Outside of the kitchen, the average family spends more time in the living room than any other space in the house. It’s a place where we socialize, entertain, play games, and watch TV.
Because of the functionality and versatility of the room, it often influences the perceived value of the home when the entire residence gets listed for sale. Thus, if you’re planning to sell your home within the next year, it would be wise to think about a remodel of the living room.
Five High ROI Remodel Tips for Living Rooms
Not all renovation and remodel projects have equal value. If you’re doing the remodel for yourself — and you plan on staying in the house for at least another five or 10 years — feel free to follow your heart and do whatever makes your family happy. But if you’re remodeling with plans to sell, you ought to think about every potential improvement within the return on investment (ROI) it could yield.
You should regard any money you spend now as an investment. You’ll want to recoup the cost (or at least break even) to be able to consider the work a success. With that in mind, here are five high-ROI investments you might want to consider doing.
1. Expand the Living Room
If you own an older home, chances are the floor plan is fairly compartmentalized. Your living room may feel tight and/or separated from the rest of the house. If at all possible, you should aim to expand your living room by tearing down a dividing wall, enlarging the openings, and/or reclaiming dead space from unused closets.
If you decide to go this route, make sure you get some expert help. Tearing down walls — even non-load-bearing ones — can be a lot more complicated and risky than they make it appear on TV.
2. Install New Flooring
New flooring is nearly always a good call … particularly if the current flooring looks obviously dated or worn. Hardwood floors are preferable to carpeting, but even spending a few hundred bucks on fresh carpet can make a difference.
If possible, try to match the flooring in the living room to the flooring on the rest of the main floor. This fosters some consistency, which is visually pleasing and can make the house feel larger.
3. Add a Fireplace
Don’t already have a fireplace in your living room? Adding one can increase the value of your residence and give it a more broad appeal.
One of the easiest and most cost-effective options is to install a vent free gas fireplace. This will allow you to introduce a true flame fireplace, without worrying about the hassle of venting logistics and invasive renovations. They also look incredibly sleek and modern.
4. Apply a Fresh Coat of Paint
“It cannot be underestimated the effect that a clean coat of new paint has on a property,” real estate agent William Fastow says.
“Most sellers don’t realize how much abuse walls take during ownership until that fresh coat of paint has been applied. New paint lightens rooms, hides visual defects and instantly makes a space feel fresh and clean.”
Assuming you’re smart about color selection, every dollar you spend on interior painting will come back to you. Since paint colors are highly personal, it’s recommended that you go with something neutral.
Many real estate agents suggest a color such as Benjamin Moore Gray Owl, which goes with every color out there. This makes it easy to appeal to a variety of potential buyers.
5. Add a Feature Piece
Every living room needs that one feature that prospective buyers can’t help but talk about when they walk into the space. You’re hoping to nail one of the facets of the house they’ll remember after they leave, because it could be the tipping point in their decision to make an offer.
A feature piece could be anything from an accent wall to a wooden beam that runs the length of the ceiling. Fireplace mantels and light fixtures are also good options.
Get the Most Bang for Your Buck
As important as the living room is to the feel and functionality of a home, you want to invest in the right improvements. The projects outlined above are all safe and practical jobs that you can’t go wrong with.
If you want specific advice regarding your property, speak with a local real estate agent. He or she can provide expert advice on the value that various improvements could add in your individual market.