When people discuss wanting to make changes to their space, they might say that they want to remodel, and another time they might say they want to renovate, thinking they are saying the same thing. These two terms are not really used interchangeably though because they mean different things. What does it mean when someone says they want to renovate vs. saying they want to remodel? We will discuss the distinction between a renovation and a remodel below.


Renovations can be viewed as a way to restore or update your existing home. Renovations can be on a smaller scale or larger, depending on what you would like to do. For the most part, the layout or structural setup of your home remains the same, but you could make changes to the plumbing or open up your space more by removing a nonessential wall. Generally, these types of changes will be less expensive and take less time than a full remodel. You can also have projects, such as painting the walls a new color, adding some shelving, or updating your cabinets. Your cabinets can be updated by either refacing them or replacing them. Your cabinets will remain in the same space, though.


A remodel is a major change to your home. With this type of work, there will be changes to the structure and your space, possibly adding new space onto your home. Since the work will be more involved, it will take longer to finish and cost more to do. You might want to rearrange your kitchen space (appliances and cabinets) or add another bathroom to your home. You can also decide you want to add more rooms to your home as well. The electrical, plumbing, and structural integrity of your home may be affected. The projects will normally be bigger and more involved, which may mean that you will need permits from your city before you can make these changes. If you are doing a renovation, permits are not usually necessary.

You can have a mix of both types of changes to your space depending on your goals and budgetary constraints. Your timeline can be affected by how much time you have for the projects, who is going to do them, when your new material will be available, and how many projects you would like to finish at a time. Renovations can take mere days to a few weeks, while remodels can take considerably longer stretching into months.