What are the most & least expensive rooms to remodel?

Nobody ever asks us what’s the most expensive room to remodel. The least expensive room to remodel, on the other hand, we get that a lot.


Published on 08 Nov 2023

Who drives the cost of a remodel? Mostly it is The homeowner.

About the Question

It’s a bit of an odd question for us because the cost is driven largely by a homeowner's desires, the quality of selections, and the scope or size of the project. How would we ever know those answers before we sit down and talk about it all?

We also look at it as a question of programmed value. Little cost equals little overall value.  That of course can be a bit subjective if you measure it outside of the real estate market and you are easily satisfied, or maybe even overjoyed, with a new paint color in your kitchen, that value might appear high even if the cost is low by kitchen remodeling standards. It is possible that the least expensive room to remodel may hold the highest value for you.  Win/win, eh?

Be that as it may, we will take on the challenge of exploring this topic for no other reason than to satisfy curiosity, and, well, there is the fact that so many search for this answer online. It should help you prioritize your next remodel by using general overall costs as a guide. Anyway, we sort of see this kind of education as our responsibility to keep the public as informed about our industry as possible.  

It seems everyone got a taste of the "home office" during the pandemic. Our blog on that topic should prove enlightening. 

Pantone Paint colors to consider for your remodel

The Least Expensive RoomThe humble home office

When it comes to the least expensive room to remodel in your home, the home office most often takes the top spot. Here's why:

1. Limited Square Footage: Home offices are typically smaller spaces compared to other rooms in your house, such as the kitchen or living room. Smaller square footage can translate into fewer materials and a slight to moderate reduction in labor.

2. Few Structural Changes: Home offices rarely require major structural alterations as rooms are simply being re-tasked. In most cases, you won't need to knock down walls, install support beams, or reconfiguring plumbing and electrical systems, saving you money.

3. Minimal Fixtures and Appliances: Home offices typically don't require expensive fixtures or appliances, such as kitchen appliances or bathroom fixtures. Unless of course you put in a wet bar and pretend you are in an episode of Mad Men.

4. Flexibility in Design: Home office design can be highly flexible. You can choose lower-cost materials, such as laminates or budget-friendly flooring without sacrificing too much on the aesthetics front. Additionally, many people choose to DIY their home office renovations, further reducing costs.  This of course is madness from our point of view because it undervalues your time and takes twice to three times as long. So, well, disregard that point.

5. Home Office Tax Deductions: In some cases, you may be eligible for tax deductions if you use your home office exclusively for work, further offsetting the renovation costs.

Factors Influencing Costs:

  • The extent of the renovation: A simple home office makeover with a fresh coat of paint and new furniture will cost less than a complete overhaul.
  • Choice of materials: High-quality, custom materials will increase costs, while budget-friendly options can help keep expenses low.
  • DIY vs. Professional: Opting for DIY projects can significantly reduce labor costs, as long as you have the necessary skills and time to flush down the can and don’t believe a beautiful environment really matters to your work product or energy.  We just have to say here that it does of course matter, otherwise, you might as well work out of your car, or your tool shed as both already have doors you can close for privacy.


Before and after remodeling. Out with the built-in jacuzzi and in with the free-standing tub. Our latest project in 

The Middle GroundBedrooms and Bathrooms

Bedrooms and bathrooms often fall in the middle when it comes to the cost of remodeling. The costs can vary significantly depending on the scope of the project and the room's size and complexity. Let's take a closer look at each: 

1. Remodeling a Bedroom:

  • Bedrooms can be relatively cost-effective to remodel, especially if you're focusing on cosmetic changes like new paint, flooring, and updated fixtures.
  • The size of the bedroom matters. Larger bedrooms will generally cost more to remodel due to the increased square footage.
  • If your bedroom remodel includes walk-in closets, the cost can escalate, as they require more design, materials, and labor.  Walk-in closets can be the worst for cost, but the best for absolute “I’ve arrived” enjoyment. We digress.
  • Upgrading electrical outlets, and lighting, or adding built-in shelving can also increase costs.

2. Remodeling a Bathroom:

Bathrooms are more complex than bedrooms due to the plumbing and fixtures involved, which can make them costlier to renovate.

  • The choice of fixtures, tiles, and other materials plays a significant role in bathroom remodeling costs. High-end materials, like Cambria or other quartz products, can quickly drive up expenses along with enjoyment of course.
  • If structural changes are necessary, such as reconfiguring plumbing or moving walls, the cost will increase as well.
  • Labor costs for bathroom renovations can be higher because of the specialized skills required for plumbing and tiling.
  • The number of bathrooms in your home can also affect costs, as remodeling multiple bathrooms will naturally be more expensive, even though there may be an economy of scale that could be employed if done at the same time.

