How To Remodel A Room: Walls, Floors, And More

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An image showing the process and how to do a room remodel.

At MLM Incorporated, we get tons of questions about how to remodel a room. Where do you start? What is the best way to think about renovations to walls, floors, and more? How can you bring all of your ideas together, and what should you avoid?

While remodeling can bring up many questions, we’ve got the answers. Whether you’re looking for a few changes or a total overhaul, here’s what you need to know about how to remodel a room.

Should I Pick the Floor or Wall Color First?

Wall colors should always come before flooring. Consider this worst-case scenario: you select a glorious, expensive flooring. Your contractor installs it, and it’s as beautiful as you thought it would be.

Then they start on the painting and other finishes. Day after day, the crew clomps across your new floor, scratching the surface and leaving bits of paint and other debris, all of which can be removed with a scraper or chemical cleaner, but the end result is dull floors.

It’s best to start with picking out and applying the wall color, even if you have your flooring in mind.

How To Pick the Right Interior Paint Colors

Picking interior paint colors is hard for many people. Before you begin, consider if you are remodeling to sell or if you’ll be staying in your home for the foreseeable future.

If you’ll be selling your home, choose neutral, light colors for your room remodeling. This gives potential buyers a blank canvas to fill with visions of their own.

Where dark colors can make rooms seem smaller, light colors tend to open up a space and appear more inviting. Maybe a plain off-white doesn’t reflect your family’s taste and style, but if you are trying to sell your home, you want it to appeal to a broad base of potential buyers.

If you’re staying in your home and want to make big changes, consider the 60-30-10 rule. This allows for 60% of the room as the main color, 30% as a secondary color, and 10% as an accent.

The 60% of the room’s color can come from:

  • Wall color
  • Large rugs
  • Statement furniture

For 30% of the secondary color, think of:

  • Wall trim, like moldings and window frames
  • Textiles, like window treatments or throw rugs
  • Small accent furniture

The final 10% shows up in touches like pillows and metallic accents. This really falls under the final design of the space, though. Just keep in mind that the main color—the 60%—should be the basis for your entire room palette when you pick your interior paint.

Take your time when choosing your color palette, and look online for inspiration, no matter which room you are remodeling.

Should Floors and Walls Match?

We get this question a lot. Some people think that matching floors and walls is a better way to showcase the items in a room, and that’s not entirely inaccurate.

For most purposes, though, matching floors and walls creates a monotone palette that can come off as dull and boring. Monotone schemes that use dark colors can also create a feeling of claustrophobia, especially in smaller spaces.

There is a difference between feeling cozy in a small space and trapped. Best to offer a little contrast between floors and walls when you tackle your room remodeling. Here’s some ways to get started.

Should floors be darker or lighter than walls?

As with most things design-related, some of this comes down to your personal style and taste, but many residential room remodeling experts agree that darker floors and lighter walls are the standards of design. This helps to create a room that feels more spacious.

That said, if you are choosing a dark paint color, or your room has low ceilings, a lighter floor can help add the illusion of height and space.

What Are the Best Wooden Floor and Wall Color Combos? 

Now that you’re closer to picking wall and floor colors, what are the best combos? It can be more straightforward when matching tile or carpet, as you’ll follow the guidelines above, but wooden floors may be a different story.

If you look closely at wood flooring, you’ll notice lots of variations in the colors. Further, there are a variety of tones to consider. Some woods have a yellow tone, while others lean more to red or even a greyish blue.

Here are some of the best options for different wood tones and wall colors.

Light hardwoods

White and off-white wall paint are classic choices with light hardwood floors. This keeps the room looking crisp, clean, and spacious.

If you prefer grey walls as your primary color, the undertone matters. Cool undertones like blues and greens promote peace and relaxation with light hardwoods. Warmer undertones like yellows are more inviting and promote action. In a bedroom, cool undertones might be a good choice, while warm undertones work best for a living room.

Dark hardwoods

Dark floors are dramatic and create a grounding effect in a room. Using the dark floor as a neutral base, choose light blue or sage green walls with cool undertones to help balance the dark floor.

Off-white or “greige” (grey-beige) also looks great and pair well with a variety of decorating styles.

Cherry hardwoods

Cherry hardwoods look great with off-white walls but can also stand up to more dramatic colors like dark blue, red, or terracotta accent walls.

No matter which color you choose, avoid those with yellow undertones to prevent clashing with the wood’s primary color.

Red oak

Red oak is a versatile flooring that can also take a little more color. Think warm yellows and apricots, vibrant reds, and lighter blues to lighten up the space and keep it feeling open.

White oak

White oak floors can be paired with pastels. For a more formal look, dark grey walls add a classic touch.

How To Remodel a Room From There

Once you’ve got your main color palette in place, it’s time to add the personal touches.

Lighting

Lighting a room is all about how it makes you feel, plus what the room is used for. Bright, glaring light is just as bad an idea in a bedroom as dim light is in a workspace. When choosing lighting, think in terms of layers.

Consider four basic types of lighting:

  1. Ambient: Think soft, glowing, and cozy light
  2. General: Mostly overhead lighting
  3. Task or directional: More focused light over workspaces
  4. Accent: As in uplights for plants or to highlight room features

Begin your lighting design with general lighting, then decide if you need to add additional ambient or accent lighting with floor lamps or hanging pendants. Most rooms need two or three sources of light to feel “properly” lit.

Rugs

The Dude wasn’t wrong: a rug really can tie a room together. So how to pick the perfect rug?

  • Make sure it’s the right size for the room (pro tip: you often need a bigger rug than you think)
  • Keep it in the same color palette (tie that room together!)
  • Choose the proper material (more durable in high-traffic areas)

A rug is one of the easiest design elements to change, so have fun with it and be as bold as you like.

Furniture

We’ve all been there—on the gorgeous but uncomfortable couch, sitting on a chair that’s an inch or two short for the table, or squeezing past someone else just to make your way to a chair on the other side of the room. Choosing furniture is a crucial part of room remodeling.

Start by figuring out how many people use the room and what their needs are, then go from there. Make sure the pieces you choose are durable and fit your style at the same time. You don’t need to buy a set of furniture but do keep in mind the scale and weight of each piece that you add.

Window treatments

Window treatments can range from a simple shade to full-on floor-length curtains with valances and swags. Color, pattern, and fabric can all be used to personalize your space, too.

Some people opt for simple window treatments to keep walls neutral, while others highlight grand windows or historic trim with their choices.

Décor

Whether you like a spare, minimalist look or prefer to display all of your objects and collections, décor is the icing on the remodeled room cake.

Room Remodeling Don’ts

The biggest room remodeling “don’t” is to allow someone to takeover completely. We can all use another set of eyes or a second opinion but turning every decision over to someone who doesn’t have to live there may result in things like mirrored walls and white carpets for your family with two toddlers and a couple of dogs.

Other big room remodeling things to avoid include:

  • Selecting paint color from a chip alone (test a swatch on the wall!)
  • Choosing colors that don’t match your style
  • Ignoring architectural features that are automatically the focal point (e.g., huge fireplaces or dramatic windows)
  • Buying furniture that doesn’t fit the space

If relegating room remodeling responsibility is the number one no-no, the second one is rushing your remodel. Take your time to figure out what you like and follow through with it. To mix up a common saying, don’t remodel in haste, or you’ll repent in leisure!

The MLM Team Can Help

MLM Incorporated has helped many homeowners with their whole house remodel, even residential and historic renovations, too! We’ve seen every style and combination you can think of, and we know what works and what really, really doesn’t.

When you’re ready to get started, the MLM team knows how to remodel a room. Get in touch today to see how we can help with your project.