Photo: James Bombales

When you stumble across a photo of your dream kitchen on Pinterest, it can be difficult to determine exactly how much the homeowner spent in the process. Revealing renovation costs is still considered somewhat taboo — like discussing your salary with coworkers or asking your neighbor what they paid for their new boat. Thankfully, the 2019 US Houzz & Home report sheds some light on how much dough homeowners are actually spending on their renovation projects.

The annual renovation survey is the largest of its kind, pulling data from more than 140,000 respondents. It identifies the median amount spent on renovations by Houzz users who upgraded their interiors in 2018. For those who need a statistics refresher, the median represents the middle value — not the average.

The median renovation spend for 2018 held steady at $15,000 (the same amount as 2017 and 2016), while the top 10 percent of spenders shelled out a little less than in years past ($80,000 in 2018 versus $85,000 in 2017 and $90,000 in 2016). Here we share the 10 most common renovation projects, their median costs and some of the key takeaways from the Houzz survey.

Photo: James Bombales, design by Sara Bederman

1. Kitchen – $14,000

Kitchen renovations continue to take the top spot year after year. What is surprising, however, is the amount homeowners forked over for their renovations in 2018. The median spend spiked 27 percent to $14,000, which Houzz’s principal economist, Nino Sitchinava, attributes to the ongoing trade war with China and subsequent tariffs on building materials.

2. Guest/other bathroom – $3,500

It’s quite common to renovate the main floor powder room at the same time as your kitchen. The trades are already onsite, which makes it easy to rip out that dated vanity and replace it with something modern. Spending for non-master bathrooms, like powder rooms and guest baths, increased by 17 percent, resulting in a median price of $3,500.

Photo: James Bombales, design by Lisa Canning

3. Master bathroom – $8,000

The growing self-care movement has spurred a renewed interest, and cash investment, in master bathroom renos. The median spend for 2018 rose to $8,000, compared to $7,000 in 2017 and 2016.

4. Living/family room – $3,400

Twenty one percent of respondents indicated they had renovated their living or family room within the past year. While the median spend was $3,400, the cost really depends on the size of your room and what you’re planning to do with it. Are you looking to replace carpet with luxury vinyl tile? Reface a stone fireplace with shiplap? All of these design decisions will factor into the final price tag.

Photo: James Bombales, design by Jo Alcorn

5. Guest/other bedroom – $1,000

The guest bedroom is an oft-forgotten about space where elliptical machines go to die. But it appears some homeowners are taking the plunge and revamping these rooms for a median price of $1,000. With some fresh paint, a printed duvet, affordable artwork and new window treatments, you can give your guest bedroom an upgrade without burning a ton of cash.

6. Dining room – $1,500

If you thought the dining room was dead, think again. This formal space ranked sixth on the list with 14 percent of those surveyed reporting they had renovated theirs in 2018. The median spend was $1,500 — just enough to invest in a new dining set or replace the trim.

Photo by Chastity Cortijo on Unsplash

7. Master bedroom – $2,000

There’s much to consider when renovating a master bedroom. Whether you’re looking to add custom shelving to a walk-in closet or design a feature wall using decorative molding, costs can add up quickly. The median spend of $2,000 doesn’t seem like much, but improving your sleeping quarters should be seen as an investment in your personal health.

8. Closet – $700

Maire Kondo’s Netflix series on organizing and decluttering didn’t premier until January 2019, so it will be interesting to compare this year’s report to the one that’s published in 2020. Will closet renovations jump up a few spots? Will the median spend increase from $700? All that remains to be seen.

Photo: Emily May/Flickr

9. Laundry room – $1,500

Make this weekly chore a little more enjoyable by investing in efficiency — adding a power-saving washer and dryer duo or a small utility sink. While this renovation with a median spend of $1,500 project ranks low on the list, laundry room makeovers are becoming more popular every year.

10. Home office – $1,500

Work from home days are a common perk among today’s employers. Increase your productivity by carving out a dedicated workspace in your home, whether that’s an entire room or a cozy nook. If you work from home full time, you may qualify for these home office tax deductions. Who knows, it could save you that $1,500 median spend!

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