How to Begin a Living Room Remodel
Renovating your living room: It's exciting, but it can be a bit overwhelming, too. Where should you start? How much can you afford to spend? How do you know whether that contractor with the impressive portfolio will really show up when he's supposed to? And what if the sofa that looks so gorgeous on the showroom floor makes your own house resemble a bordello? Relax. We're here to make it simpler for you. Follow our step-by-step guide to renovation, and get ready to kick back in a new living room that suits your needs, your style and your budget.
Research and Plan
One of the keys to a successful renovation is plenty of forethought, knowledge and information — especially if you're making structural changes, or working with several professionals and a big budget. Take your time to plan before you begin, so that you are less likely to have regrets when you are finished. "Designing a room or a remodeling project is a journey or a process," says interior designer Karen Soojian, ASID, "and it takes time to develop ideas and do things right. In other words, you need to know your destination and how you plan to get there."
Consider Your Lifestyle
"To start," says interior designer Andrew Suvalsky, "try to envision how you see yourself and your family getting the most use out of the space. Will the space be used for parties? Intimate gatherings? Do you want or need one large seating area or several different seating groups?"
Think long-term. Remember to plan not only for this stage of your life, but for the next phases, as well. If you're newlyweds planning to have children in a few years, take those future kids into account when planning your renovation, so that you don't have to redo everything. Ask people who already have kids what works in real life and what doesn't; what they wish they had in their living rooms; what has caused safety issues or got broken so many times it had to be thrown away.
On the other hand, if you have older parents (or are a senior yourself), be sure to design your space so that it is safe and comfortable for yourself and your guests as the years go by.
Consult the Pros
Once you have a sense of what functions you want your new living room to serve, gather lots of information. Check out the valuable information on "Hiring a Pro for Your Living Room" and search the Web for other reliable, accurate information on trade-group websites such as ASID (American Society of Interior Designers), NARI (National Association for the Remodeling Industry) and NAHB (National Association of Home Builders).
And don't forget to talk to real people. Ask your friends and neighbors to recommend local professionals, and be sure to inquire as to whether there are any local pros you should steer clear of. Find out what other people are glad they included in their renovations, and what wasn't worth the money.