Wrong. There’s actually a difference between the two and it isn’t just semantics. Well, really it’s just about cosmetics. That’s not true either. They’re very related (they both have to do with home improvement) but they’re not exactly the same thing. Most people, probably yourself included, use them interchangeably. For the most part, it’s harmless. But now that we’ve got your attention, allow us to educate you a little. 

The Basics

Renovations are home improvements that involve major changes to your room/house that involve the structure and layout. So switching from a closed to an open floor plan is a renovation. Remodels are more minor things like new appliances, trim, decor, or fixtures.

The Obvious

Pricing. Granted, you could spend as much on a remodel as you do a renovation, but you’d have to be straight up outrageous in your purchases. But in general, renovations are more expensive because they involve drastic changes and not just converting popcorn ceiling to smooth and wallpapered. Knocking down or moving walls, altering the layout and flow of the room requires more work so it’s more expensive. 

Cosmetics. Overall, they both change the look of your room. But whereas renovations require more building than remodels, the main thing you’re doing with a remodel is providing a facelift. You might rip out the carpet and replace it with some vinyl wood floors, but it’s not like you built new cabinets in the kitchen. You can replace the facing of your cabinets and still be in remodel territory. Gut the whole thing and build custom, now it’s renovation land.

When Are They Worth Doing?

That’s an excellent question. You’re not likely to pour tens of thousands of dollars into a starter home. But that doesn’t mean investing in smart renovations like better storage or use of the space isn’t worth doing. If you’ve managed to have a huge mud or laundry room but very little kitchen or dining space, shifting the walls around to provide a better ratio of space can work to your advantage. 

When it comes time to sell, remodels like fresh paint and floors can go a long way. Some small things like updating fixtures on the sinks or new knobs in the kitchen can be done here and there as you’ve got the funds available. If you have small children in the house, we recommend that alterations to floors and walls be done as close to moving-day as possible to eliminate the probability of there being any damage to the upgrades. If you feel confident in your abilities to replace the wood for tile or add wainscotting to your living room for a little class and keep it looking like new until you decide to move, then as you’re able make those upgrades. 

Whenever or whatever you decide to do as far as renovations v. remodels, make sure that you’re improving your home without pricing it out of the market. Yes, it’s fun to have the most beautiful house on the block. But if the upgrades place your initial asking price too far above the average for your immediate area, you could have trouble finding a buyer. You run the risk of having to lower the price, therein lowering your overall return, or never getting it of the market. 

When done wisely, renovations and remodels alike serve you well. They can be done for your personal satisfaction or to help sell your home faster and better. With all the confusion over terms cleared up, you can now venture confidently into either.