture can make a room look smaller. You have ideas that make a room comfortable to be in. I love to be in a room that promotes conversation. Your rooms do that.

    1. Amy Kartheiser

      Thank you, Loretta! That is so nice of you. Creating livable spaces is always a priority for us. We love rooms that encourage conversation and connection.

  2. Amy: Each of these beautiful living rooms exudes such calm and sophistication. They are so elegantly edited and appointed for their specific functions.

    Thanks for a great post that helps me to consider every point of how my living room needs to function before I make any major changes.

    1. Amy Kartheiser

      As always, your kind words are so appreciated, Leslie. Thank you for reading and I am so glad the post was helpful.

    1. Amy Kartheiser

      Absolutely! We’re here to help always. Design is so important to so many as we spend more time than ever at home.

  3. Bianca Schmidt

    Hi, the rug in the picture above the words “ Think about high-impact room-makers.” Is beautiful. What is the name and brand of it? I’d love to purchase.

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