Factors Influencing Costs:

  • Scope of the project: A minor bedroom facelift will always be less expensive than a complete bathroom overhaul.  That is beyond obvious, isn’t it? 
  • Materials: High-quality bathroom fixtures, tiles, and cabinetry can increase costs while choosing more budget-friendly options can save money. They actually make toilets with remotes now.  Think that one is expensive? Oh, yeah!
  • Complexity: The need for structural changes, plumbing and HVAC alterations, or the addition of custom features like built-in storage will impact the budget. It also depends on what. You are removing too. A lot of the bathroom remodels we do today involve the removal of a built-in jacuzzi and the insertion of a free-standing cast-iron tub in its place.  The demo alone can run a couple of thousand dollars.

Dunes White Granite countertops from one of our latest projects in Ham Lake Minnesota.

The most expensive room has also become the largest

The Most Expensive RoomYou guessed it—the kitchen

The kitchen consistently ranks as the most expensive room to remodel in a home. There are several reasons for this, including:

1. High-Quality Materials: Kitchens often require durable, high-quality materials due to their heavy use and moisture-prone environment. Cabinets, countertops, and flooring can be expensive, particularly if you opt for premium options like solid wood or natural stone. 

2. Appliances: Modern kitchens are equipped with a range of appliances, from stovetops and dual ovens to paneled refrigerators and drawer microwaves and dishwashers. This is why we have a showroom with a functioning kitchen, to help our clients make those difficult selections. We’re talking selections like Wolf dual-fuel ranges, Thermador refrigerators, Bertazzoni cooktops, Sub-zero refrigerators, Bosch dishwashers, and others that can significantly increase the cost of the renovation.

3. Plumbing and Electrical Work: Kitchen renovations often involve extensive plumbing and electrical work. This may include relocating sink and dishwasher plumbing, adding new (arc-fault), electrical circuits for appliances, and installing lighting fixtures. It is not uncommon to add a dozen new recessed LEDs to the ceiling in remodeled kitchens. You thought the Dark Ages were in the 1,300’s. Try the 90’s, at least for kitchens.

4. Custom Cabinetry and Countertops: Many homeowners opt for custom kitchen cabinetry and countertops, which are tailored to their specific needs and design preferences. Custom work comes at a premium price, but it can be utterly stunning. 

5. Layout Changes: If you're reconfiguring the kitchen layout, moving walls, or expanding the space, the cost of the renovation can touch the clouds sometimes. Structural changes often require engineering specifications and drawings and special micro-lam or steel beams, further increasing expenses.


LEFT: Micro-lambs. Not expensive.  RIGHT: Micro-lams, much more expensive.

Factors Influencing Costs:

• Layout changes: Extensive changes to the kitchen layout, such as knocking down walls or creating an open-concept space, can drive up costs significantly.  That’s the whole beam thing again.

• Appliance choices: High-end, energy-efficient appliances can add a substantial cost to your kitchen remodel.

• Materials: Premium materials like solid wood custom cabinets, granite or quartz countertops, and designer fixtures will increase expenses.

• Professional labor: Skilled tradespeople, such as plumbers, electricians, and carpenters, are required in kitchen remodels, leading to higher labor costs. For instance the more detailed the tile work, the more skilled the tile guy has to be and the more he charges. There are definitely “A”, “B” and “C” work tradespeople with labor costs that follow.

Porch addition in Chaska.

Our Conclusion

Home remodeling projects offer a fantastic opportunity to enhance the functionality, aesthetics, and value of your property. The cost of these projects varies widely depending on the room you choose to renovate. The least expensive room to remodel is often the home office, thanks to its limited square footage, minimal structural changes, and flexibility in design. Bedrooms and bathrooms fall in the middle, with costs influenced by the size of the room, the extent of the renovation, and the choice of materials.

On the other end of the spectrum, the kitchen consistently ranks as the most expensive room to remodel due to the high-quality materials, appliances, plumbing and electrical work, custom cabinetry and countertops, and potential layout changes involved.

Of course, adding a room, which we didn’t look at, is far more expensive followed by the cost of a teardown, which tops the remodeling list.  It’s at that point that the tough decisions are made between a teardown and a completely new build on a new foundation. That’s our next blog just in case you are interested.

So, that concludes this exercise in understanding the cost factors associated with different rooms. We hope it helps you plan and budget for your next home remodeling project. Whether you're looking for a budget-friendly update or a high-end transformation, being aware of the potential expenses, and the expectations that follow, can guide you in making more informed and confident decisions.