Renovation Costs: How Much to Renovate a House?

How much does a full house renovation cost in Australia?

50% of all full house renovations in Australia cost between $40,000 and $300,000. The price varies depending on the size of the home and intensity of renovation, but the vast majority of home renovations cost approximately $55 an hour.

However, this price is hugely dependent on a variety of factors – many of which will be beyond your control. One of the most absolute influences of home renovation costs is your geographical location. House renovation costs in Australia vary greatly between states and even cities. The average cost for a full house renovation in Australia is $63,500, but the standard costs are highest in Victoria at $71,000 and far lower in Western Australia ($54,377).

Home Renovation Cost Breakdown: Most Expensive States

State

Average Renovation Costs ($)

Victoria

71,000

New South Wales

66,600

Queensland

60,500

Australian Capital Territory

60,000

Try this renovation cost calculator to get an idea of a likely price tag for your location, budget and plans.

Beyond your location, there are a number of other factors that will heavily influence the end cost of a renovation. The main decider will be the type of renovation that you plan to undertake – specifically, the intensity.

Renovation is one of the most cost effective ways to improve your daily life and increase the value of your assets. Generally, renovation projects are categorized into two different types: ‘cosmetic’ or ‘structural.’

Cosmetic renovations are updates which improve on existing features of a home (rather than replacing or removing them). Examples of cosmetic renovations include simple, often DIY tasks such as painting, replacing furniture, updating fixtures or fittings, undertaking minor repairs, and installing new flooring material over the existing floor (such as a floating floor).

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By contrast, a structural renovation is much more intensive. Structural renovations are drastic remolding efforts which will almost always require contractors to undertake. Examples of a structural renovation are projects like adding extensions, conversions, re-wiring or re-plumbing.

Structural renovations are more commonly thought of as renovations in the modern sense because the end result is often barely recognizable from the original house. Structural renovations are far more expensive than a cosmetic renovation – but they also add a substantial amount of value to your home.

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The average structural home improvement project adds approximately 10% to the original value of the home. Standard practice is to spend under 2% of the home’s value on a renovation, to get the most return without having to over-spend. The average house value in Australia has recently cost the threshold into $1 million, for the first time in history.

This is undoubtedly a result of the pandemic and lockdown savings, with prices rising by over $1,100 per day in 2021. While this is tragic for fist home buyers, it puts the reasonable budget for an average home renovation project like a kitchen or bathroom remodel at a comfortable $20,000.

The intensity of a renovation is generally measured as light, moderate, or extensive. Full or partial renovations are common in each category.

Renovation Cost Estimator Guide by Room: Renovation Costs Per Square Metre, Total

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5. Bedroom ($2K-5K, $60-$200/m2)

The least expensive room to renovate is usually the bedroom. This is because bedrooms have a fairly universal design and large structural renovations are not common unless the house has sizing issues. The most common renovation project for a bedroom is the installation of extra storage like an in-built wardrobe, or an ensuite. Beyond this, most bedroom renovations are cosmetic such as upgrading lights or power-points and repainting.

If you are looking for more drastic ideas to transform a bedroom, one extensive renovation project is to install a loft. This works particularly well for small rooms with high ceilings. Read more about the benefits of loft lifestyle here.

4. Living Room / Dining Room ($10K-$15K)

Living rooms are the second cheapest rooms to renovate, averaging around $10,000 – $15,000 for a standard renovation. Common projects for a living room renovation include new furniture, wallpapering or painting, changing furnishings such as windows, changing doors, and often removing dividing walls to create an open plan space. Read more about living room renovation stories here.

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3. Bathroom (15,000-30,000)

Bathrooms are one of the most expensive rooms to renovate. This is because there are a number of expensive amenities to be purchased, and there are added concerns of waterproofing for a bathroom due to the proximity to water.

In renovating a bathroom, common updates include: stripping the existing bathroom to replace floor and wall tile, adjusting the wall frames, updating the furniture and tapware, replacing showers and baths with built in models or recesses, and occasionally even dividing the bathroom into smaller sections. See some of the most beautiful bathroom renovation styles here and here.

2. Kitchens ($25K-$50K)

Infamously the most expensive room to renovate, kitchens have many of the same practical and fiscal demands of bathrooms with the added caveat that they are areas of high traffic which your guests are likely to spend a fair amount of time in or viewing. Kitchen renovations typically include replacing the cabinetry and benchtop, updating all of the fixtures and appliances, drastically changing the layout and thus moving plumbing/electricity points, as well as often changing the kitchen into an open plan. Read more about kitchen renovations here, including some breathtaking kitchen transformation stories.

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1. Exterior ($15K-60K)

This is a broad category, but various exterior projects can cost upwards of $60K when combined. Installing a pool, updating the garden, installing a patio, rendering the house exterior or even just installing brick/weatherboard cladding will all have a significant price tag attached. The most expensive task is usually installing a swimming pool, which can range from $35,000-$100,000.

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So, how do you cut costs in a renovation?

You can cut costs by being as involved as possible with the process. Have clear ideas of what you want and research how to achieve them. Obtaining multiple quotes from different contractors is always a good idea. Calculate a budget early on and stick to it. DIY where you can and when it is safe. The other key to saving money on a renovation is allowing more than enough time – nothing will be more stressful than a renovation which stretches out over more months than you have budgeted for.

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