House renovation costs UK: How much does it cost to renovate a house?

We get a lot of emails from fellow UK home renovators and people about to complete on a property trying to work out house renovation costs asking “How much does it cost to renovate a house?”. Believe it or not, some people that buy a property to renovate don’t itemise the costs at all, and we think it’s a sure fire way to leave yourself out of pocket.

“Two in 5 renovators overshoot their budget by an average of 20%” – Hiscox

For a typical 3 bed house, renovation costs can differ hugely. We’ve spent approx. £95K on our renovation but renovation costs have increased since - so you make sure you download our costs + free renovation guide here in order to learn ways to prevent costs spiralling out of control. Some members of our community are spending £300,000+ on theirs (more on that later too!)

In my years trading as an interior designer I’ve seen a really worrying amount of people approach me to discuss working together and they have little to no knowledge of how much their total costs to refurbish their house will be. Not even finger in the air figures.

A little bit of careful budgeting goes a long way and it’s really paid off for us in our personal projects so we decided to write this post and show you how we completed the main part of our house renovation within budget.

As the cost of renovating a house is such a hot topic, in this post I want to address:

  • How much a renovation costs – so you can budget for yours

  • What our renovation costs were – for our typical 1930s semi

  • The average renovation costs our community are spending on their properties

House renovation costs for a 3 bedroom house in the UK

A little bit about our renovation costs

We’re Neil & Fi and a many years ago whilst running a little home & interiors blog from a 1 bed flat in Hove, Sussex we made a decision that would change the course of our lives forever…

Us after we incurred renovation costs

We 'flipped' our flat, made £70K in equity in under 3 years, navigated the sale during the Brexit vote (to a European buyer no less!), and then used the equity to renovate a fixer upper house in Brighton that hadn't been renovated since the 1960s.

You can see the step-by-step work we've done over on our 1930s House Renovation page. The property needed everything doing to it, shag pile carpet, wallpaper on every single wall, the lot! Check out the before and after renovation shots.

On our minds for most of the conveyancing process was “how much does it cost to renovate a house?”

how much does it cost to renovate a house

The work itself was gruelling and a steep learning curve, but we were hooked on renovation life. I (Fi) trained as an interior designer and in recent years we now provide support to renovators who are taking on all sorts of projects from knock throughs to double storey extensions.

Back when we got an offer accepted on our house we started researching house renovation costs to see if we could actually afford to renovate this place.

Having no friends or family in the building / trades industry at the time, we didn't have anyone we could rely on to give us accurate quotes for work - nor did we really fully know what we wanted to do to the house before we moved in (it's always advised to live inside the house before deciding anyway).

Other than decorating, neither of us were that DIY savvy either so we knew we'd have to pay for labour costs but had no idea what these would be.

All we had was Google and Neil's budgeting skills to make safe estimates of each item of work we'd like to do, plus contingency, then tracked it all item by item inside our house renovation costs spreadsheet throughout the renovation.

So with that, we did a great deal of ‘safe bet’ calculations which gave us confidence we could do the work we wanted to do and we were on an OK track financially.

how much does it cost to renovate a house
how much does it cost to renovate a 3 bed house uk

Honestly, even now that we work in the industry we repeat to people…. Gathering informed estimates for of your renovation costs is the single best way to start your project - even before you even get the keys. If you’re interested in learning how to do this, check out our home renovation course. In the first module we provide templates and information to help you itemise your costs. We give you insider tips to prevent your costs spiralling and tell you the industry-known ways to make savings on your project.

Alternatively if you want to access something now, we’re sharing our entire renovation costs itemised for you to download for free – which could give you a feel for the items you may need to budget for. Remember costs vary depending on where you are in the country and the complexity of the house you’re renovating.

The free costs download will also give you access to a renovation guide that talks you through the average timeline of a renovation and how best to budget. It’s the perfect place to start.

Free Renovation Costs Guide

What we wish we knew about renovating

  • Our renovation costs itemised

  • 3 bite-size chunks of renovation know-how

  • How to cut costs, do it in the right order + find trades you trust

renovation costs

How much does it cost to renovate a house in the UK?

We recently asked some of our home renovation course students via a questionnaire what their budget was, and crunching the numbers, out of 70 responses, the median average approximate budget was £75K.

Here is a round up of our student data. But it’s worth remembering that these are people within our audience and so not necessarily representative of the wider UK picture. As you can see there is quite a wide range, but it should help you get an idea of the average cost to renovate a house – or at least a ballpark amount to start with.

Budget (From) Budget (To) Renovations

Data © Fifi McGee 2022


Important things to know when working out your budget:

  1. There is a huge North-South divide when it comes to renovation costs - you might as well ignore labour costs estimates from outside your part of the country. (We wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing people hiring in from cheaper areas!)

  2. In 2021 the costs of supplies rose enormously. This means that a lot of renovation websites are showing out of date costs information. Always set a contingency budget (more about this in our free guide below).

Having done a 3 bed semi-detached 1930s house renovation which needed some elements of structural work flagged in the survey, as well as everything aesthetically doing to it, anything between 50K - 150K is entirely possible for a semi detached house (excluding an extension or conversion) depending on the scale of the work.

