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House renovation versus house remodeling: What really is the difference?

By October 21, 2021October 28th, 2021No Comments

We are all familiar with the famous saying – Rome wasn’t built in a day – and frankly speaking, neither was the home you dreamed about having.

Are you thinking about house renovation? Or wait . . . is it house remodeling? You must have been so caught up in looking for ways to shake up your house, chances are you’ve been using the two words interchangeably! In everyday life, it doesn’t really matter which term you use because there is a high chance that whoever you are talking to already knows exactly what you are referring to. But when it comes to fields of real estate, construction, and interior design, professionals use words with very specific meanings attached to them.

Here are some basic textbook definitions:

Renovate Remodel
Restore back to good condition Alter the structure
Make new or as if new again Give a new shape or form


While both call for physical changes, there is a difference in cost and types of construction involved. If we do get into the technicalities, house renovation and house remodeling have very different meanings.

House Renovation Vs House Remodeling

house renovation means to restore something to a state it was previously in, in other words, when you repair something that is in poor condition. Whilst house remodeling means to create something new, in other words, when you change the form of an existing setup.

House renovation 一 High return on investments

You will see that house renovations involve restoration work. You generally update outdated objects in the house. It helps bring the house back to life but does not alter the existing layout. house renovation also adds value and increases your chances of a successful resale giving you a decent return on investment. So you should not think twice about house renovation if you plan on putting your house on the market soon.

house renovation examples include:

  • Adding hardware
  • Refacing cabinets
  • Replacing flooring
  • Replacing windows
  • Installing light fixtures
  • Fixing creaky staircases
  • Repainting walls, ceilings
  • Repairing bathroom doors
  • Updating kitchen appliances

House remodeling 一 Solution for poor home designs

On the other hand, house remodeling includes changing the structure and layout of your home. The main function is to transform your entire house or bedroom rather than simply updating them. It usually involves changing how the space in your house is used. In other words, if there is a drastic space alteration involved that will give off a whole new look and feel, it is house remodeling!

house remodeling examples include:

  • Raising ceilings
  • Removing walls
  • Altering room layout
  • Adding a new shower
  • Installing a kitchen island
  • Merging two rooms into one

What are the differences in costing?

Given the definitions, you can probably guess which is more expensive: remodeling a house, of course! house remodeling involves not only complicated construction and design but also numerous electric and plumbing expenses. In addition, you may require more professional (architects, designers, etc) help in house remodeling than in house renovation. And to make it even more expensive, many house remodeling projects also require permits.

As for house renovations, typically the price will depend on the type of work, the extent of renovation, and how old the home is.

Here are some factors that are bound to influence your costs:

  • Size of the space
  • Permits (if necessary)
  • Materials (wood, flooring, paint)
  • Age and condition of your home
  • Hardware, appliances, fixtures, and cabinets
  • Personnel/Labor (contractor, designer, architect, consulting fees)

Besides those, you also need to prepare for costs depending on not only which part of the world you live in but also which city you live in. It is, therefore, wise to consult an experienced housing professional before seriously involved with the house renovation or house remodeling projects. It will always pay off to make sure your project is done right the first time around.

Which is the right choice for you?

Now that the differences have been thoroughly explained, the next step is to choose which one to go for: house renovation or house remodeling. The decision is not an easy one. You need to factor in your budget, time and property goals. For example, if you want to update a few rooms or increase the home value in time for a sale, house renovation will be the best for you. On the other hand, if you plan to live in the home for the next few decades, you can consider full house remodeling work.

You need to take into consideration the following points to make the right choice:


What is your budget? It does not matter what you decide to do with your space, house remodeling will always cost more than house renovation.
How much time do you have? house remodeling will require a much longer timeline than house renovationYou should always expect planning and construction alone to take a few months. While living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms take three months, kitchen renovations can take up to five months.
What are your personalization/ customization requirements? You need to decide the extent of customization in your house renovation and house remodelingThe former gives a modern appearance and adds functional elements, but can not change the structure. In case you want to make more space by tearing down a wall, a complete home remodel makes more sense.
What is the scope of the project? house renovations focus more on the appearance of the house while home remodels have the power to change the entire functionality.

In conclusion, the choice between house renovation and house remodeling boils down to your budget, requirements and what you consider is a return on investment for you. You will have to take into account all factors on what you want to do and the current condition of your home.

Additionally, the timing also matters because you do not want any interruptions during the project. Before making your decision, you should be sure of your ultimate goal and what it will give back to you in value and/or function.

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