by | May 9, 2024

Cost of Renovating a House: Top 2024 Guide & Tips


Understanding the Costs of Renovating a House

When considering the cost of renovating a house, it’s crucial not just to think about the immediate expenses but also how these changes will affect your home’s value over time. Whether you’re looking to update a single room or undertaking a full-scale renovation, each decision impacts both the cost and the potential return on investment.

Budgeting is essentially the backbone of successful home renovations. By setting a clear budget, you’re more likely to achieve the desired outcome without unexpected financial strain. It’s not just about choosing the cheapest options; it’s about making informed choices that balance cost and quality. Thorough planning and budgeting can lead to significant enhancements in your home’s comfort, functionality, and eventual resale value.

Investments in your home like replacing a garage door or refinishing hardwood floors can recoup a sizable percentage of their cost in home value. For instance, according to industry reports, a garage door replacement can recoup approximately 93.3% of its cost, demonstrating how certain renovations can be almost self-funding in the long run.

Detailed infographic on top renovation projects and their ROI - cost of renovating a house infographic pillar-3-steps

As we delve deeper into the specifics of house renovations, we’ll explore key factors that influence costs, provide average cost breakdowns by room, and offer insights into how you can manage and maximize your renovation investments for both immediate satisfaction and long-term benefit.

Understanding the Basics of House Renovation

When we talk about house renovations, we’re referring to the process of making changes to a home to improve its function, efficiency, or aesthetic appeal. This might involve updating old fixtures, adding new spaces, or completely reimagining an existing layout.

Renovation means reviving or updating an existing structure with cosmetic changes or minor repairs. It’s about making the old new again without altering the foundational structure of the home.

Difference between Renovation and Remodel
It’s crucial to distinguish between a renovation and a remodel. While renovations typically focus on cosmetic updates (like painting, installing new fixtures, or replacing windows), remodeling involves more significant structural changes. This could include altering layouts, demolishing walls, or adding extensions to the property. Remodels are generally more extensive and expensive than renovations.

Common Projects
Common renovation projects include:
Kitchen updates: Replacing appliances, repainting cabinets, or installing new countertops.
Bathroom refreshes: Updating fixtures, tiling, or expanding the space.
Living area enhancements: New flooring, fresh paint, or updated lighting fixtures.

Each project has different scopes and costs associated with it, and understanding these basics helps homeowners plan more effectively for their specific needs. For instance, while painting a room might only require a few hundred dollars, completely overhauling a kitchen with high-end finishes could run into tens of thousands.

As we proceed, we’ll look into the various factors that affect the cost of renovating a house, delve into specific room-by-room costs, and provide detailed insights into budget and high-end renovations. This will equip you with the knowledge to make informed decisions about your home improvement projects.

Factors Influencing the Cost of Renovating a House

When planning a house renovation, understanding the factors that influence costs can help you budget more accurately and avoid surprises. Here are some critical aspects to consider:


The location of your home plays a significant role in renovation costs. Urban areas generally have higher labor and material costs due to increased demand and living expenses. For instance, renovating a house in a major city like New York might cost up to 40% more than in a rural area. Additionally, local regulations and the cost of permits can vary greatly between regions, impacting your overall expenses.

House Size

The size of your house directly affects renovation costs. Larger homes require more materials and more labor hours, increasing the overall cost. For example, replacing flooring in a 3,000 square foot home will be more expensive than in a 1,200 square foot home simply due to the amount of flooring needed.

House Age

Older homes can be more expensive to renovate due to outdated structures and the potential need for more significant upgrades to meet current building codes. For example, an old home might require additional electrical and plumbing updates to ensure safety and functionality, which can significantly increase renovation costs.

Project Scope

The scope of your renovation project is perhaps the most significant factor in determining cost. Simple cosmetic updates like painting or replacing light fixtures are relatively inexpensive. However, major renovations that involve structural changes, such as knocking down walls or adding extensions, require more labor, materials, and potentially architecture and engineering input, which all add to the cost.

Understanding these factors will help you better anticipate the cost of renovating a house and manage your budget effectively. As we move into the specific costs associated with different rooms in the house, keep these variables in mind to assess how they might influence your particular renovation project.

Average Costs of House Renovation by Room

When planning a house renovation, understanding the costs associated with each room can help you budget and prioritize your projects. Here, we break down the average costs by room, focusing on key aspects like appliances, cabinets, flooring, and more.


