To Renovate or To Remodel? What’s the Difference?

I was talking with our web designer earlier this week, and we started discussing the terms “renovate” v. “remodel” as Google search terms.  She asked which one was more important for us, and I honestly had never given it much thought.  Aren’t they the same thing?  Well…NO, it turns out.

Here are the different definitions of the two terms:


  1. To restore to good condition; make new or as if new again; repair
  2. To invigorate; refresh; revive



  1. To alter the structure of

So, in essence, a “renovation” is a much less extensive change to a home than a “remodel” is.  Remodeling often includes completely change the use of a space, moving walls, adding square footage, and moving systems like plumbing and electrical wiring around.  Usually, getting an architect and submitting plans for permitting is required for a remodel, while it may not be required at all for a renovation, which would typically focus more on cosmetic changes like painting, switching out fixtures, refacing cabinets, etc..

Interestingly, 5 years ago, the terms remodel and renovate were searched for equally on google, but over the past 5 years, the term renovation has become twice as popular a search term as the term remodel.  Why?  I have a theory that it may be because of the popularity of home style and makeover idea sites like pinterest, houzz, and instagram.  As our tastes change and grow over time, it’s relatively easy to renovate rooms repeatedly without breaking the bank, while saving the big remodel for every 10 years or so, or when you buy your next home.

So, it turns out that for Avenue B, the vast majority of the work we do is remodeling.  We work with architects and clients to radically alter or transform a house, although we always love to see a good renovation!


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