Renovation vs Remodel: What's The Difference?

Renovation and remodel are often used interchangeably. But to home improvement specialists and real estate professionals, these terms refer to two different things. That includes the scope of the project, the activities involved, and its purpose.

Renovation means restoring something into its previous condition. Repairs and updates of existing structures are considered forms of renovation. These are done to correct any structural damage or bring back its former aesthetic.

On the other hand, remodeling means creating something new and altering the existing layout. Remodeling a room involves doing a major makeover and giving it a brand-new look. This usually alters the floor plan or the lights and plumbing system.


kitchen renovation in morgan hill, california (before)

(a) Kitchen Renovation in Morgan Hill, California (BEFORE)

kitchen renovation in morgan hill, california (after)

(b) Kitchen Renovation in Morgan Hill, California (AFTER)

To revive to good condition, make new, repair, revive, update - these terms are all synonymous to renovation. A renovation project usually involves restoration work and some of the following:

  • repainting

  • replacing windows

  • replacing tiles or flooring

  • replacing outdated systems

  • refacing cabinets

  • updating appliances

  • installing new light fixtures; and

  • adding new hardware.

Custom renovation is usually done by homeowners to give their space a more personalized look that fits their lifestyle. Aesthetic changes are done to existing structures in their home for them to achieve that specific ambience that they want. Custom renovation brings more satisfaction and comfort to homeowners.

Aside from gaining personal satisfaction, a renovation project also adds value to your home. This increases the chance of a successful re-sale if you ever sell your home or property.

The set of images above is a kitchen renovation project done by Imagine Unique Remodels in Morgan Hill, California. Take a look at the before and after photos. You can see the obvious update in the look, giving it a modern and contemporary vibe. It radiates a more refreshing energy making the ambience lighter and more homey.

While the look and feel has changed, the layout has stayed the same. A renovation project revives and updates the look and personality of a space. The layout, however, doesn't change dramatically nor the original floor plan is altered.

Renovations are often small-scale projects and are DIY-friendly. If you have the time and the skills to do them by yourself, then you can do so. But we highly advice to consult first with your contractor to avoid costly mistakes and further damage. Most importantly, consult with an expert who has the expertise and experience to avoid incidents towards health and safety.

Most communities and local building authorities don't require permit for renovations such as repainting, installing a new carpeting, and wallpapering. However, for projects that involve putting an addition on a home, replacing a roof, reconfiguring interior walls, or anything that requires structural alterations, these will require permit.


kitchen remodel in san jose, california (before)

(a) Kitchen Remodel in San Jose, California (BEFORE)

kitchen remodel in san jose, california (after)

(b) Kitchen Remodel in San Jose, California (BEFORE)

To remodel means to alter and remake the current model. In altering the existing structure, the process typically involves demolition and construction.

A contemporary and open-concept layout remake is one most common kitchen remodeling project nowadays. Installing a kitchen island is also considered as remodeling. For bathroom remodeling, this involves modifying the current plumbing and electrical systems. The process for these are more complex and larger in scale compared to renovation.

Here are the common projects for home remodeling:

  • constructing an addition to your home

  • removing walls to combine adjacent rooms; or

  • changing the layout of a room.

The set of images above is a kitchen remodel in San Jose, CA. It was brought into reality by the homeowner with the guidance and expertise of Imagine Unique Remodels. The most obvious change for that project is removing the countertop that also serves as a divider. Then, a kitchen island was installed for an open-concept layout. New cabinetry and systems were installed, positioning of appliances were changed, lighting fixtures were replaced, and the floor plan was altered in that remodeling project.

Remodeling doesn't always require demolition of structures though. Simply transforming a bedroom into an office space means you are remodeling the room. If the function of the room has been changed, then it has been remodeled.

Whenever a project involves drastic alterations, modifying the floor plan, changing the function of the space, then, it refers to remodeling.

Which Costs More: Renovation or Remodel?

Obviously, remodeling projects often cost more than renovation.

Because remodeling usually involves demolition and construction, it would require more professional labor. Modifying the plumbing and electrical system would also require consultation from experts or engineers. An architect will also be involved to create 3D visualizations of your desired look for your space. You may also want to hire a professional for interior design.

Other factors which affect cost are:

  • materials

  • floor area and room size

  • installation and labor

  • permits

  • scope of work; and

  • others.

With either renovation or remodel, you increase the value of your property and its potential for a resale. It gives you a good return on your investment.

Now that you know the difference and basic features of renovation and remodel, you may want to consult with a local contractor specialized in kitchen and bathroom remodeling for your next project. BOOK HERE!

Imagine Unique Remodels has been in the home construction and improvement industry for over 20 years now. We are currently specializing in kitchen and bath remodels. We are serving and continuously satisfying homeowners and property-owners within The Greater Bay Area.

For inquiries, contact our team at 1-408-600-0448. Our main office is located in Los Gatos, California. You may also visit our website at


"You IMAGINE, we build UNIQUE!"

Imagine Unique Remodels will not accept anything less than the best. We are always on the lookout for the best and want to see the sunny side of things. Come collaborate with us and let's make your goal a reality while we provide the best service possible!

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Feel free to reach out if you have any questions regarding your next kitchen/bathroom remodel, we can guide you thru the full process from designing to ready-to-use phase.

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