  • Appliances: A major cost factor in kitchen renovations. High-end appliances can significantly increase costs.
  • Cabinets: Account for a substantial part of the budget, approximately 30% of total kitchen renovation costs. Opting for open shelving can reduce this cost.
  • Flooring: Choices range from laminate to hardwood, affecting both appearance and cost.

Average Cost: Kitchen renovations range from $12,000 to $60,500, with an average of $27,000. Keeping the same layout can reduce costs.


  • Plumbing: Major driver of renovation costs due to the complexity of work.
  • Fixtures: Includes sinks, showers, and toilets. Costs vary based on quality and design.
  • Tiles: Wall and floor tiles can be a significant expense, especially if opting for high-end materials.

Average Cost: Renovating a bathroom can be expensive, typically around $16,250, influenced by plumbing and high-quality fixtures.

Living Room

  • Flooring: A key element that defines the space. Hardwood floors are more expensive but desirable.
  • Paint: A cost-effective way to transform the room.
  • Lighting: Modern lighting fixtures can change the ambiance of the room and range from economical to high-end.

Average Cost: The cost to renovate a living room averages about $6,900, depending on the choice of materials and the extent of changes.


  • Flooring: Choices similar to the living room, affecting both cost and comfort.
  • Windows: Quality windows are crucial for insulation and aesthetics.
  • Closet: Building a new closet or renovating an old one can vary in cost based on size and materials.

Average Cost: Bedroom renovations average around $3,600, with costs fluctuating based on flooring and window choices.


  • Waterproofing: Essential for preventing moisture problems, which can be costly.
  • Insulation: Key for energy efficiency, particularly in colder climates.
  • Flooring: Often includes options suited for potential moisture, such as tile or specialized basement flooring systems.

Average Cost: Completing a basement can cost between $4,700 and $41,000, with an average of $22,850. Opting for a partial finish can reduce costs.


  • Door replacement: Can vary widely in cost depending on material and insulation.
  • Flooring: Epoxy or concrete floor coatings are common and relatively inexpensive.
  • Storage: Solutions like built-in cabinets or overhead storage racks add functionality and cost.

Average Cost: Garage renovations range from $3,000 to $30,000, with an average cost of $11,000. The extent of the renovation heavily influences the price.

By understanding these costs and considering the specific needs of each room, you can better plan your home renovation project. Choosing materials and deciding whether to keep existing layouts can greatly affect the overall cost.

Detailed Breakdown of High-End vs. Budget Renovation Costs

High-End Renovation

When it comes to high-end renovations, the sky is often the limit in terms of both budget and design. Here’s what typically drives up costs:

  • Designer Materials: Opting for high-quality materials can significantly increase the cost. For instance, using custom-made cabinetry in the kitchen or marble flooring can be visually stunning but also expensive.
  • Structural Changes: Major structural alterations, such as removing or adding walls to create an open floor plan, require professional expertise from structural engineers and architects, adding to the cost.
  • Luxury Finishes: High-end renovations often include luxury finishes like high-grade paint, sophisticated lighting fixtures, and top-of-the-line appliances. These elements enhance the aesthetic appeal and functionality of the space but come at a higher price.

High-end renovations are not just about luxury; they also involve complex design and meticulous execution, which require skilled professionals.

Budget Renovation

On the other end of the spectrum, budget renovations focus on cost-effectiveness and practical improvements. Here’s how you can save without sacrificing quality:

  • DIY Projects: Engaging in DIY projects like painting, simple tiling, or installing hardware can reduce labor costs. For instance, painting your own walls or cabinets can save you a significant amount compared to hiring professionals.
  • Low-Cost Materials: Choosing more affordable materials doesn’t always mean lower quality. For example, opting for laminate countertops instead of granite or quartz can still offer durability and aesthetic appeal at a fraction of the cost.
  • Minor Upgrades: Small changes can make a big impact. Replacing faucets, light fixtures, and door handles are examples of minor upgrades that can refresh the look of your home without a hefty price tag.

Budget renovations require careful planning and a bit of creativity to maximize the impact of each dollar spent. By focusing on changes that offer the best bang for your buck, you can achieve a significant transformation without breaking the bank.

By understanding the differences between high-end and budget renovations, you can better align your project with your financial expectations and lifestyle needs. Whether you choose the luxury of designer materials and structural changes or the affordability of DIY projects and low-cost materials, your renovation can significantly enhance your home’s comfort and value.

Next, we’ll explore how to accurately estimate your renovation costs to prepare for these financial commitments effectively.

