Luxurious cream toned living room and lounge area with tall ceilings.

Buying vs. Renovating House in Connecticut? Things to Consider

As an interior designer, one of the most common dilemmas my clients face is whether to renovate their existing house or buy a new one. This decision is never easy, as there are so many factors to consider beyond just the financial aspects. Will your current place be able to adapt to your changing needs? Are you feeling stuck in an outdated space that no longer sparks joy? Or perhaps you’ve simply outgrown your home as your family expands.

Whichever side you’re leaning towards, bringing in a design professional like an interior designer can be invaluable. Interior designers have a trained eye to assess the potential of your current space and envision creative solutions you may have overlooked. Alternatively, if buying a new property is the way to go, they can help you assess and transform it into your dream home through intelligent design choices.

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Getting to the Heart of What You Want

Before we dive into the pros and cons, I always start my clients off with a series of thought-provoking questions to understand their wants, needs, and long-term vision:

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? Are you planning to grow your family further? Have aging parents move in? Or nearing the horizon as the kids leave for college? Envisioning your future self is key.

What are your life goals and priorities? Your financial priorities will be a driving factor in saving for your children’s education, retirement, or allocating funds for travel and experiences.

What’s on your house checklist? Make a list of your absolute must-haves – and be realistic! If you have a growing family, you might prioritize additional bedrooms, a larger kitchen, and an outdoor area for your children to play. Or, if you are a remote worker, you might value a dedicated home office or a quiet neighborhood free from distractions. Whatever it might be, evaluate whether your current house can be transformed or if a new property would better align with your vision. Bringing in an interior designer at this stage can provide invaluable insights and creative solutions to help you achieve your desired home checklist.

Traditional style home office with luxurious wooden desk and gold accents.
Photo from Decorilla

What’s your renovation/buying budget? Determine what you can realistically afford to spend, factoring in costs beyond the sale price, such as closing costs and moving expenses. This will determine what options are on the table.

Once we’ve dug into these big-picture questions, we can start weighing the pros of each path. Every situation is unique, so let’s consider some key areas.

The Advantages of Renovating Your Current Connecticut Home

For some homeowners, renovating their current home offers significant advantages over buying a new property. Let’s go over the main advantages:

Preserving Your Beloved Location

For many of our clients, the most significant driving factor in renovating is their attachment to their current neighborhood. We understand Fairfield, Litchfield and New Haven counties are extremely hard to leave because of their beautiful views, charming town centers, and desirable communities.

If you have deep roots, keeping your kids in the same school district, and an easy commute, renovating allows you to hang onto those precious elements of your life. Why sacrifice the things you love about where you live?

Customized to Your Lifestyle

Renovations enable you to completely customize your existing space to align with your specific needs and aesthetic preferences seamlessly. This is where you can bring in an interior designer, and they can help you reimagine floor plans, open up rooms, create customized built-ins and storage solutions, and design the house of your dreams without being confined to an existing layout. 

For instance, we recently worked with a family in Westport who had 600 square feet of zoning rights to build up over three floors. By thoughtfully reconfiguring the layout and maximizing their vertical space, we were able to add a sunroom, a mother-in-law suite, and a larger playroom for their children – all while preserving the character of their beloved house. We collaborated closely with the architects and contractors to ensure every square inch was utilized efficiently and tailored to the family’s unique lifestyle needs.

Potential Cost Savings

Depending on your area and scope of work, renovations can be more cost-effective than buying new, especially in Connecticut’s booming markets. While new homes have some great long-term financial perks, the upfront costs of buying them are often much higher than renovating them. It adds up quickly, from down payments and closing costs to moving expenses. 

A major kitchen renovation can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000, while an entire house remodel can range from $100,000 to $500,000 or more. These figures are often significantly lower than the upfront costs associated with buying a new home, including down payments, closing costs, and moving expenses.

A beautifully laid out kitchen with a marble kitchen island making it a multifunctional space.
Designed by Atelier Roux

However, we always caution our clients about the potential unexpected costs that can pop up regarding renovation. Opening up walls or starting demolition can uncover hidden structural problems like termite damage, mold, or outdated wiring, requiring additional repairs that may add 10-20% to the overall budget.

