What Do Remodels Really Cost?

Often, homeowners have no idea what a remodel is going to cost. After all, if you haven’t done one recently, it’s hard to pull a number out of thin air and the information you find online can be unrealistic. Worse yet, television shows do not reflect “reality” and are very misleading. No, we can’t actually renovate your kitchen in 30 minutes and there are no corporate sponsors paying for advertising to help defray the costs!

For the past 30 years, the editors of Remodeling Magazine have compiled data from across the country to create estimates of what home remodeling projects cost in each market – in our case, Greater Boston. They use the data to produce the “Cost vs. Value Report” which we have found to be pretty accurate.

We find some potential clients suffer sticker shock, although we had a wonderful experience recently with a client who wanted an estimate on a kitchen/bath reno.  She had looked up the pricing in the Cost vs. Value Report. When we asked her for her budget, she quoted the range budget she found there. It’s really a very useful tool for both the remodeler and the consumer!

That being said…let’s take a look at two of the most popular home remodeling projects locally – kitchens and bathrooms – and how much they would cost according to the report.


According to the report, the average bathroom remodel (not an addition, but a remodel of an existing space) costs between $24k and $72k in the Boston area. In our experience a cosmetic re-do starts at around $30k, but that’s using simple subway tile and basic fixtures.  Changing the layout (i.e. moving pipes) and upgrading fixtures and tiles can increase that to the upper end of the range. Some popular upgrades we often encounter are curbless showers and heated floors.


According to the report, the average kitchen remodel ranges from $75k to $143k as you go from “midrange” to “upscale.” Our kitchen projects typically fall in the bottom 2/3 of that range, which is enough to include quartz countertops, wood floors, an island and an eye-catching tile backsplash.

Keep in mind that these are averages. It’s important when setting your budget to be honest with yourself about whether your taste and requirements are, in fact, ‘above average,’ and to plan accordingly.  For example, a ‘midrange’ kitchen includes laminate countertops, but our clients typically want stone or quartz.

The Cost vs. Value Report also gives estimates on additions (master suite, kitchen etc.), decks, roofing and siding replacements, as well as several other categories. One category we miss seeing is energy upgrades, including insulation and systems like heat and hot water. We’d love to see some data on this in next year’s story. Energy improvements not only save money on utilities and lighten your impact on the planet; they also make your home healthier (better indoor air quality) and more comfortable (less drafty).

Take a look at the full report to get an idea of local costs as well as the estimated resale value and percentage of the cost you may recoup if you sell your home. It’s helpful to know what your investment may be worth.

Whatever changes you make, the VALUE that the remodel brings to you and your family, by creating a more functional space and a design style that makes you happy, is hard to put a number on.