Cost of Renovating a House: Special Focus on Whole-House Renovation

When embarking on a whole-house renovation, it’s crucial to understand the scope and cost involved, especially pertaining to structural repairs, mechanical repairs, and the necessary permits and fees. This comprehensive approach not only revitalizes your home but also ensures it meets current building standards and efficiency.

Structural Repairs

Structural repairs can be one of the most significant costs in a whole-house renovation. This includes fixing or replacing foundational elements, load-bearing walls, and roof trusses. According to industry sources, these repairs are essential for ensuring the safety and longevity of your home. The cost can vary widely depending on the extent of damage and the materials used. For example, reinforcing a damaged foundation can cost upwards of $10,000, but is crucial for preventing more severe issues down the line.

Mechanical Repairs

Mechanical repairs involve updating or replacing the essential systems in your home such as plumbing, electrical wiring, and HVAC systems. These updates not only improve the functionality and safety of your home but can also enhance its energy efficiency. For instance, upgrading to a high-efficiency HVAC system can cost between $5,000 and $10,000, but it can significantly reduce your energy bills. Similarly, updating old plumbing and electrical systems can prevent costly and dangerous issues in the future.

Permits and Fees

Obtaining the necessary permits is a critical step in any renovation project, especially for extensive renovations that involve structural and mechanical changes. The cost of permits varies by location but can account for a substantial part of your budget. For example, building permits can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Additionally, you may need to pay for inspections to ensure that the renovation work complies with local building codes and regulations.

Example from a real project: In a recent whole-house renovation by Norman Builders, securing the necessary permits and scheduling inspections were key steps that ensured the project met all local compliance standards, which was instrumental in the smooth execution of the project.

Planning for These Costs

To effectively plan for these costs:
Get multiple quotes: Always obtain several estimates from reputable contractors to ensure you are getting the best value for the services provided.
Set aside a contingency fund: Unexpected issues often arise during major renovations. Setting aside 10-20% of your budget for unforeseen expenses can help manage these surprises without derailing your project.
Understand the scope: Work closely with your contractor to understand the full scope of necessary repairs and updates. This can prevent unexpected costs and delays.

By preparing for these significant aspects of a whole-house renovation, you can manage your budget more effectively and ensure that your renovated home is safe, efficient, and up to date. Next, we’ll delve into how you can accurately estimate your renovation costs to further solidify your financial planning.

How to Estimate Your Renovation Costs

Estimating the cost of renovating a house can feel daunting, but with the right tools and approach, you can create a realistic budget. Here’s how to get started:

Cost Estimator Tools

Using online cost estimator tools is a straightforward way to get an initial idea of what your renovation might cost. These tools often use data from past projects to provide average costs based on your specific parameters like location, size, and scope of the project. For example, a basic bathroom remodel might cost significantly less than a full kitchen overhaul. These tools give ballpark figures, so use them as a starting point.

Quotes from Contractors

Getting quotes from multiple contractors is crucial. It not only gives you a clearer picture of potential costs but also helps in finding the right team for your project. When you receive a quote, it should detail labor costs, materials, and a timeline. Make sure everything is included to avoid surprises later. The cheapest quote isn’t always the best. Consider the contractor’s reputation and past work quality too.

Pro Tip: Always ask contractors how they handle unexpected issues or overruns. This can tell you a lot about their transparency and reliability.

Planning for Unexpected Expenses

Unexpected expenses can pop up during a renovation. Maybe the plumbing needs more work than anticipated, or old wiring isn’t up to code. Here’s how to plan for these surprises:

  • Set aside a contingency fund: Experts recommend setting aside 10-20% of your total budget for unforeseen expenses. This buffer can help manage these surprises without derailing your project.
  • Detailed inspection: Before starting, have a thorough inspection done by a professional. This can uncover potential issues early on, allowing you to adjust your plans or budget accordingly.
  • Flexible planning: Be prepared to make decisions on the fly. If an unexpected cost arises, you might need to reevaluate other aspects of your renovation to stay within budget.

By using these strategies, you can create a more accurate estimate of your renovation costs and set yourself up for a smoother project. Next, we’ll explore how to maximize your investment to ensure your renovations not only look great but also add value to your home.

Maximizing Your Renovation Investment

When renovating your home, it’s not just about the immediate changes—it’s about making strategic decisions that increase your home’s value over time. Let’s explore how to ensure your renovations are a sound investment.

