May 17, 2022


Making living better

7 Living Room Renovations That Will Hurt Your Home’s Value

4 min read
nurulanga / Getty Images/iStockphoto

nurulanga / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Your living room is a focal point of your home, but right now it’s not working for you. Whether the space is outdated, largely unused or a bit chaotic, you’re hoping the updates will make the space better meet your needs.

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Of course, as a savvy homeowner, you’re focused on ensuring your renovation increases your property value. This makes sense, considering the average cost of a living room remodel is $8,000, according to HomeAdvisor.

The possibilities for a living room upgrade are nearly endless, which can feel a bit overwhelming. Consequently, before getting started, you want to create a plan that pleases you, while getting the most bang for your buck.

There’s no need to stress because GOBankingRates consulted several real estate agents to find out which living room renovations you’ll want to avoid. Here’s a look at seven upgrades to take off your list.

UnitedPhotoStudio1 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

UnitedPhotoStudio1 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

1. Over Customizing

There’s a fine line between turning your living room into a space that’s truly your own and making it a room that would never suit another owner’s tastes.

“Remember that when selling a home, you need to make sure that the prospective buyers feel at a place they can live in, so anything that was done custom sometimes needs to go,” said Richard A. Garcia, a luxury real estate specialist based in Coral Gables, Florida.

For example, he said that tiger your kids painted on the wall might make your family happy, but it won’t appeal to buyers.

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onurdongel / Getty Images

onurdongel / Getty Images

2. Following the Latest Trends

“Neutral is your best friend when upgrading or renovating,” said Tomas Satas, founder and CEO at Windy City HomeBuyer. “Don’t follow the latest trends, because they will be gone faster than you know it.”

If you make the mistake of choosing trendy upgrades, he said you’ll have to remodel again to get top dollar when it’s time to sell.

“Do some research online and check out timeless and neutral styles,” he said. “These things will never become outdated, and when you decide to sell, you will have a much larger buyer pool than your neighbor that turned his living room into a tiki bar.”

archideaphoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

archideaphoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

3. Choosing Bold Paint Colors

“One thing to really keep in mind is not to go too crazy with the paint colors,” Satas said. “Pick something neutral that almost anybody would like and buy a higher quality paint that is cleanable.”

If you do this and take really good care of your walls, he said all you might have to do is a little scrubbing when it’s time to list your home.

Bulgac / Getty Images

Bulgac / Getty Images

4. Investing Too Much

It’s easy to get carried away and spend too much on your living room renovation, so Satas emphasized the importance of having a budget.

“Don’t just go out on a whim with your credit card and just start buying everything that you like,,” he said. “Sit down and figure out how much you can afford and then stick to your budget.”

Having to cut a few items might be disappointing at first, but it will feel much better than putting yourself in debt.

AsiaVision / Getty Images

AsiaVision / Getty Images

5. Not Taking Functionality Into Account

“While renovating your living room, you can’t just get swept up with the color combination, material swatches and décor,” said Vicky Noufal, owner of the Platinum Group Real Estate team at Pearson Smith Realty, based in Leesburg, Virginia.

She said you also need to consider the functionality of the space.

“Remember to consider the door and window placement, as well as the layout,” she said. “These are the things that can have a considerable impact on your home’s value.”

Artjafara / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Artjafara / Getty Images/iStockphoto

6. Choosing Improper Lighting

Since lighting is such a big part of a room, an improperly lit space can seem dull and incomplete, said Matt Ward, a real estate agent and team lead at The Matt Ward Group, serving the Nashville, Tennessee area.

“One of the most common mistakes that homeowners do while remodeling the living room is using one single main light,” he said. “As a result, it fails to develop different shades in your room.”

Therefore, he said it’s important to use different shades of light in different corners, so each element of the room can be highlighted appropriately.

onurdongel / Getty Images/iStockphoto

onurdongel / Getty Images/iStockphoto

7. Making It a Multipurpose Room

It’s common for homeowners to turn their living room into a cluttered multipurpose room, said Dustin Fox, a realtor and owner of the Fox Homes Team, a group serving Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland and West Virginia — but he said this is a mistake.

“If you load your home with too many accessories, it loses its charm eventually,” he said. “Instead, you should keep some free space to ensure the home does not lose elegance.”

While it can be tempting — especially if your home is on the smaller side — to transform the living room into an office, playroom and sitting area, take Fox’s advice and just don’t.

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