How Much Does It (Really) Cost To Decorate?

Does this sound like you?
–  You finally made the move from the city to the ‘burbs and you suddenly have the luxury of space. You can’t wait to fill those empty rooms with some furniture!
–  OR you are finally ready to get rid of your husband’s bachelor futon and officially enter “adulthood” by upgrading your entire family room.
–  OR you think “I don’t need to redo my entire living room. Just a few pieces here and there to freshen things up.”

Can you relate?

Before you move forward, I just want you to be aware of HOW MUCH this all costs. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but I find my clients are routinely amazed at how much decorating costs, even if you are “going budget”.

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I thought it would be interesting to look at three different scenarios for a living room, so you can see with your own eyes how much it really costs to outfit a whole room.

There are basically three possible routes you could go – Budget, Mid-Range and High-end.


The IKEA Route: Going Budget

So let’s assume your Sofa is going to be from IKEA and all the other elements will be from somewhere similar (My “budget” resources tend to include,, Pier One, Target, Home Goods, etc.).

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Photo Courtesy of Ikea

This really is the budget route – you can definitely go north of this very, very easily. I mean, $200 on curtains and curtain hardware means we’re talking the clearance aisle at Target. And probably some quality issues. But it can be done! Shocking, though, isn’t it? To outfit your entire room at complete budget retailers and still be down $2,000?

I have to tell you, too, these prices DO NOT include shipping or tax.  That can increase each item by 10-20%!


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The “Mid-Range” Living Room
Mid-range means any furniture or accessories that are a bit north of IKEA. Pottery Barn fits under Mid-Range in my mind, as would retailers like Wisteria, West Elm and even Etsy (I’ve bought furniture, curtains, art, and pillows on Etsy, and while the prices aren’t like crazy high-end custom prices, it still can be quite expensive!).

Photo Courtesy of Pottery Barn

$10,000 is probably in the middle of a pretty big range if you’re buying at places like Pottery Barn. As you probably already know, not all rugs are created equal, for instance, and some rugs from a place like Pottery Barn can run into the thousands of dollars.

By all measures, $10K is a lot of moolah! But when it comes to decorating, you still have to be clever in your choices and probably try to mix in some lower-end elements to stay in your budget (for example, do you really need to spend $300 on a side table from Wisteria? Okay, probably not. You could get that $100 chinese garden stool off of Amazon as I often do, or a $30 contemporary table from Target).

Photo Courtesy of Wisteria


The “High-End” Living Room

So, going “high end”. What does that even mean? Let’s just say the sky is really the limit! But below is a sample of what it might cost to get chairs custom upholstered, to purchase some high-end art and fancy light fixtures from “trade only” retailers.

Photo Courtesy of Architectural Digest

Remember I mentioned above that shipping and tax would add 10-20% on each item? It’s true for high-end items as well, of course, sometimes even more. And I didn’t even mention labor, like hiring an electrician to put in your new light fixture at $80-100 an hour.

 Photo Courtesy of Elle Decor

So, there you have it. Decorating a living room will likely cost you:
Budget: $2000
Mid-Range: $10000
High-End: $33000+

I don’t mean to turn you off or depress you! In fact, I really believe that information is power and the more you know, the more you can take matters into your own hands.

Lorri Dyner is an interior designer and blogger who believes in the power of “decorating for the rest of us.” Using clever, accessible, and affordable ideas, she brings us insider tips and tricks that make our living spaces feel pulled together. Lorri resides in Westchester with her husband and two small children. Visit her at

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