ROI Considerations

Return on Investment (ROI) should be a key factor in deciding what renovations to undertake. For example, the 2022 Cost vs. Value report highlighted that replacing a garage door recovers an impressive 93.3% of the cost on average. Similarly, refinishing hardwood floors can offer an even greater return, with a reported ROI of 147%. These numbers illustrate that some updates can significantly increase your property value almost immediately.

Value-Adding Renovations

Certain renovations have a proven track record of boosting home value:
Kitchen and Bathroom Upgrades: Modernizing a kitchen or bathroom is always a wise choice. These areas are high-traffic and crucial in the daily function of your home, making them attractive to potential buyers.
Adding Energy-Efficient Windows: These not only save on heating and cooling costs but are also a strong selling point for eco-conscious buyers.
Enhancing Outdoor Living Space: Improvements like deck additions have been shown to have a solid ROI, making them a worthwhile consideration for any renovation plan.

Energy-Efficient Upgrades

Investing in energy efficiency is both a cost-saving and environmentally friendly strategy. Here are a few upgrades that can reduce your utility bills and attract energy-conscious buyers:
Insulation: Proper insulation is crucial for maintaining your home’s temperature and reducing energy waste.
High-Efficiency Appliances: These are appealing to home buyers who value sustainability and savings on utility bills.
Smart Home Systems: Items like smart thermostats and automated lighting systems enhance both the functionality and appeal of your home.

By focusing on these areas, you not only enhance your living experience but also improve the long-term value of your property. Next, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about house renovation costs to help you better plan and execute your renovation project.

Frequently Asked Questions about House Renovation Costs

Is it cheaper to renovate or build new?

When considering the cost of renovating a house versus building a new one, several factors come into play. Generally, renovating an existing house is less expensive per square foot compared to building from scratch. Renovation costs average around $100 per square foot, while building a new house can cost about $150 per square foot. However, the decision might also depend on the condition of the existing structure and the extent of the renovations needed. If the house requires significant structural changes, the cost can quickly approach or even exceed the cost of new construction.

How much should I budget for unforeseen expenses?

It’s wise to prepare for the unexpected. When planning your renovation budget, consider setting aside around 20% of the total project cost for unforeseen expenses. This contingency fund can cover surprises like structural issues discovered during the renovation, changes in building codes, or fluctuations in material prices. Planning for these potential extra costs helps ensure that your project doesn’t stall halfway through due to a lack of funds.

What are the most cost-effective renovations?

Some renovations provide more bang for your buck than others, especially if you’re considering the impact on your home’s value. According to industry experts, here are some of the most cost-effective renovations:
Refinishing Hardwood Floors: Offers a high return on investment, with some reports suggesting a ROI of up to 147%.
Replacing a Garage Door: This can recoup about 93.3% of the cost, making it a worthwhile investment.
Minor Kitchen Remodels: These can significantly refresh the look of your home without the extensive costs associated with major kitchen overhauls.
Adding or Improving Outdoor Spaces: Such as decks or patios, which can enhance the livability and appeal of your home.

Understanding these aspects can help you make informed decisions that align with both your budget and your long-term home improvement goals. As you move forward, consider each project’s impact not only on your immediate comfort but also on the overall value of your property.


Renovating your house can be a transformative journey, not just for your living space but also for the overall value and functionality of your home. Throughout this guide, we’ve explored the cost of renovating a house, breaking down expenses by room and renovation type, and discussed how to budget effectively and maximize your investment.

Here are some final tips to keep in mind as you plan your renovation:
Prioritize projects based on both necessity and potential return on investment.
Get multiple quotes and ensure they cover the same scope of work to compare accurately.
Plan for contingencies, as unexpected expenses are common in renovations.
Consider the long-term benefits of each project, especially energy-efficient upgrades which can save money over time.

At Norman Builders, our commitment is to help you through every step of your renovation process. We understand the challenges and rewards that come with renovating your home. Our team is dedicated to providing personalized service and exceptional craftsmanship, ensuring that your vision becomes a reality with the least possible stress.

Renovating your home is an opportunity to create a space that truly reflects your personal style and meets your living needs. Whether you’re updating a single room or undertaking a whole-house renovation, we are here to provide the expertise and quality you deserve.

Let us help you bring your dream home to life. Your vision is our blueprint, and together, we can craft a space that you and your family will love and enjoy for years to come. Explore our services and see how we can transform your home renovation ideas into a stunning reality.


A Penny for Your Thoughts: Understanding the Costs of House Renovation

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