We get to the bottom of it.

By Kelsey Mulvey
Updated August 01, 2019
Renovation vs. Remodel - renovation definition, remodel definition and differences
Credit: Getty Images

They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day—and neither was your dream home. If we’re being totally honest, very few domestic endeavors compare to the time, energy, and sometimes stress of tackling a home renovation. Or is it a remodel? Chances are, you probably use renovation and remodel interchangeably, which may not seem like a big deal in the face of the cost to remodel a house, but could still reveal the extent of your experience (or lack thereof) with home updates.

No matter which term you use, there’s a good chance whoever you’re talking to knows what you’re referring to, but have you ever stopped and wondered if you’re using the correct word? Or if the contractors, designers, paint pros, and other experts you’re working with think you’re unfamiliar with the process because you’re using the wrong word?

If you’re concerned with things like word choice and sounding intelligent, you’ll want to know: Is there a difference between a remodel and a renovation?

Well, it depends on who you ask.

Technically, yes: A renovation and remodel are different. If you crack open a dictionary, you’ll find that the renovation definition and remodel definition have some major differences. While a remodel is changing the form of something (adding a new shower to an existing bathroom), renovation focuses more on restoring something old into good repair (fixing up a creaky floor, for example, or taking on a kitchen renovation cost).

Over the years, the design world has closed the gap on remodel and renovation’s differences. When we asked JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers—former Bachelorette couple and stars of the new CNBC show Cash Pad, premiering July 23—the duo insisted the two terms can be used interchangeably.

“I think renovation and remodel are often used hand in hand,” Rodgers says. “We're making subtle, very pointed changes in order to turn [a space] into something that functionally makes sense.”

In their experience, the term renovation (or remodel!) is often associated with a totally different word: flipping. And while home makeovers can help increase your space’s value—which is especially convenient if you’re looking to sell—they’re not always synonymous with flips.

“I think sometimes people get remodel and flipped mixed up,” Fletcher says. “All the homes I’ve always done have been remodels and were never flipped because I help them as rentals. Remodeling a home is taking what it is and sort of changing it into a better form.”

But whether you call it a renovation or remodel, one thing’s for sure: It’s important to plan your project with care. One of the biggest tips the duo had for undergoing your home project is to pay attention to the rooms you use the most (and least!) and spend accordingly.

“Being realistic with why you use your space will help you not overspend,” Fletcher says. “Maybe don’t break the bank on a ton of cabinetry that you’re never going to use or an island that can seat 12 people if you don’t entertain a lot.”