The living room is the heart of the home, and if you’re not fully happy with how yours looks, consider making a few updates. Whether you’re executing a simple design swap or you’re renovating the entire space, here are a few changes that can make all the difference. 

1. Fireplace 

As the heart of the home, the living room deserves a masterful centerpiece – and a fireplace provides that. Many modern homes have been built without a fireplace in the living room, but you can always add one. Research fireplace options carefully to choose the right model for your space. 

If you have a fireplace already, paint the surround, add a mantle, or update the hearth. These are small projects with a big impact. 

2. Artwork 

Unless you’re a strict collector of the classics, your taste in artwork will likely change with the trends. Re-evaluate your current art pieces and make a few swaps. For example, a large, dramatic painting over your fireplace draws the eye, so changing the style could make the space feel new. 

Find complementary home décor pieces to go with your swapped art pieces. It’s amazing what some fresh décor can do for an otherwise dull space. 

3. Wall Trim 

Don’t underestimate the influence of wall trim. These strips of wood or vinyl are designed to hide the caulking around door frames, windows, and flooring, and they have a bigger impact on the overall design of the room than you might think. 

Consider updating the trim, adding or replacing crown molding, baseboards, window trim, and door trim as you see fit. You could simply repaint the trim if it’s in good shape, breathing new life into the space. 

4. Furniture

Go furniture shopping. Donate or sell your existing pieces and replace them with something new and trendy from your favorite furniture store. Add new accent pillows, rugs, and other accessories to complete the look. 

When you’re on a budget, consider rearranging your furniture instead of bringing in all new pieces. Opening up space that was once consumed with sofas and chairs can make the entire room feel new. 

5. Bookshelf Built-ins 

Bookshelves make a room look sophisticated while adding height and visual interest. Adding built-ins gives you a place to store all your books while giving you an outlet for classy decoration. 

This bit of construction can also serve as a backdrop for your television if you choose to have one in the living room. Televisions are ugly from a design standpoint, so anything that can distract from the black screen is worth considering. 

6. Window Addition 

Most living rooms are designed with natural lighting in mind. However, some are dark and filled with artificial light. Adding or extending a window on an exterior wall can completely overhaul the atmosphere. 

If there’s no room to add a window on an exterior wall, consider installing a skylight overhead. This renovation is ideal for a one-story home that lacks central lighting. The sun will light the entire room during daylight hours without the need for lamps. 

7. Open Concept 

Knock out a wall or two to connect the living room with the kitchen and/or dining areas. Open concepts are great for families who want a communal space where they can spend time together. It also makes your living room feel large and modern. 

Don’t try to do an open concept renovation on your own. Knocking out a wall seems simple, but you need to be sure it’s not load bearing or you risk damaging the structural integrity of the entire home. 

8. Raised Ceiling 

Many living rooms in one-story homes have the capacity for raised ceilings. The attic space above the ceiling can be re-insulated and re-structured to create sloped, high ceilings that today’s homeowners love. 

If you’re unable to extend your living room ceiling, you can create the illusion with tall built-ins, drapes hung high above your window, and crown molding. These are great budget options that make the entire room feel grand and new.