Remodelling Your Home: Which Rooms Will Cost You the Most?

Remodelling your home can be both exciting and daunting. On the one hand, you’re planning a beautiful upgrade which you and your family will enjoy for years to come. On the other, there can be uncertainty about how much you can afford. Unfortunately, budgeting for a home remodel isn’t a simple task. Estimating the costs for different aspects of your project is tough and can be stressful if you don’t have unlimited funds at your disposal.

There are many factors to consider when estimating the cost of a remodel, but one of the most influential aspects is which rooms you plan to transform because certain rooms are more expensive to renovate than others, and will, therefore, have a bigger impact on your overall budget.

In this article, we’ve listed the most expensive rooms to remodel and broken down the costs so you’ll have a better idea of how to budget in advance.

The Kitchen

Average Cost – $23,239

The kitchen is truly the center of the home, which is likely the reason that kitchens are the most common room that homeowners choose to remodel. Even simple changes to your kitchen, though, can cost a few thousand dollars; meanwhile, large renovations that include big structural changes can cost homeowners more than $100,000. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost for most people is around $23,239.

When planning your remodel, you should expect to spend around a tenth of your budget on new countertops. The final cost will depend heavily on the material you choose and how large your kitchen is. Laminate is the cheapest choice and marble, unsurprisingly, is the most expensive. Then there’s installation charges, which tend to start at around $1,000.

Next up is cabinets. Crucial to the functioning and appearance of your kitchen, it’s no wonder that cabinets are responsible for around a third of the overall cost. Custom built cabinets, which can run between $500-$1,500 per unit, will be the most expensive choice, but they enable you to create a unique style.

You can save money if you order from a homeware supplier catalog, wherein semi-stock options can cost about $150 – $1,000 per unit. By far the cheapest option is ‘off-the-shelf’ cabinets which can be as little as $100 or less each for the low end. If you’d rather refurbish your old cabinets, professional painting will cost about $1,000, while refacing can be as much as $5,000 depending on the extent of the work required.

You’ll also have the cost of final finishes and appliances to consider. Tile backsplashes cost an average of $2,500;  lighting options range between $100-$1,000 including installation; and faucets on the fancier end can total to $1,000. Lastly, if you’re purchasing new appliances to match your new kitchen, you can expect to add anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000 depending on the quality you seek.

Cost Estimation Summary:

Countertops$1,900 – $8,500
Cabinets$1,000 – $10,000
Backsplash$1,000 – $4,000
Lighting$100 – $1,000
Appliances$1,000 – $5,000

The Bathroom

Average Cost – $10,296

After the kitchen, the bathroom is one of the most expensive rooms in your home to remodel. This makes sense when you consider how many fixtures and features are necessary for this room.

Tiles, bathtubs, toilets, heating, plumbing, along with shower and faucet fixtures all add up, and that’s before any decorative or storage items are purchased. According to HomeAdvisor, once all the additional cosmetic items and furnishings have been fitted, most homeowners will have spent between $5,947 – $14,812 on their bathroom remodel.

In general, the shower and/or bath is the main feature of a bathroom. As a result, these pieces are often the most costly. Shower stalls can cost anywhere between $450 at the low end up to $10,000 at the super-luxe end of the scale. The price will depend on which style of tile and frame you choose. Frameless glass doors are cheaper and can still be very attractive options.

Shower heads vary wildly in price, too. The cheapest and most basic options from your local superstore can be as low as $40 – $50, but high-pressure, multiple flow speed choices may run into the thousands. A new bathtub install will cost you between $400 – $1,500 at the low end, but if you’re after a luxe look, expect to pay as much as $6,000 – $8,000 for the most extravagant styles.

There are numerous flooring options from which you choose, and again the type and quality of flooring will determine the cost. Vinyl and linoleum are low-cost choices which are available in more attractive designs than those of past decades. Ceramic or porcelain tiles are a particularly beautiful and hardy option, but you should expect to pay out at least $2,000 for these.

Toilet installs are one of the lower-cost features of a bathroom remodel. A budget toilet will set you back between $130 – $250, with a premium model being priced around $550 – $780. Contractor installation charges are usually under $400 for a few hours work as long as the job runs smoothly. Sinks are another feature that can range from basic bowls (around $200) up to deluxe and exorbitant designs (topping $900).

Once these main fixtures are in place, storage units are your next consideration. With installation, custom cabinets will generally cost between $2,000 and $5,000, but you can find cheaper stock options in homeware stores for under $1000.

Keep in mind that it’s still possible to liven up a bathroom without a complete remodel. If you’re on a very tight budget, repainting and re-grouting is a cheap way to brighten things up for under $500.

