5 Most Popular Home Renovations

Where to start with your home renovation? Many homeowners across the country are considering renovation as the best way to improve their home and add to its value. We're taking a closer look at what's commonly being done to British houses, and what it's costing.

A renovate kitchen with white cupboard and wooden floor
ARTICLE Stephanie Matheson

Kitchens and bathrooms are clearly the top two most popular renovation projects in New Zealand, followed by same level extensions, loft conversions and basement conversions / excavations. Read on to find out more about each of the different types of renovations.  

1. Kitchen Renovations

From Dunedin to Napier and Gisborne to Auckland, kitchens are one of the hottest renovation topics ever. We tend to spend a lot of time in this space, cooking, eating, entertaining, even helping our children do their homework. Whatever your lifestyle, by revamping this space you will be making an immediate and impressive difference to your daily life. Even with a modest budget of around $30,000 a kitchen renovation can change the way your home works for you quite dramatically.

Have a look at our Kitchen Renovation Cost Guides

Opening up a smaller kitchen into an adjoining dining area or adding space by extending out into the garden or deck space is one of the most common transformations. The ideal that most homeowners aspire to is a larger, brighter kitchen diner with a breakfast bar or kitchen island where space permits.

2. Bathroom Renovations

Bathrooms are on par with kitchens – homeowners typically prioritise this space in terms of urgency and budget. You should plan on spending at least $20,000 - $30,000 and up for a small to medium sized bathroom with mid-level fixtures. As with all renovation projects, keep a contingency budget of 15 to 20 per cent of the project estimate to cover any unforeseen issues.

Have a look at our Bathroom Renovation Cost Guides

Extra large, double vanities and freestanding baths are on trend, and where space is more limited consider creating a wetroom or a large walk-in shower with floor-to-ceiling glass panels. Smaller spaces benefit from light colour schemes, medium sized tiles and ambient LED lighting.
A bathroom with freestanding bathtub

3. Same level house extensions

As a rule of thumb, same level extensions, are typically more affordable than converting the loft or basement space. A budget starting from about $60,000 will allow you to add a small room to your home, which is a popular home extensions in New Zealand and generally offers great return on investment should you intend to sell your house.
Creating a larger kitchen diner by extending out into the garden or the side return is probably one of the most popular alterations. With a budget starting from around $200,000, you should be able to create a medium sized extended kitchen/dining/living space with a large window or glass frontage. Considerations around levels of natural daylight, indoor-outdoor flow and open-plan living are key, along with interior finishes that will integrate the new and old parts of the house.  

Have a look at our House Extension Cost Guides for a more comprehensive overview of what is involved with a same level house extension.

While you’re renovating, it’s worth thinking about the cladding of your whole house in order to replace any damaged cladding and ensure the cladding of the new extension works with the rest of the house – either blending in or standing out but in any case working together. It might pay to reclad your house completely to add to its street appeal and property value.

4. Loft conversions

Many homes across the New Zealand, have an unused attic that can be converted into useable living space. This kind of extension or loft conversion allows you to add valuable square metres to the house’s floor plan while not encroaching on your garden space.
Loft conversions often require structural work, as the original house was most likely not built to hold the weight of a second storey. This means that loft conversions are typically more expensive than same level extensions, but they are nevertheless often the best option to add living space to a home, especially in denser, urban areas. Other factors that might add to the cost of a loft conversion include site access and waterproofing. This might be a good time to generally have your roof inspected and get any problematic areas fixed, or even have your house completely reroofed.

Have a look at our Loft Conversion Cost Guides.

Key design issues to consider when converting a loft are windows and stairways. Skylight windows are more affordable, however, dormer windows create precious extra headroom. Generally speaking you’ll be working with a confined space, so smart storage solutions are worth incorporating. Costs for a loft conversion can vary greatly, depending on your house and your choices of materials and styles, but you should budget on at least $200,000 for a mid-level extension.

5. Basement conversions

Basement conversions are a great way to maximise your home’s usable living space. In many cases a basement space of some kind already exists and can be adapted and transformed. Where your home does not have an existing basement that can be renovated, or the basement space is not sufficiently large enough, earthwork excavation and disposal have to be factored into the project. Digging out a deeper basement will give the space a lighter, more open feel.

Have a look at our Basement Conversion Cost Guides.

Structural work and water tightness are key issues for any basement conversion and it pays to get the best materials and builders you can afford, to ensure that your basement will be a dry and healthy space. You can expect to pay anywhere from $250,000 and up, on average, depending on the specifics of your home renovation.
Basements are used for many different purposes. Apart from storage and extra bedrooms or even decadent wine cellars or gyms, there is a trend towards moving kitchen or dining areas into the basement. It’s also a great space for kids’ playrooms and a good location for a new washroom.
Note that the above mentioned renovation estimates are rough approximation only. Each project and house is different, so a specific and individual quote is necessary for each home renovation.

Get in touch with Refresh to discuss your home renovation project

If you would like to discuss home renovation options and ideas for your next renovation project, please use the enquiry form on this page to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your project. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.
*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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