The Exploratory Phase

At the start of a client’s project, we conduct an exploratory phase to help them understand overall costs. We sit with our clients to review their goals, vision, and budget, outlining finishing costs and furnishings. From there, we create a floor plan, concept boards, and high-level elevations with a scope of work document to get contractors to bid out what a potential project can cost. Finally, we review the total project cost with clients – including finishes, furnishings, and construction – to set realistic expectations.

This helps them make informed decisions about what they want to move forward with and what they might want to hold off on if it doesn’t fit into their budget. Nobody likes surprises and we help you think from the very beginning of your project what to expect so that you can plan accordingly for how much you want to invest into the project. 

The Benefits of Buying a New Connecticut Home

For some clients, investing in a brand-new home is ultimately the right choice despite the higher costs. Here are some of the key advantages:

A True Blank Slate

When you buy new construction or a newly remodeled home, you are not constrained by existing layout or design choices. You get to create a space that perfectly aligns with your modern lifestyle and aesthetic from the get-go. No costly renovations are needed! 

Partnering with an interior designer from the start ensures your new home is thoughtfully designed to meet all your needs and preferences. We highly recommend bringing your interior designer to properties you are seriously considering so you can get a second professional opinion and evaluate the potential of the space. 

We’ve worked with clients who buy early in the building of a new house where there is still a chance to customize finishes, and millwork, and specify any other changes that may suit you. Working with us, we can ensure you get a home that is bespoke to you and is thought of before you fully move it so you have something turn key.

Early stages of construction for a new house with foundation laid out.
Photo from Raleigh Realty

Potential for Appreciation

If you plan to sell your home in the near future, it’s important to consider the potential resale value of your investment. While renovations can increase the value of your home, there is no guarantee that you will get your money’s worth when it comes time to sell. The return on investment can vary depending on the specific renovations and market conditions.

New homes tend to have more potential for appreciation over time. Connecticut’s average house appreciation rate is around 4-5% per year. This can be a wise investment if you plan to sell eventually.

New Construction Perks

Builders construct brand-new homes using the latest materials, technology, and energy-efficient practices. You’ll enjoy lower maintenance and utility costs, plus the peace of mind of a new home warranty.

And let’s be honest, major renovations are incredibly disruptive to daily life. You may need to temporarily relocate during the portions of the project and deal with construction noise/mess and delays. For some clients, this is a dealbreaker.

Explore New Neighborhoods

Sometimes, a new beginning calls for putting down roots in an entirely new community. Buying new allows you to leave your current neighborhood in search of better schools, amenities, commute times, and new adventures. 

The Right Choice for You

There is no one-size-fits-all answer for whether renovating or buying new is the best decision. It depends entirely on your family’s unique priorities, lifestyle needs, financial situation, and what will bring you the most joy and fulfillment in your home.

That’s why Atelier Roux always aims to be our clients’ trusted guide and collaborator throughout this pivotal decision-making process. Our role is to listen intently to your wants and needs, carefully weigh all the variables, and advise you on the option we believe will create your happiest living environment for years to come. 

Luxurious cream toned living room and lounge area with tall ceilings.
Photo from Atelier Roux

Bringing in an interior design firm like Atelier Roux early on allows us to provide expert guidance, whether assessing the renovation potential of your current home, envisioning the possibilities for a new property, or developing a comprehensive design plan to transform your dream into reality.

We’ve worked with all types of families in Connecticut – from young couples to empty nesters to multi-generational households. Whether we decide to breathe new life into an older house through renovations to start from scratch, or finding the perfect new property to transform, you can count on our expertise and passion for design to create spaces that truly reflect who you are.

So, if you find yourself at this renovation versus buying a new crossroads, don’t go through it alone! Let Atelier Roux guide you toward the best decision for you and your loved ones. We offer complimentary discovery calls so we can talk one-on-one about what you are looking for. Your dream living situation is achievable with the right plan and vision. Imagine coming home each day to a space that makes you feel truly at home.

Atelier Roux is a full-service design firm run by Manon Roux. We’re dedicated to crafting bespoke interiors that harmonize with the rhythm of our clients’ lives, seamlessly merging sophistication with purpose in every narrative we create.

Interested in working together? Fill out an inquiry form here and let’s talk about how we can help!


For inquiries or to discuss your upcoming project, connect with us today. Let's collaborate to bring your vision to life with tailored, heart-driven design.