Renovation vs. Remodeling – What’s the Difference?

Outside the world of construction, it is typical to hear the words “renovation” and “remodeling” used interchangeably. It may be surprising, then, to hear that those two words have different meanings. As such, when used in the construction industry, speaking about renovation or remodeling could completely change the understanding of a conversation. Therefore, it is important to know how these two terms differ, so that communication between you and your contractor can be clear, without the chance of a drastic misunderstanding.


The dictionary definition of “renovate” tells us that the term means “to restore to good condition; make new or as if new again; repair.” It also means “to invigorate; refresh; revive.” To put this in the context of construction, then, a renovation is a reparation of something that has grown old, without any drastic changes.

This can be seen most often in kitchen renovations. Often, the actual structure of the kitchen isn’t changed. The location of the appliances remains the same, no new cabinets are added, etc. A kitchen renovation simply attempts to refresh the existing room. This usually occurs when a house is getting ready to be sold. By changing out the cabinet fronts or replacing the appliances, you can add value to your home without much of a hassle.


A kitchen remodel, on the other hand, will completely change the look of the existing room. As the dictionary tells us, “remodel” means to “alter the structure of.” Using this term, a remodel can fully change the purpose of a room. What was once a bedroom can be turned into a home office. When you choose to remodel the kitchen of your Lancaster County home, you are agreeing to some large changes.

Most of the time, any indication of what the room used to be will no longer remain after the remodel is finished. Some examples of a full kitchen remodel could be the addition of an island in the center of the room, or changing the location of the appliances to enhance the room’s flow.

Why It Matters

The differences between these two terms might seem trite and unimportant to the average person. However, when enlisting the help of a contractor or designer, it is important that everybody is on the same page, to avoid any miscommunication. The work and planning that goes into a renovation is very different than that which goes into a remodel.

Additionally, it is good to know if there is a reason any part of the kitchen should be maintained. Whereas a renovation will try to protect the integrity of the existing kitchen, a remodel will alter the room as a whole. If there are aspects that should be taken into consideration, like a room’s historical significance, that should be communicated to the contractor as soon as possible. Relaying this information accurately will help ensure no terrible mistakes will be made.

Choose the Right Professional

Knowing the difference between renovation and remodeling can also help you choose the right company to work with. Those that specialize in renovation might not be the best contractor to choose for a full kitchen remodeling. Furthermore, there are companies who specialize in renovated historical rooms. Should that be what you are hoping to do, that should be the type of company you hire.

We would be more than happy to talk with you about your kitchen remodeling ideas. If you are ready for your free consultation, feel free to contact us by filling out our easy online form or by calling us at (717) 371-5136 to get started today.

Share this article