Really though, the sky is the limit when it comes to costing up a renovation. We’ve seen people renovate their houses for much less, and much more!

Bear in mind that every house is different, everyone’s taste and needs are different and labour costs are different across the country. So if you’re trying to work out costs for a house renovation, it’s difficult to come to a single figure for all these reasons and more.

What were our house renovation costs?

Our renovation may be a little different to yours since we had to do a few unusual things, for example the place had no gas and no central heating when we moved in.

renovation costs - our kitchen knock-through in our 3 bed house uk
average renovation costs for a 3 bed house (kitchen knockthrough)

In terms of the work we did, we initially wanted to do an extension on the back of our house which would skyrocket the cost of the entire renovation by an extra 100K+, so in the end we went with a remodel of the inside which brought the cost down to about £65K for the initial part of our renovation (including kitchen/diner and getting things comfortable).

renovation costs for a 3 bed house
renovation costs for a 3 bed house

As it currently stands, our renovation costs total £94K. You can Download our itemised costs and renovation guide for more detail.

Area/Room Total
Living Room£4436
Kitchen Diner£31,522
Utility Room£3887
Downstairs Loo£575
Guest Bedroom£1270
Master Bedroom£9246
Download a cost breakdown here

We also spent a fair amount on structural problems flagged in the structural survey which may not be something you experience with a property you are renovating, but definitely should be factored into your budgets just in case unforeseen issues unveil themselves.

If you’re not sure where to start with all of this then don’t worry because the free renovation guide that comes with our renovation costs will get you on your way. Give us 15 minutes every day for 3 days to set your renovation up for success! And look out for our online renovation course openings too!

Renovations are a sea of uncertainty but with a little bit of assistance on your renovation costs and all the the other crucial stages you’re going to be just fine!

How about house renovation costs and budgets in our community?

We’ve been running our renovation community for a good while now and it’s interesting to hear what kinds of budgets our renovating students are looking at. We ran a questionnaire recently and here are a handful of the responses:

Property type: 3 Bed Victorian terrace

Location: South-East London

Approximate budget: £150,000

Project details: “We’re planning to completely redecorate, extend the kitchen into the side return, replace the bathroom and potentially change the ground floor layout to use the space better. We may also consider extending into the loft.”

Property type: 2 bedroom bungalow

Location: Northumberland

Approximate budget: £130,000

Project details: “Our initial thought is to completely change the layout. Move the kitchen and lounge to the back of the house and extend to make a bigger kitchen/dining area and move the bedrooms to the front, whilst creating an additional room, which would be my craft room/additional sleeping space with sofa bed. In addition, the thought is knock down the detached single garage and build a bigger garage in to the side of the house with more storage space.”

Property type: 3 Bed semi-detached

Location: Glasgow

Approximate budget: £85,000

Project details: “Rewire, full new central heating system and plumbing, old one removed including asbestos water tank, all walls skimmed and painted etc, replacement coving, doors, new flooring in parts, new bathroom, kitchen and plans for an extension after kitchen is knocked into dining room, roofing, rendering, soffits, new front door. Not to mention plans for front and back garden, replacement of garage, and a garden room for my work studio!”

Property type: 2 Bedroom Victorian terraced house

Location: Brighton

Approximate budget: £100,000

Project details: “We are going to knock out a wall between the hall and dining room to create a more open plan space and install French doors from dining room out into the back yard. Putting a walk-on-able flat roof on the outhouse to utilise the raised garden space and make the outhouse into a habitable room. Either knocking through to make the kitchen into a kitchen breakfast room or keeping it separate for storage/a garden room. Creating a mansard loft extension to add (hopefully) 2 additional bedrooms and a shower room”

House refurbishment costs and what to watch out for!

In our online course for first time renovators, we give students an extensive list of curveball renovation costs to watch out for, plus industry-known practices to make savings on their projects.

Some of the areas we help with are:

  • Quotes coming back higher than expected – This is so common. We help students pull back their spend in ways that are least compromising to their goals for their homes.

  • Incorrect cost comparison – Quotes are never usually like for like so this is a big one to be careful with. You’ve got to be asking contractors the right questions.

  • Costs spiralling – This is an easy trap to fall into which can lead to an incomplete or lacklustre project. Renovators can give themselves a head start by understanding the order of events (to prevent rework) and by avoiding common mistakes. We outline these in our online course.

A great place to start your renovation planning and learning the ropes is with our free guide. Take a look…

Let’s look at more specific renovation costs you may be considering…

How much does an extension cost?

Building a house extension to your existing home is a fantastic way to shape your house to your needs. In fact, rear extensions and side extensions have only increased in popularity in the last few years. 

Neil and I wrote about our experience with kitchen extension costs (and why we chose against doing it) but many factors will come into play when you are considering what type of extension you may wish to build. Design is one thing, but the cost of an extension may determine what you are able to afford with your property and your budget. 