Cost Estimation Summary:

Shower$450 – $10,000
Bathtub$400 – $8,000
Flooring$1,500 – $6,000
Toilet$130 – $780
Sink$200 – $900
Cabinets$500 – $5,000

The Attic

Average Cost – $49,438

If you’re planning to convert your attic space into additional living quarters, you should know this process doesn’t come cheap. A typical attic renovation which includes a fully installed bathroom and bedroom, as well as raised ceilings, heating, plumbing, windows, furniture, fittings, and stairs can easily cost in excess of $50,000.

Costs could rise further depending on the local permitting requirements and fees for your locality. In earthquake-prone states such as California, adjusting the height of your roof using a dormer may mean further structural stability upgrades must be made to the rest of your property.

Dormers are complex builds, which is one of the reasons they are so expensive. A do-it-yourself (DIY) installation general costs around $2,000, while a professional install can be anywhere between $2,500 up to $20,000 depending on the size of the project.

Insulation is another consideration. Attic spaces which are being converted will often require extra insulation to make them comfortable for habitation. Generally, there are two kinds of insulation from which to choose: spray foam or blown-in insulation. Spray foam is the more expensive choice, averaging around $1,900 for a standard sized attic space. Blown-in insulation is a little cheaper, at around $1,300 for an average install.

For a converted attic which will be accessed daily, a simple pull-down ladder is unlikely to suffice. Adding stairs should, therefore, be factored into your budget, which cost around $2,000 – $3,000. Attic access stairs have strict codes which they must adhere, covering everything from the depth of the treads to the width of the steps.

Expect to pay around $2000 should you need to install an additional window air conditioning system. In some cases, you’ll be able to connect into your HVAC system with additional vents and ducts, if you have one.

Plumbing and wiring is another consideration. An attic won’t make a good living space without electricity and water. Electricians typically charge $1,000 – $3,000 to run wires up to the attic space, while plumbing installs can cost up to $1,200.

Cost Estimation Summary:

Ceiling Height$2,500 up to $20,000+
Insulation$1,300 – $1,900
Stairs$2,000 – £3,000
Window Air Conditioner$150 – $250
Plumbing$1,000 – $1,200
Electrical Wiring$1,000 – $3,000
Windows$1,800 – $3,000
Flooring$1,400 – $4,300

The Basement

Average Cost – $18,711

The cost of converting a basement into a living space or recreational area depends on how much work has already been done. If there’s decent flooring and lighting in place, a budget remodel can start from as little as $6,000. If you’re starting from scratch, however, the average cost to completely convert a basement rises to $18,711.

If you have an older property, the quality of your foundations may need addressing before you can consider overhauling your basement. The foundation beams may have shifted or sagged slightly, requiring them to be raised before laying down flooring. This is not a job to DIY, and contractor costs can reach $10,000 for serious repairs.

The great thing about basements is you have so much choice as to how you arrange the space. It could be multiple rooms, or an open plan gym, theatre, or office space. No matter what your preference, though, the cost will naturally increase as you add more walls into the equation. That said, unfinished basement walls are generally easier to run wiring, so the cost of getting power and internet installed is lower than other rooms – usually only a couple of hundred dollars.

One aspect that cannot be avoided in basements is the temperature issue. Because they do not get any sunlight or rising heat from the rest of your home, basements will become pretty cold and uninviting in winter unless you install heating.

Gas fireplaces are a common way to combat this problem, costing around $2,000 for an install. If you would prefer a wood burner, these cost anywhere between $800 and $3,000 depending on chimney installation. Electrical heaters are a cheap choice, but they’re not very economical, nor are they as effective as other options.

When it comes to flooring, the price will vary dramatically depending on materials. If your basement is below the soil-line, wood should be avoided. Moisture seeping is an issue which will buckle the wood over time, leading to repairs sooner than you’d like. A standard basement should cost around $1,000 for vinyl and carpet, $3,000 for ceramic tiles and $4,000 for laminate flooring. Carpet is often the most popular choice, as it’s warmer than tile or laminate options.

Cost Estimation Summary:

Foundation Fixes<$10,000
Flooring$1,000 – $4,000
Heating$800 – $3,000
Waterproofing$500 – $7,000
Plumbing$150 – $3,000

Final Thoughts

Remodelling your property is a fantastic way to create a unique home for you and your family, or to increase its value prior to a sale, but projects such these will require much planning before you can get started.

Of course, budgeting is a huge part of planning for your remodel, so knowing which rooms hit your pocket hardest will enable you to make better decisions during your project. Hopefully our guide has helped you to get a more accurate idea of how much your remodel will cost so you’re well prepared to create the home of your dreams without running out of cash.

Further Reading