The Difference Between a Renovation and a Remodel, According to Pros

We get to the bottom of the debate.

Renovation vs. Remodel - renovation definition, remodel definition and differences
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They say Rome wasn't built in a day—and neither was your dream home. If we're 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 the words renovation and remodel interchangeably. This may not seem like a big deal when faced with the cost to remodel a house, but it could still reveal the extent of your experience (or lack thereof) with home updates.

Remodel vs. Renovation

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?

Is there a difference between a remodel and a renovation? Well, it depends on who you ask.


Technically, a renovation and remodel are defined differently. While a remodel changes the form of something (like adding a new shower to an existing bathroom), a renovation focuses more on restoring something old into good repair (fixing up a creaky floor, for example).

What Do the Pros Say?

Over the years, the design world has closed the gap on differences between remodels and renovations. When we asked JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers—former Bachelorette couple and stars of the CNBC show Cash Pad—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 completely 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 keep them as rentals. Remodeling a home is taking what it is and sort of changing it into a better form."

The Bottom Line

Whether you call it a renovation or a remodel, one thing's for sure: It's important to plan your project with care. One of the biggest tips the duo has 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 suggests. "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."

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