How much does it cost to renovate a living room?

Information verified correct on December 8th, 2016

living room renovation

The living room is a high-traffic area that deserves to be updated every now and then. If you’re wondering how much a living room upgrade may cost you, we’ve got you covered.

Whether it’s an allocated space for catching up with family, watching television or dining, the living room is a realm that can serve several purposes. There are many things you can do to brighten up the appearance and functionality of your living room, such as; replacing the floorboards, adding in new furniture such as a couch or dining table, building a custom fireplace, or freshening up the wall paint.

In this article, we use the Home Design Directory calculator (as well as some market research) to estimate how much a living room renovation may cost you on a budget, mid-range and premium budget.

The Home Design Directory calculator estimates fittings and labour costs. Labour includes the cost of waterproofing, plumbing, tiling and the installation of fittings. The per-square-metre cost for labour used is $1,600.

What’s the cost of a living room renovation?

It’s difficult to forecast the cost of a renovation budget as this depends on multiple factors including the scope and complexity of the work, the quality of materials and finishes, and the cost of labour charged by independent companies.

However, for a medium to large living room of 4.5 square metres, here are the approximate price points.

Materials, fittings and fixtures

If you want to work out the cost of materials, fittings and fixtures for a living room renovation, refer to our table below.

Budget

ItemCost
Flooring$111.35 (floorboards @ $5 x 22.27 square metres)
$200.00 (installation @ $50 x 4 hours)
$311.35
Lounge$1,699.00
Coffee table$65.00
Side table$50.00
Television$295.00
Lamp$25.08
Storage unit$60.00
Total cost:$2,505.43

Mid-range

ItemCost
Flooring$870.09 (floorboards @ $39.07 x 22.27 square metres)
$200.00 (installation @ $50 x 4 hours)
$1,070.09
Lounge$2,499.00
Coffee table$199.00
Side table$169.00
Television$597.00
Lamp$50.00
Storage unit$95.00
Total cost:$4,679.09

Premium

ItemCost
Flooring$1,880.26 (floorboards @ $84.43 x 22.27 square metres)
$200.00 (installation @ $50 x 4 hours)
$2,080.26
Lounge$3,499.00
Coffee table$430.00
Side table$250.00
Television$1,595.00
Lamp$140.00
Storage unit$189.00
Total cost:$8,183.26
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Flooring

If you’re replacing existing flooring in your living area, you’ll need to remove the existing carpet or floorboards. Make sure you source several quotes if you’re getting an expert in. Otherwise, you may be able to pull up the flooring yourself.

Lounge room with wood floorHere’s a step-by-step process of how to remove floorboards:

1. Cut the board. Firstly, clean the floor area to get rid of any dust particles. Then, set the depth of your circulator to 20mm (as the standard depth of a floorboard is 20mm). Cut two parallel lines along the each side of the board.

2. Remove the board. Next, hammer a chisel into one of the cuts in the board. Then use a chisel to pull out the centre piece. Once the piece is removed, chisel at the sides of the cut board until they come unstuck.

3. Lift the board. Use a wrecking bar to pull up the loose floorboard. Place the blade of the wrecking bar under the board slightly away from the joist. Then gently lever the board up. Once the board has come up, place the blade in between the two nails on the joist and, using the joist for leverage, pry the board until the board comes off.

If you know the dimensions of your floor space, and you’ve been quoted a flooring cost per metre, you can use online calculators, such as the Masters flooring calculator, to help you plan for the cost of your flooring materials and instalment. For instance, for a 4.5 square metre living room, you would need a total of 22.27 square metres of flooring (including 10% for wastage).

When you get a quote for timber flooring, the supplier will likely give you a quote either based on the square metre surface area or for the whole job. The cost will vary based on the type of timber or flooring that you select. Remember that the price of a flooring product is largely determined by its availability. If it’s an imported product, chances are it will cost more.

Choosing standard or select grades of timbers can make a big difference in price. For example, standard grade Blackbutt overlay flooring can cost under $5.00 per square metre, while a more premium solid mixed hardwood would be $39.07 per square metre. Whereas, a premium Parquetry Ironbark is $84.43 per square metre.

If you need help deciding which type of timber is right for your living room, check out our timber guide which breaks down the cost and maintenance considerations for different timber types.

The average hourly rate of timber floor installation ranges from $25 to $50 per hour.

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Lounge

Premium lounge roomFrom recliners to contemporary sectional lounges to versatile sofa beds, there’s a variety of different couches available on the market.

A Boston Chaise Lounge is $1,699 while an Aero lounge with 5 adjustable headsets would set you back $2,499. On the upper end of the spectrum, a Metropolis corner suite with an in-built storage unit and Ottoman retails from $3,499.

Coffee table

A coffee table often acts as the centrepiece of any living space, which can be used to store ornaments such as candles, magazines or drinks.

If you’re on a budget, you can get a small coffee table for around $65, whereas something a little more robust, such as the Wave Coffee Table from a local furniture specialist, costs $199. For something fancy such as the Aquarius Coffee Table model, or for a custom-built coffee table, this would cost around $430 - $450.

Side table

For extra storage space and to create a sense of symmetry, two side tables (one situated on either side of the lounge) are an important addition to a living area.

Local furniture suppliers provide side tables from around $50 up to $169 for a Signature Essentials model. A premium side table, such as the Aquarius Side Table, could cost you approximately $250.

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Television

If you want to deck out your living room with a brand new TV, then you can get yourself a 32” HD LED LCD for just $295. However, if you want something with the bells and whistles, you can score a TCL 48” Full HD LED LCD for $597. For the ultimate entertainment system and to suit a higher budget, you could purchase a Panasonic Viera 60” Full HD LED LCD Smart TV for $1,595 complete with in-built WiFi and Netflix.

TV and surround sound systemHowever, you could cut costs if you opt for an internet TV package, you can use our guide on price, features and content options for Netflix Australia.

Lamp

An elegant floor lamp may be a great addition to brighten up your living room. The Brilliant Kirby Touch Lamp retails for $25.08, and a mid-range floor lamp retails for around $50 while a Verve Design 160cm Black Ciara Floor Lamp is $140.

Storage unit

If you need more space to store your things, a storage unit is key.

You can find a narrow storage unit for $60 while a medium narrow storage unit could set you back $95, and something larger (and edgier), such as the Cube Storage Unit model (4 x 4) retails for $189.

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Images: Shutterstock

Belinda Punshon

Belinda is a journalist here at finder.com.au. Specialising in the home loans and property sections, she is passionate about helping Australians improve their financial wellbeing.

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