So how much does an extension cost? Normally it’s safe to assume that a figure of between £2500 per square meter plus contingency can be used for the initial stages when planning your budget. A clever architect should be able to provide some clever strategies to save money but break it down and be aware that expensive fittings, cladding, fixtures, lighting and glazing can have a big effect on the price. 

How much does a loft conversion cost?

If your house does have enough space for a habitable loft room, converting it into a new bedroom, office or games space can be a very cost-effective way to give you the room you need and add value to the property. In fact, this is exactly what our students Jen and Stu are doing right now…

renovation costs for a loft conversion

Jen + Stu’s Hip to gable loft conversion

renovation costs for a loft conversion

The average price of a loft conversion in the UK is around £45,000 but where a staircase needs to be replaced, if there’s structural changes needed, or if you’ll be going higher end on fixtures and fittings this can increase.

Using a price per square meter can be a fantastic way to plan ahead with your budget but given that the prices are much lower for a loft conversion than other typical building work such as house extensions, they can sometimes not be as useful. 

The main items to consider when considering a loft conversion is the size of the loft space, namely that there is enough head height so that someone can occupy the conversion without hitting their head! The second thing is to make note of the position of the stairs in the house, will it be easy to provide access to the loft without changing too much of the floor below? And how many windows will be added? Will you add an en suite? And how ‘luxury’ will you finish it (lighting, flooring, etc). These decisions will all inform the costs of your loft conversion.

How much does an architect cost?

If you’re changing structural elements of the property, chances are you’ll need to pay for an Architect for designs, advice and management services. We have a full guide all about architect costs and whether you need to hire one for your specific build.

Architect’s prices can vary greatly depending on their location and reputation. From £5,000 to £15,000 for the full services required for an extension and house refurbishment. You can also use a percentage estimate to get a feel for architect’s fees, which usually range for 5% - 15% of your total project costs. This is the rule of thumb we used for our house renovation and it worked out.

How much does a new bathroom cost?

Giving your house a new bathroom can be a perfect way to re-adapt or refurbish your existing property and increase the property’s value. But how much does a new bathroom cost? Prices can vary depending on the layout and products you choose to use. 

A completely new bathroom can cost anywhere between £2,000 to £12,000 and higher! The price will be lower if water mains, drainage etc is already available in the room and you won’t be changing plumbing location. Price will also depend on the brands and materials you want, and you will also find that the price will increase where tricky plumbing solutions (hello wet rooms!) are required.

Our Reno Club student Kate created magic in her bathroom transformation recently. Keeping the plumbing layout virtually the same cut costs drastically…

renovation costs for a bathroom


renovation costs for a bathroom


How much does a kitchen cost?

Renovating the kitchen in a home is a popular item on any project list. Kitchens are an opportunity to get creative, provide something with different finishes and design which complements your home. 

For this reason, the prices for a kitchen can vary greatly. On one hand, you may decide to design, renovate or build the kitchen yourself. On the other hand you could go for a completely bespoke, handmade and high-end kitchen design.

So how much does a kitchen cost? Prices can range anywhere between £5,000 to £50,000+ for a kitchen (yes, quite a varied sum!).

Our renovation course students, Matt & Georgie, were savvy with their budgets and got their bespoke kitchen for £17K 👇🏻

renovation costs for kitchens

our student’s kitchen came in at £17K (matt & georgie)

renovation costs for kitchens

Factors that will lower your kitchen price include: 

  • Sourcing cheaper materials

  • DIY when fitting the kitchen

  • Having a smaller kitchen (fewer cabinet costs, lower sqm worktops etc)

  • Little to no changes to the plumbing and electrics or appliances

renovation costs to move a kitchen

Matt + Georgie moved their kitchen into the dining room

Factors that may increase your kitchen price include:

  • Having a bespoke kitchen made and fitted

  • Expensive materials and fittings (Such as marble worktops and stone floors)

  • A larger kitchen, including islands and new appliances

  • Works that may be required in order to house the kitchen (plumbing, electrics etc.)

3 quick tips to reduce your renovation costs

1 .Be selective about what you renovate

Choosing what to renovate in your initial plan and design is perhaps more important than how well you renovate. This will not only allow you to save money, but will also allow your renovation to celebrate what already works in your property.

Being selective may mean avoiding large and expensive work such as structural works. In these cases it can be better to work around what is already in your property to save you money on your renovation costs.

2 - Stick to simple materials and items and add features later and over time.

While it can be tempting to jump straight into creating wow factor in your renovation. Feature materials and items are normally complementary and work well because the simple things have been done right.

This can save you money on your renovation by cutting back on expensive features and adding them in moderation throughout time.

3 - Concentrate on your main renovation goals

Renovation projects can often spiral out of control as a result of additions and unrealistic expectations regarding cost and the amount of work things require.

Concentrating on the 1 or 2 key goals of your renovation will help you keep focused on the key requirements of your renovation. This will save you time and budget. Our renovation course has many exercises to guide you to prioritise and itemise key elements of your renovation to keep you focused.

Find out your renovation costs – we can help

Renovation costs can be a minefield and entirely depend on specific factors but sign up to our Survivor’s Guide to Renovating if you’re ready for some further support from us.

Thanks for reading,

Fi + Neil


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