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Renovating a House: Costs Estimator

Updated: May 15, 2023

How much does a full house renovation cost in Australia?

50% of all full house renovations in Australia cost between $40,000 and $350,000. The price varies depending on the size of the home and intensity of renovation.

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.

Beyond your location, there are several 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).

By contrast, a structural renovation is much more intensive. Structural renovations are drastic remoulding 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 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.

Renovation Cost Estimator Guide by Room

1. Exterior ($15K-65K)

Building a fun, relaxing, versatile outdoor area at your home where you, your family and friends can enjoy yourselves can cost anywhere from $15,000 to as much as $65,000. It all depends on the elements you want to add and the ambience you want to create. If you simply add outdoor lighting, pavers, furniture, a shade sail or umbrella, as well as a barbecue, you can keep the cost of renovations down. Substantial roof lighting, the plumbing for an outdoor kitchen and a pool can increase your cost significantly.

2. Kitchens ($25K-$55K)

In Australia, kitchens are the part of homes that is most renovated. About 25% of renovations done in Australian homes focus on the kitchen. Kitchens are also the most expensive part of a home to renovate. Most people spend between $5,000 and $45,000 on kitchen renovations.

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 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.

3. Bathroom ($15K-$35K)

Bathrooms are the second most renovated room in Australian homes. The average bathroom renovation costs between $15,000 and $35,000.This is because there are several 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.

4. Living Room / Dining Room ($10K-$20K)

Living rooms are the second cheapest rooms to renovate, averaging around $10,000 - $20,000 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.

5. Bedroom ($2K-$10K, $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.

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. Work out a budget with a building designer or architect and factor in engineering and surveying services. 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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