Remodeling Your Home: What is a Remodel & When To Do It

Audrey Bruno
Written by Audrey Bruno
Updated June 4, 2021
Contractors discussing plans
© Ed Bock / The Image Bank / Getty Images.

Remodeling your house can increase the resale value of your home and improve your quality of life

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What is home remodeling? Remodeling your home entails everything from major structural changes to minor improvements. In most cases, it’s cheaper than relocating and can increase the value of your house by up to 80%. Small changes like swapping out cabinets and adding a fresh coat of paint to the kitchen are totally fair game. But so are major remodels that involve breaking down a few walls. Use this guide to find out if a remodeling project is right for you. 

What Constitutes a Home Remodel?

There are a handful of different ways to approach remodeling a home and it all depends on what you want out of the process. Surface-level cosmetic changes like adding new appliances or swapping carpet for hardwood floors typically require far less work than structural changes like breaking down walls and readjusting an entire floor plan.

What Is a Cosmetic Remodel?

Not sure what a cosmetic remodel is? A cosmetic remodel doesn’t impact the load-bearing elements of a home like the beams in a ceiling or the columns in an entryway. It involves changing things like paint color, appliances, flooring, and other decorative elements. Homeowners can remodel with the help of professional services, but some cosmetic projects are relatively easy for you to complete yourself.

What Is a Structural Remodel?

If you want to understand what a structural remodel is, you’ll need to go beyond cosmetics. A structural remodel involves changing, removing, or fixing the foundational aspects of a home. It can be done on a small or large scale, depending on what you’re trying to achieve. 

Breaking down a wall to create an open-air kitchen will require less time than gutting an entire house, but both are considered structural remodels. Though it is possible for homeowners to DIY a project like this, you’ll want to ensure everything is built correctly by recruiting the help of a professional contractor.

Contractors discussing remodeling plans
© Jessie Casson / DigitalVision / Getty Images.

What Are Some Reasons to Remodel Your Home?

Whether you want to reduce your home’s carbon footprint or add that cozy reading corner you’ve always dreamed of having, there are a lot of great reasons to remodel your home.

Extra Space

Why remodel your home? While remodeling won’t add as much space to a house as building an addition, it’s an easier way to give yourself a little more legroom. Breaking down a wall or swapping small windows for larger ones will make your abode feel extra spacious in a pinch.

Upgraded Amenities

Installing new appliances in kitchen and bathroom spaces are among the most compelling reasons homeowners decided to remodel in 2021, according to the NKBA 2021 Design Trend Report. Swaps like these don’t require a lot of labor, so they’re an easy way to change a space without considerable effort.

Improved Comfort and Accessibility

If you’re always bumping your head on the fan above your oven or constantly struggling to open your sliding closet doors, a remodel is an excellent opportunity to make these problems disappear forever. Even if you don’t want to change your entire home, focusing solely on fixing these annoying quirks will save you a lot of grief in the future.

Increased Home Value

Remodeling a house may cost a lot upfront, but it’s an investment that can significantly increase the resale value of your home. In fact, you can expect between a 40% and 80% monetary return, depending on how much you change.

Ecological Adaptations

Renovating a home to be more sustainable is better for both the planet and your wallet. Swapping out single-panel window panes for an energy-efficient alternative or installing solar panels will reduce your carbon footprint and your utility bills. Combined, they can reduce energy loss anywhere from 30% to 50%.

Fixing a Safety Issue

If you aren’t sure when to remodel your house, take safety into account. A security issue within your home is a non-negotiable reason to remodel. Take advantage of the opportunity to make the changes you’ve always wanted to. 

If there’s a problem with the wiring in your light fixtures, fix it, then swap them out for lamps you love. If a sliding glass window has cracked, it might be the perfect moment to replace them with French doors.

How Much Does It Cost to Remodel a Home?

The cost of a home remodel will depend on how much you’re changing and the rooms you want to renovate.


When should you remodel your kitchen? If cabinets, flooring, and appliances could use an update or you want to increase the value of your home, it might be time—but it’s a costly project. Kitchen remodels are typically more expensive than most rooms because of the appliances they require and the cost of hiring a contractor to install them. You can expect to pay anywhere between $25,000 and $40,000.


Bathroom remodels can also be more expensive because of plumbing services and appliance installation. The cost will be somewhere between $9,600 and $16,000.

Living Room

Depending on whether you’re making cosmetic or structural changes, a living room remodel can cost as little as $1,500 and as much as $43,200.


Bedroom remodels aren’t as expensive as other rooms because they don’t involve many new additions or changes, aside from the possible cost to hire an electrician to move around power outlets. You’ll pay between $3,545 and $10,470.

Complete Home Remodel

Gutting a house for a complete structural renovation will also come at a higher price because of the costs of labor and materials. In general, you can expect to pay anywhere between $5,000 and $150,000 for any given project. The price of a remodel also varies during different times of the year. While working conditions aren’t always ideal during the winter months, the cost to renovate can be much lower from January to March.

Is It Possible to Remodel a Home on Your Own?

Remodeling a home with purely cosmetic changes like new wood flooring or fresh cabinets is easy for a homeowner to do on their own. 

But it’s better to make larger structural changes with the help of a professional contractor to ensure everything is properly built and to prevent damages down the line.

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