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. Work like this might require the best mortgage rates to help with all the remodeling needed. 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.. For extensive work, including knocking down the home and starting afresh you are likely to need a fullscale construction site to be implemented. In which case, it might be wise to look into site security options prior to starting the job.

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!

2 Responses to “To Renovate or To Remodel? What’s the Difference?”

  1. Sarah Smith on

    I really appreciate your explanation that remodeling is changing the use of a space or the layout while renovation is restoring a space with better materials or a new finish. With this in mind, I think I would like to have my kitchen remodeled. There isn’t enough space to walk around my kitchen comfortably, so I would like to move some walls and add counter space.


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.