What’s the Difference Between a Remodel and Renovation?

Do you want to remodel your space? Maybe you only want to renovate it? Wait, did we just ask you the same question twice?

If you’re like many people, there is a perceived sameness to the words renovation and remodel. The interchangeable usage of both words is so prevalent and innate — including by many industry professionals such as ourselves — that they share the same fundamental meaning of making improvements to a space or building. However, there is a subtle distinction between the two terms.

To best understand the distinction between remodel and renovation, let’s begin by defining the scope of a restoration project first.


Example before-and-after of a restoration.

Example before-and-after of a restoration.

A restoration is conducted when the goal of a project is to restore a space or building to a prior state. A restoration project does not encompass additions, upgrades, structural modifications, or alterations in appearance that would deviate from the original design.

Typical restoration projects include preservation of old traditional style homes or historical architecture, and any building or space damaged and requiring repair back to its original condition.



We can think of a renovation as renewing or upgrading a space or building without concern for its original integrity, and with no major structural modifications that change the function or usage of the space. Renovations involve upgrades or alterations in appearance, and will add value to the home.

Common renovation projects we provide include:

  • Kitchen cabinet refinishing including the upgrading of the decorative cabinet hardware to match your rooms new look.

  • Upgrading your homes basic builder-level casings and baseboard with beautiful and elegant millwork replacements.

  • Enhancing your rooms by adding new types of millwork such as crown moulding, chair rails, wainscoting, coffering, lentils, and more.

  • Replacing old or dated kitchen cabinetry with new modern kitchen cabinets.

  • Replacing existing countertops with highly durable and beautiful stone such as quartz, quartzite, or granite.

  • Replacing existing flooring with hardwood or tile flooring and radiant heating.

  • Painting to modernize and freshen up the look of your rooms.

Renovations are usually smaller in scope than remodels.



A remodel is the most substantial and all-encompassing of the three processes. It can involve upgrades, cosmetic alterations, structural modifications to the use and function of the space, and often include the addition or expansion of rooms.

Common remodeling projects we provide our clients include:

  • Full gut redesigns of kitchen and bathroom layouts and styles for clients wishing to reinvent their spaces.

  • Removing or adding walls to create new rooms or open concept spaces, and to redefine existing spaces.

  • Custom walk-in showers.

  • Home additions including powder rooms and bathrooms.

  • Conversions of unfinished basements to inviting livable spaces.

Of course not all projects undertaken are this clear-cut. Some are a combination of the above, such as a restoration to the exterior and a remodel or renovation in the interior.

Ultimately whether you refer to your project as a renovation or remodel, the most important consideration is that your project goals, plans, and requirements are clearly understood by your contractor.

Are you contemplating a renovation or remodel? Contact us and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can to determine if we’re a possible right fit for you and your project.