Home Renovation vs. Home Remodeling

Home Renovation Week Ad, The Daily Review, Decatur, IL, 1915

When the did the terms “home renovation” and “home remodeling” begin?  Which started first?

Best Answer

The term “home remodeling” began in the late 1800s, with “home renovation” beginning to be used (in the sense that we know it today) in the 1920s and 1930s.


“Home renovation” began to be used in the late 1800s in terms of house sprucing-up and cleaning, particularly spring cleaning.  These activities revolved around drapes, floor covering, and wallpaper.  It did not include the rather heavier activities like painting, building, flooring, replacing windows, and such that we associate with home renovation today.  In fact, most newspaper articles that contain the term “home renovation” are in that January through April period.

An April 5, 1896 advertisement in the Chicago Tribune is typical, saying

CURTAINS & DRAPERIES. S & M’s Spring Importations now on display and sale–a really extraordinary showing right at the time when home renovation is uppermost in the mind of the materfamilias…

In the 1920s, the term “home renovation” gradually came to include electrical work, painting, building, roofing repairs, etc.

“Home remodeling” is the older of the two terms, having been used since at least the late 1800s to include those more extensive types of home improvements listed above.

Home Remodel Ad, Middletown, NY, 1894


Middletown Daily Argus, Middletown, New York, June 27, 1894