When planning a living room remodel, it is important to understand what tasks you can do yourself and which projects should be completed by a professional. Before starting any home improvement project, spend time planning out the scope of work, determine your goals and understand the project more thoroughly. Be honest with your skill set, your time and your budget.  Some homeowners find that a combination of DIY and hiring a pro is the best course of action. Here are some common living room remodeling projects to consider.

Typical living room remodel projects

Very often a living room merely needs an upgrade, but occasionally a living room requires moving walls, punching out windows or adding lighting. Here are some typical living room remodel projects:

  • Wall treatments: new paint, wallpaper, moulding and trim
  • Flooring: upgrading flooring or carpet installation
  • Fireplace: new surround, new firebox, gas insert
  • Electrical: adding or subtracting lighting
  • Home Tech: adding speakers, televisions, AV equipment
  • Cabinetry: built-in cabinets, shelving
  • Windows: adding windows, replacing windows, adding skylights
  • Walls: moving walls for better traffic flow
  • Doors: adding new doors, replacing doors, adding doors to exterior
  • Furnishings: adding or updating furniture

When to DIY your living room remodel

Before taking on any do-it-yourself projects, have a clear goal in mind and be honest with your ability, your time and your skill set. There is nothing more frustrating that starting a project and not completing it. There are a few living room projects that you can tackle fairly easily such as painting or wallpapering. Some home improvement stores have workshops throughout the year that can teach you how to paint or you can watch this cool video about getting clean lines when painting. Flooring is also something that can be done yourself. Laminate flooring, with its interlocking pieces, is a fairly easy DIY task. Changing out your lighting fixtures and updating your furniture are also easy tasks for the living room. Be sure to read our tips for how to set up the ideal living room. Before you start a DIY project, you may want to consider hiring a professional for an hourly consultation – they may be able to give you a few pointers or note anything that might become an issue later.

When to hire a pro for your living room remodel

Structural changes, moving interior and exterior walls or major electrical work requires skilled labor. Some homeowners are comfortable taking on tasks like demolition and drywall. Electrical work is usually left to a licensed professional as they understand safety and building codes. Fireplace inserts, window replacements and high tech installations may also be great jobs for a professional. These items are expensive and you may not want to learn on the job and possibly damage the materials along the way. If you have many projects that may require a pro, consider hiring an interior designer or contractor who can sub-contract out the necessary skills, oversee the work and manage the process. Don’t hesitate to discuss with your pro the projects that you’d like to do yourself and which projects you’d like the professional to handle. Be aware that any work you perform will not be included in the professionals contract and he or she cannot be held responsible for your handiwork.

Meeting building code standards and obtaining permits

Meeting current residential building code standards is necessary, especially if you plan to sell the home. Any remodeling or upgrade projects that do not meet code safety standards can lead to fines, missed sale opportunities and additional funds having to be spent. Certain projects, like moving load bearing walls, may require a permit. Check with your local building and development agency or ask your professional.

Top image credit: Witt Construction